The following is a guest post by Jenny Paxson of the Packard Campus.
Thursday, March 5 (7:30 p.m.)
Saboteur (Universal, 1942)
California aircraft factory worker Barry Kane (Robert Cummings) goes on the run across the country when he is wrongly accused of starting a fire that killed his best friend. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, the script, begun before the U.S. entered World War II, was quickly updated as production began shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. It then became Hitchcock’s war propaganda effort, full of statements about loyalty to country and cautions about homegrown fascists in our midst who could appear to be ordinary and respectable people but with secret subversive intent. This mystery thriller that also features Priscilla Lane, Otto Kruger and Norman Lloyd was a hit at the box office and well received by film critics. Bosley Crowther of the New York Times wrote “Saboteur is a swift, high-tension film which throws itself forward so rapidly that it permits slight opportunity for looking back.” 35mm film print from the Library of Congress Film Preservation Lab in 2003, 108 min.
Friday, March 6 (7:30 p.m.)
Sneakers (Universal, 1992)
A group of maverick computer and espionage experts become involved in a government scheme to steal a piece of advanced code-breaking technology. When the device’s creator turns up murdered, they become the chief suspects and must discover the truth to clear their name. This comedy/drama caper film was directed by Phil Alden Robinson (Field of Dreams) and stars Robert Redford, Dan Aykroyd, Ben Kingsley, Mary McDonnell, River Phoenix, Sidney Poitier and David Strathairn. Writing for the Los Angeles Times, Kenneth Turan praised the film, ensemble cast and director Robinson, who is “surprisingly adept at creating tension at appropriate moments” and “makes good use of the script’s air of clever cheerfulness.” It was nominated for an Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America. Rated PG-13. 35mm copyright film print, 126 min.
Saturday, March 7 (7:30 p.m.)
Spartacus (Universal, 1960)
Even among the mega epics being produced by Hollywood at the time, Spartacus stands out for its sheer grandeur and remarkable cast (Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, Jean Simmons, Charles Laughton, Peter Ustinov), as well as for Stanley Kubrick’s masterful direction. The film is also credited with helping to end the notorious Hollywood blacklist of the 1950s – its producer, Douglas, hired then-blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo to author the script, which was based on a book by another blacklisted author, Howard Fast. Spartacus won Oscars for Best Supporting Actor (Ustinov), Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design and was added to the National Film Registry in 2017. Digital presentation, 197 min.
For more information on our programs, please visit the website at: //www.loc.gov/avconservation/theater/