The Library of Congress Packard Campus celebrates 10 years of free film screenings with eleven Hollywood classics from the National Film Registry that were shown in the theater’s inaugural month of September, 2008. Since that time, more than 1400 events have been presented at the theater, ranging from feature films spanning two centuries with live musical accompaniment for silent films, to concerts, guest speakers, and other performances. The Packard Campus for Audio-Visual Conservation opened in May, 2007 and was made possible by the financial support from Packard Humanities Institute (PHI). The facility, with a construction cost of more than $155 million, represents the largest-ever private gift to the Library of Congress and one of the largest ever to the federal government. A public component of this 415,000-square-foot facility is the 200 seat art deco theater, which showcases state-of-the-art archival projection.
Programs are free and open to the public, but children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Seating at the screenings is on a first-come, first-served basis unless otherwise noted. For general Packard Campus Theater information, call (540) 827-1079 ext. 79994 or (202) 707-9994. Request ADA accommodations at least five business days in advance at (202) 707-6362 or [email protected].
Thursday, September 6 (7:30 p.m.)
The Maltese Falcon (Warner Bros., 1941)
After two previous film versions of Dashiell Hammett’s detective classic The Maltese Falcon, Warner Bros. finally captured the true essence of Hammett’s story in 1941 by wisely adhering to the original as faithfully as possible. John Huston, a screenwriter making his directorial debut, was the catalyst for its success, and Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade provided the film’s heart and soul, earning him stardom for his effort. A hard-boiled often unscrupulous San Francisco private eye, Spade gets drawn into a series of intrigues and double-crosses by client Mary Astor who, along with partners Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet, are in search of a jewel-encrusted statuette shaped like a falcon. Among the most influential movies to emerge from the Hollywood studio system, it established an entirely new style of storytelling that would become identified as “film noir.” The film was selected to the National Film Registry in its inaugural year of 1989. 35mm film print produced by the Library of Congress Film Preservation Lab in 2015, 101 min.
Friday, September 7 (7:30 p.m.)
Yankee Doodle Dandy (Warner Bros., 1942)
Ostensibly a biopic about jingoistic songwriter-performer George M. Cohan (portrayed with buoyant enthusiasm by James Cagney), the film’s patriotic message, celebratory musical numbers and sentimental family saga were aimed at bolstering morale during the early months of World War II. Directed by Michael Curtiz, best known for swashbucklers, Cagney’s Oscar winning for Best Actor performance was complemented by Walter Huston as his father, Rosemary DeCamp as his mother, real-life sister Jean Cagney as his sister, and Joan Leslie as his perky champion and wife. The film was selected to the National Film Registry in 1993. 35mm film print produced by the Library of Congress Film Preservation Lab in 1996,126 min.
Saturday, September 8 (2 p.m.)
The Wizard of Oz (MGM, 1939)
A genuine American classic, the film is based on L. Frank Baum’s story of a little girl from Kansas who dreams of a better life somewhere “Over the Rainbow” and discovers a magical world of mysterious creatures. Outstanding performances – headed by Judy Garland as Dorothy – fanciful sets and an unforgettable score by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg combine to create cinema perfection. Directed by Victor Fleming, the cast of notable character actors includes Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, Jack Haley, Frank Morgan, Billie Burke, Margaret Hamilton, Charley Grapewin and Clara Blandick. The film was selected to the National Film Registry in its inaugural year of 1989. 35mm archival print, 101 min.
Saturday, September 8 (7:30 p.m.)
Ninotchka (MGM, 1939)
In this sparkling romantic comedy, when a beautiful Soviet emissary (Greta Garbo) is sent to Paris on state business, she discovers how the charms of Paris and Melvyn Douglas can melt even the most stoic Soviet, and jeopardizes both national honor and her career. Garbo personifies director Ernst Lubitsch’s sophistication and style, delivering dialog cooked up by Billy Wilder and partner Charles Brackett to reveal that the Swedish actress is not only a consummate dramatist, but that, in fact, “Garbo Laughs!” as the ads touted. A trio of Russian delegates played by Sig Ruman, Felix Bressart, and Alexander Granach deliver some of Wilder and Brackett’s most satirical lines. Selected for the National Film Registry in 1990. 35mm archival print, 110 min.
Thursday, September 13 (7:30 p.m.)
Shane (Paramount, 1953)
George Stevens directed this adaptation of Jack Schaefer’s novel in which Shane, a former gunfighter fighter (Alan Ladd), comes to the defense of homesteaders who are being terrorized by a cattle baron who wants their land. Van Heflin, Jean Arthur (in her last screen appearance) and Brandon de Wilde portray the Starrett family who befriends Shane. Loyal Griggs lush color cinematography won an Academy Award for this western drama. “Shane” was tapped for preservation in the National Film Registry in 1993. 35mm archival print, 118 min.
Friday, September 14 (7:30 p.m.)
Singin’ in the Rain (MGM, 1952)
This rollicking musical satire of Hollywood in the 1920s when film transitioned from silent to sound features outstanding performances by Debbie Reynolds, Donald O’Connor, Jean Hagen, and Gene Kelly, who co-directed the film with Stanley Donen. Now considered one of the greatest musicals ever filmed, it’s filled with memorable songs by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed, lavish routines and Kelly’s fabulous song-and-dance number performed in the rain. Although Debbie Reynolds had made a few movies prior to her role as Kathy Selden, this is the film that made her a star and one of the films for which she is best remembered. The film was one of the first to be selected for the National Film Registry in 1989. 35mm archival print, 103 min.
Saturday, September 15 (7:30 p.m.)
King Kong (RKO, 1933)>
Filmmaker Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong), recent discovery Ann Darrow (Fay Wray) and his team discover a giant prehistoric ape, dubbed Kong, while searching for locations on an uncharted jungle island. The crew manages to subdue the primate and bring Kong to New York to exploit him in a stage show from which he promptly escapes, spreading mayhem. Willis O’Brien’s special effects and animation of the monster ape are still amazing on the big screen and the final sequence atop Empire State Building is now cinema folklore. Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack directed this classic beauty-and-the-beast adventure, which was added to the National Film Registry in 1991. 35mm archival print, 100 min.
Thursday, September 20 (7:30 p.m.)
Morocco (Paramount, 1930)
When director Josef von Sternberg cast German actress Marlene Dietrich, in “The Blue Angel” (1930) opposite Emil Jannings, she became an international star overnight. Morocco soon followed and was the first American film of a seven picture collaboration between the two. Dietrich plays Amy Jolly, a cabaret singer (improbably stuck in Morocco) who must choose between a wealthy debonair man-of-the-world (Adolphe Menjou) and a Foreign Legionnaire (Gary Cooper). The film proved a spectacular success at the box office and earned Oscar nominations for von Sternberg, Dietrich, cinematographer Lee Garmes and art director Hans Dreier. It was included on the 1992 National Film Registry list. 35mm film print produced by the Library of Congress Film Preservation Lab in 1987, 92 min.
Saturday, September 22 (7:30 p.m.)
Chuck Mead and his Grassy Knoll Boys, plus The Western Flyers (LIVE)
For the past twenty years, Chuck Mead has been at the forefront of what has come to be known as Americana Music. Raised in Lawrence, Kansas, Chuck has been a professional musician since the age of 13 playing in his parent’s country band and then leading several roots rock outfits in the Midwest. Mead co-founded the famed ‘90s Alternative Country quintet BR549 who recorded seven albums, earning three Grammy nominations. In 2014, Mead & His Grassy Knoll Boys released the album Free State Serenade on Nashville-based Plowboy Records. – The Western Flyers, known as “the biggest little band in the all the land,” will make their third appearance at the Packard Campus Theater with their Western Swing show. The trio, made up of Joey McKenzie, Gavin Kelso and Katie Glassman, also appeared at the Library’s Whittall Pavilion in Washington D.C. as part of the Homegrown Concerts series co-sponsored by the American Folklife Center. Free tickets for this event can be reserved at www.meadflyers.eventbrite.com beginning August 22.
Thursday, September 27 (7:30 p.m.)
Trouble in Paradise (Paramount, 1932)
The “Lubitsch Touch” – an easy comedic elegance which characterized the films of director Ernst Lubitsch – is epitomized in this frothy gem starring Herbert Marshall and Miriam Hopkins as professional thieves who fall in love while plundering the Riviera. Saucy dialog delivered with mock melodrama runs rampant amidst sophisticated promiscuity when Marshall is bewitched by the wealthy Parisienne he intends to fleece (Kay Francis), the thieves find they’re not as thick as they thought. In addition to the witty script by Samson Raphaelson, the film is enhanced by the stunning art deco sets of Hans Dreier, and the glamorous costumes by Travis Banton for Hopkins and Francis. Added to the National Film Registry in 1991. 35mm archival print, 83 min.
Friday, September 28 (7:30 p.m.)
Gunga Din (RKO, 1939)
George Stevens directed this adventure epic suggested by the Rudyard Kipling poem of the same name and his short story “Soldiers Three.” The screenplay was the brainchild of Joel Sayre, Fred Guiol, and the writing team of Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur. Cary Grant, Victor McLaglen and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. star as eternally brawling British sergeants in colonial India, with Sam Jaffe as their faithful Indian water bearer, Gunga Din. Grant and McLaglen scheme to keep Fairbanks in the army after he’s announced his intentions to retire and marry the lovely Emmy (Joan Fontaine); meanwhile the sergeants are tasked with quelling a revolution by a fanatical religious cult. Shot on location in Lone Pine, California, Gunga Din was the studio’s most prestigious picture to date and was rereleased several times in the next decade. The film was added to the National Film Registry in 1999. 35mm film print produced by the Library of Congress Film Preservation Lab in 1995, 117 min.
Saturday, September 29 (2 p.m.)
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Disney, 1937)
Walt Disney’s groundbreaking Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – the first American animated feature film and a warm and joyful rendition of the classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale – is still in a class by itself. In addition to winning an Honorary Academy Award as a “significant screen innovation, which has charmed millions and pioneered a great new entertainment field,” the film was also nominated for best musical score. The animated classic was named to the National Film Registry in the registry’s inaugural year, 1989. 35mm archival print, 83 min.