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This series is an Aero Theatre Exclusive!
Snappy dialogue, slapstick, and total madness. Beautiful iconic
leading men and women rubbing elbows with near crazy character actors. The Screwball era
was one of Hollywood's most hilarious, creative and romantic periods. Forget the last
minute shopping and the worries of the holiday season. Come relax and laugh till you can't
see straight. Enjoy the perfect mixture of stage and screen rising from Shakespeare,
Moliere and Oscar Wilde that gave birth to everything from the Coen Brothers to Woody
Allen to "Three's Company" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm." Come listen to
some of Hollywood's most talented screenwriters, Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder, Preston
Sturges, George S. Kaufman & Moss Hart. See Hollywood icons Gary Cooper, John and
Lionel Barrymore, Jimmy Stewart, Claudette Colbert, Barbara Stanwyck, Carole Lombard,
Veronica Lake and the one and only Charles Lane. Glory in some of the finest
work of directors Frank Capra, Mitchel Leisen, Howard Hawks, Preston Sturges, and Billy
Wilder. Is there a better way to end the year and begin the next?
Thursday, December 27 - 7:30 PM
MIDNIGHT, 1939, Universal, 94 min. One of
director Mitchell Leisen's most charming and graceful confections, this Parisian
farce boasts a script by Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett and a cast that includes some
of the era's finest performers. Ex-showgirl Claudette Colbert impersonates a
Hungarian countess in order to infiltrate the European jet set. She's after money, not
love, but her plans get complicated when a working class cabbie (Don Ameche) falls
for her and chases her down in high society. John Barrymore and Mary Astor
co-star in this hilarious romp.
EASY LIVING, 1937, Universal, 88
min. Dir. Mitchell Leisen. Preston Sturges wrote this Depression-era Cinderella
story, in which working girl Jean Arthur's fortunes change after she lucks into
possession of a rich woman's coat. As those around her assume that what she wears is an
indicator of who she is, Arthur climbs the social ladder and eventually falls in love with
Ray Milland -- the son of the coat's real owner. Sturges' wit is on full display
here, and is given added elegance by Leisen's beautiful direction.
Friday, December 28 - 7:30 PM
YOU CANT TAKE IT
WITH YOU, 1938, Columbia, 126 min. Director Frank Capra won an Oscar for
Best Director (the film also won Best Picture) for this adaptation of the play by George
S. Kaufman & Moss Hart about an eccentric, strangely happy family living in a rambling
house amidst urban re-development. The amazing cast includes Jean Arthur, James
Stewart, Lionel Barrymore, Edward Arnold, Eddie "Rochester" Anderson and Ann
MR. DEEDS GOES TO TOWN,
1936, Columbia, 115 min. Dir. Frank Capra. When rural poet Longfellow Deeds (Gary
Cooper at his most engaging) inherits a fortune, he moves to the big city and uses his
newfound wealth to benefit his fellow man -- much to the chagrin of various corporate and
political interests. Jean Arthur is the jaded, cynical reporter whose idealism (and
sense of romance) is re-awakened by Deeds. Capra combines an awareness of mans
capacity for corruption with an optimistic belief in the possibility of positive change,
making this a political comedy thats angry and inspiring in equal measures.
Saturday, December 29 - 7:30 PM
BALL OF FIRE, 1941, MGM Repertory,
111 min. A raucous variation on SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARVES, with Barbara Stanwyck
as a sassy showgirl hiding out from her gangster boyfriend (Dana Andrews) who moves
in with a group of stuffy professors who are working on a dictionary of slang. A sharp
script by Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder gives Stanwyck and her "dwarves"
(led by Gary Cooper) plenty of witty dialogue, and director Howard Hawks
applies his typically accelerated pace and energy to the material.
TWENTIETH CENTURY, 1934,
Columbia, 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 MacArthurs blistering script is marvelously made flesh by the
two stars, as well as Walter Connolly, Roscoe Karns, Charles Lane, Edgar Kennedy
and Etienne Girardot.
Sunday, December 30 - 7:30 PM
SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS, 1941,
Universal, 90 min. Director Preston Sturges' most acclaimed comedy is something
like a social realist movie with a wicked sense of humor. Successful Hollywood director Joel
McCrea grows weary of making "entertainment pictures," and decides to hit
the road disguised as a hobo to research his first "serious" film. A
roller-coaster of mishaps and coincidences lands him on a chain gang, as well as in the
arms of lovely Veronica Lake, before he learns what audiences crave the most.
HAIL THE CONQUERING HERO,
1944, Universal, 100 min. When Eddie Bracken is discharged from the military for
chronic hay fever, his pals decide to send him home with a reputation as a great war hero.
What ensues is a flurry of patriotic fervor, some genuine and some ridiculous, but all of
it hilarious in writer-director Preston Sturges' hands. Sturges' incisive view of
what defines true heroism during wartime is as prescient today as it was in 1944, and his
direction of an ensemble of gifted character actors is a timeless delight.
Tuesday, January 1 5:00 PM
Marx Brothers Double Feature:
DUCK SOUP, 1933, Universal, 68 min. Dir.
Leo McCarey. What better way to spend New Years than with the Marx
Brothers in the AFIs #5 Funniest Film (and #1 among movies made before 1959).
Groucho is newly-appointed Prime Minister Rufus T. Firefly, who promptly declares war on a
neighboring country for no particular reason. (Hmm, sounds vaguely familiar.) This
absolutely merciless satire was a flop in its day, but by the 1960s had taken its
place as one of the unconditional giants of film comedy. Written by Bert Kalmar &
Harry Ruby (who also wrote the songs), Arthur Sheekman and Nat Perrin. With Louis
Calhern, Raquel Torres, Charles Middleton, Edgar Kennedy, and of course, Margaret
Dumont; it was also Zeppos last film.
HORSE FEATHERS, 1932,
Universal, 68 min. Dir. Norman Z. McLeod. The Marx Brothers zaniest
film finds Groucho as the new president of Huxley College, where his son (Zeppo!) is
romancing Thelma Todd and Harpo and Chico have to kidnap the star football players
from rival Darwin. Co-written by S.J. Perelman, whose literate wordplay makes this a
special treat, and containing the classic speakeasy and singing lesson routines. With David
Landau, Nat Pendleton and Robert Grieg (for once, not cast as a butler).