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At the Packard Campus — March 2019

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Packard Campus Theater Schedule for March, 2019

On March 15, the Packard Campus Theater will welcome special guest George Stevens, Jr., creator and producer of the Kennedy Center Honors, who will introduce a specially curated program of highlights from the prestigious awards show.

Among the other features on the March schedule are five titles from the National Film Registry including a new restoration of the cult classic crime drama Detour, introduced by film preservationist Heather Linville who oversaw the restoration; a silent movie double feature with live musical accompaniment by Jon Mirsalis; an award winning documentary short film, Once & Again, introduced by its creator Isabel Dunn, and four MGM musicals from the MGM Arthur Freed production unit including National Film Registry titles Gigi and The Band Wagon.

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

The theater schedule is posted monthly with weekly updates on Now See Hear!, the National Audio Visual Conservation Center blog You can subscribe to regular updates from the 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].

Friday, March 1 (7:30 p.m.)
Silent Movie Double Feature
Atta Boy (Pathé Exchange, 1926)
Popular silent film comedian Monty Banks stars as a copy boy working at a large daily newspaper in New York who dreams of becoming a real reporter. A practical joker tricks him (on April 1st, his birthday) into believing he has been promoted and Monty soon finds himself in over his head in a kidnapping investigation. Banks also produced this action comedy that was directed by Edward H. Griffith. 35mm film print produced by the Library of Congress film preservation lab in 2011. 63 min.

Crooked Streets (Paramount Artcraft, 1920)
In this action-packed spy drama, Gail Ellis (Ethel Clayton) signs on as a secretary to a professor and his wife for a trip to exotic China to acquire antique vases. Once there, Gail is rescued from being accosted and chased by drunken sailors in a dangerous part of Shanghai by young Englishman Rupert O’Dare (Jack Holt). As the story unfolds, the two come to realize they have more than good looks in common. Director Paul Powell handles the proceedings with a stylish and assured hand and the cinematography by William Marshall is especially noteworthy. 35mm archival film print, 52 min. Live musical accompaniment for both films will be provided by Jon Mirsalis.

Saturday, March 2 (2 p.m.)
Rise of the Guardians (Paramount, 2012)
This computer animated action film is based on The Guardians of Childhood book series by William Joyce. The idea for the Guardians came from Joyce’s daughter, who asked him if he thought Santa Claus had ever met the Easter Bunny. In this story, the Guardians enlist Jack Frost to stop Pitch Black from engulfing the world in darkness. The voice cast features Chris Pine as Jack Frost, Alec Baldwin as North/Santa Claus, Hugh Jackman the Easter Bunny, Isla Fisher the Tooth Fairy and Jude Law as Pitch Black. The film was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film. Described on Rotten Tomatoes as “a sort of Avengers for the elementary school set, Rise of the Guardians is wonderfully animated and briskly paced.” Rated PG. 35mm archival print, 97 min.

Saturday, March 2 (7:30 p.m.)
Once & Again (Isabel Dunn, 2018)
The documentary Once & Again quietly examines our digital age through sensitive portraits of three residents of Austin, TX obsessed with antique phonographs and 78rpm records. It features Jim Cartwright, phonograph collector; Amelia ‘Foxtrot’ Raley, Austin’s only phonograph disc jockey; and Dr. Louis A. Waldman, art history professor at the University of Texas at Austin. Director Isabel Dunn who will introduce the film, was raised in Silver Spring, MD; studied film and liberal arts honors at UT Austin; and is now based in Los Angeles, CA. Still making the rounds on the North American Festival circuit, the short’s accolades include Best Student Film at Lone Star Film Festival 2018 and Official Selection at Big Sky Documentary Film Festival 2019. Digital, 25 minutes. Also on the program, The Immortal Voice (Bray, 1922) a fascinating explanation of how phonograph discs were recorded in the acoustic era. The silent short features an impressive new score by pianist Ben Model. 14 min. Plus an additional short film about sound recording to be announced later will also be on the program .

Thursday, March 7 (7:30 p.m.)
In Caliente (Warner Bros., 1935)
A New York theater critic (Pat O’Brien) falls in love with a Mexican dancer (Dolores Del Rio) and incurs the wrath of his gold-digging fiancée (Glenda Farrell). Filmed at the Mexican resort of Agua Caliente, at the time Hollywood’s favorite vacation destination, this breezy musical comedy is a typical product of the “South-of-the-Border craze,” initiated with the success of the 1929 film Rio Rita. The popularity of movie musicals with Latin settings held steady throughout the 1930’s and really took off when Carmen Miranda burst onto the scene in Down Argentine Way (1940). The musical numbers in the film were created and directed by Busby Berkeley and include the memorable The Lady in Red. Directed by Lloyd Bacon, the film also stars Leo Carrillo and Edward Everett Horton. 35mm film print preserved in 2016 by the Packard Campus Film Preservation Lab from the original negatives in the United Artists Collection. 84 min.

Friday, March 8 (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.

Saturday, March 9 (7:30 p.m.)
Detour (PRC, 1945)
Film critic Roger Ebert called Detour “haunting and creepy, an embodiment of the guilty soul of film noir. No one who has seen it has easily forgotten it.” Hitchhiker Al Roberts (Tom Neal) gets mixed up with a femme fatale (Ann Savage) who “looked like she’d just been thrown off the crummiest freight train in the world.” The story is told in narration addressed directly to the audience who hears not what happened, but what Al wants us to believe happened. This ultra-low budget melodrama shot in six days by Edgar G. Ulmer has developed cult status as one of the most stylish B pictures ever produced. Detour was added to the National Film Registry in 1992. It will be introduced by film preservationist and new Library of Congress Film Laboratory Supervisor Heather Linville who supervised the recent restoration of the film. 35mm film print, restored by the Academy Film Archive and The Film Foundation in collaboration with Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique, the Museum of Modern Art and the Cinémathèque Française. Restoration funding provided by the George Lucas Family Foundation. 68 min.

Thursday, March 14 (7:30 p.m.)
Smoke Signals (Miramax, 1998)
Native American directors are a rarity in Hollywood. After the early silent film pioneers James Young Deer and Edwin Carewe, the portrayal of Native Americans in cinema turned dark and stereotypical. These social trends started changing with motion pictures like the groundbreaking Smoke Signals, generally considered to be the first feature film written, directed and produced by Native Americans. Director Chris Eyre uses the relaxed road-movie concept to create a funny and unpretentious look at Native Americans in the nation’s cinema and culture. The mostly Native American cast features Adam Beach and Evan Adams as the two road warriors who find themselves on a hilarious adventure. Beneath the highly entertaining façade, the film acquainted non-Native American audiences with real insights into the indigenous Americans’ culture. Sherman Alexie penned the witty, droll script based his book The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. This Miramax release was a hit on the independent film circuit and won numerous awards, including a Sundance award. It was added to the National Film Registry in 2018. Rated PG-13. 35mm archival film print. 89 min.

Friday, March 15 (7:30 p.m.)
Best of the Kennedy Center Honors (1978-2014)
Renowned producer, director and writer George Stevens, Jr. will introduce a video compilation of memorable moments and performances curated from four decades of the Kennedy Center Honors broadcasts. The Kennedy Center Honors have been given annually since 1978 to performing artists for their lifetime contributions to American culture in the fields of music, dance, theater, opera, motion pictures or television. Created by George Stevens Jr. and the late Nick Vanoff, the honorees are celebrated in a star-studded gala at the Kennedy Center Opera House that is broadcast on CBS during the week between Christmas and New Year’s. The programs feature short film biographies and leading artists pay tribute to the honorees. The Honors has won numerous awards including 10 Emmys for Outstanding Variety Special and the Peabody Award. The annual Honors gala is an evening without categories, without disappointments, and without competition. Mr. Stevens was producer and co-writer of the program through 2014. In 2017 he donated master elements for each broadcast to the Library of Congress and worked with the Library of Congress Video Preservation Lab to assemble this compilation of musical performances and presentations. Honorees include James Cagney, Led Zepplin, Sammy Davis Jr., Bette Davis, Billy Wilder, Loretta Lynn and Marian Anderson. Approximately 120 min.

Saturday, March 16 (7:30 p.m.)
Gigi (MGM, 1958)
Produced by Arthur Freed and directed by Vincente Minnelli, Gigi is a lush Technicolor musical from MGM that tells the story of a friendship between a playboy (Louis Jourdan) and a young girl (Leslie Caron) that turns to love. Gigi is based on a 1944 novella by Colette and received a treatment on Broadway in 1951, but it was Arthur Freed who envisioned the story as a film musical and ultimately fought to get it made. French actress and dancer Leslie Caron was cast in the title role, with Maurice Chevalier as Honoré Lachaille, a role that was expanded in the film version and helped revitalize Chevalier’s career. Gigi won numerous industry awards, including a total of nine Oscars, a record at the time, and is often considered to be one of MGM’s best musicals. It was added to the National Film Registry in 1991. 35mm archival film print. 115 min.

Thursday, March 21 (7:30 p.m.)
It’s Always Fair Weather (MGM, 1955)
Producer Arthur Freed’s third pairing (along with Singin’ in the Rain,1952, and On the Town, 1949) with director Stanley Donen, co-director and star Gene Kelly and the writing team of Betty Comden and Adolph Green, It’s Always Fair Weather follows three WWII soldiers after they are discharged over a ten year span when they reunite and compare notes. Clever use of montage and split screen techniques follows the men on their individual courses as the years go by. The film features a host of memorable musical numbers, including stars Gene Kelly, Dan Dailey and Michael Kidd hoofing with garbage can lids on one foot; Kelly gliding over the city streets on roller skates in a love-drunk stupor; Dolores Gray decimating a male chorus line via trap doors and exploding stage props; and Cyd Charisse in a sexy dance. Critically acclaimed, but not a hit at the time, “It’s Always Fair Weather’s spoof of television and the advertising business, ebullient musical numbers, melancholy observations about the transitory nature of friendships and some fiendishly inventive performances, make the film a continual favorite with contemporary audiences. 35mm archival print. 101 min.

Friday, March 22 (7:30 p.m.)
Belle de Jour (Allied Artists Pictures, 1967 – Rated R*)
Catherine Deneuve’s reserved patrician beauty hides a cracked interior in one of the actress’s most iconic roles: Séverine, a Paris housewife who begins secretly spending her afternoon hours working in a bordello. This surreal and erotic late-sixties daydream from provocateur for the ages Luis Buñuel is an examination of desire as well as a gently absurdist take on contemporary social mores and class divisions. Fantasy and reality commingle in this film, one of Buñuel’s biggest hits. Belle de Jour won the Golden Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival in 1967. *No one under the age of 17 will be admitted without a parent or guardian. 35mm film print courtesy of Janus Films. 100 min.

Saturday, March 23 (7:30 p.m.)
The Band Wagon (MGM, 1953)
Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse, Oscar Levant, Nanette Fabray and Jack Buchanan star in this sophisticated backstage toe-tapper produced by Arthur Freed and directed by Vincente Minnelli, widely considered one of the greatest movie musicals of all time. Astaire plays a washed-up movie star (in reality he’d been a successful performer for over 30 years) who tries his luck on Broadway, under the direction of irrepressible mad genius Jack Buchanan. Musical highlights include That’s Entertainment, Triplets, “Dancing in the Dark” and Astaire’s sexy Mickey Spillane spoof “The Girl Hunt” danced to perfection by Cyd Charisse. Fred Astaire would only make three more musicals after The Band Wagon before turning to a film and television career that included the occasional turn as a dramatic actor. Added to the National Film Registry in 1995. 35mm archival film print, 112 min.

Thursday, March 28 (7:30 p.m.)
A New Leaf (Paramount, 1971)
Already well known as part of the ingenious comedy team Nichols & May (with Mike Nichols), Elaine May made her film debut as writer, director and star in this critically acclaimed dark comedy about a playboy (Walter Matthau) who seeks out a rich woman to marry after he has squandered away his trust fund. The film received Golden Globe nominations for Best Comedy or Musical and Best Actress for May, plus a Writer’s Guild Award nomination for Best Comedy Adapted from Another Medium. May also wrote screenplays for The Birdcage (1996) and Primary Colors, (1998) and directed The Heartbreak Kid, (1972), Mikey and Nicky, (1976) and the 2016 American Masters documentary on Mike Nichols. Elaine May was awarded the 2012 National Medal of Arts for her contributions to American comedy. 35mm archival print, 102 min.

Friday, March 29 (7:30 p.m.)
Bells Are Ringing (MGM, 1960)
Judy Holliday recreated her Tony Award winning role as Ella Peterson, an answering-service operator who falls in love with a man she’s known only as a voice on the telephone in this musical comedy by Betty Comden, Adolph Green and Jule Styne. The legendary MGM musical team of producer Arthur Freed and director Vincente Minnelli adapted the show for the screen with Jean Stapleton reprising her Broadway role as Ella’s cousin and popular singer/actor Dean Martin as Jeffrey Moss, the playwright with whom Ella falls in love. Songs include Just in Time and The Party’s Over which became popular standards. Comden and Green won the Writers Guild of America award for Best American Musical and Minnelli earned a Best Director nomination from the Directors Guild of America. Bells Are Ringing was the last collaboration of Arthur Freed and Vincente Minnelli after 12 films together. Digital presentation, 126 min.

Saturday, March 30 (7:30 p.m.)
Jurassic Park (Universal, 1993)
The concept of people somehow existing in the age of dinosaurs (or dinosaurs somehow existing in the age of people) has been explored in film and on television numerous times. No treatment, however, has ever been done with more skill, flair or excitement than this 1993 blockbuster. Set on a remote island where a man’s toying with evolution has run amok, this Steven Spielberg classic was based on the 1990 sci-fi thriller novel by Michael Crichton and stars Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum and Richard Attenborough. Added to the National Film Registry in 2018, Jurassic Park was the top public vote-getter of the year. Rated PG-13. 35mm archival print, 127 min.

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