FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: April 7, 1997 Contact: Margot Gerber Tel.: 213/466-FILM ext. 115
THE AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE & MARTIN SCORSESE PRESENT PLAY DIRTY: AN IN-PERSON TRIBUTE TO LEGENDARY DIRECTOR ANDRE DE TOTH
De Toth to sign copies of his recent book Fragments: Portraits From The Inside and the just-published De Toth on De Toth
Weekends April 17 - 26, 1997
HOLLYWOOD - Hungarian born, one-eyed, iconoclastic Hollywood director Andre de Toth will appear in-person for the American Cinematheque's film series, PLAY DIRTY: A TRIBUTE TO ANDRE DE TOTH IN-PERSON, the First Los Angeles Retrospective of the work of this legendary filmmaker. Martin Scorsese has commented, that de Toth, the director of such hard-bitten Westerns and noirs as RAMROD (1947) (co-starring his wife at the time, Veronica Lake), CRIMEWAVE (1954), PITFALL (1948) and PLAY DIRTY (1969), is "a director's director." A rare archival double system 3-D print of de Toth's best-known film, Warner Bros.' 3-D classic HOUSE OF WAX (1953) starring Vincent Price and Charles Bronson kicks off the April 17 - 26, 1997 tribute. Highlights of the series also include screenings of new 35mm prints of SLATTERY'S HURRICANE (1949), DAY OF THE OUTLAW (1958) and MONKEY ON MY BACK (1957) struck especially for this series; and UCLA-Restored 35m prints of RAMROD (1947) with Veronica Lake and Joel McCrea and PITFALL (1948) with Lizabeth Scott and Dick Powell. The Cinematheque debuts its unique version of dinner theater with an April 19th Western-style BBQ buffet available in connection with a double feature of MAN IN THE SADDLE (1951) and SPRINGFIELD RIFLE (1952). De Toth, who's personal life rivals his films in cinematic scope, will be signing his acclaimed book Fragments: Portraits From The Inside and the newly published De Toth On De Toth. All screenings are at the Raleigh Studios Charlie Chaplin Theater (5300 Melrose Avenue between Bronson & Van Ness) in Hollywood. All films are directed by Andre de Toth.
Andre de Toth Andre de Toth had already directed six feature films in his native Hungary before arriving in the United States in 1942. His first American film, for Harry Cohn at Columbia, PASSPORT TO SUEZ was the last of Warren William's "Lone Wolf" series. In De Toth On De Toth, the director says of his first Hollywood film, "I was seven days behind when I delivered the Goddamned shit, my first Hollywood film." De Toth went on to direct several Westerns and film noirs, the two genres that he favored. His hard-edged nuggets of adultery, despair and intrigue seemed wildly out of place in the feel-good Hollywood of the 1950's. Throughout his career de Toth's films have contained the subtext of deceit and human perceptiveness which make them uncomfortable. Martin Scorsese commented, "De Toth's characters always move in a treacherous world where deception and cynicism are always aimed at one goal: survival." De Toth, like his period contemporaries, Don Seigel, Fritz Lang and Jean-Pierre Melville, treated his films and characters with a dogged intelligence, analyzing and probing without sentiment. In his recent books, de Toth details the incredible drama of his real life, from his 7-year marriage to actress Veronica Lake, to his experiences with Jack Warner and Howard Hughes.
WEEKEND 1: April 17th , 18th & 19th
The series kicks off on Thursday, April 17th at 7:15 PM with a one-night screening of the original Double System 3-D version of HOUSE OF WAX (1953, Warners, 88 min.), starring Vincent Price as a mad wax sculptor who diabolically dips his models\victims into hot wax, with help from Charles Bronson (a.k.a. Charles Buchinsky) in his first starring role as the crazed artisans' assistant. On the initial run, the Hollywood Reporter said, "Discard all your previous notions of 3-D which resulted from inferior gimmick pictures designed solely to cash in with quickie efforts. Millions will see HOUSE OF WAX and come back for more." Ironically, the one-eyed de Toth was not able to see objects three-dimensionally. The joke around the studio lot was that de Toth and one-eyed Raoul Walsh were co-directing the film. With Phyllis Kirk and Carolyn Jones. This archival 3-D print will screen in the original dual-system format, with two projectors running simultaneously. There will be a brief pause between each reel. This screening only is at Paramount Pictures - Screening Room #5 (5555 Melrose Avenue in Hollywood). There is a special ticket price of $7 for members and $10 for non-members. Discussion following the first screening with Andre de Toth. Following at 9:45 PM is a repeat screening of the Double System 3-D version of HOUSE OF WAX (1953, Warners, 88 min.).
The Friday, April 18th program begins at 7:15 pm with a screening of a UCLA-Restored 35mm print of RAMROD (1947, Republic, 94 min.) starring de Toth's wife at the time, "peek-a-boo" glamour girl Veronica Lake, reteamed with her SULLIVAN'S TRAVEL partner, Joel McCrea. In de Toth's first Western, McCrea is the "ramrod" of the title, a ranch foreman trapped in a brutal maze of deceit. Lake in the biggest surprise performance of her career plays a slippery, scheming cowgirl hell-bent on destroying everything in her path to defeat her own father. His first Western made for MGM was RAMROD, starring his then-wife, Veronica Lake as a cowgirl intent on defeating her father. Plus, an ultra-rare screening of de Toth's 1960's television work with Sam Peckinpah! Following at 9:45 PM is a screening of CRIMEWAVE (1954, Warners, 74 min.), starring Sterling Hayden as a toothpick chewing cop busting crooks all over the Glendale and Pasadena area. Jean-Pierre Melville loved de Toth's LA noir enough to steal the ending for his movie SECOND BREATH. Shot in stunning black and white, deep-focus by Bert Glennon, CRIMEWAVE stars Gene Nelson, Phyllis Kirk and Charles Bronson. Discussion following with Andre de Toth. Andre de Toth will sign his recent books De Toth On De Toth (Faber & Faber) and Fragments on Saturday, April 19th from 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm. Following at 6:15 pm is a screening of a new 35 mm Print of SLATTERY'S HURRICANE (1949, Fox, 87 min.), an unclassifiable piece of work that doesn't fit neatly fit into any filmmaking genre. It's ex-flame, exotic Linda Darnell who steals hotheaded pilot Richard Widmark from his sexy, dope-fiend girlfriend, Veronica Lake. Discussion following with Andre de Toth. Beginning at 7:30 pm the Cinematheque kicks off its version of dinner theater with a scrumptuos Western-style BBQ buffet catered by Classic Cuisine. Dinner is $6 per person and can be purchased in addition to the price of admission to both the 6:15 pm and 8:45 pm screenings. Following at 8:45 PM is a Double Feature beginning with MAN IN THE SADDLE (1951, Columbia, 87 min.) starring rugged, handsome Randolph Scott as a heartsick rancher who refuses to give up his true love even after she marries another man. What really sets this MAN IN THE SADDLE apart, are visual sequences: rip-roaring brawls set against windstorms in dark saloons, with the roof literally collapsing overhead. Next on the same bill is SPRINGFIELD RIFLE (1952, Warners, 93 min.) starring Gary Cooper as a Union officer who is branded a coward and thrown out of the Army. The image of Coop with a yellow stripe literally painted down his back is a stone-cold shock. Like RAMROD, SPRINGFIELD RIFLE page 4 - Andre de Toth hurtles you through a serpentine series of betrayals as the disgraced Cooper infiltrates a gang of Confederate horse raiders. With Phyllis Thaxter, Lon Chaney, Jr. and Fess Parker.
WEEKEND 2: April 25th & 26th
The Friday, April 25th program begins at 7:15 PM with a screening of a UCLA-Restored 35mm PRINT of PITFALL (1948, Republic, 85 min), considered by many, to be the central film in de Toth's career. PITFALL is a shattering study of a married Everyman (Dick Powell) who has an affair with a single girl (Lizabeth Scott). Powell and Scott's rendezvous in empty cocktail lounges around LA capture the essence of a bygone era. "One of the best film noirs, and one of the most incisive." - Bertrand Tavernier. Following at 9:30 PM is a screening of a new 35 mm Print of DAY OF THE OUTLAW (1958, U.A., 96 min.). Long out of circulation, this is the first new print of the film in over 30 years! Robert Ryan plays a tough, friendless cattleman who turns out to be the only hope for a Wyoming town that has been invaded by Burl Ives and his gang of outlaws. Tina Louise ("Gilligan's Island") in her most acclaimed film role as Ryan's adulterous love interest. The film was shot on location in barren, existential black and white, stripping away the sentiment leaving only a harsh purity.
On Saturday, April 26th from 4:30 PM to 6:00 PM Andre de Toth will sign copies of his recent books De Toth on de Toth (Faber & Faber) and Fragments. Following is a Double Feature starting with a screening of a new 35 mm Print screening of THE INDIAN FIGHTER (1955, U.A., 88 min.), is an erotic Western shot in gorgeous, saturated CinemaScope. THE INDIAN FIGHTER was the first production of the film's star, Kirk Douglas, from Douglas's Byrna Company. The movie's French title LA RIVIÈRE DE NOS AMOURS (THE RIVER OF OUR LOVES) refers to Douglas' (literal) wet kiss with sensual Elsa Martinelli. The Next on the same bill is a screening of a new 35 mm Print of MONKEY ON MY BACK (1957, U.A., 93 min.) starring Cameron Mitchell in the real life story of Barney Ross, a former boxing champ addicted to both gambling and morphine. Released at the same time as the similar-themed MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM, MONKEY ON MY BACK is a much darker piece of filmmaking. A creepy and unnerving film - Mitchell's drug forays are straight out of DR. CALIGARI. Discussion following with Andre de Toth. Following at 9:45 PM is PLAY DIRTY (1969, U.A., 118 min.) starring Michael Caine as an inexperienced officer leading his team on a very eccentric and deadly mission to blow up German fuel dumps. A film about the sheer mechanics of survival (against sandstorms, land mines, your page 5 - Andre de Toth own commanding officers) in alien territory, here, de Toth pushes his trademarks of pragmatism and cynicism to their furthest extremes.
Admission for the general public is $7 and $4 for American Cinematheque Members. HOUSE OF WAX has a special admission price of $10 general admission and $7 for American Cinematheque Members. The Saturday, April 19th Western BBQ buffet is $6 in addition to the admission price for the screening. Separate admission for each screening. A complete calendar/flyer listing of these films has been mailed to you.
* ADVANCE THEATRICAL PRESS SCREENINGS ARE NOT CURRENTLY PLANNED. PLEASE CALL IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE NOTIFIED IN THE EVENT THAT WE DO HOLD THEM.
* ADVANCE PRESS SCREENINGS ARE AVAILABLE ON VIDEO TAPE AT THE OFFICES OF THE AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE. CALL 213.466.3456 ext. 115 or 116 TO SCHEDULE SCREENINGS. ATTACHED IS A LIST OF FILMS AVAILABLE: (*these titles may not be available)
CRIMEWAVE DAY OF THE OUTLAW HOUSE OF WAX MAN IN THE SADDLE MONKEY ON MY BACK PITFALL PLAY DIRTY (A theatrical press screening is scheduled, please call for further information) RAMROD SLATTERY'S HURRICANE SPRINGFIELD RIFLE
PRESS PASSES ARE NOT LIKELY TO BE AVAILABLE DURING THE FESTIVAL AS MOST SCREENINGS WILL BE SOLD OUT. IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT YOU TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE ADVANCE PRESS SCREENINGS.
BLACK & WHITE PHOTOS AND PRESS KITS AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST
Please note that tickets to our programs can be purchased through THEATIX (213) 466-1767. Our number (213) 466-FILM should be listed for further information only! Established in 1984, the American Cinematheque, is a non-profit, viewer-supported film exhibition and cultural organization dedicated to the celebration of the Moving Picture in all its forms. The Cinematheque presents weekly film and video programming which ranges from the classics and world cinemas to the outer frontiers of the art form at the Raleigh Studios Charlie Chaplin Theater and other Los Angeles venues. Exhibition of rare works, special prints within our page 6 - Andre de Toth series, etc., combined with fascinating post-screening discussions with the filmmakers who created the work, are a Cinematheque tradition that keep audiences coming back for once-in-a-lifetime cinema experiences. The American Cinematheque is currently renovating the historic Egyptian Theater on Hollywood Boulevard, which, when open in 1998, will become the American Cinematheque's permanent home and offer daily, year-round programming. For information about this film program call 213/466-FILM. THE PROGRAM IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE.
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