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.
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)
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)
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
One last bump for our first event of 2017: a 35mm presentation of Vincente Minnelli’s The Cobweb (1955) at Genesis Cinema, this Thursday 26th January. Find us in the new issue of Time Out, which picks the screening as one of the top ten cinema events of the week:
We are delighted to confirm that Peter William Evans, Emeritus Professor of Film Studies at Queen Mary University of London, will be giving a short introduction to The Cobweb on 26th January. Evans’ research interests include Hollywood, Spanish cinema, and British cinema. His publications include Written on the Wind (2013), Top Hat (2010), Carol Reed (2005), and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1996).
We are delighted to announce that our next event will be a 35mm presentation of Vincente Minnelli’s lavish melodrama, The Cobweb (1955). At an exclusive psychiatric clinic, headed by Dr Stewart McIver (Richard Widmark), residents and staff are thrown into turmoil by the decision to replace the library curtains. Everyone has an opinion: from McIver’s frustrated wife (Gloria Grahame) to thorny administrator Victoria Inch (Lillian Gish) to artistic patient Steven Holte (John Kerr). As the debate rages on and the tension ratchets up, the characters slowly unravel. With a touching turn from Lauren Bacall as the widowed art teacher, and a dazzling ensemble cast including Oscar Levant, Fay Wray and Charles Boyer, The Cobweb is a fascinating spectacle realised with Minnelli’s typical eye for extravagant set design.
A 35mm presentation at the wonderful Genesis Cinema, Whitechapel 26th January 2017. Tickets to be released November 2016. We’ll update with further details here, on Twitter and on our Facebook page.