The following is a guest post by Jenny Paxson of the Packard Campus.
Thursday, December 12 (7:30 p.m.)
Trading Places (Paramount, 1983 – rated R*)
Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy star as a stuffy upper-class commodities broker and a homeless street hustler whose lives cross paths when they are unknowingly made part of an elaborate bet in this comedy set during the Christmas holidays. Veteran actors Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche play the Duke brothers, owners of a successful commodities brokerage firm, who hold opposing views on the issue of nature versus nurture and make the wager that sets the story in motion. John Landis directed the hit film that was inspired by Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper. Trading Places was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Comedy or Musical and supporting players Denholm Elliott and Jamie Lee Curtis each won Best Supporting acting BAFTA awards. Author and critic Richard Schickel of Time magazine called the film “one of the most emotionally satisfying and morally gratifying comedies of recent times.” 35mm archival film print. 116 min.* No one under the age of 17 will be admitted without a parent or guardian.
Friday, December 13 (7:30 p.m.)
Children of Paradise (Tricolore, 1945)
With its poetic realism, Children of Paradise is widely considered to be one of the greatest French films of all time. This nimble depiction of nineteenth-century Paris’s flamboyant theatrical world, filmed during World War II, follows a mysterious woman (Arletty) loved by four different men (all based on historical figures): an actor, a criminal, a count, and, most poignantly, a mime (Jean-Louis Barrault). With sensitivity and dramatic élan, director Marcel Carné and screenwriter Jacques Prévert resurrect a world teeming with hucksters and aristocrats, thieves and courtesans, pimps and seers. The film received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. Thanks to a major new restoration, this iconic classic looks and sounds richer and more detailed than ever. 35mm film print courtesy of Janus Films 190 min.
Saturday, December 14 (2 p.m.)
Christmas in Connecticut (Warner Bros., 1945)
Barbara Stanwyck stars as Elizabeth Lane, columnist for Smart Housekeeping, THE magazine for aspiring homemakers. Lane touts herself as a blissful wife, mother and expert homemaker living on an idyllic Connecticut farm. Trouble is, it’s all a sham. When her publisher (Sydney Greenstreet) cooks up a scheme to boost circulation by having Elizabeth entertain a war veteran (Dennis Morgan) on Christmas Eve, comic entanglements ensue. Directed by Peter Godfrey, this romantic comedy also stars Reginald Gardiner, S.Z. Sakall, Una O’Connor and Joyce Compton. Curiously released in August, Christmas in Connecticut was nonetheless a box office hit and remains a treasured holiday classic today. 35mm archival film print. 101 min.
Saturday, December 14 (7:30 p.m.)
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (MGM, 1925)
Adapted from General Lew Wallace’s popular novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ published in 1880, this epic production featured one of the most exciting spectacles in silent film: the chariot race that was shot with 40 cameras on a Circus Maximus set costing a staggering (for the day) $300,000. In addition to the grandeur of the chariot scene, a number of sequences shot in Technicolor also contributed to the extraordinary status of Ben-Hur, which was directed by Fred Niblo and starred Ramon Novarro as Judah Ben-Hur and Francis X. Bushman as Messala, and literally a cast of thousands. While this lavish film did not initially recoup its investment, it did help to establish its studio, MGM, as one of the major players in the industry. Andrew Simpson will provide musical accompaniment for this silent film that was selected for the National Film Registry in 1997. 35mm archival film print. 143 min.
For more information on our programs, please visit the website at: //www.loc.gov/avconservation/theater/