Among the upcoming screenings in the November film series of the Library of Congress' Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation in Culpeper, Va., are vehicles for just about everyone, from Charles Chaplin to Dennis Hopper; from Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland to Robin Williams' voice.
I've never seen Disney's Aladdin, though I know it was a big hit when it came out. Robin Williams was particularly praised for his voice work as the Genie – some even went as far as to demand that the Academy come up with Oscars for best voice performance.
No one came up with that demand when Charles Chaplin's The Circus was released, perhaps because the film has no audible dialogue. I'm not a big fan of silent film comedy, but those who are into that will probably enjoy this one. The members of the newly founded Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences surely did, since they decided to give Chaplin a special Oscar for his “versatility and genius in writing, acting, directing and producing The Circus.”
I've never gone see Elem Klimov's Come and See (bad pun intended), a tough Russian World War II drama that from what I've heard is not for the squeamish (or the non-squeamish who simply can't stand on-screen violence). I've never seen Love Finds Andy Hardy, either, because it's not for the faint of heart; I mean, them Hardys are the scariest movie family ever. Even so, once I muster enough courage I need to check out this Andy Hardy entry: I find it fascinating that those (immensely popular) Andy Hardy flicks could be taken as heartwarming representations of American Family Life. Gee, Pops! indeed.
In Easy Rider you can see what happened to the next generation of Gee, Pops'ing Hardys: They grew into aimless, drug-using bikers. Considering their family background, who the hell can blame them? Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda star in this seminal movie that in its own way is as idealized a depiction of the American counterculture of the '60s as the Andy Hardy flicks were idealized depictions of the country's pre-World War II middle-class suburbia. But idealized or no, Jack Nicholson earned an Academy Award nomination as best supporting actor for this one.
The Packard Campus' November series began on the 5th: the three films that have already been shown are The Miracle Worker, which earned Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke Oscars in, respectively, the best actress and best supporting actress categories; Anatole Litvak's anti-Nazi thriller Confessions of a Nazi Spy, starring Edward G. Robinson; and Ride the High Country, a well-made Western that happened to be Randolph Scott's cinematic swan song. (Co-star Joel McCrea would make a couple more film appearances in the '70s.)
Short subjects will be presented before select programs. Titles are subject to change without notice. All Packard Campus programs are free and open to the public. For reservation information, call (540) 827-1079 extension 79994 or (202) 707-9994 during business hours, beginning one week before any given screening. For further information on the theater and film series, visit www.loc.gov/avconservation/theater/.
The Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation is a state-of-the-art facility where the nation's library acquires, preserves and provides access to the world's largest and most comprehensive collection of films, television programs, radio broadcasts and sound recordings.
Packard Campus' November Series Intro
Schedule and film information from the Library of Congress' Packard Campus website:
Thursday, November 05 (7:30 pm.)
THE MIRACLE WORKER (United Artists, 1962)
The story of Anne Sullivan's struggle to teach the blind and deaf Helen Keller how to communicate.
Directed by Arthur Penn.
With Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke.
35 mm, black & white, 106 minutes. Copyright collection print.
Friday, November 06 (7:30 pm.)
CONFESSIONS OF A NAZI SPY (Warner Bros., 1939)
An FBI agent risks his life to infiltrate Nazi sympathizers in the U.S.
Directed by Anatole Litvak.
With Edward G. Robinson and Francis Lederer.
35mm, black & white, 104 minutes. Print preserved by the Library of Congress.
Saturday, November 07 (7:30 pm.)
RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY (MGM, 1962)
Two aging gunslingers sign on to transport gold from a remote mining town. Selected for the National Film Registry in 1994.
Directed by Sam Peckinpah.
With Randolph Scott and Joel McCrea.
35mm, color, 94 minutes. Gift from the Turner Entertainment Company.
Thursday, November 12 (7:30 pm.)
WHO DONE IT? (Universal, 1942)
Two dumb soda jerks dream of writing radio mysteries. When they try to pitch an idea at a radio station, they end up in the middle of a real murder when the station owner is killed during a broadcast.
Directed by Erle C. Kenton.
With Bud Abbott and Lou Costello.
35mm, black & white, 77 minutes. Print preserved by the Library of Congress.
Friday, November 13 (7:30 pm.)
COME AND SEE (Belarusfilm/Kino International, 1985)
The story of eastern Soviet Union villages that were destroyed by German troops in 1943 as seen through the eyes of a teenage boy who loses his home, family and friends. In German and Russian with English subtitles. Scenes of disturbing violence - not for children.
Directed by Elem Klimov.
With Aleksei Kravchenko and lga Mironova.
35 mm, black & white, 144 minutes. Copyright collection print.
Saturday, November 14 (2:00 pm.)
ALADDIN (Walt Disney Pictures, 1992)
Aladdin, a street urchin, falls in love with a princess and inds a magical genie who grants him three wishes.
Directed by Ron Clements and John Musker.
With the voices of Robin Williams, Scott Weinger and Linda Larkin.
35 mm, color, 82 minutes. Copyright collection print.
Thursday, November 19 (7:30 pm.)
LOVE FINDS ANDY HARDY (MGM, 1938)
A small-town boy tries to juggle two girlfriends at once. Selected for the National Film Registry in 2000.
Directed by George B. Seitz.
With Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland.
35mm, black & white, 91 minutes. Print gift from Warner Bros. Pictures.
Friday, November 20 (7:30 pm.)
EASY RIDER (Columbia Pictures Corp., 1969)
A cross-country trip to sell drugs puts two hippie bikers on a collision course with small-town prejudices. Rated R. Selected for the National Film Registry in 1998.
Directed by Dennis Hopper.
With Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda.
35mm, color, 95 minutes. Print gift from Sony Pictures Corp.
Saturday, November 21 (2:00 pm.)
THE KID BROTHER (Paramount, 1927)
The most important family in Hickoryville is (naturally enough) the Hickorys, with sheriff Jim and his tough manly sons Leo and Olin. The timid youngest son (Harold Lloyd), doesn't have the muscles to match up to them, so he has to use his wits to win the respect of his family and win the love of beautiful Mary. Silent comedy with live musical accompaniment by Andrew Simpson.
Directed by J.A. Howe, Lewis Milestone, Ted Wilde.
With Harold Lloyd and Jobyna Ralston.
35mm, black & white, 71 minutes. Copyright collection print.
Images: Courtesy of the Library of Congress