September/October 2005 Film CalendarSeptember 27, 2005 | by Judy Moore
During fall 2005, Block Cinema, a collaboration of the Northwestern University School of Communication and the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, 40 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston campus, will present several series of films.
“Classic Hollywood: Leading Ladies, 1934-1945” will offer a sampling of some of the period’s most beloved and gifted actors in a variety of stories. Block Cinema has chosen tales of women striking out on their own in a man’s world and of cold-blooded femme fatales who manipulate men like puppets as well screwball comedies and dramas set in 19th century Paris.
The “American Slapstick” series features films that rely on physical comedy including pratfalls, accidents and sight gags and star Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and the Marx Brothers.
The “Three Pioneering Women Directors” series focuses on films directed by Dorothy Arzner, Maya Deren and Agnès Varda -- all made during a time when men dominated the film industry.
Other films to be screened this fall include French and Italian films that will be shown the weekend of Oct. 8 and 9; films that feature the screenwriting, cinematography and production design of Northwestern students; and films by various directors. A motion picture film stock demonstration is also planned.
All films are screen in the Block Museum’s James B. Pick and Rosalyn M. Laudati Auditorium.
Admission is $6 for the general public and $4 for Northwestern faculty, staff and students, or as noted below. A fall 2005 season pass is $20.
For more information, call the Block Cinema Hotline at (847) 491-4000 or go to the Block Cinema Web site at http://www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu/block-cinema.
Pioneers: “Anybody’s Woman,” 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28 (Dorothy Arzner, 1930, United States, 80 minutes, 35 mm). A rowdy night on the town for chorus girl Pansy (Ruth Chatterton) ends on a sour note, when she wakes up to discover that she’s married to lawyer Neil Dunlap. The marriage puts Dunlap at odds with his well-to-do crowd, while everyone in Pansy’s world treats her like a gold-digging imposter.
Classic: “My Man Godfrey,” 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29 (Gregory La Cava, 1936, United States, 94 minutes, 35 mm). This comedy showcases the on-screen chemistry of William Powell and Carole Lombard that earned them both Oscar nominations. As the derelict butler Godfrey, Powell still manages to exude his trademark debonair charm, while Lombard, as the rich socialite who hires and subsequently falls for him, is a comedic treat.
DOUBLE FEATURE, Slapstick: “Sherlock Jr.,” 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30 (Buster Keaton, 1923, United States, 44 minutes, 35 mm). This delightfully surreal fantasy of a film projectionist and amateur detective who climbs into his movie screen has Keaton, helplessly trapped on screen, at the mercy of sudden scene changes and edits. And as detective and bon vivant Sherlock Jr. he chases the villains through a wild and unpredictable world. “Paths to Paradise,” (Clarence G. Badger, 1925, United States, 70 minutes, 35 mm). “Paths to Paradise” stars Raymond Griffith as the “Dude from Duluth.” Griffith teams up with con queen Betty Compson to steal a Gibraltar-sized diamond from a San Francisco mansion. A growing armada of motorcycle cops chases them, as they make their run for Mexico in one of cinema’s greatest car chases. Both films will have live piano accompaniment from David Drazin.
Pioneers: “Working Girls,” 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5 (Dorothy Arzner, 1931, United States,77 minutes, 35 mm). “Working Girls” is the story of two well-mannered Midwestern sisters, June and May Thorpe (Judith Wood and Dorothy Hall), who move to New York City. The film is a witty exploration of 1930s social politics. The suggestive title is just the beginning of the innuendo-heavy screenplay by Zoe Akins.
Classic: “The Women,” 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6 (George Cukor, 1939, United States, 133 minutes, 35 mm). Promoted as an all-female cast featuring more than 100 women under contract to MGM in 1939, “The Women,” adapted from a Claire Booth Luce play, takes place in a world where men are the root of most problems. The story is built around Mary Haines (Norma Shearer), who loses her husband to a perfume salesgirl in the man-eating mould of Joan Crawford. Rosalind Russell, Joan Fontaine and other stars discuss marriage, wealth and fashion.
FILM SHORT AND FEATURE, Slapstick: “The Haunted House,” 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7 (Eddie Cline and Buster Keaton, 1921, United States, 21 minutes, 35 mm). Wrongly accused of robbing his own bank, bank clerk Buster Keaton accidentally stumbles into a haunted house. “Safety Last!” (Taylor Newmeyer, 1923, United States, 70 minutes, 35 mm). Harold Lloyd stars as a small-town boy in the city who, through a strange series of events, finds himself scaling a high-rise building. Lloyd always performed his own stunts without a safety net, risking his life for the viewers’ amusement. With live piano accompaniment from David Drazin.
French and Italian Weekend: “Masculine/Feminine,” 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8, Free (Jean-Luc Godard, 1966, France, 103 minutes, 35 mm). “Masculine/Feminine” is about the love affair of Madeleine and Paul (Jean-Pierre Leaud) in mid-1960s revolutionary Paris, but, as always with Godard, the plot’s not the point. He is more interested in how, in a culture that’s dedicated to imploding traditional modes of being and relating, people try to improvise their own institutions. The film is a fable of courtship in an age of free love.
French and Italian Weekend: “A Woman is a Woman,” 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8, Free (Jean-Luc Godard, 1961, France, 84 minutes, 35 mm). A tribute by Godard to his wife -- Anna Karina, the Audrey Hepburn of the French New Wave -- “A Women is a Women” is a flashy, hypnotic and a glorious mess. Short on narrative (Karina’s character wants to get pregnant), it replaces the plot with brash attitude and visual élan.
French and Italian Weekend: “The Leopard,” 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 9, Free (Luchino Visconti, 1963, Italy and France, 205 minutes, 35 mm). Set during the Garibaldi revolution that created the nation of Italy, “The Leopard” is a bittersweet epic about a Sicilian prince who sacrifices power and prestige for a unified country. It is a masterful, panoramic story about the end of an entire class -- the aristocracy -- and their way of life. Burt Lancaster stars as the prince.
Northwestern Student Film Showcase, 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 12, Free. Block Cinema and Studio 22 will present a night of Northwestern University student film from the 2004-05 school year. These include films from the 2005 Studio 22 premiere as well as upper-level film production courses, boasting impressive achievements in areas such as screenwriting, cinematography and production design. Sponsored by Studio 22.
Pioneers: Maya Deren, 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 13, “Meshes of the Afternoon” (1943, 14 minutes, 16 mm), “The Witches Cradle” (1943, 12 minutes, 16 mm), “At Land” (1944, 14 minutes, 16 mm); “A Study in Choreography for Camera” (1945, 3 minutes, 16 mm); “Ritual in Transfigured Time” (1946, 15 minutes, 16 mm); “Meditation on Violence” (1948, 13 minutes, 16 mm); and “The Very Eye of Night” (1959, 15 minutes, 16 mm). Film theorist and dance film pioneer Maya Deren is one of cinema’s most important directors. Her films helped shape the post-war American avant-garde movement and have influenced everyone from Stan Brakhage and Kenneth Anger to Roman Polanski and David Lynch. Sponsored by Studio 22.
Slapstick: “One Week,” 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 14 (Eddie Cline and Buster Keaton, 1920, United States, 19 minutes, 35 mm). Following his honeymoon, Buster tries desperately to build a portable house. With live musical accompaniment from Jonathan Mastro. “Duck Soup,” (Leo McCarey, 1933, United States, 69 minutes, 35 mm). Director Leo McCarey orchestrated this Marx Brothers comedic masterpiece about Rufus T. Firefly’s (Groucho Marx) reign as director of Freedonia. The film’s irreverent take on every political establishment makes it one of the earliest and most vicious, anti-war films.
Fuji Film Demonstration, 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19, Free. A Fuji Film representative will demonstrate Fuji’s motion picture stock line. Audience members will learn what distinguishes one film stock from another and the effects of stock choice on the visual character of a film.
Classic: “Easy Living,” 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19 (Mitchell Leisen, 1937, United States, 88 minutes, 35 mm). Jean Arthur stars as the hardworking but poor Mary Smith, who has an expensive fur coat seemingly fall from the heavens right onto her back -- a coat that brings her instant wealth and power. She also is mistaken for the millionaire’s mistress.
Unseen Cinema Program #10: “Cinema’s Secret Garden -- The Amateur as Auteur,” 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20 (Various directors and dates, United States, 102 minutes, 35 mm). Culled from a collection of more than 160 restored films, this program represents some of the cinematic treasures contained within “Unseen Cinema: Early American Avant-Garde Film 1894-1941.” The program includes films by Theodore Huff, James Card, G. W. “Billy” Bitzer and Joseph Cornell. Of particular interest is Cornell’s infamous collage film “Rose Hobart” (1936). Sponsored by Studio 22.
Slapstick: “The Great Race,” 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21 (Blake Edwards, 1965, United States, 160 minutes, 35 mm). Professional daredevils Tony Curtis (in heroic white) and Jack Lemmon (in villainous black) compete in a round-the-world race for bragging rights and the beautiful Maggie DuBois (Natalie Wood).
Classic: “The Awful Truth,” 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 26 (Leo McCarey, 1937, United States, 91 minutes, 35 mm). While Lucy (Irene Dunne) and Jerry (Cary Grant) wait for their divorce to be finalized, they spend their time breaking up each other’s budding romances in this romantic comedy.
Classic: “Camille,” 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27 (George Cukor, 1936, United States, 109 minutes, 35 mm). In 1947 Paris, playboy Armand Duval falls in love with self-assured coquette Marguerite Gautier (Greta Garbo) to the dismay of his father (Lionel Barrymore).
Double Feature, Slapstick: “Pass the Gravy,” 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28 (Fred Guiol, 1928, United States, 23 minutes, 35 mm). This hilarious 23-minute film short stars Max Davidson, one of the most talented comedians of the silent film era. With live piano accompaniment from David Drazin. “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,” (Stanley Kramer, 1963, United States, 182 minutes, 35 mm). This madcap treasure hunt features significant comedic actors of the 1960s: Mickey Rooney, Ethel Merman, Sid Caesar, Spencer Tracy, Edie Adams, Milton Berle, Jonathan Winters, Buddy Hackett and a number of cameos that include Buster Keaton, Jack Benny, Carl Reiner and Jerry Lewis.