"Now Listen to Me..."
Just some thoughts on current happenings:
Classic film screenings from around the world this month include:
In Vancouver, British Columbia, The Cinematheque is presenting The Killing (1956) and High and Low (1963) on Saturday, June 1. For more information, click on the image above.
In El Segundo (part of greater Los Angeles), California The Old Town Music Hall will present Swing Time on Saturday, June 1 and Sunday, June 2 and Steamboat Bill, Jr. (with Live Accompaniment by Edward Torres on the Mighty Wurlitzer) on Friday, June 7, Saturday, June 8 and Sunday, June 9. Click on either of the above images for more information.
In London, U.K., BFI Southbank will present “Playing the Bitch”, a series of films and talks organised by season programmer Anna Bogutskaya whose objective is “to showcase and trace the rich lineage of self-determining, defiant, often unlikeable but always charismatic anti-heroines in film and TV, and the actors who play them. In other words; the screen’s greatest bitches.” Highlights include The Little Foxes (1941), Harriet Craig (1950), All About Eve (1950), The Last Seduction (1994, + an intro by season programmer Anna Bogutskaya on Saturday, June 15) To Die For (1995) and La Cérémonie (1995). This series will run from Saturday, June 1 to Sunday, June 30. For more information, click on the image above.
In theatres across the U.S., TCM and Fathom Events are presenting Saving Private Ryan on June 2 and 5, Field of Dreams (as part of the film’s 30th Anniversary) on June 16 and 18 and Forrest Gump (also celebrating its 25th Anniversary) on June 23 and 25. Click on the respective image for more information.
In Los Angeles, California The Beverly Cinema will present a double bill of Staircase (1969) and Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967) . Both films (35mm prints) will be shown Sunday, June 2 and Monday, June 3. For more information, including the entire month of June’s exciting programme, click on the above image.
In theatres across the U.S. Flashback Cinema is presenting Ferris Bueller’s Day Off on June 2 and 5, The Goonies on June 9 and 12, Raiders of the Lost Ark on June 16 (Father’s Day) and 19 and Dirty Dancing on June 23 and 26. Click on the respective image for more information.
Throughout various locations in Australia, Event Cinemas will host Hollywood Classics On the Big Screen. This month's showings will include Terms of Endearment on Monday, June 3 and Zulu on Monday, June 17.
For a list of the theatres hosting these films, and their complete schedule throughout the first half of 2019, click on the image above.
Noir City will take place in Boston, Massachusetts from June 7 - 9. Highlights will include 1949’s Trapped, the latest restoration project of the Film Noir Foundation and Richard Quine’s Pushover (1954, a 35mm print). For more information, click on the image above.
In Los Angeles, CA. The Los Angeles Conservancy along with The Latin American Cinemateca of Los Angeles will present the Argentinian film noir The Bitter Stems (1956, Los tallos amargos, restored) at L.A.’s historic Million Dollar Theatre, Saturday, June 8. Guest speakers will be director of the Film Noir Foundation, Alan K. Rode and screenwriter and filmmaker Guido Segal. For details, click on the image above.
In London, United Kingdom The Prince Charles Cinema will present The Big Sleep (1946) Tuesday, June 11, Pickpocket (1959) on Wednesday, June 12, Goodfellas (1990) on Thursday, June 13, The Iron Giant (1999) on Saturday, June 15, Throne of Blood (1957) on Sunday, June 16, Starship Troopers on Wednesday, June 19, The Departed (2006) on Thursday, June 20, The Master (2012) on Monday, June 24, Jurassic Park (1993) and The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) on Saturday, June 29, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1997, Director’s Cut) on Sunday, June 30. All of the film presentations will be 35mm. Click on the respective image for more information.
In Santa Monica, California, The American Cinematheque Aero Theatre will present, in conjunction with this month’s tribute to film critic Pauline Kael “The Pearls of Pauline: Kael at 100”, Children of Paradise on Thursday, June 13 and a double bill of Bonnie and Clyde (1967) and Thieves Like Us (1974, 35mm) on Friday, June 14. For more information (including June’s calendar for both The Cinematheque in Hollywood and Santa Monica’s Aero Theatre) click on the above image.
In St. Louis, Missouri The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra will present Psycho with live musical accompaniment featuring Bernard Herrmann’s incredible score on Saturday, June 22 and Casablanca with Max Steiner’s rousing score on Sunday, June 23. Click on the respective image for more information.
There are 16 recommended films to watch on Turner Classic Movies in the U.S. this month:
The caper film first laid its roots in The Asphalt Jungle previously reviewed here. The depth of its characters and their fascinating interactions as the drama builds to a cathartic resolution, is why this film has become one of America's finest cinematic achievements. The Asphalt Jungle will merge with Eddie Muller’s Noir Alley Saturday, June 1 at 9:45am PST and again Sunday June 2 at 7am PST.
Despite a rather familiar premise, the supremely talented creators of this melodrama were able to deliver a storyline that is mature, sophisticated and genuinely heartfelt. Previously reviewed here, Now, Voyager will set sail Sunday, June 2 at 10:45am PST.
The Night of the Hunter, previously reviewed in Opening Up a Treasure: The Night of the Hunter is an highly expressionistic Grimm-like fable and will be told Tuesday, June 4 at 6:15am PST.
Next on my list of films to watch is King Kong (1933), who's scheduled to make his grand entrance on Saturday, June 8 at 9am PST. I have reviewed this motion picture with a focus on its musical score here.
In film noir, must a femme be intentionally fatale in order to qualify as one? If so, Ann Sheridan’s Nora Prentiss in the film of the same name, would nary deserve the title.
Although Nora’s charismatic nightclub singer ultimately proves to be the downfall of married doctor Richard Talbot, she’s the clear-headed one who, like Lizabeth Scott’s siren in Pitfall, is up front about not wanting to take her feelings of attraction any further and later, most willing to amicably end the affair so that her paramour can resume his life of respectable domesticity.
In the world of noir, however, it’s typically the magnetic temptress, no matter how driven or passive, who incapacitates her man’s moral compass and Dr. Talbot is as far from the exception as San Francisco is to New York. The filmmakers (Vincent Sherman directing from N. Richard Nash’s script) with a strong sense of maturity and finesse, lay sufficient groundwork in carefully expanding the pair’s amorous feelings for one another, not to mention Talbot’s subsequent guilt-ridden neglect of family and professional duties, so that when opportunity literally comes knocking, his drastic noir emblazoned solution is, although shocking, believable and realistically considered. Kent Smith provides a restrained and nuanced performance as the fallen practitioner who, along with Ann Sheridan’s streetwise but genuinely caring Nora Prentiss, appreciably enhance the viewer’s engagement in both their relationship and following dire circumstances. Furthering the film’s immersion capability is James Wong Howe’s atmospheric cinematography and Franz Waxman’s emotionally charged score, both of which can be most treasured at this film’s stunning, fatale laden and resonant conclusion. Nora Prentiss is scheduled to make her appearance in Eddie Muller’s Noir Alley Saturday, June 8 at 9pm PST.
Nora Prentiss is also June’s DVD pick of the month. See the last entry in this column for more details.
For those who enjoy the best in creative romantic comedy, be sure to catch Pillow Talk (reviewed here) Sunday, June 9 at 5pm PST.
In my earlier recommendation, I questioned whether a film noir’s femme fatale must intentionally ruin her man in order to qualify as one. That was concerning Ann Sheridan’s comparatively lily-white Nora Prentiss. For a prime example of the opposite kind of deadly dame, look no further than another “city by the bay” resident: Helen Walker’s Irene Williams in Impact, whose prime objective is to see her husband deader than a lug wrench. One can experience this captivating little cinematic explosive, previously reviewed here, Monday, June 10 at (early morning) 3am PST.
If by chance one hasn't seen the explosively confrontational The Wild Bunch, remedy that Tuesday, June 11 at 9pm PST. For those who have, please see my review Opening Up a Treasure: The Wild Bunch as to why it was and still is, one of America's finest contributions to the cinematic arts.
Another of Sam Peckinpah’s Top Ten Westerns (The Wild Bunch is #1) is the elegiac Ride the High Country coming in at #4 on the list here and will ride into TCM territory Saturday, June 15 at 1pm PST.
Moving to a totally different part of the cinematic landscape we have Jean-Luc Godard’s most fascinating dissection on the filmmaking industry, Contempt (Les mepris) a previous TCM recommendation here, appearing Monday, June 17 at 6:45pm PST.
Speaking of Godard, Bonnie and Clyde is a seminal gangster saga heavily influenced by the French iconoclast. A prior review here includes a special contribution from Bob DiMucci who informatively reports on some of the film's critical responses at the time of its release. Following that, are my personal recollections at the age of 12 upon seeing this radically-new expeditious approach to American cinematic storytelling. The Barrow Gang will strike on TCM Tuesday, June 18 at (early morning) 4:30am PST.
The late Stanley Donen directed my next TCM recommendation. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (reviewed here), an outrageously enjoyable musical, will be presented on Wednesday, June 19 at 5pm PST.
"Loneliness has followed me my whole life. Everywhere. In bars, in cars, sidewalks, stores, everywhere. There's no escape." These words come from the deteriorating and increasingly pressurised mind of a New York City insomniac in Martin Scorsese’s intoxicating Taxi Driver released in 1976. TCM will present this landmark film, previously reviewed as a Blu-ray recommendation here, Monday, June 24 at 11:30pm PST.
Many of the films once listed as "Hidden Gems" are not so hidden anymore thanks to those companies releasing them on DVD and Blu-ray in addition to their regular showings on TCM. One of these is Hidden Gem #59, The Hill, an intense dramatic achievement. I've previously reviewed this film here. The Hill can be marvelled at on TCM Thursday, June 27 at 7am PST.
TCM is presenting, in addition to the 1965 film just above, another violently confrontational film from the ‘60s. Director John Boorman has delivered with the precision of his film's title, Point Blank (1967), a neo-noir masterpiece fortified with style and driven by purpose.
Lee Marvin's 'cold as a frozen corpse' Walker, is a machine-like man on a mission, appearing unstoppable as he struts through LAX possessed with unbridled vengeance. It's also quite ironic that despite Walker's hardened resolve, the considerable threat he poses, generous amount of punishment he dishes out, and the high body count he seems responsible for, doesn't directly kill anyone in the entire picture. "Was it a dream?" You be the judge when Point Blank (first acclaimed here) hits Saturday, June 29 at 3:15pm PST.
Also from the cinematic ‘60s is my final TCM recommendation for the month: Gordon Parks' autobiographical The Learning Tree (1969). I have written about this multi-talented filmmaker and his extraordinary debut film in an article entitled Exploring the Artefacts #5: The Alchemist. Included are some clips of Parks' music compositions for The Learning Tree and Shaft's Big Score. The Learning Tree will avail itself on Saturday, June 29 at 7:15pm PST.
TCM's current monthly schedule can be confirmed by clicking on the above image. For those who live in parts of the U.S. other than the western region, the time zone can be adjusted in the upper right-hand corner of TCM's programme.
This month's Happy Birthday shout-out goes to the lovely and talented Italian actress Lea Massari who turns 86 on June 30th.
She portrayed the stunning enigmatic beauty Anna who goes missing on an island in Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1960 masterpiece L’Avventura, starred in Sergio Leone’s The Colossus of Rhodes (1961), Dino Risi’s A Difficult Life (1961) and Louis Malle’s Murmur of the Heart (1971) amongst other important film and TV appearances. Lea was a jury member at the Cannes Film Festival in 1975 and wrote the screenplay for Una donna spezzata (1988), a TV movie she also starred in, taken from Simone de Beauvoir’s novel.
June's Soundtrack recommendation is John Williams’ newly expanded and remastered score to the 1982 film Monsignor.
This sumptuous musical creation performed by The London Symphony Orchestra simply has to be heard to be believed that a self-contained work of such magisterial artistry was actually composed for a film, much less Frank Perry’s otherwise forgettable aforementioned 1982 drama. A real knockout piece (comparable to any classical stand alone work of profound spiritual beauty, albeit far shorter) is the 5-minute “Gloria” scored for orchestra, organ and full chorus. Intrada produced the now long out-of-print CD of the original LP years ago. Now they are offering not only a fully remastered version of the 1982 Casablanca record, but the complete score heard in the film as well, mixed in stereo from the session elements. For more information on this exciting but limited CD release, click on the accompanying image.
June’s recommended DVD is the above reviewed TCM presentation Nora Prentiss from Warner Archive and can be ordered from Amazon.com by clicking on the accompanying image.