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American Cinematheque at the Aero Theatre Presents...
Movies on the Big Screen Since 1940!
1328 Montana Avenue at 14th Street in Santa Monica

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

Click to print Page 1 or Page 2 or Full Text of a January Calendar!

Series Compiled by: Gwen Deglise and Chris D., with additional invaluable assistance (and program notes) from Mike Schlesinger.

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Special Thanks to: Cary Haber/CRITERION PICTURES (20th CENTURY FOX); Mike Schlesinger/COLUMBIA REPERTORY; Paul Ginsburg/UNIVERSAL; 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 are $9 general admission unless noted otherwise.
(Aero by series)
(Aero by date)
(Egyptian by series)
(Egyptian by date)
24-Hour Information: 323.466.FILM
Contact Us
The American Cinematheque is a non-profit 501 (C) (3) organization.
The Film Programs of the American Cinematheque are presented at the newly re-opened and renovated Aero Theatre at 1328 Montana Avenue in Santa Monica and at the magnificently renovated, historic 1922 Grauman's Hollywood Egyptian Theatre. Located at 6712 Hollywood Boulevard.
Photo Credit: Barry Gerber. Aero Theatre (c) 2004.

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<<< January 19 - 22, 2006 >>>

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


These and other films will play at the Egyptian Theatre in December.

Discuss this series with other film fans on:



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 jump into the ol’ time machine and whisk yourself back to an era when movies were, you know, funny. And when we say funny, we mean directors like Preston Sturges (LADY EVE) and Ernst Lubitsch (NINOTCHKA) and stars like Cary Grant (HIS GIRL FRIDAY), Claudette Colbert (IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT) and more! Stuff Grandma and the kids into the SUV and c’mon down: it’ll feel so good to laugh again.




Thursday, January 19 – 7:30 PM

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.



Friday, January 20 – 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!




Saturday, January 21 – 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.

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!



Sunday, January 22 – 6:00 PM

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.