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

Click to print Page 1 or Page 2 or Full Text of a Nov./Dec. Calendar!

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Series Compiled by: Chris D. and Dennis Bartok, with additional invaluable assistance (and program notes) from Mike Schlesinger.
Special Thanks to: Amy Lewin/PARAMOUNT REPERTORY; Cary Haber/CRITERION PICTURES (20th CENTURY FOX); Mike Schlesinger/COLUMBIA REPERTORY; Paul Ginsburg/UNIVERSAL; Marty DeGRazia/HALLMARK ENTERTAINMENT; Marilee Womack/WARNER BROS. CLASSICS.

 

 

SOLD OUT SCREENINGS: There will be a waiting line for Sold Out screenings. Tickets often become available at the door the night of an event.

Sold out programs will be indicated here if sold out 24 hours in advance of screening date.

 

 

All guests are subject to availability. The Cinematheque will offer a refund due to guest cancellations only IF the refund transaction is complete PRIOR to the start of the show.

Tickets available 30 days in advance. Tickets are $9 general admission unless noted otherwise.
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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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<<< December 22, 2005 - January 1, 2006 >>>

Screwballs, Pratfalls & Catcalls: American Comedy Classics of the 1930's and 1940's

 

Some films in this series will play at the Aero Theatre in January. Marx Bros. and Three Stooges Comedies will run at the Aero from Dec. 22 - Jan. 1.

Discuss this series with other film fans on:
http://www.myspace.com/americancinematheque


Once upon a time, they had something called "comedy." People told jokes, walked into doors, threw pastry, and found themselves in ridiculous situations where the only possible solution was a tartly-worded insult or a bonk on the noggin’. Today, that world has pretty much vanished, replaced by a barrage of bodily functions, groin injuries and suggestions that someone must be gay because he likes Coldplay. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) So for the third consecutive year, the Cinematheque serves up a big steaming bowl of holiday cheer by jumping into the ol’ time machine and whisking you back to an era when movies were, you know, funny. And when we say funny, we mean directors like Preston Sturges (LADY EVE), Howard Hawks (BRINGING UP BABY), Ernst Lubitsch (NINOTCHKA) and stars like Cary Grant (TOPPER), Claudette Colbert (IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT), Carole Lombard (TWENTIETH CENTURY), William Powell (MY MAN GODFREY), Bob Hope (ROAD TO ZANZIBAR), Jean Arthur (THE DEVIL AND MISS JONES), Laurel & Hardy (SONS OF THE DESERT) and more! Stuff Grandma and the kids into the SUV and c’mon down: it’ll feel so good to laugh again.

 

 

 

Thursday, December 22 – 7:30 PM

Preston Sturges Double Feature:

THE LADY EVE, 1941, Paramount (Universal), 97 min. Dir. Preston Sturges. Henry Fonda is dim-witted ale heir "Hopsy" Pike ("Snakes are my life."); Barbara Stanwyck is Eve, cardsharp and con artist par excellence. Can this relationship work? Savage but never mean-spirited, this is Sturges at his best, blending violent slapstick, zesty dialogue and genuine romance into a peerless masterwork. With Charles Coburn, William Demarest, Eugene Pallette and Eric Blore.

THE PALM BEACH STORY, 1942, Paramount (Universal), 88 min. Dir. Preston Sturges. Though Claudette Colbert still loves failed-architect hubby Joel McCrea, she nonetheless leaves him for greener pastures. Enter Rudy Vallee as a mild-mannered zillionaire and Mary Astor as his nympho sister and, well, the possibilities are just endless. Another hysterical Sturges classic, highlighted by the all-star Ale & Quail Club and the unforgettable Wienie King!

>> Also showing at The Aero Theatre, January 20.

 

 

Friday, December 23 – 7:30 PM

Howard Hawks Double Feature:

BRINGING UP BABY, 1938, RKO (20th Century-Fox), 102 min. Dir. Howard Hawks. Perhaps the greatest and most influential screwball comedy of all time, with Katharine Hepburn letting her hair down as a madcap heiress and Cary Grant putting his up as an absent-minded zoologist she’s decided she’s in love with. It just doesn’t get any more frantic or funnier than this. With Charlie Ruggles, Barry Fitzgerald, May Robson, Walter Catlett, Fritz Feld and Asta as George.

HIS GIRL FRIDAY, 1940, Columbia (Sony), 92 min. Dir. Howard Hawks. For decades considered the fastest comedy ever made, this frenzied remake of Hecht and MacArthur’s THE FRONT PAGE switches ace newsman Hildy Johnson to a woman (Rosalind Russell at her peak), while Cary Grant does a complete 180 from BABY as cynical editor Walter Burns. If you were teaching film comedy, this would be Lesson #1. The unparalleled cast includes Ralph Bellamy, Gene Lockhart, Porter Hall, Ernest Truex, Roscoe Karns, Cliff Edwards, John Qualen, Billy Gilbert and tons more.

>> Also showing at The Aero Theatre, January 21.

 

 

Sunday, December 25 – 5:00 PM

Carole Lombard Double Feature:

MY MAN GODFREY, 1936, Universal, 94 min. Dir. Gregory La Cava. "You people have confused me with the U.S. Treasury!" barks Eugene Pallette to his spoiled, filthy-rich family, including daughter, Carole Lombard, who acquires tramp William Powell during a scavenger hunt and makes him her butler, whereupon he teaches her a few lessons about being human. Comeuppance for the wealthy was sure-fire material during the Depression, and no film ever did it better than this one. With Alice Brady, Mischa Auer, Gail Patrick and Alan Mowbray.

TWENTIETH CENTURY, 1934, Columbia (Sony), 91 min. Dir. Howard Hawks. The granddaddy of all screwballs, as egomaniacal Broadway producer John Barrymore makes a star of shopgirl Carole Lombard (as this picture did in real life), then goes berserk trying to win her back after she leaves him. Totally uncompromising in every respect, this is a flat-out masterpiece. Hecht and MacArthur’s blistering script is marvelously made flesh by the two stars, as well as Walter Connolly, Roscoe Karns, Charles Lane, Edgar Kennedy and Etienne Girardot.

An Egyptian Theatre Exclusive!

 

 

Monday, December 26 – 7:30 PM

Cary Grant Double Feature:

TOPPER, 1937, Hal Roach (Hallmark Entertainment), 97 min. Dir. Norman Z. McLeod. Thorne Smith’s timeless tale of a banker (Roland Young) whose existence is turned upside down by a married pair of wise-cracking ghosts (Cary Grant and Constance Bennett) who decide he needs a little more life in his life. Two sequels, a TV series and countless knock-offs later, the original still shines as brightly as ever. With Billie Burke (two years before she became a good witch), Eugene Pallette, Alan Mowbray, Arthur Lake and Hedda Hopper.

MR. BLANDINGS BUILDS HIS DREAM HOUSE, 1948, RKO (Warners), 94 min. Dir. H.C. Potter. Another classic that’s been endlessly recycled: Cary Grant and wife Myrna Loy buy a fixer-upper out in the wilds of Connecticut, only to quickly discover they’re in way over their heads. Melvyn Douglas and Reginald Denny co-star in this side-splitting farce by Norman Panama and Melvin Frank; photographed by James Wong Howe! And remember: "If you ain’t eatin’ Wham, you ain’t eatin’ ham!"

An Egyptian Theatre Exclusive!

 

 

Tuesday, December 27 – 7:30 PM

Ernst Lubitsch Double Feature:

NINOTCHKA, 1939, MGM (Warners), 110 min. Dir. Ernst Lubitsch. "Garbo Laughs!" screamed the ads, and so will you, as a stuffy Russian commissar (Greta Garbo) assigned to Paris matches wits with bon vivant Melvyn Douglas. She never had a chance. The second and last time Billy Wilder worked with his idol; his script (with Charles Brackett and Walter Reisch) is inspired, and The Lubitsch Touch is in full force. With Ina Claire, Sig Ruman, Felix Bressart and—no kidding—Bela Lugosi! >> Also showing at The Aero Theatre, January 22.

HEAVEN CAN WAIT, 1943, 20th Century Fox, 112 min. Dir. Ernst Lubitsch. No, not the one with Warren Beatty, but the Glorious-Technicolor fantasy in which newly-deceased Don Ameche arrives in Hell and reviews his life to learn if he’s going to remain Down There or not. With Gene Tierney, Charles Coburn, Marjorie Main, Eugene Pallette (Did this guy ever take a vacation?), Spring Byington, and a marvelous turn by Laird Cregar as a very genial…could it be Satan???

An Egyptian Theatre Exclusive!

 

 

Wednesday, December 28 – 7:30 PM

Bob Hope Double Feature:

ROAD TO ZANZIBAR, 1941, Paramount (Universal), 91 min. Dir. Victor Schertzinger. The second of the Bob Hope/Bing Crosby/Dorothy Lamour Road pictures, and the one that set the tone for the rest: lots of ad-libbing, zany gags, some nice songs, and an anything-goes attitude. Frank Butler and Don Hartman wrote what’s left of the script, and there’s ace support from Una Merkel, Eric Blore, Douglass Dumbrille and Iris Adrian.

THE PRINCESS AND THE PIRATE, 1944, Goldwyn (Sony), 94 min. Dir. David Butler. In this lavish spoof, Bob Hope’s a ham actor who runs afoul of Victor McLaglen’s band of cutthroats, unaware that fellow hostage Virginia Mayo is actually runaway royalty. Notable as the first time Bob made contemporary wisecracks in a period setting; it also has what may be the funniest closing gag in any of his pictures. Also on board: Walter Brennan, Victor Slezak and—no kidding again—Hugo Haas!

An Egyptian Theatre Exclusive!

 

 

Thursday, December 29 – 7:30 PM

Double Feature:

HARVEY, 1950, Universal, 104 min. Dir. Henry Koster. Easily the greatest movie ever made starring a 6’3" invisible rabbit. Jimmy Stewart gives his own favorite performance as Elwood P. Dowd, a perfectly nice guy whose best pal nobody can see, leading his sister (Oscar-winner Josephine Hull) to try to get him committed. A warm, wonderful and truly ageless comedy. Based on Mary Chase’s play (in which Stewart had already starred), and featuring Cecil Kellaway, Wallace Ford, and in his film debut, Jesse White.  >> Also showing at The Aero Theatre, January 22.

THE DEVIL AND MISS JONES, 1941, RKO, (Paramount), 92 min. Dir. Sam Wood. The world’s richest and meanest man (the ubiquitous Charles Coburn) secretly takes a job in his own department store to try and learn why people despise him. Clerk Jean Arthur befriends him and unknowingly teaches him what it’s like to be human. Unseen for many years but now back again, this marvelous romp benefits from Norman Krasna’s luminous script and top support from Bob Cummings, Edmund Gwenn, S.Z. "Cuddles" Sakall, William Demarest and many, many more.

An Egyptian Theatre Exclusive!

 

 

Friday, December 30 – 7:30 PM

Double Feature:

IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT, 1934, Columbia (Sony), 105 min. Dir. Frank Capra. The first film to win all five major Oscars (like a comedy could ever pull that off today) remains a jewel of timing and charm, as runaway bride Claudette Colbert finds herself saddled with pushy reporter Clark Gable, who smells the story of his career. The legendary hitchhiking and "Walls of Jericho" scenes are only the tip of this matchless comic tour de force. Screenplay by Robert Riskin; with Walter Connolly, Alan Hale and Roscoe Karns. >> Also showing at The Aero Theatre, January 19.

THE HORN BLOWS AT MIDNIGHT, 1945, Warner Brothers, 78 min. Dir. Raoul Walsh. "My last picture!" exclaimed Jack Benny, who turned this delightful and very funny fantasy (though notorious flop) into a running gag for the rest of his career. Off-key session horn player, Benny, falls asleep during a radio gig and dreams he’s the angel Gabriel sent to destroy sinful, decadent earth on the stroke of midnight with his trusty trumpet! Take our word for it that this amazingly-rare big-screen showing shouldn’t be missed. With Alexis Smith, Dolores Moran, Allan Joslyn, Reginald Gardner, Franklin Pangborn, Mike Mazurki, a 12-year-old Robert Blake, and (on leave from the Marx Bros.) Margaret Dumont.

An Egyptian Theatre Exclusive!

 

 

Sunday, January 1 – 5:00 PM

Laurel & Hardy Double Feature:

WAY OUT WEST, 1937, Hal Roach (Hallmark Entertainment), 65 min. Dir. James W. Horne. In what half-of-their-fans consider their best feature, Stan and Ollie travel, well, out west to deliver the deed to a gold mine to the daughter of its late owner. Naturally, they don’t reckon with perennial nemesis Jimmy Finlayson trying to snatch it for himself. Endlessly entertaining, with Rosina Lawrence, Sharon Lynne, Stanley Fields, and the boys’ legendary soft-shoe to "At the Ball, That’s All" and duet of "Trail of the Lonesome Pine."

SONS OF THE DESERT, 1933, Hal Roach (Hallmark Entertainment), 68 min. Dir. William A. Seiter. In what the other half-of-their-fans consider their best feature, Stan and Ollie want to sneak off to their annual lodge convention, but the wives are having none of it. A wonderful farce with a deep layer of truth that raises it above other, more "respectable" marital comedies. With Mae Busch, Dorothy Christy, and a hilarious Charley Chase as an obnoxious drunk; see if you can spot a young Bob Cummings in the crowd.

An Egyptian Theatre Exclusive!