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Now Playing at the Packard Campus (September 6 – 8, 2018)

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The following is a guest post by Jenny Paxson of the Packard Campus.

The Maltese Falcon (Warner Bros., 1941)

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), this 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, 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 featured include 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.

Ninotchka (MGM, 1939)

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 it 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.

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