Kiss Me, Stupid at Art House Crouch End, London, 13th May 2018
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.
They Made Me A Fugitive at Cube Cinema, Bristol, 17th December 2017
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.
Sandra at ArtHouse Crouch End, 13th August 2017
We present a matinee screening of Sandra, Luchino Visconti’s 1965 take on the Electra story, at the lovely ArtHouse Cinema in Crouch End.
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.
The Cobweb at Genesis Cinema, 26th January 2017.
We present The Cobweb, Vincente Minnelli’s lavish MGM melodrama. 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.
Simon and Laura at The Cinema Museum, 29th September 2016.
For Scalarama 2016, we present a 35mm screening of Simon and Laura, Muriel Box’s affectionate 1955 satire of the BBC. The eponymous Simon and Laura, played by Peter Finch and Kay Kendall, are a married couple of actors. They are glamorous, famous—and totally broke. Out of work, they reluctantly agree to appear in a TV show following their supposedly blissful home life. A sparkling comedy from one of Britain’s first mainstream female directors, Simon and Laura gleefully sends up the nascent world of reality television.
Introduced by Josephine Botting, Senior Curator of Fiction at the BFI.