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At the Packard Campus — November 2018

In November, the Packard Campus Theater will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One with three feature films that take place during the conflict: Howard Hawk’s original version of The Dawn Patrol, released in 1930 and starring Richard Barthelmess and Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Wings (1927), directed by William A. Wellman and winner of the first Academy Award for Best Picture Production, and Stanley Kubrick’s Paths of Glory (1957). Both Wings and Paths of Glory are on the National Film Registry.

Val Lewton, best known producing a series of low-budget horror films for RKO in the 1940s, will be showcased with screenings of I Walked with a Zombie (1943) and The Ghost Ship (1943), both shown in 35mm film prints produced by the Library of Congress Film Preservation Lab.

Two films set during Thanksgiving, Home for the Holidays (1995) directed by Jodie Foster, and the John Hughes comedy Trains, Planes and Automobiles (1987) starring Steve Martin and John Candy, will help to usher in the holiday season.

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. Short films may be shown before some features.

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.

The theater schedule is posted monthly with weekly updates on 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, November 1 (7:30 p.m.)
The Dawn Patrol (First National, 1930)
Richard Barthelmess and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. star as two ace pilots in a Royal Flying Corps squadron dealing with the stress of combat in France during World War I. John Monk Saunders’ Oscar-winning story was directed by Howard Hawks, a former World War I flight instructor, who flew in the film as a German pilot in an uncredited role. When the 1938 remake directed by Edmund Goulding and starring Errol Flynn was released, the 1930 film was retitled Flight Commander. Many of the flying sequences from the 1930 film, expertly shot by Ernest Haller, were edited verbatim into the 1938 movie as well as the 1940 film, British Intelligence. 35mm film print produced by the Library of Congress Film Preservation lab in 2011. 108 min.

Friday, November 2 (7:30 p.m.)
Wings (Paramount, 1927)
Dazzling aerobatic dogfights mark “Wings” as one of the last epics of the silent era and the first winner of the Oscar for what would become known as Best Picture. William Wellman, a former World War I pilot, directed John Monk Saunders’ story of two childhood friends (Charles ‘Buddy’ Rogers and Richard Arlen) and the women who love them (“It Girl” Clara Bow and Jobyna Ralston). Short on story but long on action, the film employed a reported 17 assistant cameramen to choreograph its extended flying sequences and hundreds of Army extras, giving many in the audience the closest glimpse of flight that they would ever experience. Wings was included in the National Film Registry in 1997.Live musical accompaniment will be provided by Andrew Simpson. Digital presentation, 144 min.

Saturday, November 3 (7:30 p.m.)
Paths of Glory (United Artists, 1957)
Based on Humphrey Cobb’s novel about three French soldiers, portrayed on film by, Ralph Meeker, Timothy Carey and Joe Turkel, on trial for cowardice during World War I, the film established Stanley Kubrick as an influential director. Adapted by Kubrick, Calder Willingham, and Jim Thompson, the screenplay chillingly spotlights the arrogance and incompetence of military leaders, three of which are portrayed by Adolphe Menjou, George Macready, and Wayne Morris. Though decidedly antiwar, the film does not espouse pacifism, exemplifying this contradiction in the character passionately portrayed by Kirk Douglas as the officer defending the unjustly charged soldiers. Added to the National Film Registry in 1992. Digital presentation, 88 min.

Thursday, November 8 (7:30 p.m.)
I Walked with a Zombie (RKO, 1943)
Producer Val Lewton and director Jacques Tourneur created this atmospheric chiller on a low budget, utilizing limited sets and only a handful of extras. Frances Dee plays a nurse who comes to a tropical island to treat the wife of a sugar plantation owner (Tom Conway) who suffers from an unexplained mental paralysis. She soon discovers skeletons in the family closet and local voodoo rituals and legends that cannot be ignored. The mesmerizing story is loosely adapted from Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. Screenwriter Ardel Wray recalled that before filming “We were all plunged into research on Haitian voodoo culture. Val (Lewton) was addictive researcher, drawing out of it the overall feel, mood, and quality he wanted, as well as details for actual production. He even found some genuine voodoo musicians for the film.” 35mm film print produced by the Library of Congress Film Preservation lab in 2000. 69 min.

 Thursday, November 15 (7:30 p.m.)
Dogfight (Warner Bros., 1991 – Rated R*)
Set in San Francisco in 1963, this original and thought-provoking drama chronicles the brief relationship between a young Marine (River Phoenix) who is about to be shipped out to Vietnam and the rather plain aspiring folk singer (Lili Taylor) who teaches him a few important lessons about life and the treatment of women. Presented as part of a series of films from contemporary women directors from the 1970s to the present, this is the second feature film directed by Nancy Savoca, who also directed True Love (1989), Household Saints (1993) and Union Square (2011). Savoca was mentored by John Sayles, and she in turn, has mentored up-and-coming filmmakers through the IFP’s Emerging Visions program. 35mm archival film print. 92 min. *No one under the age of 17 will be admitted without a parent or guardian.

Friday, November 16 (7:30 p.m.)
Home for the Holidays (Paramount, 1995)
Holly Hunter stars as Claudia Larson, a single mom who, after being fired from her job as an art restorer and regretfully having an affair with her ex-boss, apprehensively decides to fly to Baltimore to spend Thanksgiving with her eccentric extended family. Jodie Foster directed this affectionate but dark comedy with a cast featuring Anne Bancroft and Charles Durning as Claudia’s parents and Robert Downey Jr. as her younger brother and confidante Tommy. Film critic Roger Ebert praised Foster’s ability to “direct the film with a sure eye for the revealing little natural moment,” and Downey’s performance that “brings out all the complexities of a character who has used a quick wit to keep the world’s hurts at arm’s length.” Rated PG-13. 35mm archival film print. 103 min.

Saturday, November 17 (2 p.m.)
Babe (Universal, 1995)
Babe, an orphaned piglet, is chosen for a “guess the weight” contest at a county fair. The winning farmer, Arthur Hoggett (James Cromwell), brings Babe home and allows him to stay with his Border Collie named Fly, her mate Rex and their puppies, in the barn. While trying to fit in with the other barnyard animals, Babe learns the skill of sheepherding from Fly and is entered in a competition. Despite its unlikely premise and low profile, Babe’s inspirational story, directed and co-written by Australian filmmaker Chris Noonan, was embraced by audiences and critics alike. With its sympathetic view of the intellectual, emotional and social capacities of animals, “Babe” had a marked effect on the growth of vegetarianism, particularly among younger viewers. James Cromwell, already a vegetarian for 20 years, became an ethical vegan as a result of starring as Farmer Hoggett, saying, “Working with a lot of animals and animal trainers during production, I cared about their welfare and then, of course, you have lunch and it’s all there in front of you, and I thought, I should go the whole hog, so to speak.” The movie was named Best Film of the Year by The National Society of Film Critics and was  nominated for seven Academy Awards (including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay), winning the Best Visual Effects Oscar. 35mm archival film print, 91 min.

Saturday, November 17 (7:30 p.m.)
Planes, Trains and Automobiles (Paramount, 1987 – Rated R*)
After his flight home to Chicago has been cancelled due to bad weather, high-strung marketing executive Neal Page (Steve Martin) runs into one disaster after another while trying to get home to his family for Thanksgiving, which includes being stuck with loquacious traveling salesman Del Griffith (John Candy) as his unshakable traveling companion. Written, produced, and directed by John Hughes, the comedy was a widely noticed change in the repertoire of the filmmaker who up until that time was known for his popular coming-of-age teen movies such as Sixteen Candles (1984), The Breakfast Club (1985) and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986). Planes, Trains and Automobiles was greeted with critical acclaim and stayed in the top ten box office hits for seven weeks. 35mm archival print, 93 min. *No one under the age of 17 will be admitted without a parent or guardian.

Thursday, November 29 (7:30 p.m.)
The Ghost Ship (RKO, 1943)
RKO horror producer Val Lewton teamed with director Mark Robson for this psychological thriller starring Richard Dix as a power-crazy captain of a merchant ship. A young merchant marine officer (Russell Wade) begins to suspect that the captain is mentally unbalanced and endangering the lives of the ship’s crew. The crew, however, believes the vessel to be haunted and cursed after several mysterious deaths occur. Due to legal complications that resulted from a plagiarism suit, The Ghost Ship was pulled from circulation soon after its release and not shown for nearly 50 years. 35mm film print produced by the Library of Congress Film Preservation Lab in 2018, 69 min.  

Friday, November 30 (7:30 p.m.)
The Rules of the Game (Janus, 1939)
Often cited as one of the greatest films ever made, The Rules of the Game (La règle du jeu), by Jean Renoir, is a scathing critique of corrupt French society cloaked in a comedy of manners in which a weekend at a Marquis’ country château lays bare some ugly truths about a group of haut bourgeois acquaintances. The film has had a tumultuous history: it was subjected to cuts after the violent response of the premiere audience in 1939, and the original negative was destroyed during World War II; it wasn’t reconstructed until 1959. That version, which has stunned viewers for decades, is presented here. The satirical comedy-drama film features an ensemble cast of Nora Gregor, Paulette Dubost, Mila Parély, Marcel Dalio, Julien Carette, Roland Toutain, Gaston Modot, Pierre Magnier and Jean Renoir himself. In French with English subtitles. 35mm film print courtesy of Janus Films, 110 min.

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