From the beginning of cinema the behavior of adolescents has been rich fodder for stories that range from celebratory to condemning. No matter the time and place, movie adults are often perplexed, and sometimes angered, by the behavior of movie teens and pre-teens. So this month we’re starting a summer-long series called Kids These Days that vividly illustrates this eternal tension. We open with Angels with Dirty Faces (Warner Bros., 1938), followed by West Side Story (Seven Arts, 1961), King Creole (Paramount, 1958), and Beach Blanket Bingo (American International Pictures, 1965). The 75th anniversary of D-Day will be commemorated with screenings of The Big Red One (Lorimar, 1980) and Saving Private Ryan (DreamWorks, 1998). The Oscar nominated The Kids Are All Right (Focus Features, 2010) is part of our long-running contemporary women filmmaker series (written and directed by Lisa Cholodenko) and also celebrates both LGBT Pride Month and Father’s Day. Finally, we will celebrate Olivia de Havilland’s 103rd birthday with a showing of the rarely screened To Each His Own (Paramount, 1946) for which she won her first Academy Award.
Saturday, June 1 (7:30 p.m.)
Angels with Dirty Faces (Warner Bros., 1938)
James Cagney and Pat O’Brien star as former childhood friends from a tough New York neighborhood who grow up on opposite sides of the law, one a gangster and the other a priest, who fight over the future of a street gang. Cagney’s portrayal of tough guy gangster Rocky Sullivan is considered one of his finest performances and he received his first Oscar nomination for the role. This quintessential Warner Bros. melodrama directed by Michael Curtiz (Casablanca) also stars Humphrey Bogart as Rocky’s crooked lawyer and Ann Sheridan, who gives a realistic and likeable performance as the woman who stands as the link between bad guy Cagney and the voice of conscience, saintly Father Jerry Connolly (O’Brien). But it was the group of hard-nosed teen actors from the slums known as the Dead End Kids who were used as a moral focal point for the film, to show that young people, who might otherwise be tempted to go down the wrong road, could be influenced by the good over evil. 35mm archival film print, 97 min.
Thursday, June 6 (7:30 p.m.)
The Big Red One (United Artists, 1980)
Sam Fuller wrote and directed this epic war film, based on his own World War II experiences as a member of 1st Infantry Division, whose nickname was The Big Red One. Lee Marvin plays the gruff, unyielding sergeant leading a rifle squad across North Africa and into Europe over the course of two years. The squad serves in campaigns in Sicily, Omaha Beach at the start of the Normandy Campaign, the liberation of France and the invasion of western Germany. Marvin’s four green, frightened soldiers are played by Mark Hamill, Robert Carradine, Bobby Di Cicco and Kelly Ward. The two-hour original version being shown here was less than half the length of Fuller’s director’s cut, but it retains his uncompromising vision. Made when Fuller was in his late 60s, The Big Red One provided a crowning achievement for his long and controversial career, in which his renegade techniques and film noir sensibilities made him a post-modernist before his time. Rated PG. 35mm archival film print, 113 min.
Friday, June 7 (7:30 p.m.)
Saving Private Ryan (Paramount, 1998 – rated R*)
Through the years, Hollywood’s take on war, honor and heroism has taken many conflicting forms. Saving Private Ryan drops ordinary soldiers into a near-impossible rescue mission set amid the carnage of World War II’s Invasion of Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944. The film is notable for its graphic portrayal of war, and for the intensity of its opening 27 minutes, which includes a depiction of the Omaha Beach landing. Tom Hanks stars as Captain Miller with Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns, Barry Pepper, Giovanni Ribisi, Vin Diesel, Adam Goldberg and Jeremy Davies as his squad searching for Private Ryan, portrayed by Matt Damon. The film received eleven Academy Award nominations, winning five including Best Director for Steven Spielberg and was added to the National Film Registry in 2014. 35mm archival film print, 169 min. *No one under the age of 17 will be admitted without a parent or guardian.
Saturday, June 8 (7:30 p.m.)
West Side Story (United Artists, 1961)
This musical adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet was first a highly successful Broadway production, presenting the doomed romance amid clashing cultures of young Puerto Rican emigres and bigoted New York street toughs, adding the topical issue of racial prejudice for dramatic impact. The film version retained the play’s music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim featuring such memorable songs as Maria and Tonight, with choreography by Jerome Robbins, who co-directed with Robert Wise. Starring Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer as Maria and Tony, the film was a critically acclaimed box office success. Hollywood awarded it ten Oscars including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress (Rita Moreno), Best Supporting Actor (George Chakiris), Best Color Cinematography, and Best Director. West Side Story remains a favorite with movie lovers and was added to the National Film Registry in 1997. 35mm archival film print.153 min.
Thursday, June 20 (7:30 p.m.)
The Kids Are All Right (Focus Features, 2010 – rated R*)
Annette Bening and Julianne Moore star as Nic and Jules, an upper middle class, same sex couple raising two teenaged children, Joni (Mia Wasikowska) and Laser (Josh Hutcherson), each conceived by the same anonymous sperm donor. The imperfect but stable home life of the family is thrown askew when the kids decide to seek out their birth father (Mark Ruffalo) and make him part of their lives. This critically acclaimed comedy/drama was co-written (with Stuart Blumberg) and directed by Lisa Cholodenko, based in part on some aspects of her life. The Kids Are All Right received numerous awards and nominations including four Oscar nominations: Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actress (Bening) and Best Actor (Ruffalo), and was listed on dozens of critics’ top ten lists. 106 min. * No one under the age of 17 will be admitted without a parent or guardian.
Friday, June 21 (7:30 p.m.)
King Creole (Paramount, 1958)
In what many (including the King himself) consider his best film, Elvis Presley plays rebellious teenager Danny Fisher who works before and after school to support his impoverished family in a tough New Orleans neighborhood. After Danny gets a job singing at a nightclub, he is eventually dragged into the criminal underworld. Michael Curtiz (Casablanca) directed this atypical “Elvis” movie in which the musical numbers make sense in the context of the story. Backed by his real-life guitarist Scotty Moore, Presley sings 12 songs including; Hard Headed Woman, Trouble‘ and the title number. Based on novel by Harold Robbins, the cast also includes Carolyn Jones, Dolores Hart, Walter Matthau, Dean Jagger and Vic Morrow. 35mm archival film print.116 min.
Saturday, June 22 (2 p.m.)
Muppet Treasure Island (Buena Vista, 1996)
Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic tale of a young orphan who becomes involved with pirate Long John Silver is given the Muppet treatment in this vibrant children’s musical. The film stays loyal to the original storyline but casts the well-known puppets in many of the supporting roles. Young Jim Hawkins remains human (portrayed by Kevin Bishop), as does Long John Silver, played by an amusingly exaggerated Tim Curry. However, Captain Smollet is played by Kermit the Frog; Miss Piggy, Gonzo, and Rizzo the Rat serve as roving narrators; and numerous other Muppets assume smaller roles. Muppet voices and puppetry are provided by regulars Frank Oz, Steve Whitmire and others. Rated G. 35mm archival film print. 99 min.
Saturday, June 22 (7:30 p.m.)
Beach Blanket Bingo (American International Pictures, 1965)
Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon star in the fifth (and perhaps best known) installment of a series of slapdash musical comedies set against a Malibu backdrop of surfing, sun worshipping and California teenagers that began with AIP’s “Beach Party” in 1963. The series’ popularity came from a formula of mixing pop acts (in this case The Hondells and Donna Loren) and guest star cameos (Don Rickles, Paul Lynde and the legendary silent comedian Buster Keaton in this feature) with the stars in a minimalist story spiked with goofy, lowbrow humor. Another key to the success of the Beach Party franchise was the theme of teenage freedom, as parental involvement was non-existent. In addition to Annette and Frankie, series regulars John Ashley and Jody McRae are on board along with Linda Evans and Deborah Walley. 35mm archival film print. 98 min.
Thursday, June 27 (7:30 p.m.)
The Billy Taylor Show (WNJU, 1965)
Well known jazz pianist, composer, broadcaster and educator Dr. Billy Taylor hosted two long running programs on NPR: the pioneering Jazz Alive!, (1977- 1983) and Jazz at the Kennedy Center (1995-2001), and served as an on-air correspondent for CBS News Sunday Morning for many years. In 1965, Taylor hosted The Billy Taylor Show – Jazz in America, produced at WNJU in New Jersey that aired in the New York City market. Luckily he archived the 2” videotapes of the program before WNJU could recycle them, a common practice of the day, and donated the tapes to the Library of Congress in 2002. This compilation of highlights from the show, none of which has been seen since the original broadcasts, includes performances by jazz greats Dizzy Gillespie, Kenny Burrell, Benny Powell, Clark Terry, Grant Green, Yusef Lateef, Jerome Richardson, Randy Weston and more. Digital presentation.
Friday, June 28 (7:30 p.m.)
The Hidden Fortress (Toho, 1958)
A grand-scale adventure as only Akira Kurosawa could make one, The Hidden Fortress stars the inimitable Toshiro Mifune as a general charged with guarding his defeated clan’s princess (a fierce Misa Uehara) as the two smuggle royal treasure across hostile territory. Accompanying them are a pair of bumbling, conniving peasants who may or may not be their friends. This rip-roaring ride is among the director’s most beloved films and was a primary influence on George Lucas’s Star Wars. The Hidden Fortress delivers Kurosawa’s trademark deft blend of wry humor, breathtaking action, and compassionate humanity. 35mm film print courtesy of Janis Films. 139 min.
Saturday, June 29 (7:30 p.m.)
To Each His Own (Paramount, 1946)
Olivia de Havilland has said that To Each His Own is one of her favorite films. Covering 27 years in the life of a woman who loved neither wisely nor well, it begins during the blitz on London. Middle-aged Jody Norris (de Havilland) is an air raid warden along with her confidante Lord Desham (Roland Culver.) When she learns that a handsome US pilot, John Lund, is in town, her thoughts flash back to an earlier time in her life, when her love affair with a dashing pilot (also played by Lund in a dual role) resulted in a life lived in secrecy. The film was a spectacular comeback for the actress after being off the screen for two years due to her legal battle seeking to end her contract with Warner Brothers. It was helmed by Mitchell Leisen with a script by the great Charles Brackett who was also Oscar nominated. Shown in celebration of Olivia de Havilland’s 103rd birthday on July 1. 35mm restored film print courtesy Universal Pictures Distribution, 122 min.