American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theatre Presents...
Making Movie History for 80 Years!

Click to Print Page 1 or Page 2 or Full Text of July/August Schedule!

Click to Print Page 1 or Page 2 or Full Text of August/Sept. Schedule!

Series compiled by: Dennis Bartok and Chris D.

 

 

Special Thanks to: John Kirk, Irene Ramos and Latanya Taylor /MGM/UA; Marilee Womack/WARNER BROS. CLASSICS; Anne Goodman/ CRITERION; Chip Blake and Schawn Belston/20th CENTURY FOX

 

 

 

 

Tickets available 30 days in advance. Tickets are $9 general admission unless noted otherwise.
Sold out programs will be indicated here if sold out 24 hours in advance of screening date.
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The American Cinematheque is a non-profit 501 (C) (3) organization.
The Film Programs of the American Cinematheque are presented at the magnificently renovated, historic 1922 Grauman's Hollywood Egyptian Theatre. Located at 6712 Hollywood Boulevard.
Photo Credit: Randall Michelson. Detail of Egyptian Theatre Ceiling.

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<<< September 10 -12, 2004 >>>

FOR ADULTS ONLY: PRE-NC-17 CINEMA IN AMERICA

Presented with the support of the Hollywood Erotic Museum

Starting in the late1950s, a flood of largely foreign motion pictures offering a franker, more realistic view of the world hit American shores, some prime examples being Roger Vadim’s …AND GOD CREATED WOMAN (1956), Jean-Luc Godard’s BREATHLESS (1959) and Federico Fellini’s LA DOLCE VITA (1960). But there were also such groundbreaking domestic movies as Otto Preminger’s MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM (1955) and Alfred Hitchcock’s PSYCHO (1960) that pushed the envelope of what was acceptable on American screens. As the 1960s progressed, the mushrooming counterculture, coupled with the struggle for civil rights, the equality of the sexes and a growing anti-war mentality, spurred a gradual, steady rise of ever more controversial films on U.S. screens.

When Jack Valenti became president of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) in 1966, he quickly acknowledged that changes would have to be made. In an effort to stave off federal censorship and find a replacement for the antiquated, virtually useless Hays code, Valenti laid the groundwork for a ratings system that would address the concerns of parents, educators and politicians but still leave a "liberal latitude" of what the discriminating adult might view on his or her neighborhood movie screen.

The rating system went into effect in November, 1968. Out of the initial rating letter symbols – "G" for General, "M" for Mature, "R" for Restricted, and most notoriously, "X" for no one under 17 admitted – only X was not trademarked by the MPAA. Brian De Palma’s biting anti-war satire, GREETINGS, was the first film to receive the X rating, followed soon after by such adult-themed movies as MIDNIGHT COWBOY (famous as the only "X" film ever to win the Academy Award for Best Picture), IF …, THE KILLING OF SISTER GEORGE, BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS, MEDIUM COOL, THE DEVILS, MYRA BRECKINRIDGE, LAST TANGO IN PARIS, IN THE REALM OF THE SENSES and A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. While many of these films contain sexual material that seems tame today, by the standards of the era they were seen as seriously provocative. Just as important, many of these films were politically and socially subversive, redefining the boundaries of what could be shown and said in commercial, mainstream cinema.

Unfortunately, every pornographer in the country began exploiting the X-rating as bait for the libidinous viewer interested in hardcore porn. The deleterious effect on serious adult fare with artistic or social merit still too edgy for an R rating was almost immediately felt. Many "respectable" theater chains refused to book films with an X rating, no matter the quality or origin, and newspapers boycotted advertising for any movie with the disreputable rating.

The ratings system went through a series of various permutations, especially during its first two decades in existence. Although the ratings were amended to change the confusing M (Mature) rating to GP, then once again in 1984 transforming the GP to PG and PG-13, it wasn’t until 1990 that the X-rating was abolished and replaced with NC-17. Initial films to receive the rating were Philip Kaufman’s HENRY & JUNE and Pedro Almodovar’s TIE ME UP, TIE ME DOWN (both 1990). The intent behind the NC-17 rating revision was to rescue quality adult cinema from the pariah status of what had become an X-rated ghetto. Unfortunately, as many studios, distributors and exhibitors soon learned, NC-17 carried its own commercial stigma, largely propagated by the religious right in America. Many theater chains and newspaper and media outlets picked up the torch, boycotting exhibition and advertising of NC-17 movies, a heinous practice that continues to this day. Although several of the films in our series such as MIDNIGHT COWBOY, PERFORMANCE and THE DEVILS (as well as many other worthwhile, originally-rated-X movies) were later re-rated with the R rating after miniscule cuts (or sometimes no cuts at all), others would undoubtedly receive the stronger NC-17 if released today for the first time.

 

Friday, September 10 – 7:00 PM

Marlon Brando Tribute – New 35mm Print:

LAST TANGO IN PARIS, 1972, MGM/UA, 136 min. The late Marlon Brando gives one of the finest performances of his career in a sensual exploration of the dark night of one man’s soul - a movie that sent shock waves through not just the motion picture industry but society-at-large when it was initially released. Expatriate American Paul (Brando) tries to exorcise the demons unleashed by his wife’s suicide with the erotic assistance of young waif Jeanne (Maria Schneider). But there’s no escape and Paul’s lovemaking brings him neither desired relief nor intimacy, something that is ruthlessly charted in director Bernardo Bertolucci’s erotic masterpiece. This screening is dedicated to the memory of one of American cinema’s greatest actors, Marlon Brando.

 

Friday, September 10 – 9:45 PM

Russ Meyer/Ralph Bakshi Double Feature:

BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS, 1970, 20th Century Fox/Criterion, 109 min. Dir. Russ Meyer. Girl-group madness from the director of FASTER, PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL! Dolly Reed, Marcia McBroom and Cynthia Myers journey from hicksville to Hollywood, hoping to make it with their rock trio, The Carrie Nations. They fall prey to the "business" as well as their own inflated ambitions – in what is arguably Meyer’s most purely entertaining, pop-culture sex-fest (co-written by film critic Roger Ebert). With additional tunes by The Strawberry Alarm Clock.

FRITZ THE CAT, 1972, MGM/UA, 79 min. Director Ralph Bakshi delivers his take on R. Crumb’s notorious, sidesplittingly funny underground comic of the same name, a paean to the highs and lows of 60s counterculture, with emphasis on sexual and social chaos. The first major animated motion picture to receive an X rating!

 

Saturday, September 11 – 5:00 PM

A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, 1971, Warners, 137 min. Master filmmaker Stanley Kubrick was so stunned by Malcolm McDowell's debut in IF... that he was reportedly unwilling to begin his film of Anthony Burgess' savagely brutal, futuristic satire until he could be assured of McDowell's participation. A CLOCKWORK ORANGE proved to be more prophetic than anyone dreamed, as the punk explosion and skinhead-fomented violence in the later 1970s witnessed. Discussion following with writer/critic and author of the book The Ratings Game, Stephen Farber.

 

Saturday, September 11 – 8:30 PM

Double Feature:

MIDNIGHT COWBOY, 1969, MGM/UA, 113 min. Director John Schlesinger (DARLING) tracks na´ve male hustler Joe Buck (Jon Voight) on his sordid adventures from 42nd street peepshows to upscale parties with the Warhol crowd in this trailblazing, alternately shocking and poignant study of being down-and-out in the Big Apple. Dustin Hoffman as homeless thief Ratso Rizzo supplies one of the touchstone performances of the burgeoning New Hollywood. A masterpiece that won three Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director. Also starring Brenda Vaccaro, Sylvia Miles, John McGiver, Barnard Hughes and Jennifer Salt.

MEDIUM COOL, 1969, Paramount, 110 min. Photographed in and around the riots at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, MEDIUM COOL stars Robert Forster (JACKIE BROWN) as a cynical TV reporter trying to maintain his equilibrium amid tear gas, yippies, black militants, and working-class mother Verna Bloom. Written, directed and photographed by Haskell Wexler in a raw, unnerving mixture of radical politics, documentary footage and blistering Chicago blues (courtesy of Mike Bloomfield).

 

Sunday, September 12 – 5:00 PM

Double Feature:

PERFORMANCE, 1970, Warner Bros.,105 min. Dirs. Donald Cammell and Nicolas Roeg. Perhaps the wildest, most deeply layered psychedelic movie ever made. Gangster James Fox goes on the lam, hiding out in reclusive pop star Mick Jagger’s decaying townhouse in the hippie London ghetto. Jagger and poly-sexual pal Anita Pallenberg put Fox through his paces with mind games and large doses of psylocibin mushrooms – all climaxing in the mind-blowing "Memo for Turner" production number. Brutal beatings, sexual identity crises and prodigious drug taking is punctuated by one of Jack Nitzsche’s best scores (highlighted by Ry Cooder’s incredible bottleneck guitar work).

THE DEVILS, 1971, Warner Bros., 111 min. Director Ken Russell’s still-shocking adaptation of Aldous Huxley’s "Devils Of Loudon" was vilified as blasphemous and excessive upon its initial release, and remains one of the most disturbingly memorable films from the early 1970s. The film’s allegory of a corrupt power structure equating sexual activity with satanism, all for the sake of political and religious repression, is more relevant today than ever. In the 17th century, French Cardinal Richelieu’s minions use the womanizing of activist priest Urban Grandier (Oliver Reed) as pretext for the Inquisition to investigate his "diabolic possession" of the local nuns, including demented, hunchbacked Mother Superior Sister Jeanne (an unforgettable Vanessa Redgrave). With support from an excellent cast that includes Dudley Sutton, Gemma Jones and Michael Gothard.