It’s too bad I’m posting this a little too late, as the Library of Congress’ Packard Campus Theater welcomed the year 2011 with a screening of one of the best Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers musicals, The Gay Divorcee (1934). And screening tonight at 7:30 p.m. – there’s still time if you live (very) near Culpeper, VA – is the 1982 original TRON, starring Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner.
Also of interest in the upcoming days are My Neighbor Totoro (1988), directed by Hayao Miyazaki, one of the precious few animators out there actually capable of creating magical worlds (sorry, Pixar); John Boorman’s Excalibur (1981), a visually stunning retelling of the Arthurian legends; and Ingmar Bergman’s cryptic Shame (1968), starring Max von Sydow and Liv Ullmann as an apolitical couple who find themselves trapped in the midst of a civil war.
I’ve never been a big fan of Henry King’s Twelve O’Clock High (1949), but this psychological military drama has lots of admirers. Trainspotting launched Danny Boyle’s international career, while The Crowd (1928) may well be King Vidor’s best film. As the working-class wife and mother, Eleanor Boardman, Vidor’s wife at the time, delivers one of the greatest performances of the 1920s.
All shows are free, but children twelve and under must be accompanied by an adult. The theater is at the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation located at 19053 Mt. Pony Rd. in Culpeper, VA.
Reservations are encouraged and can be made one week in advance (for Saturday shows the previous Friday.) Call the information line at (540) 827-1079 ext. 79994 or (202) 707-9994 Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 4:00 p.m. Reservations are held until ten minutes before show time.
The theater lobby will open 45 minutes before show time. Most programs are preceded by an informative slide presentation about the film and music selected by the Recorded Sound Section of the Library of Congress. Short subjects will be presented before select programs. Titles are subject to change without notice.
Thursday, January 6 (7:30 p.m.)
THE GAY DIVORCEE (RKO, 1934)
An unhappily married woman mistakes a suitor for the gigolo hired to end her marriage. Musical, comedy, romance. Directed by Mark Sandrich. With Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Alice Brady, Edward Everett Horton, Erik Rhodes and Eric Blore. Black & White, 107 min.
Friday, January 7 (7:30 p.m.)
TRON (Disney, 1982)
A computer genius falls into the game he’s designed and has to fight an evil intelligence he accidentally created. Science Fiction, action, adventure. Directed by Steven Lisberger. With Jeff Bridges, David Warner and Bruce Boxleitner. Color. 96 min. Rated PG.
Saturday, January 8 (2:00 p.m.)
MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO (Toho,1988)
When two girls move to the country to be near their ailing mother, they have adventures with the wondrous forest spirits who live nearby. Animation, family adventure, fantasy. Directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Japanese, dubbed in English. Color. 86 min. Rated G.
Thursday, January 20 (7:30 p.m.)
TWELVE O’CLOCK HIGH (20th Century Fox, 1949)
The head of a World War II bomber squadron cracks under the pressure. Action, drama, war. Directed by Henry King. With Gregory Peck, Hugh Marlowe and Gary Merrill. Black & White, 132 min. Selected for the National Film Registry in 1998.
Friday, January 21 (7:30 p.m.)
TRAINSPOTTING (Channel Four, 1996)
Set in Edinburgh, the film follows a few days in the life of Mark Renton and his mates; a crew of junkies,
deadbeats, thieves and liars. Crime drama. Directed by Danny Boyle. With Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Johnny Lee Miller and Robert Carlyle. Color. 94 min. Rated R for drug use, language, nudity, sex and violence.
Saturday, January 22 (7:30 p.m.)
EXCALIBUR (Orion, 1981)
King Arthur’s evil half-sister and his wife’s affair with Sir Lancelot threaten his dream of finding the Holy Grail. Adventure, drama, fantasy. Directed by John Boorman. With Nigel Terry, Helen Mirren, Nicholas Clay, Nicol Williamson and Cherie Lunghi. Color. 140 min. Rated R nudity, sex and violence.
Thursday, January 27 (7:30 p.m.)
Bonanza: Enter Mark Twain (NBC, 1959)
With Lorne Greene, Pernell Roberts, Michael Landon, Dan Blocker and Howard Duff. Color. 60 min.
Annie Oakley: Annie and the Brass Collar (Syndicated, 1954)
With Gail Davis, Brad Johnson and Jimmy Hawkins. Black & white, 30 min.
Sugarfoot: The Canary Kid (ABC, 1958)
With Will Hutchins, Frank Albertson and Lonie Blackman., 60 min.
Friday, January 28 (7:30 p.m.)
SKAMMEN (SHAME) (Lopert, 1968)
A politically uninvolved couple suffer the terrifying consequences of being caught up in the midst of a civil war. Drama. In Swedish, subtitled in English. Directed by Ingmar Bergman. With Liv Ullmann and Max von Sydow. Black & White , 103 min.
Rated R nudity, language and violence.
Saturday, January 29 (7:30 p.m.)
THE CROWD (MGM, 1928)
In this compelling silent film, an office worker deals with the simple joys and tragedies of married life. Drama. Directed by King Vidor. With Eleanor Boardman and James Murray. Musical accompaniment by Andrew Simpson. Selected for the National Film Registry in 1989. Black & White, 98 min.
Images: Library of Congress