The American Cinematheque's Egyptian Theatre will present six features (and several shorts) made in the dye-transfer Technicolor process (a.k.a. I.B. or “imbibition”), beginning tonight, Sept. 24, at 7:30 p.m. The series ends on Saturday, Sept. 26.
The screening features are Blake Edwards' comedy The Party, starring Peter Sellers; the 1947 Danny Kaye vehicle The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, co-starring Virginia Mayo; Dave Fleischer's animated features Mr. Bug Goes to Town and Gulliver's Travels; and the James Bond flicks On Her Majesty's Secret Service, starring George Lazenby, and the Sean Connery starrer From Russia with Love – by far the best of the Connery films, chiefly because of two great supporting players: Robert Shaw and Lotte Lenya.
Schedule and synopses from the American Cinematheque's website.
Thursday, Sept. 24 - 7:30 PM
Comedy Technicolor Double Feature:
THE PARTY, 1968, MGM Repertory, 99 min. Dir. Blake Edwards. For most of its length, THE PARTY is a wonderfully restrained homage to Jacques Tati, with Peter Sellers in perfect pitch as an awestruck Indian actor who disrupts a chic Hollywood gathering with the help of French songbird Claudine Longet. The final 15 minutes prove that any great joke deserves a totally outrageous punchline. Cinematography by the great Lucien Ballard (THE WILD BUNCH).
THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY, 1947, MGM Repertory, 110 min. Dir. Norman Z. McLeod. Danny Kaye's comic talent finds its perfect showcase in this story of a shy man who lives in two worlds – one real, the other the product of his fanciful imagination. Virginia Mayo and Boris Karloff co-star in this classic (and very loose) adaptation of James Thurber's short story.
Friday, September 25 - 7:30 PM
Animated Technicolor Double Feature:
MR. BUG GOES TO TOWN (a.k.a. HOPPITY GOES TO TOWN), 1941, Paramount, 78 min. Dir. Dave Fleischer. The residents of Bugville have enough trouble dealing with the villainous C. Bagley Beetle, but their problems increase when they learn a skyscraper is to be built on the vacant lot they inhabit. Together the bugs try to find a way to save their homes in this delightful animated musical.
GULLIVER'S TRAVELS, 1939, Paramount, 74 min. A pioneering animated classic from brothers Max and Dave Fleischer (who created Betty Boop and brought Popeye to the screen.) GULLIVER'S TRAVELS was a brave attempt to match the phenomenal popularity of Walt Disney's SNOW WHITE. Adapted from the first part of Jonathan Swift's satirical fantasy, the story follows Gulliver as he lands in the miniaturized land of Lilliput and finds that prejudices come in all sizes. Plus, some surprise short films. Animation historian Jerry Beck will introduce the screening.
Saturday, September 26 - 7:30 PM
Technicolor Double Feature:
ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE, 1969, MGM Repertory, 140 min. Dir. Peter Hunt. When Sean Connery decided to take a hiatus from the role of Bond, producers Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman turned to former male model George Lazenby to play Ian Fleming's super-spy – and wound up with one of the most satisfying (and underrated) of the 1960s Bond films. Lovely Diana Rigg proves more than Bond's match as the two team up to topple scar-faced Ernst Blofeld (Telly Savalas) in the Swiss Alps.
FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, 1963, MGM Repertory, 118 min. Dir. Terence Young. Sean Connery's second 007 outing more than lives up to expectations, with Bond scouring exotic Istanbul for the elusive Lektor decoding machine. He's helped by sly Pedro Armendariz and seductive Russian spy Daniella Bianchi as he is hunted by Aryan super-killer Robert Shaw and sinister, butch Lotte Lenya as stiletto-toed Rosa Kleb. The nerve-shredding fistfight between Connery and Shaw aboard the Orient Express is not to be missed.
'Star Trek: The Motion Picture' Hollywood Screening
The director's cut of Star Trek: The Motion Picture will be screened at the American Cinematheque's Egyptian Theatre on Sunday, Sept. 27, at 5:30 pm. Pre-show elements begin at 5 pm.
As per the Cinematheque's press release, “this program will review the full spectrum of Star Trek's visual achievements and its contributions to the art of narrative design for science fiction. Production Designers John Jefferies, Joseph R. Jennings, Herman Zimmerman and Scott Chambliss, along with moderator and VFX artist Darin R. Dochterman, will take us on a journey using visual clip pods based on design themes such as the ships, the bridge, alien worlds, gadgets & gizmos, and production challenges.
“Collaborating with Dochterman in the selection of the content for this program are Designers Michael and Denise Okuda, authors of The Star Trek Encyclopedia. Included are pre-recorded guest speaker clips from such Star Trek veterans as a concept artist, VFX artist, set decorator, costume designer, graphic artist and producer. The panel and clip show will be presented first.
I know that many people (and critics) were disappointed with Robert Wise's big-screen version of Star Trek. As usual, I'm in the minority as I actually liked the film. I thought the visual effects were quite well made, and there was a certain retro-futuristic charm to the proceedings. And then there's that whole mystical-romantic subplot involving Stephen Collins, Persis Khambatta, warped time/space continuum, and lots of bright lights. Some found it way tacky; I thought it was totally cool.
Schedule and film info from the American Cinematheque's website.
Sunday, Sept. 27 - 5:30 PM
STAR TREK: 40 Years of Designing the Future
Director's Cut! STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE, 1979, Paramount, 132 min. Director Robert Wise, ably assisted by Harold Michelson's (DICK TRACY) otherworldly production design, Jerry Goldsmith's stirring score and a special effects team including Douglas Trumbull, John Dykstra and Ramon Sanchez, delivers the first STAR TREK film as a profound meditation on man's struggle to survive against the negative forces in the universe. With William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Walter Koenig, George Takei, James Doohan, Nichelle Nichols, Persis Khambatta.
Pre-show 5:00 PM, Program 5:30 PM, Film 8:00 PM.