Introduction to Film/Media Studies

Monday, January 14 at 7pm

SHADOW OF A DOUBT

Alfred Hitchcock (U.S. 1943) 108 min. With Joseph Cotten, Teresa Wright, Macdonald Carey. 35MM.

Set in a small all-American town Shadow of a Doubt engages one of Hitch’s most disturbing proposals: evil lurks close-by, veiled by the familiar. Cotten’s Uncle Charlie is the perfect foil for his adoring niece, a young woman whose yearning for adventure meets its match when she suspects her charming uncle may be a hunted serial killer. Hitchcock called the film his personal favorite. Preceded by the wry stop-motion animation OWL AND MOUSE (Emma Noble U.S. 2015, 5 min.).

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Monday, January 28 at 7pm

THE ADVENTURES OF PRINCE ACHMED – Recent Restoration

Lotte Reiniger (Germany 1926) 65 min. DCP.

When The Adventures of Prince Achmed premiered in Germany, it was hailed as the first animated feature. More than seventy-five years later, it still stands as one of the great classics of animation — beautiful and utterly seductive. The film tells the Arabian Nights story of a wicked sorcerer who tricks Prince Achmed into mounting a magical flying horse and sends the rider off on a flight to his death. Beautifully restored with spectacular color tinting and a new orchestral recording of the magnificent 1926 score by Wolfgang Zeller.

PLAYING WITH

CHRISTOPHER STRONG

Dorothy Arzner (U.S. 1933) 77 min. With Katharine Hepburn, Colin Clive, Billie Burke. 35MM.

Katharine Hepburn’s first starring role, as a world-champion aviatrix modeled in part on Amelia Earhart, was directed by Dorothy Arzner, then the only woman film director in Hollywood. The film’s feminist statement goes beyond the question of the fulfilled professional woman; as critic Gerard Peary wrote, “Hepburn demonstrates with the certitude of an Isadora Duncan that a woman’s true happiness comes through intense, front-seat participation in an exciting profession…Conversely, the same happiness can be squandered away, the talented woman’s life wasted, if she should misdirect this energy toward some egocentric man…” (Adapted from Pacific Film Archive program notes).

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Monday, February 4 at 7pm

THE GENERAL – Recent Restoration

Buster Keaton (U.S. 1926) 79 min. With Buster Keaton, Clyde Bruckman. DCP.

Many critics consider The General to be the last great comedy of the silent era, and it consistently ranks as one of the greatest films of all time on international critics’ polls. Set during the Civil War and based on a true incident, the film is also an authentic-looking period piece about an engineer (Keaton) rejected by the Confederate Army and thought a coward by his girlfriend (Mack). When a band of Union soldiers penetrate Confederate lines to steal his locomotive, Keaton pursues. Seven of the film’s eight reels are devoted to the chase, a bounty of hilarious comedy and amazing stunts performed by Keaton himself. Featuring an original score by acclaimed conductor Carl Davis.

PLAYING WITH

THE MAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA

Dziga Vertov (U.S.S.R. 1929) 67 min. DCP.

One of the most innovative and influential films of the silent era, Vertov’s masterpiece is startlingly modern, its groundbreaking style of rapid editing and incorporation of innumerable cinematic effects creating a brilliant and exhilarating dawn-to-dusk montage of the Russian metropolis.

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Monday, February 11 at 7pm

TO BE OR NOT TO BE

Ernst Lubitsch (U.S. 1942) 93 min. With Jack Benny, Carole Lombard, Robert Stack. 35MM.

As nervy as it is hilarious, this screwball masterpiece from Ernst Lubitsch stars Jack Benny and, in her final screen appearance, Carole Lombard as husband-and-wife thespians caught up in a dangerous spy plot in Nazi-occupied Warsaw. A Hollywood film of the boldest black humor, shot soon after the U.S. entered WWII, To Be or Not to Be brilliantly balances political satire, romance, slapstick and wartime suspense. “What I have satirized in this picture,” Lubitsch wrote in 1943, “are the Nazis and their ridiculous ideology. I have also satirized the attitude of actors who always remain actors regardless of how dangerous the situation might be, which I believe is a true observation.” Preceded by THE BATTLE OF MIDWAY (John Ford U.S. 1942, 17 min. 35MM). Made for the U.S. Navy, Ford’s Academy Award winning documentary graphically captures the terror of battle and villainizes Japan’s Emperor. Narrated by Henry Fonda. Preserved by the Academy Film Archive.

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Monday, February 18 at 7pm

UMBERTO D

Vittorio De Sica (Italy 1952) 89 min. With Carlo Battisti, Maria Pia Casilio, Lina Gennari. Italian with English subtitles. 35MM.

This neorealist masterpiece by Vittorio De Sica follows an elderly pensioner as he strives to make ends meet during Italy’s postwar economic recovery. Alone except for his dog, Umberto struggles to maintain his dignity in a city where human kindness seems to have been swallowed up by the forces of modernization. His simple quest to satisfy his basic needs — food, shelter, companionship — makes for one of the most heartbreaking stories ever filmed, and an essential classic of world cinema. Preceded by THE PRIVATE LIFE OF A CAT (Alexander Hammid and Maya Deren U.S. 1944, 22 min.), an intimate study of a female cat and the birth and development of her five kittens.

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Monday, February 25 at 7pm

SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN

Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly (U.S. 1952) 102 min. With Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, Donald O’Connor. 35MM. 

Indisputably one of the greatest screen musicals ever made, Singin’ in the Rain looks back at the swiftly changing landscape of Hollywood late 20s filmmaking, when the advent of sound threatened the artistic careers of a generation of film stars. This Freed Unit production par excellence casts Gene Kelly as a silent movie idol and Debbie Reynolds as the ingénue brought in to save his leading lady’s career. With show-stopping numbers “Make ’Em Laugh” and the magnificent Cyd Charisse’s “Broadway Melody” ballet, this is musical entertainment at its most sublime, equal parts song and dance, romance and comedy, modernity and nostalgia. Preceded by DUCK AMUCK (Chuck Jones U.S. 1953, 7 min.), in which Daffy Duck is tortured by an animator constantly changing the background around him.

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