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UCLA Festival of Preservation: From Fritz Lang to John Sayles

Vitaphone on the set
Alfred Hitchcock and Eva Marie Saint

The UCLA Film & Television Archives' 2009 UCLA Festival of Preservation, which kicks off this evening and continues until April 26, leaves me at a loss. The problem is: I don't know what not to recommend. (See full schedule below.)

Now, it's not that I think every single one of the listed films are waiting-to-be-rediscovered masterpieces – or even that they're mostly enjoyable fare. What makes me so excited about the Festival of Preservation is that it features films that for the most part are incredibly rare, thus offering audiences a unique chance to either get to know (or to get reacquainted with) our cinematic past.

Here's some of what's in store for you if you live in the Los Angeles area:

George K. Arthur in The Salvation Hunters

  • Alice Joyce, John McCormack in Song O'My HeartMaster of stylization Josef von Sternberg's naturalistic (!) first film, the independently made 1925 drama The Salvation Hunters (above), which impressed Charles Chaplin so much he found distribution for it and ended up using the film's leading lady, Georgia Hale, in The Gold Rush.
  • Master sentimentalist Frank Borzage's Young America (1932), with a youngish Spencer Tracy and a latter-day Doris Kenyon (a lovely and capable silent film actress who managed a relatively smooth transition to sound), plus Borzage's Song o'My Heart (right, 1930), which stars Irish tenor John McCormack, a very young Maureen O'Sullivan, and veteran Alice Joyce in one of her last screen roles. Preservationist Robert Gitt will introduce the screening.
  • A couple of Vitagraph productions: the featurette A Tale of Two Cities (1911), starring Maurice Costello and Florence Turner, and featuring a very young Norma Talmadge, who'd become one of Hollywood's superstars of the 1920s; and Her Crowning Glory (1911), starring the comic duo of John Bunny and Flora Finch (best remembered for her supporting role in the 1927 version of The Cat and the Canary), and featuring five-year-old Helene Costello, daughter of Maurice and future leading lady of the first all-talking motion picture, Lights of New York (1928).
  • Joseph Losey's thriller The Prowler (1951), starring Van Heflin as a psycho cop and Evelyn Keyes as a lady in distress in what turned out to be the director's last Hollywood film. (The following year, Losey was blacklisted. He fled the United States, later resuming his career in Britain. Curiously, fellow blacklistee Dalton Trumbo co-wrote the Prowler screenplay with Hugo Butler.)
  • John Sayles' Return of the Secaucus 7 (1980), which was later eclipsed by the similarly themed and more popular The Big Chill, and The Brother from Another Planet (1984), in which a space alien (Joe Morton) lands in mid-1980s Manhattan.
  • Bill Sherwood's Parting Glances (1986), one of the seminal works in the early gay film movement, in which two former lovers renew a brotherly bond after one of them comes down with AIDS.
  • Joan Bennett in The Secret Beyond the DoorFritz Lang's absurd but highly entertaining psychological mystery-melodrama Secret Beyond the Door (1948), starring Michael Redgrave and Joan Bennett (right).
  • William Desmond Taylor's melo He Fell in Love with His Wife (1916), one of the murdered director's few surviving films. (Taylor's still-unsolved 1922 murder was one of the biggest scandals in Hollywood history.)
  • The early backstage musical Pointed Heels (1929), starring a pre-MGM William Powell, a pre-King Kong Fay Wray, and boop-boop-a-doopy Helen Kane, and featuring the super-handsome Phillips Holmes in one of his early film appearances.
  • "Behind the Scenes in Hollywood,” which features, among others, Ronald Colman doing a screen test in 1932, Mary Pickford and Harold Lloyd in their respective home movies, Cecil B. DeMille speaking at Brigham Young University, and Charles Chaplin celebrating his 77th birthday.
  • The only foreign entry in the series, Lester James Peries' 1964 Sri Lankan social drama Gamperaliya, in which a middle-class man falls in love with a girl belonging to the local aristocracy.
  • Edgar G. Ulmer's attack on the American obsession with wealth, Ruthless (1948), described as the director's Citizen Kane, and starring two likable performers, Zachary Scott and Louis Hayward, who went on to develop a close relationship off-screen. The screenplay was co-written by one of the Hollywood Ten, Alvah Bessie.
  • Among the Vitaphone Varieties, I particularly recommend the musical short The Opry House (1929), which manages to be both nostalgic and more hip than any current music video on MTV or VH1.
  • And finally, the festival's closing night entry, Edward S. Curtis' In the Land of the Head Hunters (1914), described as a “reflection of contemporary life among the Kwakwaka'wakw people of British Columbia as well as a fiction that combined melodramatic elements with tribal customs.”

Gena Rowlands in A Woman Under the InfluenceAnd what if I find John Cassavetes' A Woman Under the Influence (1974) a big bore? The 2009 Festival of Preservation opening night film was Cassavetes' biggest box office hit up to that point, earning him a best director Oscar nomination and leading lady (and Cassavetes' wife) Gena Rowlands a best actress Oscar nod as well. Check it out … After all, there's always a good chance you'll totally disagree with me.

Note: Good news for those outside L.A. Twelve films from the Archive's 14th Festival of Preservation will tour North America after the Los Angeles event. Some of the cities scheduled for the tour are New York; Washington; Chicago; Columbus, OH; Houston; and Vancouver, BC.

Photos: Courtesy of UCLA Film & Television Archives

Vitagraph Logo

Schedule and synopses from the UCLA Film & Television Archives press release:

Photos: Courtesy of UCLA Film & Television Archives

John CassavetesFriday, March 13
7:30 p.m
Preservation funded by The Film Foundation and GUCCI
(1974, John Cassavetes)
Over 30 years after its self-distributed release, screenwriter-director John Cassavetes' masterpiece retains the power to shock and unnerve for its raw, often harrowing depiction of a blue-collar Los Angeles family on the rocks. At its trembling heart, Gena Rowlands' performance as Mabel Longhetti, wife of everyman Nick (Peter Falk) and mother of three, stands as a virtually unmatched tour de force. As a woman struggling to reconcile who she thinks she should be—as wife, mother, lover—with the anarchic spirit she really is, Mabel is the kind of complex woman's role that is still all too rare in Hollywood's output.
Faces International Films, Inc. PROD: Sam Shaw. SCR: J. Cassavetes. CINE: Mitchell Breit. ED: David Armstrong, Sheila Viseltear, Beth Bergeron. CAST: Peter Falk, Gena Rowlands, Fred Draper, Lady Rowlands, Katherine Cassavetes.
35mm, 155 min.


Georgia Hale, George K. Arthur in The Salvation Hunters

Saturday, March 14
7:30 p.m.
Preservation funded by The Stanford Theatre Foundation
(1925, Josef von Sternberg)
Josef von Sternberg's first film—shot for less than $4,800 on location in San Pedro, Chinatown and the San Fernando Valley—was possibly Hollywood's first “independent” production. The gritty realism of its locations, the lack of artifice in its story and the lower depths of its characters shocked audiences and the industry alike. The film remains thoroughly modern. Sternberg's images thrive on composition and stasis. His ending resolves nothing and yet everything is different. The Salvation Hunters made a star not only of Sternberg, but also of Georgia Hale, who would play opposite Chaplin in The Gold Rush (1925).
Academy Photoplays. PROD/SCR/ED: J. von Sternberg. CINE: Edward Gheller. CAST: George K. Arthur, Georgia Hale, Bruce Guerin, Otto Matiesen, Nellie Bly Baker.
35mm, silent, 72 min.

Feature preceded by:

Preservation funded by The Stanford Theatre Foundation
(1933, M.G. MacPherson)
Oil was produced by a Los Angeles collective of amateur filmmakers, called “Artkino,” who here attempted a lyric documentary from the point of view of the oil itself.
CINE: Jean Michelson.
35mm, silent, 8 min.

*Live musical accompaniment will be provided.


Young America by Frank Borzage

Sunday, March 15
7 p.m.
Preservation funded by Twentieth Century Fox
(1932, Frank Borzage)
The typical Borzage film of the early '30s was characterized by pictorial lyricism and a tender portrayal of young lovers who found poetry and beauty in the midst of poverty.
In Young America, Borzage's usual pair of lovers was replaced by two male school chums in their early teens, Art Simpson (Tommy Conlon) and Edward “Nutty” Beamish (Raymond Borzage, the director's nephew). Borzage so invests their friendship with chaste ardor and transformative power that the young actors easily outshine stars Spencer Tracy and Doris Kenyon as a married couple who take responsibility for Art after a scrape with the law.
Fox Film Corp/Frank Borzage Production. SCR: William Conselman. CINE: George Schneiderman. ED: Margaret Clancy. CAST: Spencer Tracy, Doris Kenyon, Ralph Bellamy, Tommy Conlon, Raymond Borzage.
35mm, 71 min.

Preservation funded by Twentieth Century Fox
(1930, Frank Borzage)
The great Irish tenor John McCormack made his talking picture debut in this sentimental drama about a disconsolate concert singer who retires to a country village until the unexpected return of his former sweetheart and her two children inspires him to resume his career. In English-speaking countries, the film was released in an all-talking version, but a special version with additional songs and silent intertitles instead of spoken dialogue was prepared for international release. We will screen the talking version in its entirety, followed by excerpts from the international version.
Fox Film Corp. SCENE: Tom Barry, Sonya Levien. CINE: Al Brick. ED: Margaret V. Clancey. CAST: John McCormack, Alice Joyce, Maureen O'Sullivan, Tom Clifford, J. M. Kerrigan.
35mm, 85 min.

*IN PERSON: Robert Gitt, Preservation Officer, UCLA Film & Television Archive.


Wednesday, March 18
7:30 p.m.
Preservation funded by The Stanford Theatre Foundation
(1934, J. Stuart Blackton)
Pioneer filmmaker J. Stuart Blackton was intrigued by the idea of a film about the history of the movies as early as 1915. He finally released a 52-minute feature called The Film Parade that was shown in New York and favorably reviewed by Variety in 1933. He continued tinkering with the film for the rest of the decade, and later filmmakers and distributors used Blackton's footage for stock or to produce their own variously titled and truncated versions. The Archive has completed restoration of the original 1933 version in 35mm, with tinted sequences and Blackton's heartfelt narration.
SCR: J.S. Blackton. CAST: Marian Blackton, Violet Blackton, Margerie Bonner, J. Stuart Blackton Jr., J. S. Blackton.
35mm, 70 min.

Years before he began work on his groundbreaking The Film Parade, J. Stuart Blackton

had previously etched his name in cinematic history as a founder of the Vitagraph
Company of America. The Archive has preserved a number of the surviving Vitagraph films, including the two titles selected for this program.

John Bunny in Her Crowning Glory

Preservation funded by the American Film Institute/National Endowment for the Arts Film Preservation Grants Program
(1911, Laurence Trimble)
An early entry in the series of John Bunny/Flora Finch comedy vehicles, Her Crowning Glory derives its plot from a facetious twist of the Samson and Delilah story.
Vitagraph. CAST: John Bunny, Flora Finch, Helene Costello, Mae Costello, Edith Halleran.
35mm, silent, 16 min.

Preservation funded by Cinema 89
(1911, William Humphrey)
A Tale of Two Cities (1911) was one of several pioneering efforts by the Vitagraph, a.k.a. “Big V,” to break away from the then industry-standard one-reeler to produce films of feature length. The studio successfully released the film in one-reel parts over the span of a week to test the public's appetite for longer and more complex narrative fare. Critics of the day lauded their efforts and suggested to theatre owners that the three parts be shown together, spurring Vitagraph to release their next three-reel literary adaptation (Vanity Fair, 1911) as one contiguous feature film. A Tale of Two Cities stars Maurice Costello (whose daughter plays the mischievous little girl in Her Crowning Glory) and Florence Turner, and helped launch the careers of Norma Talmadge, James Morrison and Lillian Walker.
Vitagraph. SCR: Eugene Mullin. Based on the novel by Charles Dickens. CAST: Maurice Costello, Florence Turner, Leo Delaney, Charles Kent, William Humphrey.
35mm, silent, 53 min.

*Live musical accompaniment will be provided.

*IN PERSON: Robert Gitt, Preservation Officer, UCLA Film & Television Archive.

Evelyn Keyes, Van Heflin in The Prowler
Evelyn Keyes, Van Heflin in The Prowler

Photos: Courtesy of UCLA Film & Television Archives

Schedule and synopses from the UCLA Film & Television Archives press release.

Friday, March 20
7:30 p.m.
Preservation funded by the Film Noir Foundation and The Stanford Theatre Foundation
(1951, Joseph Losey)
Set in a shadowy post-war Los Angeles, The Prowler focuses on a wealthy but neglected housewife (Evelyn Keyes) who spends her evenings alone, with only her husband's voice on the radio for company. When she's spooked by a peeping tom, a calculating cop (Van Heflin) answers the call, turning her ordered life upside down. The Prowler was the third of five films Losey made in Hollywood, and the most critically and commercially successful. The following year Losey was officially blacklisted and soon embarked on a career abroad where he eventually earned a reputation as a European auteur.
Horizon Pictures, Inc. PROD: Sam Spiegel. SCR: Hugo Butler, Dalton Trumbo. From a story by Robert Thoeren and Hans Wilhelm. CINE: Arthur Miller. ED: Paul Weatherwax. CAST: Van Heflin, Evelyn Keyes, John Maxwell, Katharine Warren, Emerson Treacy.
35mm, 92 min.

Lawrence Tierney in The Hoodlum

Preservation funded by The Stanford Theatre Foundation
(1951, Max Nossek)
This briskly paced, low-budget, B film noir features quintessential tough guy, Lawrence Tierney, in a most fitting role as Vincent Lubeck, an angry, brooding, habitual criminal, who after five years in the joint is released on parole to live with his mother and brother Johnny (played by Tierney's real life brother, Edward). Sent to work at the family gas station, Vincent grows bitter and restless, and begins plotting his escape from the menial labor of his humdrum life. Completely void of fear, pain and compassion, Vincent has no qualms about destroying everyone and everything in his path.
Jack Schwarz Productions, Inc./Eagle-Lion Classics, Inc. PROD: Maurice Kosloff. SCR: Sam Neuman, Nat Tanchuck. CINE: Clark Ramsey. ED: Jack Killifer. CAST: Lawrence Tierney, Allene Roberts, Marjorie Riordan, Lisa Golm, Edward Tierney.
35mm, 63 min.

*IN PERSON: author James Ellroy (“The Black Dahlia”), author Eddie Muller (“Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir”).


Joe Morton in Brother from Another Planet

Saturday, March 21
7:30 p.m.
Preservation funded by Anarchists' Convention
(1984, John Sayles)
For his fourth feature, John Sayles gave the well-worn sci-fi trope of the alien a revitalized punch with African American actor Joe Morton starring as a visitor from beyond the stars. After ditching his malfunctioning spaceship at Ellis Island, Morton's mute newcomer, known only as “The Brother,” navigates the customs of Manhattan's residents while searching for a place to call home. From his initial refuge in a Harlem bar, he encounters a cross section of earthlings who read him—and the world—through a puzzling prism of race, class and ethnicity, a scenario Sayles taps for both brilliant comedy and commentary.
A-Train Films/Cinecom Pictures. PROD: Peggy Rajski, Maggie Renzi. SCR/ED: J. Sayles. CINE: Ernest R. Dickerson. CAST: Joe Morton, Rosanna Carter, Ray Ramirez, Yves Rene, Peter Richardson.
35mm, 108 min.

Return of the Secaucus Seven by John Sayles

Preservation funded by Anarchists' Convention
(1980, John Sayles)
Made several years before director Lawrence Kasdan's better known The Big Chill (1983), John Sayles' directorial debut is a sometimes funny, sometimes melancholy look at the lives of a group of formerly radical friends, who gather for a reunion in New Hampshire 10 years after they were arrested in Secaucus, New Jersey while driving to a demonstration in Washington, D.C. Sayles, in what has become his trademark style, underplays the drama of these rather ordinary lives, giving us a group portrait of persons settling uncomfortably into the middle class existences they once abhorred. Lacking Chill's melodrama, what emerges is a film about a baby boomer generation growing old before its time.
Salsipuedes Productions. PROD: William Aydelot, Jeffrey Nelson. SCR/ED: J. Sayles. CINE: Austin de Besche. CAST: Bruce MacDonald, Maggie Renzi, Adam LeFevre, Maggie
Cousineau, Gordon Clapp.
35mm, 110 min.

Features preceded by:

Preservation funded by The Andrew J. Kuehn Jr. Foundation
35mm, 2 min.


Sunday, March 22
7 p.m.
Any discussion of early comedy will inevitably include Hal Roach. Whether directing, writing or producing, Roach enjoyed success with a number of leading comedians, such as Charley Chase. But for every household name, there were other less well-known players whose appeal also contributed to Roach's success. Chase's brother, James Parrott, for instance, starred in a number of Roach shorts, while names such as Glenn Tryon, Arthur Stone and Eddie Boland are overlooked because of the difficulty of seeing their films on screen. Accordingly, this program features the work of those unsung Roach comedians who deserve a second, if not a first, look.

Preservation funded by The Stanford Theatre Foundation
(1921, Fred C. Newmeyer)
Lloyd's familiar glasses character is found telling tall stories, and riding even taller in the saddle.
Hal Roach Studios. PROD: H. Roach. SCR: H. Roach, Sam Taylor. CAST: Harold Lloyd, Mildred Davis, James Kelly.
35mm, approx. 30 min.

Preservation funded by The Stanford Theatre Foundation
(1928, Fred Guiol)
Max Davidson's crazy behavior fails to scare away a potential suitor for his daughter but manages to open the floodgates for all to join him.
Hal Roach Studios. PROD: H. Roach. SCR: Leo McCarey. CINE: Len Powers. ED: Richard Currier. CAST: Max Davidson, Bill Elliot, Marion Byron, Edgar Kennedy.
35mm, approx. 20 min.

Preserved by The Stanford Theater Foundation and UCLA Film & Television Archive
(1926, Leo McCarey)
Charley Chase was one of the bigger stars for Roach, and continued making shorts like this one into the sound years.
Hal Roach Studios. PROD: H. Roach. CINE: Harry Gersted. ED: Richard Currier. CAST: Charley Chase, Katherine Grant.
35mm, approx. 25 min.

Funding provided by the American Film Institute/National Endowment for the Arts Film Preservation Grants Program
(1923, J.A. Howe)
For those who forget that the brother of Charley Chase, known here as James Parrott,
also starred in comedic shorts before permanently adopting the director's role.
Hal Roach Studios. PROD: H. Roach. CAST: James Parrott, Jobyna Ralston, George Rowe.
35mm, approx. 11 min.

Preserved by The Stanford Theater Foundation and UCLA Film & Television Archive
(1924, Hampton Del Ruth)
Known primarily as a western sidekick in the sound years, Arthur Stone delivers a quintessential Roach performance which will remind modern audiences of Pee Wee Herman.
Hal Roach Studios. PROD: H. Roach. CINE: Frank Young. ED: T. J. Crizer. CAST: Arthur Stone, Olive Borden, Fay Wray, Kewpie Morgan.
35mm, approx. 25 min.

Preservation funded by The Packard Humanities Institute and The Stanford Theatre Foundation
(1926, Fred Guiol)
Like James Parrott, Glenn Tryon would go on to direct in later years after serving his time in Hal Roach shorts.
Hal Roach Studios. PROD: H. Roach. CAST: Glenn Tryon, Blanche Mehaffey.
35mm, approx. 25 min.

*Total running time of films: approx. 136 min.

*Live musical accompaniment by Cliff Retallick.

The Naked Eye by Louis Clyde Stoumen
The Naked Eye by Louis Clyde Stoumen

Photos: Courtesy of UCLA Film & Television Archives

Schedule and synopses from the UCLA Film & Television Archives press release.

Thursday, March 26
7:30 p.m.
Preservation funded by The Film Foundation
(1957, Louis Clyde Stoumen)
Director Louis Clyde Stoumen's evocative documentary on the art and history of photography begins with a quote from Ecclesiastes—"Truly the light is sweet…”—before a quick recounting of the medium's 100-year technical development. From there, Stoumen sharpens focus with extended narrative sequences on key artists. Alfred Eisenstaedt and Weegee are each featured while the second half is largely devoted to Edward Weston. In addition to traditional live-action footage, Stoumen, who taught film production classes at UCLA, brought scores of stills to life using a technique he called “photographic animation,” predating Ken Burns' signature style by decades.
Camera Eye Pictures, Inc. PROD/SCR/CINE/ED: L. C. Stoumen. CAST: Raymond Massey, Weegee, Edward Weston, Brett Weston, Cole Weston.
35mm, 71 min.

Feature preceded by:

Preservation funded by The Stanford Theatre Foundation
(1958, Louis Clyde Stoumen, Abram D. Murray)
Stoumen's short dramatic film about an emotionally troubled boy.
Camera Eye Pictures, Inc. PROD: Bernice Block. SCR: Alan Marcus. CINE: Edward R.
Martin. ED: Harry Robin. Narrator: Robert Ryan. CAST: Hugh Corcoran, Biff Elliot,
Beverly Dvorett.
35mm, approx. 27 min.

Preservation funded by The Stanford Theatre Foundation
(1950, Louis Clyde Stoumen, Ed Spiegel)
An experimental short co-directed by Stoumen while he was a graduate student at USC.
35mm, 4 min.

*IN PERSON: Nancy Mysel, Film Preservationist, UCLA Film & Television Archive.


Steve Buscemi in Parting GlancesSaturday, March 28
7:30 p.m.
Preservation funded by The Andrew J. Kuehn Jr. Foundation with additional support provided by the members of Outfest
(1986, Bill Sherwood)
In 1985, while the gay community seethed over the Reagan administration's indifference to AIDS, writer-director Bill Sherwood filmed this charmingly quirky piece that gracefully placed a human face on the epidemic. Over the course of 24 hours, lovers Michael (Richard Ganoung) and Robert (John Bolger) emotionally joust as Robert prepares to leave for overseas. A quasi-autobiographical character, Michael confronts his separation anxiety with ironic fortitude as he faces Robert's departure and the illness of his ex-lover and best friend, Nick, vividly played by Steve Buscemi. A meditation on the complexities in all relationships, Sherwood's film is also an atmospheric valentine to New York City.
Rondo Pictures. PROD: Yoram Mandel, Arthur Silverman. SCR/ED: B. Sherwood. CINE: Jacek Laskus. CAST: Richard Ganoung, John Bolger, Steve Buscemi, Adam Nathan, Kathy Kinney.
35mm, 90 min.

Feature preceded by:

(1970, Pat Rocco)
16mm, 13 min.


Thomas Edison

Woman SuffrageSunday, March 29
7 p.m.
Preservation funded by the National Film Preservation Foundation, The Packard Humanities Institute and The Stanford Theatre Foundation
The UCLA Film & Television Archive recently completed a project funded by the National Film Preservation Foundation. With this funding, some of the oldest and most endangered newsreels in the collection have been preserved and restored. The newsreels include both silent era and sound newsreels from the first year of sound production (1929-30). Highlights from the silent era will include an obituary for President Theodore Roosevelt and the newsreel story “Women Besiege Capitol To Urge Suffrage Bills.” Sound era selections will feature such titles as “Coolidge Reviews Bay State Fete” and “Edison Welcomes 'Brightest' Boys.” [above, Thomas Edison]
35mm, total running time of entire program: approx. 100 min.

*IN PERSON: Jeffrey Bickel, Newsreel Preservationist, UCLA Film & Television Archive.
Co-presented with Sony Pictures and Research Video


The Everly BrothersWednesday, April 1 / Free admission!
7:30 p.m.
Preservation funded by Sony Pictures Entertainment
(ABC, 7/8/70 - 9/16/70) Directed by Marty Pasetta
The Everly Brothers, Don and Phil, had guested on many music and variety shows by the time they became TV headliners with this summer-replacement series in 1970. Though it lasted only three months, “Johnny Cash Presents The Everly Brothers Show” rides high on the Everly's engaging personalities, gorgeous harmonies and rapport with fellow musicians. The Archive has compiled a selection of highlights from seven of the show's 10 broadcasts, including musical numbers by Don and Phil, Johnny Cash, Linda Ronstadt, Tina Turner and Stevie Wonder. This program also includes a compilation of the Everly Brothers pre-1970 TV appearances, featuring many of their early hits.
A Halcyon Productions Presentation. EX. PROD: Harold D. Cohen, Joe Byrne. PROD: Bernie Kukoff, Jeff Harris. WRITE: David Pollock, Elias Davis, Mike Settle, Jeff Harris, B. Kukoff. MUSIC: Jack Elliott, Allyn Ferguson. HOSTS: Don Everly, Phil Everly.
BetaSP, 90 min.

*IN PERSON: Dan Einstein, Television Archivist, UCLA Film & Television Archive.

*FREE Admission!


Point of Order! - Joseph McCarthy Army Hearings

Friday, April 3
7:30 p.m.
Preservation funded by The Film Foundation
(1963, Emile de Antonio)
Point of Order! is at once a landmark in political cinema and an incendiary aesthetic statement. Constructed entirely from CBS kinescopes of the controversial 1954 Army-McCarthy hearings, the film famously eschewed both expert testimony and narration. Said a characteristically blunt Emile de Antonio, narration is “inherently fascist and condescending.” But like the best of the concurrent direct cinema works, Point of Order!'s attitudes are constructed in its edit: a surface-level “objectivity” that is, in reality, brilliantly fabricated. The result is not just a searing indictment of McCarthyism, but an exposé of the fissures in American democracy as filtered through the new medium of television.
Point Films. PROD: E. de Antonio, Daniel Talbot. SCR: E. de Antonio. ED: Robert Duncan.
35mm, 97 min.

Feature preceded by:

Sunday by Dan DrasinPreservation funded by The Film Foundation
(1961, Dan Drasin)
A stunning document of the police crackdown on a peaceful demonstration of folk singers in Washington Square Park in 1961.
35mm, 17 min.

*IN PERSON: Dan Drasin (director of Sunday), Robert Duncan (editor of Point of Order!) and Douglas Kellner (UCLA professor and author of “Media Spectacle”).


Michael Redgrave, Joan Bennett in The Secret Beyond the Door

Saturday, April 4
7:30 p.m.
Preservation funded by The Film Foundation and the Franco American Cultural Fund, a partnership of the Directors Guild of America; Société des Auteurs, Compositeurs et Éditeurs de Musique; the Writers Guild of America, West; and the Motion Picture Association of America
(1948, Fritz Lang)
Like many Hollywood woman's melodramas, Fritz Lang's The Secret Beyond The Door begins with a plot twist: a young woman marries a man she barely knows and soon suspects he's trying to drive her insane. Gothic themes of madness, mixed with Freudian psychoanalysis were particularly en vogue in the late 1940s and the story here affords Lang the opportunity to indulge in expressionist shadowscapes as well as his long-standing interest in architecture and its metaphoric connotations. Ultimately, however, the film is less about psychoanalysis, than about Stanley Cortez's beautifully photographed post-modern pastiche of gothic and expressionist imagery.
Diana Productions, Inc./Universal. PROD: F. Lang. SCR: Silvia Richards. Based on a novel by Rufus King. CINE: Stanley Cortez. ED: Arthur Hilton. CAST: Joan Bennett, Michael Redgrave, Anne Revere, Barbara O'Neil, Natalie Schafer.
35mm, 99 min.

Feature preceded by:

Preservation funded by The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
Subjects include the influence of airplane design on cars, the use of flying discs to illustrate aerodynamics and the completion of the “Big Eye” at Caltech's Mt. Palomar observatory.
35mm, 10 min.

Lena Rivers
Lena Rivers

Schedule and synopses from the UCLA Film & Television Archives press release.

Sunday, April 5
7 p.m.
Preservation funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Film Preservation Foundation and the Society for Cinephiles
LENA RIVERS (top photo)
(1914, director unknown)
This version of the classic drama Lena Rivers by Cosmos Features was one of a pair released in 1914 (the other from Garrison Films) yet it appears to be the only version still in existence. What also makes the Cosmos version unique is its use of comedy — as in the portrayals of the Slovendyke siblings by actors Charlie De Forest and Carolyn Rankin—to balance out the drama's heavy-handedness. As a result, the film offers modern audiences something more than just a window into the social mores of the past: Namely, laughs!
Cosmos Feature Film Corp. SCR: Beulah Poynter. Based on the novel by Mary Jane Holmes and the play by B. Poynter. CAST: B. Poynter, Lizzie Conway, Robert Tabor, Charlie De Forest, Charles Hutchinson.
35mm, 60 min.

He Fell in Love with His Wife by William Desmond Taylor

Preservation funded by the National Endowment for the Arts
(1916, William D. Taylor)
One of the few surviving works of silent era director William Desmond Taylor, this melodrama revolves around an unsuspecting housewife, Alida Armstrong (Florence Rockwell), who tragically finds herself a homeless social outcast when the truth about her bigamist husband is revealed. Enter widower-farmer James Holcroft (Forrest Stanley), whose need for a housekeeper compels him to propose a loveless marriage of convenience to the hapless Alida. This unlikely pair discovers their path to happiness fraught with danger, although Taylor wisely alleviates the story's darker overtones with delightful scenes of humor and rustic charm.
Paramount Pictures Corp. SCR: Julia Crawford Ivers. Based on the novel by E. P. Roe. CAST: Florence Rockwell, Forrest Stanley, Page Peters, Lydia Yeamans Titus, Howard Davis.
35mm, 50 min.

*Live musical accompaniment by Michael Mortilla.


Amon 'n' Andy in Check and Double Check

Monday, April 6
7:30 p.m.
Preservation funded by Rich Correll
(1930, Melville Brown)
By 1930, NBC's “Amos 'n' Andy” was a radio phenomenon broadcasting six nights a week to over 30 million listeners. With interest bordering on a national craze, anticipation for the team's heavily promoted film debut was high. Photoplay predicted, “Fifty million Amos 'n' Andy fans [would] mob the theaters to see their idols for the first time.” Viewed three-quarters of a century later, the film offers an invaluable glimpse into the complex, indelicate racial dynamics of the Depression era. The film is also notable as the Hollywood feature debut of composer and bandleader Duke Ellington.
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc. PROD: William LeBaron. SCR: J. Walter Ruben, Bert Kalmar, Harry Ruby. CINE: William Marshall. ED: Claude Berkeley. CAST: Freeman F. Gosden, Charles J. Correll, Sue Carol, Irene Rich, Ralf Harold.
35mm, 71 min.

Phllips Holmes, William Powell in Pointed Heels

Preservation funded by the American Film Institute/National Endowment for the Arts Preservation Grants Program
(1929, A. Edward Sutherland)
A “backstage” musical of the early sound era, Pointed Heels is a must see for two reasons. The first is William Powell, displaying all his suave appeal as a dapper Broadway producer. Although he doesn't get the girl, Powell is a delight to watch. The second reason is Helen “Sugar” Kane, the Broadway singer who became the uncredited model for Betty Boop. In a rare screen role, Kane here interpolates her signature “boop-boop-a-doop” in the numbers “Ain'tcha?” and “I Have to Have You.” This preservation also includes a two-color Technicolor sequence, not an uncommon occurrence at the time.
Paramount Famous Lasky Corp. SCENE: Florence Ryerson, John V. A. Weaver. Based on the short story by Charles William Brackett. CINE: Rex Wimpy. ED: Jane Loring. CAST: William Powell, Fay Wray, Helen Kane, Richard Skeets Gallagher, Phillips Holmes.
35mm, 61 min.

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9 Comments to UCLA Festival of Preservation: From Fritz Lang to John Sayles

  1. Andrew Bunchuk

    Looking for Moscow Moods
    Yasha Bunchuk - Himself
    Academy Award Nominated 1936

    Any info or direction would be greatly appreciated!
    Thank you!


    Hugh Hefner has many credits for his support and donation to the UCLA Festival Proservation Project. Tal Henry, Jr. thanks all of the personel that made the Tal Henry and His North Carolinians Orchestra possible for showing on the night of April 25, 2009. I would like to thank Hugh Hefner personally for his contributions to the Film Industry.

    I have a 400 page book of the pictorial history of Tal Henry and His North Carolinians as they were more than a regional small town band. Colored photos and articles will proof to be extremely interesting to students, the elder, ageless group what enjoys music in the 1920's, 1930's, 1940's. It's a book for engaging in the wonderful past history through out the country. In the end, one will find that Tal Henry was booked at the same famous theatres, ballrooms, casinos, parks, auditorium and other venues.

    Sara R. Henry and Tal Henry, Jr.

  3. Lucy Nell

    It's funny how William Powell's image changed from the silent era to the early 1930s and then again after he went to MGM. There had always been something slimy and untrustworthy about him until MGM cleaned up his image. Or perhaps it was Myrna Loy who did it.

  4. Claude

    I enjoyed the film The Prowler but i ****hated***** the introduction by James Ellroy and that other person. Ellroy acted like a jerk thinking he was funny. He wasn't and just spent too much time talking when we should be watching the movie.

    I hope that ucla will have more interesting and more considerate presenters for the next films.

  5. greatborge

    The Secret Beyond the Door is a good movie, very much a psychological film noir. Joan Bennett was an underated actress who should be more respected today. She appeared in many film noirs at that time.

    I remember The Macomber Affair, The Reckless Moment, The Woman on the Beach, The Woman in the Window, and Scarlet Street.

    There were more.

  6. marla

    What a wonderful film lineup!
    I hope that The Sensation Hunters will make it to NY!

  7. loretta

    The Return of the Secaucus Seven is a much better film than The Big Chill. It wasn't as successful because it has little known performers whereas The Big Chill had lots of big names like William Hurt and Jobeth Williams. But don't be fooled by big Hollywood stars. The Return of the Secaucus is the real thing!

  8. Jose Hernandez

    Darn! Missed “The Salvation Hunters” last night!!!

  9. Clark Gray

    I noticed that you will be screening TEX McLEOD “A ROPE AND A STORY” soon. That's great! He was such an interesting man. I just wanted to mention to anyone who is a fan of Tex that I am writing a biography about him. More information can be found at http://www.texmcleod.com .

    Best of luck with your film series.

    Clark Gray
    P.S. - Sorry, forgot to tell you great post!