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Film Night at the Pickford Theater: Thursday, November 21, 2019

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Each year, the Librarian of Congress selects 25 films of enduring importance to American culture for inclusion in the National Film Registry. The selection takes into account thousands of titles nominated annually by the public, as well as recommendations of the National Film Preservation Board and the Library’s film curators. Once a film is inducted into the Registry, the Library determines if it has already been preserved, and, if not, seeks to ensure that it eventually will be preserved by the institution or individual holding the best master material. In anticipation of next month’s announcement of a new batch of inductees, the Pickford Theater will screen two films (see also Nov. 7) already on the Registry as “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant” works.

Thursday, November 21 at 7:00 p.m.

MAKE WAY FOR TOMORROW (Paramount, 1937). Directed by Leo McCarey. Screenplay by Viña Delmar, based on a novel by Josephine Lawrence and a play by Helen and Nolan Leary. With Victor Moore, Beulah Bondi, Fay Bainter, Thomas Mitchell, Porter Hall, Barbara Read. (92 min, black & white, 35mm).

Poster for “Make way for Tomorrow” (Paramount, 1937). Image courtesy of IMDb.

After a bank forecloses on their home, an elderly couple must separate and move in with their selfish and ungrateful adult children. Orson Welles called it a film “that would make a stone cry,” it served as a template for Yasujiro Ozu’s masterpiece “Tokyo Story,” and director Leo McCarey considered it a personal favorite among his films. Despite all that, and notwithstanding the prominent champions it had over the years (John Ford and Jean Renoir were fans), “Make Way for Tomorrow” has been consistently overlooked as a classic of American cinema and to this day is not as well-known as it deserves to be. A love story among the elderly with a brutally honest view of old age, the film made no concessions to popular taste at a time when sentimentality and happy endings were the norm (New York Herald Tribune called it “a picture that violates every cinematic rule”). Selected for the National Film Registry in 2010. New print acquired as a gift from Universal Pictures.

Seating is on a first-come first-serve basis. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

For more information on our programs, please visit the Mary Pickford Theater website.

The Mary Pickford Theater is located on the 3rd floor of the Library of Congress James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. SE, Washington, DC, 20540.


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