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Making Movie History for Over 80 Years!

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Series Compiled by: Dennis Bartok and Chris D, with the assistance of Martina Palaskov-Begov.
Special Thanks to: Paul Ginsburg/UNIVERSAL; NEW YORKER FILMS; Amy Lewin & Barry Allen/PARAMOUNT; Mary Tallungan/DISNEY; Caitlin Robertson, Schawn Belston & Chip Blake/ 20th CENTURY FOX; Steve Johnson & Cary Haber/CRITERION PICTURES; Marilee Womack and Linda Evans-Smith/WARNER BROS. CLASSICS; Mike Schlesinger/COLUMBIA PICTURES REPERTORY (SONY).

 

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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<<< January 5 - 26, 2006 >>>

Hitchcockian: The Master & His Disciples

 

 

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This series is an Egyptian Theatre Exclusive!

 

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then surely Alfred Hitchcock (1899 – 1980) must still be blushing from the praise heaped onto him by other filmmakers who’ve borrowed from/paid homage to/ripped off the great maestro. Hitchcock’s inimitable style – a combination of clockwork suspense, brilliant camerawork, superb psychological insight, dark romanticism, with a strong dose of perverse sexuality and still-shocking violence – has long been known as "Hitchcockian." (Along with Welles, Fellini, Chaplin and Hawks, he’s one of the few directors whose name has become an adjective.) Even more proof of Hitchcock’s groundbreaking creative genius is the fact that since his earliest days as a director, he’s inspired films both great and obscure in a style unmistakably his own (and still continues to – witness the much-criticized Gus Van Sant remake of PSYCHO).

So, to have just a little fun with the Master and His Disciples, we’ve paired Hitchcock classics with films that owe more than a passing nod to him, from early gems like Carol Reed’s NIGHT TRAIN TO MUNICH (which even borrows the two comic actors, Basil Radford and Naunton Wayne, from Hitch’s earlier train-themed THE LADY VANISHES!), to suave entertainments like Stanley Donen’s CHARADE (which uses Hitch favorite Cary Grant). There are outright parodies (Mel Brooks’ deranged comedy HIGH ANXIETY), feverish updates (Brian De Palma’s surreal BODY DOUBLE), and even a few surprises (Chris Marker’s LA JETEE, John Gilling’s SHADOW OF THE CAT, Guy Green’s THE SNORKEL) Hitch’s most famous film, PSYCHO, inspired a veritable flood of twisted thrillers in the early 1960’s – we’ve picked one of the best (and most overlooked), Seth Holt’s devious SCREAM OF FEAR from Britain’s Hammer Films (film buffs, be sure to check out other Hammer "psycho’s" such as MANIAC, PARANOIAC, NIGHTMARE, HYSTERIA and FANATIC - !) And of course, there’s the sheer pleasure of Hitch’s unmatchable originals: VERTIGO, REAR WINDOW, TO CATCH A THIEF, THE BIRDS, NORTH BY NORTHWEST … so enjoy!!

 

 

Thursday, January 5 – 7:30 PM

Double Feature!

STRANGERS ON A TRAIN, 1951, Warner Bros., 101 min. Dir. Alfred Hitchcock. A chance encounter between tennis champion, Guy (Farley Granger) and psychopath, Bruno (Robert Walker) on a train triggers an unstoppable race towards double-murder. Hitchcock’s classic thriller is a finely-tuned engine of suspense, taking barely a breath as it steams through a spine-tingling story of fate, coincidence, guilt and psychopathy -- favorite themes of noir writer Patricia Highsmith, whose novel was adapted by the great Raymond Chandler. With Ruth Roman & Hitch's daughter Patricia Hitchcock.

New Restored 35mm Print! HUMAN DESIRE, 1954, Columbia (Sony), 90 min. Director Fritz Lang’s remake of Jean Renoir’s LE BĘTE HUMAINE stars Glenn Ford as a train locomotive engineer getting mixed up with the boss’ wife (sultry Gloria Grahame)—not a good idea when the boss is played by Broderick Crawford! Based on Emile Zola’s classic novel of murderous Fate and crisscrossed destinies (as Lang graphically illustrates with the countless shots of intersecting railroad tracks), but Lang hated the new title: "What other kind of desire is there?"

 

 

Friday, January 6 – 7:30 PM

Double Feature!

70 mm. print!! VERTIGO, 1958, Universal, 128 min. With its stunning visuals and gripping characters, Alfred Hitchcock’s psychological suspense masterpiece continues to entrance audiences. Showcasing Kim Novak in the startling dual role of Madeleine and Judy, VERTIGO finds suspended San Francisco detective "Scottie" Ferguson (James Stewart) becoming obsessed with Madeleine Elster (Novak), a troubled woman he is privately hired to follow. Tragedy ensues and when Ferguson later stumbles upon Judy Barton (also played by Novak), a young woman who bears a striking resemblance to Madeleine, his obsession spirals out of control.

LA JETEE, 1962, New Yorker, 28 min. Director Chris Marker’s most famous film (and his only work of pure fiction) is an agonizing cry of love to a world gone by, the story of a man drawn through time by the image of a woman standing on the jetty at Orly Airport. A candidate for one of the greatest films ever made; certainly, it’s the most romantic.

 

 

Saturday, January 7 – 7:30 PM

Double Feature!

New 35 mm. Print! TO CATCH A THIEF, 1955, Paramount, 106 min. Retired cat burglar Cary Grant and ravishing American party girl Grace Kelly fall in love against a backdrop of fireworks, the French Riviera and a string of unsolved jewel robberies all the while wearing some of Edith Head’s most singularly stunning costumes. Alfred Hitchcock’s tongue-in-cheek soufflé, complete with surprisingly daring sexual innuendoes for the time, is perfect escapist fare. With Charles Vanel (WAGES OF FEAR), Brigitte Auber.

CHARADE, 1963, Universal, 113 min. No one is who they seem to be when Audrey Hepburn arrives in Paris to unravel the mystery of her husband’s death in director Stanley Donen’s masterful homage to Alfred Hitchcock (in particular the maestro’s NORTH BY NORTHWEST and THE 39 STEPS). When Hepburn meets Cary Grant, supposedly one of the men who helped her late spouse rob a post-WWII payroll, the two engage in a cat-and-mouse game of ‘where’s-the-missing-loot?’, not only with each other, but also with a gang of eccentric villains (including Ned Glass and an especially menacing George Kennedy and James Coburn). When bodies pile up and Hepburn seems at her wit’s end, diplomat Walter Matthau offers his help – but can he be trusted? The emphasis is on romance and comedy as well as suspense and thrills, and Donen’s previous track record of seemingly effortless, effervescent entertainments stands him in good stead here. With a captivating score by Henry Mancini.

 

Sunday, January 8 – 6:00 PM

Double Feature!

SPELLBOUND, 1945, Walt Disney Co., 111 min. When bespectacled psychiatrist Ingrid Bergman discovers Gregory Peck is not the famous visiting shrink, Dr. Edwardes, but a traumatized amnesiac, she suddenly realizes she’s in love with him. But is Peck a victim of circumstance or the missing doctor’s killer? Director Alfred Hitchcock tackles Freudian territory as well as repressed memories (ably abetted by surrealist, Salvador Dali, who designed the startling dream sequence) and seamlessly blends the elements into a romantic and suspenseful spellbinder.

HIGH ANXIETY, 1978, 20th Century Fox, 94 min. Director Mel Brooks spoofs the maestro’s SPELLBOUND, but there are countless other references as well, including nods to NORTH BY NORTHWEST, VERTIGO, THE BIRDS, PSYCHO and more. Brooks stars as Dr. Richard Thorndyke, the newly-arrived administrator of the Psychoneurotic Institute, suddenly beset by all manner of madmen and mayhem. Many memorable laughs as well as co-stars Madeline Kahn, Harvey Korman, Cloris Leachman and Dick Van Patten.

 

 

Friday, January 13 – 7:30 PM

Double Feature!

PSYCHO, 1960, Universal, 109 min. Coming off comparatively big budget NORTH BY NORTHWEST, director Alfred Hitchcock decided he wanted to make a nice little, low budget B&W film for a change of pace. This was the result, and the shock waves are still reverberating. Lovely embezzler Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) takes refuge from a rainstorm off the beaten track on a lonely California highway. Unfortunately, she checks in at the Bates Motel, presided over by young Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), a strange fellow living with his mother in a nearby mansion. Hitchcock used the small crew from his popular TV show for this hair-raising example of California Gothic, and it remains one of the most influential chillers ever made. With Vera Miles and John Gavin.

SCREAM OF FEAR, 1961, Columbia (Sony), 81 min. Director Seth Holt’s first Hammer Studios effort tracks wheelchair-bound Penny (Susan Strasberg) who returns to her family’s French Riviera estate after her mother’s untimely death. She’s surprised to find she already has a stepmother (Ann Todd) and that her father is supposedly away on business. But all is not as it seems. Handsome chauffeur, Bob (Ronald Lewis) and sinister Dr. Gerrard (Christopher Lee) enter the mix, and someone seems bent on driving Penny over the edge into madness or, worse, death! An altogether satisfying thriller with plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing.

 

 

Saturday, January 14 – 7:30 PM

Double Feature!

REAR WINDOW, 1954, Universal, 112 min. "See It! - If your nerves can stand it after PSYCHO!" That was the tagline for the 1962 re-release of one of director Alfred Hitchcock’s most rigorously structured thrillers. Adapted from a short story by noir master Cornell Woolrich, REAR WINDOW stars James Stewart as L.B. Jeffries, an ace photographer bound to a wheelchair after breaking his leg on assignment. Despite receiving visits from his high-fashion sweetheart, Lisa (Grace Kelly), Jeffries is bored and soon resorts to spying on his tenement neighbors through a telephoto lens. Suddenly, he has cause to regret his indiscretion – it seems the ailing wife of a traveling salesman neighbor (superb heavy Raymond Burr) has taken an abrupt trip. Or has she? "The experience is not so much like watching a movie, as like ... well, like spying on your neighbors. Hitchcock traps us right from the first." – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times.

BODY DOUBLE, 1984, Columbia (Sony), 114 min. Director Brian De Palma has always openly expressed his admiration for Hitchcock and has used various tropes common to the master in a number of his pictures. This is one of his most jawdropping, melding influences from REAR WINDOW and VERTIGO as well as giving a vigorous nod to the delirium of 1970’s Italian giallo shockers. When a claustrophobic and cuckolded actor (Craig Wasson) finds himself suddenly homeless, he house-sits for a theater workshop acquaintance (Gregg Henry). But he finds himself going from the frying pan into the fire after witnessing the murder of a beautiful neighbor. To make matters worse, he falls for sweet, dysfunctional porn star, Holly Body (Melanie Griffith) who may have been tricked into doubling for the victim.

 

Sunday, January 15 – 6:00 PM

Double Feature!

New 35 mm. Print! THE 39 STEPS, 1935, Sony Repertory, 86 min. "What are the 39 Steps??" And why is a network of foreign spies so desperate to stop stalwart hero Robert Donat from uncovering the mystery of this most cryptic of Alfred Hitchcock puzzles? And will lovely Madeleine Carroll really come to trust that Donat is an innocent man and not an escaped criminal running from the law?? With its non-stop suspense, breathtaking set pieces and brain-twisting plot turns, this set the pattern for nearly all the great Hitchcock thrillers to come.

MAN HUNT, 1941, 20th Century Fox, 105 min. There was mutual respect but also an unspoken rivalry between Hitchcock and German expatriate director, Fritz Lang, and this excellent WWII-era nailbiter is just one of the many reasons why. Walter Pidgeon is Captain Thorndyke, a renowned big-game hunter stalking the most dangerous prey of all: psychotic dictator, Adolf Hitler! Co-starring George Sanders as the Nazi bigwig who has Thorndyke in his sights and Joan Bennett as a hapless Cockney street girl. NOT ON VIDEO!

 

 

Wednesday, January 18 – 7:30 PM

Outfest Wednesdays

SWOON, 1992, Fine Line, 90 min. Based on the same murder case as Alfred Hitchcock’s ROPE, director Tom Kalin presents a radically stylized and blatantly gay account of the notorious 1924 Leopold and Loeb murder case. With the intoxicating look of a vintage Hollywood studio melodrama, SWOON tells the sensational story of two wealthy, young and brilliant Jewish lovers whose thrill-seeking crime spree culminates in the senseless killing of a Chicago schoolboy. Along with sly winks at the camera (anachronistic props, stock footage, allegorical sound affects) SWOON puts forth historical content that makes visible the homophobic exploitation of madness that asks the question, "If you can’t have a marriage ceremony to bind you, why not a murder?" SWOON is a foundational film among the oeuvre of the New Queer Cinema. Discussion following the screening with actor, Craig Chester.

 

 

Thursday, January 19 – 7:30 PM

Double Feature!

SHADOW OF A DOUBT, 1943, Universal, 108min. What starts out as a charming portrait of idyllic small-town life gradually darkens into one of director Alfred Hitchcock’s most devastating thrillers. Teenager Teresa Wright’s romantic illusions about her beloved Uncle Charlie (Joseph Cotten) are gradually shattered by the suspicion he may be the diabolic Merry Widow serial killer. Add to the mix a rewardingly rich tapestry of eccentric characters (Henry Travers, Hume Cronyn, Patricia Collinge are stand-outs in the cast), and you have one of Hitchcock’s most brilliantly constructed films.

SHADOW OF THE CAT, 1961, Universal, 79 min. Here’s an ultra-rare screening of the best Hammer studios film that’s not quite a Hammer film -- although 90% of the credits reveal a Hammer cast and crew, including underrated director John Gilling (THE REPTILE). In turn of the 20th century rural England, Barbara Shelley (FIVE MILLION YEARS TO EARTH) returns to her aunt’s mansion after the woman’s suspicious death, only to find a household of homicidal relatives and servants (including uncle Andre Morell), intent on making sure she never sees her inheritance. Oh, yes, the old woman’s cat may have it’s own axe to grind as well! An extremely atmospheric suspense film with a most appropriate score by Mikis Theodorakis (several years before he did ZORBA THE GREEK!). NOT ON VIDEO!

 

 

Friday, January 20 – 7:30 PM

Double Feature!

THE BIRDS, 1963, Universal, 119 min. Director Alfred Hitchcock’s love affair with northern California (begun in SHADOW OF A DOUBT and continued in VERTIGO) climaxed with this stunning shocker about the residents of picturesque coastal town Bodega Bay - who find themselves targeted by a murderous invasion of birds. Starring Tippi Hedren, Rod Taylor, Suzanne Pleshette, Jessica Tandy and Veronica Cartwright.

PHASE IV, 1974, Paramount, 86 min. Pantheon titles designer Saul Bass created stunningly imaginative, opening title credits for legions of great filmmakers (Scorsese, Preminger, as well as Hitchcock and many others). His sole movie as a director is this visually hypnotic saga of two isolated, research scientists (Nigel Davenport, Michael Murphy) suddenly confronted with a horde of normal-sized, but super-intelligent ants fixed on integrating the human species into their burgeoning colony. With Lynne Frederick. NOT ON VIDEO!

 

 

Saturday, January 21 – 7:30 PM

Double Feature!

NORTH BY NORTHWEST, 1959, Warner Bros., 136 min. Dir. Alfred Hitchcock. Cary Grant gives one of his greatest performances as womanizing, mama’s boy executive Roger Thornhill – whose cozy life of afternoon cocktails with the boys is turned upside down when he’s mistaken for elusive government operative "George Kaplan" by suave villain James Mason and murderous crony Martin Landau. Eva Marie Saint co-stars as Mason’s elegant mistress, with the wonderful Jesse Royce Landis as Grant’s fur-clad society mom ("You gentlemen aren’t really trying to murder my son, are you?"). Brilliantly scripted by Ernest Lehman (THE SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS), and photographed by veteran Hitchcock collaborator Robert Burks (STRANGERS ON A TRAIN, REAR WINDOW).

THE PRIZE, 1963, MGM (Warners), 133 min. Mark Robson (who started out helming atmospheric thrillers for Val Lewton in the 1940s) directs Paul Newman as a cynical, hard drinking Nobel Prize winner for literature who believes the Prizewinner for physics (Edward G. Robinson) has been kidnapped by the Communists. No one, including beautiful Elke Sommer who has been assigned to handle Newman, believes his story – at least at first. Frequent Hitchcock collaborator, writer Ernest Lehman adapted the Irving Wallace novel into a rollicking stew of tongue-in-cheek intrigue and suspense.

 

 

Sunday, January 22 – 6:00 PM

Double Feature!

THE LADY VANISHES, 1939, Sony Repertory, 97 min. "Spies! Playing the game of love – and sudden death!" Ravishing British beauty Margaret Lockwood finds no one will believe her when she claims a sweet old lady has mysteriously disappeared from a moving train – in fact, no one believes the old woman exists at all… Flawless suspense and nimble comedy co-mingle in this classic example of Alfred Hitchcock’s earlier British period. Watch for Naunton Wayne and Basil Radford as two cricket-obsessed fellow passengers – their pairing here was so successful, they co-starred in a further ten films playing essentially the same characters! Co-starring Michael Redgrave, Paul Lukas.

NIGHT TRAIN TO MUNICH, 1940, 20th Century Fox, 90 min. Director Carol Reed (THE THIRD MAN, ODD MAN OUT) was no stranger to superb, edge-of-your-seat entertainments, and he supplies all the elements here in one of his earliest, comparatively lesser known outings. British agent, Rex Harrison, tries to spirit a refugee Czech scientist back to England after the Nazis kidnap him as well as his newly-arrived daughter (Margaret Lockwood). With Paul Henried, Naunton Wayne and Basil Radford.

 

 

Thursday, January 26 – 7:30 PM

Double Feature!

DIAL M FOR MURDER, 1954, Warner Bros., 105 min. Dir. Alfred Hitchcock. Suave, cold-blooded Ray Milland plots to murder his beautiful wife, Grace Kelly, and leaves the key to their apartment outside for his hired killer (Anthony Dawson.) But killer, Dawson, has a bit of trouble with a pair of scissors - to put it mildly - and a new Pandora’s box of complications open up. Unfortunately, scheming Milland may still be able to pull off his plan – that is, unless Kelly’s old-flame, Robert Cummings and unflappable Scotland Yard inspector, John Williams can determine what really happened that fateful night. Maestro Hitchock masterfully adapts Frederick Knott’s famous, hit stage-play to the big screen (it was originally presented in 3-D).

THE SNORKEL, 1958, Columbia (Sony), 74 min. Guy Green (A PATCH OF BLUE) directs this virtually unknown, but excellent, suspense thriller produced by Hammer Studios. After his wife’s apparent suicide, debonair, sinister Peter Van Eyck (THE WAGES OF FEAR) tries to pull the wool over the eyes of his returning-from-school, teen stepdaughter (Mandy Miller). When his subterfuge fails, Miller suddenly finds herself slotted for the same fate as Mom. Betta St. John (HORROR HOTEL) is lovely and appropriately protective as Miller’s unsuspecting governess. Once again, the plot hinges on the mystery of a locked room and the seeming impossibility of entry from outside. Hint – it has something to do with the title device! NOT ON VIDEO!