Universal Studios horror: Alfred Hitchcock & James Whale + ‘Tarantula’ Academy screenings
As part of the year-long celebration of Universal Pictures’ centenary, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present “Universal’s Legacy of Horror,” a month-long series of screenings of classic horror films in October – right in time for Halloween. (Image: Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds poster.)
“Universal’s Legacy of Horror” kicks off on Tuesday, Oct. 2, with The Bride of Frankenstein (1935), in which Valerie Hobson (not Elsa Lanchester) has the title role, and Dracula (1931), which turned Bela Lugosi into a horror movie icon.
Most of the screenings will be held at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills at 7:30 p.m. on the following Tuesdays:
October 2: James Whale’s The Bride of Frankenstein (1935, newly restored by Universal), with Colin Clive, Boris Karloff, Valerie Hobson, and Elsa Lanchester, and Dracula (1931, newly restored by Universal), with Bela Lugosi, Helen Chandler, and David Manners.
October 9 George Waggner’s The Wolf Man (1941), with Lon Chaney Jr, Claude Rains, Warren William, Ralph Bellamy, Bela Lugosi, Maria Ouspenskaya, Evelyn Ankers, Patric Knowles, and John Landis’ An American Werewolf in London (1981) with David Naughton, Jenny Agutter, and Griffin Dunne.
October 30 The Phantom of the Opera (1925), with Lon Chaney, ’20s Universal star Mary Philbin, and Norman Kerry.
Silent classic The Man Who Laughs screening
Also at 7:30 p.m at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater: on Monday, October 8, a screening of the silent (psychological) horror The Man Who Laughs (1928), with Conrad Veidt, Mary Philbin, and scene-stealer Olga Baclanova.
Additionally, on Saturday, October 27, the Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood will screen Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) and The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (1966) at 2 p.m. Oscars Outdoors, the Academy’s open-air theater across the street from the Dunn, will screen The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957) and Tarantula (1955), featuring a very young Clint Eastwood in a small role, at 6:30 p.m. Curiously missing from the series if Universal’s biggest horror movie hit ever: Steven Spielberg’s Jaws (1975).
‘Universal’s Legacy of Horror: A Centennial Exhibition’
In conjunction with the screening series, the Academy will present “Universal’s Legacy of Horror: A Centennial Exhibition,” featuring “rare posters, stills and other artifacts celebrating Universal’s distinctive contributions to the classic horror genre and the studio’s founding 100 years ago.” The exhibition will run in the Academy Grand Lobby throughout October. Admission is free.
Passes and tickets may be purchased online at the Academy’s website, by mail, in person at the Academy box office (8949 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills) during regular business hours or, depending on availability, on the night of each screening. For more details, call (310) 247-3600 or visit the Academy’s website.
Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds poster: Courtesy of AMPAS.
Charles Chaplin ‘Limelight’ screening to feature Claire Bloom
Charles Chaplin’s Limelight turns 60 this year. Honoring Chaplin’s last US-made film, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present a 60th anniversary screening of Limelight on Wednesday, October 3, at 7:30 p.m. at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. As an installment of the Jack Oakie Celebration of Comedy in Film – even though Limelight is sheer melodrama – the evening will feature Chaplin “discovery” Claire Bloom and actor Norman Lloyd, who has a supporting role in the film. (Image: Claire Bloom, Charles Chaplin Limelight.)
Set in the London music halls of the 1910s, Limelight was made shortly before Chaplin was barred from reentering the United States because of his political affiliations. Claire Bloom, then 20 years old and in her first important film role, already displays the qualities that would make her one of the best film (and stage) actresses of the last six decades. Other notable Limelight performers are Buster Keaton, who briefly shares the screen with his fellow silent era superstar comedian; Charles Chaplin’s son Sydney Chaplin and young daughter Geraldine Chaplin; and several oldtimers, among them Stuart Holmes, Snub Pollard, and early Chaplin leading lady Edna Purviance.
Limelight: Oscar victory two decades later
Also worth noting is that Limelight earned Charles Chaplin the Academy Award for Best Original Music – twenty years after the film was made. The 1952 drama had its Los Angeles release in 1972, making it eligible for that year’s Academy Awards. After Nino Rota’s nominated The Godfather composition was declared ineligible – it was based on an older Rota score – Limelight was added to the roster of nominees, ultimately taking home the Oscar statuette.
Jack Oakie, I should add, was Chaplin’s sort-of foe in The Great Dictator. Tickets for Limelight are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID. For more information, call (310) 247-3600 or visit the Academy’s website.
Claire Bloom, Charles Chaplin Limelight photo: © Roy Export S.A.S.