Our next event: Kiss Me, Stupid (1964) at Art House Crouch End

We return to Art House with a rare screening of Billy Wilder’s Kiss Me, Stupid (1964). A caustic and sometimes melancholy farce of sex and marital infidelity, Kiss Me, Stupid is an underrated classic from the director of Sunset Boulevard (1950), Some Like It Hot (1959) and The Apartment (1960).

Dean Martin stars as a thinly disguised version of himself (‘Dino’), a philandering Rat Pack-style singer who is stranded in the small town of Climax, Nevada. Here is taken under the wing of Orville Spooner (Ray Walston), a struggling songwriter who lives with his young wife Zelda (Felicia Farr). Orville hopes to persuade Dino to perform one of his songs, but he is convinced that Dino will seduce Zelda. He decides to solve the problem by recruiting local waitress ‘Polly the Pistol’ (Kim Novak) to pose as Zelda.

Acerbic and sexually frank, Kiss Me, Stupid caused an uproar when it was released and was even condemned by the Catholic League of Decency. Decried by many as immoral and tasteless, it was defended by critic Joan Didion, who described it as a ‘profoundly affecting film’, ‘suffused with the despair of an America many of us prefer not to know.’

Join us at Art House to discover this funny, twisted, and bittersweet film, with an introduction from curator Iris Veysey.

A digital projection at Art House Crouch End, London, 13th May 2018. Book your tickets here.

 

Our next event: They Made Me a Fugitive (1947) at the Cube Microplex, Bristol

Brazilian director Alberto Cavalcanti (a self-proclaimed ‘surrealist with a tendency towards realism’) followed a successful run at Ealing Studios with this British noir starring Trevor Howard as Clem Morgan, an ex-RAF man who, having slipped into a life of petty crime, finds himself framed for a murder he didn’t commit. From prison Clem plots his escape–and his revenge. A tight thriller shot in brooding black-and-white by Otto Heller, They Made Me a Fugitive is a brutal story of desperate times in post-war London.

Screening from 35mm on 17th December 2017 at Cube Microplex, Bristol. Ticket details to follow.

 

Our next event: Luchino Visconti’s Sandra (1965) at ArtHouse Crouch End

We’re delighted to be presenting a matinee screening of Sandra, Luchino Visconti’s 1965 take on the Electra story, at the lovely ArtHouse Cinema in Crouch End on 13th August 2017.

When Sandra (Claudia Cardinale) returns to her family’s Tuscan estate with her new husband (Michael Craig), old secrets and long-held resentments rise to the surface. Sandra cannot forgive her mother for remarrying after her father’s murder at Auschwitz; nor can her intense relationship with brother Gianni (Jean Sorel) be ignored. Shot in dramatically stark black-and white, Visconti’s dark, troubling drama deserves to be seen on the big screen.

You can buy tickets on the door or online here. See you there!

Our next event: Tod Browning’s The Devil-Doll (1936)

We are thrilled to announce that our next event will be a 35mm presentation of Tod Browning’s deliciously strange horror, The Devil-Doll (1936). Released just four years after Browning’s most famous work, Freaks (1932), Devil-Doll stars Lionel Barrymore as Lavond, an escaped Devil’s Island prisoner who was wrongly convicted. Lavond’s companion, Marcel, is a scientist who has discovered a way to shrink people to a sixth of their size. Using the shrinking method, Lavond begins to exact his revenge upon the people who framed him, all whilst disguising himself as an elderly woman. Based on Abraham Merritt’s 1932 novel, Burn, Witch, Burn!, The Devil-Doll is a rarely seen gem packed with visual trickery and odd-ball characters.

Screening at Genesis Cinema on 6th April 2017. Tickets here.

Music and Melodrama: A Mini Minelliathon

In preparation for our screening of The Cobweb, I took the opportunity to work my way through some of Vincente Minnelli’s extensive filmography. I didn’t see them all – Minnelli made some 34 feature films and a fair few remain unavailable in the UK – but it was a spectacular ride all the same. Here’s a round-up of the ones I did see:

Cabin in the Sky (1943)

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Minnelli’s first credit as a director was this adaptation of the 1940 Broadway musical, Cabin in the Sky. Produced by Arthur Freed at MGM (where Minnelli spent his entire career as a director), it features an entirely African American cast led by Ethel Waters, Eddie Anderson,  and a scene-stealing Lena Horne. The film’s depiction of race is hotly debated – does it cleverly subvert racist stereotypes or just reinforce them? – but Waters’ performance is lastingly lovely. Watch it for her rendition of ‘Happiness is Just a Thing Called Joe.’

Meet Me in St Louis (1944)

Meet Me in St Louis

Melodrama lurks just beneath the sugary surface of Meet Me in St Louis. It was years since I’d seen the Christmas classic about a year in the life of the Smith family. This time around I was struck by its incredible strangeness. A largely sentimental and cosy family drama, it has some truly startling moments, not least Tootie’s bleak, pale-faced sobbing and subsequent snowman massacre. Continue reading Music and Melodrama: A Mini Minelliathon

“Soapy and sophisticated, wild and wise”

Interested in coming to see The Cobweb at Genesis but not sure what to expect? Here are some great pieces of writing on the film and Minnelli:

In the Moment: Gloria Grahame in The CobwebMatías Piñeiro, Film Comment, 2015

Garlands and cobwebs: Vincente Minnelli’s ecstatic vision, Keith Uhlich, BFI, 2015

Great Directors: Vincente Minnelli, Joe McElhaney, Senses of Cinema, 2004

The Cobweb (1955), Farran Nehme, 2012

The Vincente Minnelli File – Part 1, Peter Bogdanovich, IndieWire, 2014

Review, Emma Simmons, Little White Lies