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Now Playing at the Packard Campus Theater (Feb. 27-29, 2020)

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

The Phenix Story (Allied, 1955)

Thursday, February 27 (7:30 p.m.)
The Phenix City Story (Allied Artists Pictures, 1955)
Film noir comes to Alabama in this ripped-from-the-headlines tale in a film based on notorious real-life 1954 events. Albert Patterson (John McIntire) is an attorney trying to clean up his mob-controlled town — Phenix City, aka “Sin City, U.S.A.” — and is killed while running for state attorney general. Also featuring Richard Kiley and Kathryn Grant, the film has been lauded for being both stylish and for its semi-documentary style. Noted B-movie director Phil Karlson crafted this low-budget, violent shocker using innovative camera work, which unnerved audiences not accustomed to seeing so much on-screen violence. In real life, the infamous murder quickly led the state to break up the crime syndicate, and Patterson’s son eventually became state attorney general and then governor of Alabama. The 87-minute film was also released in a longer version, which included a 13-minute newsreel. The Phenix City Story was added to the National Film Registry in 2019. 35mm archival film print, 100 min.

Friday, February 28 (7:30 p.m.)
Paris is Burning (Off White Productions, Inc., 1990, rated R*)
In a 2015 article in The Guardian, Ashley Clark noted, “Few documentaries can claim to have sparked as much discussion and controversy as director Jennie Livingston’s debut Paris is Burning, the vibrant time capsule of New York’s ballroom subculture in the 80s.” The film explores the complex subculture of fashion shows and vogue dance competitions among black and Hispanic gay men, drag queens and transgender women in Manhattan. It shifts among ballroom contests and shows and interviews with contestants, who belong to different “houses” that are like families to them, sharing their views on wealth, notions of beauty, racism and gender orientation. The film greatly influenced popular culture and was added to the National Film Registry in 2016. 35mm archival film print, 71 min. *No one under the age of 17 will be admitted without a parent or guardian.

The Cameraman (MGM, 1928)

Saturday, February 29 (2 p.m.)
The Cameraman
(MGM, 1928)
Buster Keaton stars as an aspiring newsreel cameraman out to win the heart of studio secretary Marceline Day in this silent comedy classic. Ostensibly directed by Edward Sedgwick, the film is all Keaton and includes some of the best treatises on the techniques and psychology of shooting motion pictures. Keaton is at his most deft in responding to the most outrageous situations with matter-of-fact naturalism and wearing his great stone face. A seamless, ingenious blend of comedy and pathos, it features countless creative gags involving fantastical double exposures, swimming pool changing rooms, and an organ grinder’s monkey. Live musical accompaniment will be provided by Ben Model. The Cameraman was added to the National Film Registry in 2005. Digital presentation, 76 min.

Saturday, February 29 (7:30 p.m.)
The Fugitive
(Warner Bros., 1993)
Based on the 1960s television series of the same name created by Roy Huggins, this action thriller stars Harrison Ford as Dr. Richard Kimble, a man wrongfully convicted for the murder of his wife, who escapes from custody and sets out to find the real killer. A team of U.S. Marshals led by Deputy Samuel Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones) doggedly pursues Kimble in a number of hair-raising encounters. Directed by Andrew Davis, the film was a critical and box office success and was nominated for seven Academy Awards including Best Picture; Jones won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Film critic Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times, wrote, “The film is larger and more encompassing than the television series. Director Davis paints with bold visual strokes so that the movie rises above its action-film origins and becomes operatic.” Rated PG-13. 35mm archival film print, 130 min.

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