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


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Series compiled by:Festival produced by Martin Lewis, co-creator & co-producer of the "Secret Policeman’s Ball" series. Presented in association with the Paley Center for Media and the Film Society of Lincoln Center.
Special Thanks to:

 

 

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 $10 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. Aero Theatre: Barry King.

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<<< June 11 - 21, 2009 >>>

Mods & Rockers 2009 Presents The Secret Policeman's  Festival: Celebrating Three Decades of ‘Mock ‘n’ Roll’ for Amnesty!

 

An Egyptian Theatre Exclusive!

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"I saw ‘The Secret Policeman’s Ball’ and it became a part of me. It sowed a seed…" - Bono

"I think everyone is in for a grave disappointment" – John Cleese

A message from Michael Palin

The Mods & Rockers Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary with a special themed retrospective saluting the finest in British comedy and rock as presented in the last three decades of Amnesty International’s legendary "Secret Policeman’s Ball" series. June is the 30th Anniversary of the show and film that gave the series its title. The comedy comes from Monty Python’s John Cleese, Michael Palin, Graham Chapman, Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam, Neil Innes (who will attend in-person), Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Eddie Izzard and many more. The music is equally stellar. Historic performances by Pete Townshend, Sting, Peter Gabriel, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Kate Bush, David Gilmour and many more. The festival will present the original U.K. versions of all of the classic films from the 1970s and 1980s – including some versions never seen in the U.S. or released on DVD. As a major bonus, the festival also will present films and ultra-rare TV specials of all the major music events presented by Amnesty’s U.S. section in the 1980s and 1990s, including the historic "Conspiracy of Hope" and "Human Rights Now!" tours starring Bruce Springsteen, U2, The Police, Peter Gabriel, Sting, Jackson Browne, Lou Reed and many others. Films never on VHS or DVD! After 10 days at the Egyptian the festival will continue for another month at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills. Full details: www.SecretPolicemansBall.com or www.ModsAndRockers.com

 

 

Thursday, June 11 - 9:30 PM

Two World Theatrical Premieres!

Series Star Neil Innes and Series Co-Creator/Co-Producer Martin Lewis In-Person

REMEMBER THE SECRET POLICEMAN'S BALL? 2004, BBC/Amnesty International, 75 min. Dir. Margaret Kinmonth. This entertaining documentary was commissioned by the BBC to celebrate the 25th anniversary of THE SECRET POLICEMAN’S BALL. Stuffed with a THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT style array of performances from the original shows, the film is a virtual "Best of The Balls". Providing history and context, the film presents recollections of many of the key participants including John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam, Rowan Atkinson, Stephen Fry, Jennifer Saunders, Sting and Bob Geldof. The film delves into the archives of the earliest shows and confronts some of the performers with their younger selves with some memorable results. The film also looks at how the Amnesty shows reflected the evolution of British comedy from the mid-1970s to the present day. The film also traces how the introduction of rock music into the original format of comedy galvanized a generation of musicians into becoming social activists and led directly to Live Aid. As Sting describes it: "The seed was planted at Amnesty for Bob Geldof. He saw what they were doing. He saw how entertainment could help that process and then he took the "Ball" and ran with it. Further than anybody could possibly imagine..." This will be the U.S. Premiere of the film in any media and its World Theatrical Premiere. Trailer

THE SECRET POLICEMAN ROCKS! 2009, Amnesty International, 60 mins. THE SECRET POLICEMAN’S BALL series co-creator and co-producer Martin Lewis, who first recruited rock musicians for Amnesty, was commissioned to create this brand-new music special celebrating the 30th anniversary of the series. Features historic performances by Pete Townshend, Sting, Peter Gabriel, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, David Gilmour, Mark Knopfler, Dave Stewart, Kate Bush, Phil Collins, Bob Geldof et al. This is its World Premiere. NOT ON DVD.

Followed by: "The Secret Policeman’s Rare Nuggets!" (2009, Amnesty International, 15 min.) Hilarious rarities from the "Secret Policeman" vaults including promotional spots, premieres, TV appearances and outtakes featuring John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Peter Cook, Billy Connolly, Rowan Atkinson. With a few exceptions, this material has never been on TV. World Theatrical Premiere

 

 

Friday June 12 – 7:30 PM

Two U.S. Theatrical Premieres!

Series Star Neil Innes and Co-Creator/Co-Producer Martin Lewis In-Person

PLEASURE AT HER MAJESTY'S, 1976, Amnesty International, 101 min. Film of the very first Amnesty benefit show – a direct progenitor of THE SECRET POLICEMAN’S BALL. The show was instigated by John Cleese who rounded up his friends from Monty Python and other Brit-com luminaries including Peter Cook, Eleanor Bron, Neil Innes and Dame Edna for an historic gathering of the British comedic tribes performing their ‘Greatest Hits’. The stage show, directed by Beyond The Fringe’s Jonathan Miller was originally titled "A Poke In The Eye (With A Sharp Stick)" by Cleese. Setting the pattern for future shows, collaborations abound with Pythons and Beyond-The-Fringers guesting in each other’s skits. Peter Cook becomes an honorary Python, Terry Jones joins Beyond The Fringe. Verite director Roger Graef captured the live show and also documented the preparations, rehearsals and between-the-skits dressing room banter. This will be the U.S. Theatrical Premiere of the original, uncut 1976 U.K. film.

THE MERMAID FROLICS, 1977, Amnesty International, 52 min. Dir. Roger Graef. The TV special of the 1977 Amnesty benefit, stage-directed by Monty Python’s Terry Jones.  It features very rare John Cleese performances -- teamed with his then-wife Connie Booth of "Fawlty Towers" fame -- and with one of his hero/role-models -- Jonathan Miller.  Plus Peter Cook, Terry Jones, Peter Ustinov, Sue Jones-Davies (Judith in LIFE OF BRIAN) and Julie Covington ("Rock Follies" and the very first Evita). Never seen in any format in the U.S.. This will be the U.S. Premiere of the film in any media and its World Theatrical Premiere. Never on VHS. NEVER ON DVD.

Followed by: by "The Secret Policeman’s Rare Nuggets!" (2009, Amnesty International, 15 min.) Hilarious rarities from the "Secret Policeman" vaults.

 

 

 

Saturday, June 13 – 7:30 PM

Series Co-Creator/Co-Producer Martin Lewis In-Person

THE SECRET POLICEMAN'S BALL, 1980, Amnesty International, 91 min. Dir. Roger Graef. The first show (and film) with the famous title that gave its name to the entire series. The June 1979 stage show was "slightly directed" by John Cleese -- features half the Monty Pythons, plus Peter Cook, Eleanor Bron, Billy Connolly and the breakthrough debut of Rowan Atkinson who dazzles in solo slots and in ensemble work with the Pythons and Peter Cook. It includes what most critics consider to be Peter Cook’s finest performance – his savage satire of one of Britain’s most salacious political sex scandals. (A skit that is hysterically funny even without knowledge of the details.) The film also captures the start of what has became the rock community’s long-running support for Amnesty with stunning acoustic performances by The Who’s Pete Townshend – simultaneously birthing the "unplugged" phenomenon that followed. This is the original, uncut 1980 U.K. film – never released theatrically in the U.S.. Includes 20 minutes cut from the DVD version.

THE SECRET POLICEMAN'S OTHER BALL (Original U.K. version) 1982, Amnesty International, 99 min. Dir. Julien Temple. The really big show –- co-directed by John Cleese who revived several classic skits for the event from his pre-Python stint with Graham Chapman in the legendary "At Last The 1948 Show." Features three Monty Pythons (Cleese, Chapman, Michael Palin), Billy Connolly, the BBC’s "Not The 9 'O Clock News" team and newcomers Victoria Wood and Alexei Sayle. Cleese also teams up with the newer generation including Rowan Atkinson. Series co-creator Martin Lewis built on his inclusion of Pete Townshend in the 1979 show by recruiting a slew of established rockers (Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Donovan) and then-emerging talent (Sting, Phil Collins, Bob Geldof) to the Amnesty cause for memorable musical interludes that inspired Live Aid creator Geldof to follow suit. Director Julien Temple (THE GREAT ROCK ‘N’ ROLL SWINDLE, ABSOLUTE BEGINNERS) was brought in to add cinematic flair to the filming. This is the original, uncut 1982 U.K. film – never released theatrically in the U.S. (Not to be confused with the quite different U.S. version of the film released by Miramax.)

Followed by: "The Secret Policeman’s Rare Nuggets!" (2009, Amnesty International, 15 min.) Hilarious rarities from the "Secret Policeman" vaults.

 

 

Sunday, June 14 - 12:00 NOON (till 11:00 PM) (DOORS OPEN AT 11:30 AM)

U.S. Theatrical Premiere! Marathon Screening of Amnesty’s Legendary 1986 All-Day Concert in Real Time - On Its Exact Anniversary!

CONSPIRACY OF HOPE, 1986, MTV/Amnesty International. 660 min (11 hours.) Inspired by the success of the U.K.-produced SECRET POLICEMAN’s shows, films and albums -- and in particular the impact of rock musicians on galvanizing the public -- in June 1986 the U.S. section of Amnesty organized a six-city tour of the U.S. in which a caravan of musicians would spread the human rights message at concerts. Starring U2, The Police (specially reformed after a 4-year hiatus), Peter Gabriel, Jackson Browne and Lou Reed – the shows were a rollicking success. The tour’s grand finale was an all-day concert at Giants Stadium. The touring artists were joined by a plethora of artists including Bryan Adams, Carlos Santana, Miles Davis, Joan Armatrading, Rubén Blades, Joan Baez, Fela, The Neville Brothers, Bob Geldof, Howard Jones, Joni Mitchell, Yoko Ono, Steven Van Zandt. With appearances by Robert DeNiro, Michael J. Fox, Muhammed Ali. The 11-hour concert was televised by MTV as a Live Aid-style spectacular. This all-day special only ever aired live – and was never repeated. We are showing it uncut, in the same month-of-the-year, same day-of-the-week, exact same timeframe. Minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour. Re-experience this entire legendary 1980s music fest wearing your best 1980s duds! Prizes for best outfits! This is the film’s World Theatrical Premiere. NEVER ON VHS OR DVD. Special all-day ticket (12:00 noon-11:00 PM):  Only $20, General, $16 Seniors & Students, $14 Members. Evening only (from 7:30 PM):  $10 General, $8 Seniors & Students, $7 Members (available only at the theatre that night - from 7:30 PM onwards - subject to availability) Food: There will be short breaks -- there are plenty of nearby restaurants and eateries. Pig 'n Whistle and Kubar (Mediterranean Fresh) will offer a 15% discount and 20% to Miceli's to patrons bearing a ticket stub on tis day. There will be menus in the lobby for these and other restaurants (Skooby's, Mel's Diner).

 

 

 

Thursday, June 18 – 7:30 PM

Double-Feature of the Ultra-Rare American Versions of the Balls - Not Seen in 25 Years!

Series Co-Creator/Co-Producer Martin Lewis In-Person

THE SECRET POLICEMAN'S OTHER BALL (U.S. version), 1982, Amnesty International, 99 min. Dir. Roger Graef and Julien Temple. As of spring 1982, none of the SECRET POLICEMAN’S BALL films had been released in the U.S. -- having been considered "too British" for American audiences by most studios. Producer Martin Lewis finally contracted with budding distributors Bob & Harvey Weinstein and their recently-formed Miramax Films to produce a US version of the latest UK film. Lewis created a new film that fused the highlights of the 1979 and 1981 films into one "made-for-America" movie – replete with Don Pardo-narrated prologue. Fueled by a artfully-generated feud with the Moral Majority that saw Graham Chapman’s TV spots for the film (as a member of the ORAL Majority) banned by U.S. networks – the film became a big success in the summer of 1982 – Miramax’s first. This unique hybrid film was briefly available on VHS and then permanently deleted. First screening anywhere in 27 years! NEVER ON DVD.

THE SECRET POLICEMAN'S PRIVATE PARTS (U.S.-only TV special) 1983, Amnesty International, 78 min. Dir. Martin Lewis (with sequences by Roger Graef & Julien Temple) . Following the success of the 1982 hybrid US film, Amnesty asked Lewis to create a U.S.-only sequel combining the stellar footage from their 1976 and 1977 shows – and the unseen (in the U.S.) sequences from the 1979 and 1981 shows. Also delving into the original negative of all four films to find outtakes (rare Python and Pete Townshend material) and deploying specially-created animation, Lewis fashioned this rarely-seen TV special for Cinemax. Seen with the U.S. version of THE SECRET POLICEMAN’S OTHER BALL, this is a virtual "best-of" the first four Amnesty shows - stuffed with Pythonesque comedy routines and rare musical treasures. This special was briefly available on VHS and then permanently deleted. This will be the World Theatrical Premiere. NEVER ON DVD.

Followed by: "The Secret Policeman’s Rare Nuggets!" (2009, Amnesty International, 15 min.) Hilarious rarities from the "Secret Policeman" vaults.

RARITY NOTICE: Because the content in these U.S.-only releases has now been standardized back to the original U.K. films for worldwide DVD release – these two U.S.-only 1980s films are unlikely to ever be released on DVD or publicly seen again in this form.

 

 

Friday, June 19 - 7:30 PM

Two U.S. Premieres!

Series Co-Creator Martin Lewis In-Person

THE SECRET POLICEMAN'S THIRD BALL 1987, Amnesty International, 89 min. Dir. Ken O’Neill. After a six-year hiatus, the SECRET POLICEMAN’S BALL shows resumed with a strong hybrid of comedy and music. The humor reflected the emergence of a new wave of comedic performers in the U.K. including: Hugh Laurie ("House M.D."), Stephen Fry ("Blackadder" and "Peter’s Friends"), Robbie Coltrane ("Cracker" and NUNS ON THE RUN), Dawn French & Jennifer Saunders (creators of "Absolutely Fabulous"), Mel Smith & Griff Rhys Jones, ("Alas Smith & Jones"), Lenny Henry -- and the Spitting Image puppets. Lending support and continuity was John Cleese. The stellar lineup of musicians includes: Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush, Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, Dire Strait’s Mark Knopfler, Joan Armatrading, Bob Geldof, Duran Duran and – for the first time - some American guests: Jackson Browne, Lou Reed and Chet Atkins. This will be the U.S. Premiere of the film.

THE SECRET POLICEMAN'S BIGGEST BALL 1989, Amnesty International, 94 min. Dir. Mike Holgate. The 1989 show returned the Ball to its roots as primarily a comedy gathering with a mixture of the (by-now) older guard: John Cleese, Michael Palin, Peter Cook & Dudley Moore (in their last work together) -- and new wave including: Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry, Adrian Edmondson ("The Young Ones"), Dawn French & Jennifer Saunders, Ben Elton ("We Will Rock You"), Robbie Coltrane and the Spitting Image puppets. In a reflection of the cross-generational spirit – the stage show was directed by John Cleese and Jennifer Saunders (Edina in "Absolutely Fabulous"). This will be the U.S. Premiere of the film and its World Theatrical Premiere.

Followed by: "The Secret Policeman’s Rare Nuggets!" (2009, Amnesty International, 15 min.) Hilarious rarities from the "Secret Policeman" vaults.

 

 

 

Saturday, June 20 - 5:00 PM

World Theatrical Premiere!

"Secret Policeman" Co-Creator/Co-Producer Martin Lewis In-Person

FROM CHILE…AN EMBRACE OF HOPE 1990, Amnesty International, 68 min. Amnesty had wanted to visit Chile as part of the Human Rights Now tour in 1988 – but the presence of General Pinochet’s dictatorship prevented that. In 1990, Pinochet was finally banished and Amnesty helped the people of Chile celebrate with a two-day music festival in the very stadium where Pinochet’s thugs had once imprisoned and murdered Chilean citizens. The festival was headlined by an eclectic lineup including Sting, Peter Gabriel, Jackson Browne, Sinéad O'Connor, Wynton Marsalis, Ruben Blades and a newly-politicized New Kids on the Block. Never seen in the U.S. This will be the U.S. Premiere of the film in any media and its World Theatrical Premiere. NEVER ON HOME VIDEO OR DVD anywhere in the world.

THE SECRET POLICEMAN ROCKS! 2009, Amnesty International, 60 min. SECRET POLICEMAN’S BALL series co-creator and co-producer Martin Lewis who first recruited rock musicians for Amnesty was commissioned to create this brand-new music special celebrating the 30th anniversary of the series. Features historic performances by Pete Townshend, Sting, Peter Gabriel, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, David Gilmour, Mark Knopfler, Dave Stewart, Kate Bush, Phil Collins, Bob Geldof et al. This is its World Premiere. NOT ON DVD.

 

 

Saturday, June 20 - 8:00 PM

World Theatrical Premiere!

HUMAN RIGHTS NOW! 1988, HBO/Amnesty International, 180 mins. Dir. Larry Jordan. Following the success of Amnesty’s "Conspiracy Of Hope" U.S. tour, Amnesty decided to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with a world tour that would touch down in every continent. Amnesty stalwarts Sting and Peter Gabriel were joined by Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, Youssou N'Dour and Tracy Chapman for the 20-concert tour. During the course of the tour, they were joined by an array of guests including Bono, Joan Baez, Ravi Shankar, k.d. lang, Pat Metheny. This exhilarating film presents the tour’s grand finale concert in Buenos Aires augmented by highlights from the preceding 6 weeks of performances and campaigning about human rights in exotic locales throughout the world. A highlight of the concerts were the musical collaborations. Sting and Springsteen duetting on "The River" and "Every Breath You Take"… All the musicians singing Bob Marley’s "Get Up, Stand Up" and Bob Dylan’s "Chimes Of Freedom"... This TV special only ever aired on HBO in December 1988 – and has never been repeated since. First time shown anywhere since December 1988! This is the film’s World Theatrical Premiere. NEVER ON VHS OR DVD. Introduced by Martin Lewis – who co-conceived the "Human Rights Now" tour with Amnesty’s Executive Director.

 

 

Sunday, June 21 – 7:30 PM

U.S. Theatrical Premiere!

Film Producer Antony Payne and Concert Stage Manager Jeaninne Payne In-Person

THE PARIS CONCERT FOR AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL 1998, Amnesty International. 180 min. Dir. Stanley Dorfman. Amnesty celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights with a concert in the city where the historic document was signed. Amnesty stalwarts Peter Gabriel, Bruce Springsteen, Tracy Chapman, Youssou N'Dour were joined by Jimmy Page & Robert Plant, Radiohead, Alanis Morissette, Shania Twain for this 3-hour extravaganza including an appearance by the Dalai Lama. Only seen once in US in 1999 (by a small audience on an obscure Pay-Per-View channel). Never seen on regular US TV or cable. This will be the film’s World Theatrical Premiere.