The Packard Campus Theater is highlighting contemporary women directors through the end of the year with a series of films from the 1970s to the present. Throughout the 1970s training and mentorship programs for women directors were established, including Women Make Movies (1972), the Women in Film Foundation (1973), the AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women (1974), New York Women in Film and Television (1977), and the DGA’s Women’s Steering Committee (1979). These programs gradually ushered in a new wave of women directors at both the independent and studio level. The series kicks off this month with Kasi Lemmon’s critically acclaimed drama Eve’s Bayou on October 13.
Joining with Frankenreads, an international celebration of the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the theater will screen three films inspired by the original novel: The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) from the National Film Registry, Tim Burton’s animated feature Frankenweenie (2012), and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994), directed by and starring Kevin Branagh.
Other features for the Halloween season include William Castle’s House on Haunted Hill (1959) and Homicidal (1961), plus the Swedish-Danish documentary-style silent horror film Häxan (1922) and Dracula (1931). Ben Model will provide live musical accompaniment for both the silent film and a theatre organ “underscore” for Dracula.
The Packard Campus Video lab will be showcased with an evening of musical performance highlights from the Library’s television collection of Soundstage programs.
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. For further information on the theater and film series, visit //www.loc.gov/avconservation/theater/schedule.html
Now See Hear!, the National Audio Visual Conservation Center blog //blogs.loc.gov/now-see-hear/. You can subscribe to regular updates from Now See Hear! blog by RSS and e-mail so you’ll get the news first. In case of inclement weather, call the theater information line no more than three hours before showtime to see if the screening has been cancelled.
Request ADA accommodations at least five business days in advance at (202) 707-6362 or [email protected].
The Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation is a state-of-the-art facility funded as a gift to the nation by the Packard Humanities Institute. The Packard Campus is where the
nation’s library acquires, preserves and provides access to the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of motion pictures, television programs, radio broadcasts and sound recordings (loc.gov/avconservation/).
Thursday, October 4 (7:30 p.m.)
Tod Browning Double Feature
Freaks (MGM, 1932)
Master horror film director Tod Browning assembled a cast of genuine sideshow oddities for this chilling tale of camaraderie, persecution and revenge, with Olga Baclanova as the cruelly manipulative trapeze artist and Harry Earles as the freak she torments. The film’s unusual subject matter, its cast of curiosities, and its untraditional moral sympathy combined to create a cult following for this film, which was severely edited in the U.S. at the time of release and banned in the U.K. for 30 years. Freaks was added to the National Film Registry in 1994. Digital presentation, 64 min.
Iron Man (Universal, 1931)
Though Tod Browning is best known for his silent film collaborations with Lon Chaney and as the director of Dracula (1931) and Freaks, he directed many movies in a wide range of genres other than horror. In this pre-Code sports drama, Lew Ayres stars as a prizefighter Kid Mason whose gold-digging wife Rose (Jean Harlow in an early role), leaves him in disgust after he loses a fight to try for a career in Hollywood. Robert Armstrong as Mason’s manager turns the dejected Kid into a champion and runs interference when Rose returns. This 35mm film print was produced by the Library of Congress Film Preservation Lab in 2000. 73 min.
Thursday, October 11 (7:30 p.m.)
The Wiz (Universal, 1978)
Charlie Smalls’s jazzy, updated version of The Wizard of Oz won seven Tony Awards on Broadway in 1975, and was brought to the screen three years later with Diana Ross taking the lead role of a grown up, urban Dorothy that Stephanie Mills originated on Broadway. Directed by Sidney Lumet, The Wiz features an all-star cast including Michael Jackson as Scarecrow, Nipsey Russell as the Tinman, Lena Horne as Glinda the Good Witch, and Richard Pryor in the title role. Shown in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the film’s release and in conjunction with the special event “Declassified – Designing The Wiz” being held at the Coolidge Auditorium in the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, October 27 at 11 am where production and costume designer Tony Walton will join Solomon HaileSelassie of the Music Division for an intimate look at some of the designs he created for film. 35mm archival print, 134 min.
Friday, October 12 (7:30 p.m.)
House on Haunted Hill (Allied Artists, 1959)
An eccentric millionaire (Vincent Price) offers a group of people $10,000 each if they’ll spend a night in a sinister old mansion where several murders have occurred; he even gives each of his guests a tiny coffin containing a loaded handgun, designed to protect them from the spooks that emerge in the house over the course of the night. Produced and directed by William Castle, the king of gimmick horror films, House on Haunted Hill was a great success, especially with younger audiences, and most of his future efforts were geared toward the teenage market; 13 Ghosts (1960), 13 Frightened Girls (1963), and I Saw What You Did (1965) being prime examples. Digital presentation, 75 min.
Saturday, October 13 (7:30 p.m.)
Eve’s Bayou (Trimark Pictures, 1997 – rated R*)
This critically-acclaimed drama is a tale about the shifting psychological ties that bind an affluent Southern black family in the 1960s, as seen through the eyes of 10-year-old Eve (Jurnee Smollett) who worships her philandering father (Samuel L. Jackson). Eve’s Bayou is the first feature film written and directed by Kasi Lemmons, who went on to direct The Caveman’s Valentine, Talk to Me, and Black Nativity. Lemmons is a mentor with Project HER, where new women directors are paired with established women directors. The film won the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature. 35mm archival print, 109 min. Rated R for sexuality and language. *No one under the age of 17 will be admitted without a parent or guardian.
Thursday, October 18 (7:30 p.m.)
An Evening of Folk, Blues, Soul and Rock Highlights from ‘Soundstage (1974-1982)
Soundstage is a live concert television series produced by WTTW Chicago and distributed by PBS. The original series aired between 1974 and 1985; it was revived in 2003 and is still being produced. Emphasizing live performances, Soundstage presented a dramatic contrast to the way music had been televised until that point when variety shows (such as The Ed Sullivan Show) and lip-synched cabaret shows (such as The Andy Williams Show) were the norm. This unique program curated from the television archive of the Library of Congress features performances by Jackie Wilson, Muddy Waters, Bob Dylan, Randy Newman, Ry Cooder, Jackson Browne, Al Green, Dr. John, Doc & Merle Watson, Leonard Cohen, Jesse Winchester, Bonnie Raitt, Emmylou Harris, John Prine, Tom Waits, Phoebe Snow & David Bromberg, Don Williams, Waylon Jennings, Etta James, Graham Parker, The Blasters and Tina Turner. Digital presentation, approximately 90 min.
Friday, October 19 (7:30 p.m.)
Dracula (Universal, 1931)
Bela Lugosi’s portrayal of Dracula defined the ultimate vampire characterization for decades to follow, and the actor made a career of it, both on screen and on stage. Director Tod Browning referenced
Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel and subsequent stage plays, including a 1927 Broadway production starring Lugosi, to inform his cinematic approach to the legend. Browning, cinematographer Karl Freund and art director Charles D. Hall created an eerie gothic atmosphere to frame Lugosi’s performance. Dwight Frye is memorable as Dracula’s creepy minion Renfield. Unusually, Dracula did not have a specific score written for it and only two pieces of music are on its soundtrack: Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake during the opening credits, and the overture of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg during a scene at an opera. Ben Model will be on hand to fill the gaps by providing a live theatre organ underscore for the film. Selected for the National Film Registry in 2000. 35mm print produced by the Library of Congress Film Preservation lab in 1984, 73 min.
Saturday, October 20 (7:30 p.m.)
Häxan (UFA, 1922)
This Swedish-Danish documentary-style horror film written and directed by Benjamin Christensen is a study of how superstition and the misunderstanding of diseases and mental illness could lead to the hysteria of the witch-hunts. Leonard Maltin describes it as “A visually stunning history of the occult, recreating actual incidents based on records of witch trials, demonic possessions, and torture by the Inquisition. A genuinely scary, no-holds-barred silent film.” Live musical accompaniment will be provided by Ben Model. Digital presentation, 91 min.
Thursday, October 25 (7:30 p.m.)
Homicidal (Columbia, 1961)
The horror films produced and directed by William Castle were often more famous for their promotional gimmicks than their effectiveness as movies. This one was typical of Castle’s carnival barker approach with its tagline – “The picture with a Fright Break.” Starring Glenn Corbett, Patricia Breslin and Joan Marshall (credited as Jean Arless) in a dual role, the plot is a variation on the old-dark-house-with-a-family-secret, beginning with a brutal stabbing murder of a justice of the peace. Film writer Jeff Stafford opines “Homicidal is a schlock masterpiece, clumsily directed by Castle on cheap sets with crudely staged shock effects that only add to the film’s unpretentious sense of fun.” 35mm archival print, 87 min.
Friday, October 26 (7:30 p.m.)
The Bride of Frankenstein (Universal, 1935)
Director James Whale took his success with Frankenstein, added humor and thus created a cinematic hybrid that perplexed audiences at first glance but captivated them by picture’s end. Joined eventually by a mate (Elsa Lanchester), the Frankenstein monster (Boris Karloff reprising his role and investing the character with emotional subtlety) evolves into a touchingly sympathetic character as he gradually becomes more human. Ernest Thesiger as Dr. Pretorius is captivatingly bizarre. Many film historians consider “Bride,” with its surreal visuals, superior to the original. The Bride of Frankenstein was added to the National Film Registry in 1998. 35mm archival print produced by the Library of Congress film lab in 1995, 95 min.
Saturday, October 27 (2 p.m.)
Frankenweenie (Walt Disney, 2012)
A boy named Victor loses his dog, a Bull Terrier named Sparky, and uses the power of electricity to resurrect him – but is then blackmailed by his peers into revealing how they too can reanimate their deceased pets and other creatures, resulting in mayhem. Tim Burton remade his 1984 short film of the same name as a stop-motion-animated horror comedy feature. Both a parody of and a homage to the 1931 film Frankenstein, based on Mary Shelley’s book, the voice cast includes Winona Ryder, Martin Short, Catherine O’Hara and Martin Landau. 35mm archival print, 87 min.
Saturday, October 27 (7:30 p.m.)
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (TriStar Pictures, 1994 – rated R*)
Considered to be a faithful adaptation of Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein despite some differences and additions in plot, the story begins in the Arctic Sea as the feverish Baron Victor von Frankenstein is rescued by a passing ship. He tells the skeptical captain the ghastly story of how he created a living monster out of exhumed corpses. Directed by Kenneth Branagh and starring Robert De Niro, Branagh, Tom Hulce, Helena Bonham Carter, Ian Holm, John Cleese, and Aidan Quinn. 35mm archival print, 123 min. Rated R for horrific images. *No one under the age of 17 will be admitted without a parent or guardian.