Spanning ninety years, the August schedule for The Library of Congress Packard Campus Theater in Culpeper features star-studded dramatic classics on the National Film Registry (Joan Crawford in Mildred Pierce, Lana Turner in Imitation of Life and Bette Davis in Now, Voyager); a recent restoration of the 1922 Marion Davies historical romance When Knighthood was in Flower; animated feature matinees (Tangled and An American Tale) and La Strada, winner of the 1956 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, as well as two Oscar nominated titles from this millennium: Flight starring Denzel Washington and Brokeback Mountain starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal.
Also on the schedule are the romantic dramas Christopher Strong (1933) Magnificent Obsession (1935), Brief Encounter (1945), Home from the Hill and Martin Scorsese’s The Age of Innocence (1993).
Thursday, August 2 (7:30 p.m.)
Mildred Pierce (Warner Bros., 1945)
This quintessential Joan Crawford film features Crawford as a housewife turned successful restauranteur who sacrifices all for her ungrateful daughter (Ann Blyth). Ranald McDougall wrote the screenplay for this melodrama tinged with film noir which was directed by Michael Curtiz. Crawford, ably supported by strong performances from Blyth, Jack Carson and Eve Arden, won her only Oscar for this role. The film also received Oscar nominations for Best Film, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography by Ernest Haller and Best Supporting Actress for both Blyth and Arden. “Mildred Pierce” was added to the National Film Registry in 1996. 35mm archival print, 111 min.
Friday, August 3 (7:30 p.m.)
When Knighthood Was in Flower (Paramount, 1922)
Marion Davies stars as Mary Tudor, sister of King Henry VIII, whom the king aims to use for political gain by offering her hand in marriage to King Louis XII of France. For period authenticity, no expense was spared on the production’s costumes, armor and tapestries or on Joseph Urban’s huge, lavish sets. The breakout role made Marion Davies a star. This will be a digital presentation of a new restoration that was scanned from an original 35mm nitrate print preserved by the Library of Congress. Live musical accompaniment will be provided by Ben Model who released the film on DVD through Undercrank Productions in cooperation with the Library of Congress. Digital presentation, 115 min.
Saturday, August 4 (2 p.m.)
Tangled (Disney, 2010)
Based on the classic Grimm Brothers fairy tale, this Disney animated feature tells the story of Rapunzel (Mandy Moore), stolen from the palace nursery as an infant and raised by the evil Mother Gothel (Donna Murphy), who locks her up in an enchanted tower and uses Rapunzel’s hair to continuously restore her youth. One day a handsome roguish thief called Flynn Rider (Zachary Levi) arrives on the scene and Rapunzel seizes the opportunity to escape. Directed by Byron Howard and Nathan Greno, the film features a music score by Alan Menken. The song I See the Light, music by Menken and lyrics by Glenn Slater, was nominated for the Best Original Song Academy Award. Rated PG, 35mm archival print, 100 min.
Saturday, August 4 (7:30 p.m.)
Imitation of Life (Universal, 1959)
In this second film adaptation of Fannie Hurst’s popular and controversial 1933 novel about race, sex, and class in America, Lana Turner stars as Lora Meredith, a career-driven actress with Juanita Moore as her friend Annie Johnson, a good-hearted black woman who shares her life, and whose troubled daughter (Susan Kohner) passes for white. The last film in a series of glossy “women’s picture” melodramas directed by Douglas Sirk and produced by Ross Hunter, this remake offers an effective contrast to the more restrained style used by John Stahl in the 1934 version (previously selected for the National Film Registry), starring Claudette Colbert and Louise Beavers. Both Juanita Moore and Susan Kohner were nominated for Best Supporting Actress Oscars and the film invigorated the career of Lana Turner who had recently come thorough a particularly trying Hollywood scandal. The film was added to the National Film Registry in 2015. Digital presentation, 125 min.
Thursday, August 9 (7:30 p.m.)
La Strada (Dino de Laurentiis Distribuzione, 1954)
The legendary Federico Fellini directs his wife, Giulietta Masina, as Gelsomina in the film that launched them both to international stardom. Gelsomina is sold by her mother into the employ of Zampanò (Anthony Quinn), a brutal strongman in a traveling circus. When Zampanò encounters an old rival in highwire artist the Fool (Richard Basehart), his fury is provoked to its breaking point. With “La Strada,” Fellini left behind the familiar signposts of Italian neorealism for a poetic fable of love and cruelty, evoking brilliant performances and winning the hearts of audiences and critics worldwide. Winner of the first ever competitive Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Shown in Italian with English subtitles. 35mm archival print, 108 min.
Friday, August 10 (7:30 p.m.)
Brief Encounter (Eagle-Lion, 1945)
After a chance meeting at a suburban British train station, a married doctor and a middle-class housewife find themselves drawn into a poignant romance. Adapted by Noel Coward from his one-act play, the film stars Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard as the proper and reserved lovers. Called by Sir Richard Attenborough “a landmark and touchstone” for the film industry, “Brief Encounter” established David Lean as a great director, with a sense of character and romantic fatalism that would be found in such later hits as Lawrence of Arabia (1962) and Doctor Zhivago. The film shared the 1946 Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival and was Oscar nominated for Best Actress (Johnson), Best Director (Lean) and Best Adapted Screenplay. Digital presentation, 86 min.
Saturday, August 11 (2 p.m.)
An American Tail (Universal, 1986)
In this animated musical adventure set in 1885, the Mousekewitzes, a Russian-Jewish family of mice, emigrate from Ukraine to America on a tramp steamer where they’ve been led to believe there are “no cats.” During a thunderstorm, young Fievel suddenly finds himself separated from his family and hopes to find a way to reunite with them once in New York. James Horner wrote the score for the film, and the song Somewhere Out There, composed by Horner, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil and sung by Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram, won a Grammy Award for “Song of the Year,” as well as “Most Performed Song from a Motion Picture” from both the ASCAP and Broadcast Music Awards. Rated G. 35mm archival print, 80 min.
Saturday, August 11 (7:30 p.m.)
Home from the Hill (MGM, 1960
Robert Mitchum stars as powerful Texas landowner Capt. Wade Hunnicutt in this epic family saga based on the novel by William Humphrey. The story explores the tangled relationships of Wade, his estranged wife Hannah (Eleanor Parker), their adult son Theron (George Hamilton), and his illegitimate son Rafe (George Peppard) from an earlier relationship. Directed by Vincente Minnelli, best-known at the time for sophisticated musicals such as An American in Paris (1951) and Gigi (1958), Home from the Hill represents another genre in which he would win critical acclaim, particularly in later years — the melodrama. The film opened to strong reviews and both Mitchum and Peppard won acting awards for their roles from the National Board of Review. 35mm archival print, 150 min.
Thursday, August 16 (7:30)
Christopher Strong (RKO, 1933)
After making a striking film debut in Bill of Divorcement (1932), RKO signed Katharine Hepburn to a long term contract and selected a story about a headstrong, individualistic woman for their new star’s follow-up feature. Playwright Zoe Akins adapted Gilbert Frankau’s novel about a prize-winning aviatrix who drifts into a potentially disastrous affair with the happily married British politician Christopher Strong (Colin Clive). To direct, producer David O. Selznick chose one of Hollywood’s few women directors, Dorothy Arzner. Actual newsreel footage of parades and famous flights added authenticity of the film which features Billie Burke, Helen Chandler and Jack LaRue in the cast. 35mm archival print, 78 min.
Friday, August 17 (7:30 p.m.)
Flight (Paramount, 2012)
Denzel Washington stars as commercial airline pilot “Whip” Whitaker who astonishingly crash-lands his plane after it suffers an in-flight mechanical failure, saving nearly everyone on board. Hailed as a hero immediately following the incident, an investigation soon turns up evidence that sheds a negative light on the captain. Directed by Robert Zemeckis, the action drama film received wide critical acclaim and earned a Best Original Screenplay nomination for John Gatins. Washington was nominated in the Best Actor category for the Academy Award, the Golden Globe and the Screen Actors Guild Award. MPAA Rated R for drug and alcohol abuse, language, sexuality/nudity and an intense action sequence. No one under the age of 17 will be admitted without a parent or guardian. 35mm archival print, 138 min.
Saturday, August 18 (7:30 p.m.)
Now, Voyager (Warner Bros., 1942)
A resonant woman’s picture, Now, Voyager features Bette Davis as Charlotte Vale, a dowdy spinster terrorized by her possessive mother (Gladys Cooper) and on the verge of a nervous breakdown. While undergoing treatment at a sanatorium, a caring psychiatrist (played by Clause Rains) suggests that Charlotte go on a cruise, where she finds love with Jerry Durrance (Paul Henreid). The compassionate therapy and later improbable romance transforms her into a confident, independent woman. Davis and Cooper were both Oscar nominated and Max Steiner won for Best Music. Now, Voyager was Bette Davis’ biggest box office hit of the ’40s. It was added to the National Film Registry in 2007. 35mm archival print, 117 min.
Thursday, August 23 (7:30 p.m.)
The Age of Innocence (Columbia, 1993)
Martin Scorsese, in a departure from his usual gritty crime epics, directed this opulent adaptation of Edith Wharton’s 1921 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of manners and social mores in 19th-century New York. Daniel Day Lewis stars as a well-connected, socially correct lawyer, who risks his future place in society when he falls in love with his fiancee’ May’s married cousin, Countess Ellen Olenska (Michelle Pfeiffer). The film won an Oscar for Costume Design, and Winona Ryder was nominated in the supporting acting category for her nuanced performance as the charming but passive May. Other nominations included art direction, score by Elmer Bernstein, and screenplay by Scorsese and film critic Jay Cocks. Rated PG. 35mm archival print, 139 min.
Friday, August 24 (7:30 p.m.)
Magnificent Obsession (Universal, 1935)
Robert Taylor stars as self-absorbed millionaire playboy Robert Merrick whose reckless ways indirectly cause the death of a beloved local doctor. As Merrick tries to make amends to the man’s widow, Helen (Irene Dunne), his long journey from selfish cad to compassionate savior becomes a magnificent obsession. John M. Stahl directed this first film adaptation of Lloyd C. Douglas’ 1929 best-selling novel that had been something of a phenomenon for its message of enriching one’s own life through philanthropy and acts of compassion done in secret. Later remade by Douglas Sirk and starring Rock Hudson and Jane Wyman, this romantic drama was a big hit that catapulted Taylor, up until then a light leading man, to stardom. 35mm archival print, 112 min.
Saturday, August 25 (7:30 p.m.)
Brokeback Mountain (Focus, 2005)
Set against the sweeping vistas of Wyoming and Texas, Brokeback Mountain is the story of two young men – a ranch-hand and a rodeo cowboy – who meet in the summer of 1963 when they are hired as sheep herders, and unexpectedly forge a lifelong connection that provides a testament to the endurance and power of love. Starring Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, and Michelle Williams, the film was nominated for eight Academy Awards and won three: Best Director (Ang Lee), Best Adapted Screenplay (Diana Ossana and Larry McMurtry), and Best Original Score (Gustavo Santaolalla). Adapted from the 1997 short story of the same name by Annie Proulx, winner of the 2018 Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction. MPAA Rated R for sexuality, nudity, language and some violence. No one under the
age of 17 will be admitted without a parent or guardian. 35mm archival print, 134 min.