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January 6 - 17, 2002

Treasures from the Harvard Film Archive (Actors A-D)

The Harvard Film Archive pays homage to the art-house programs of a bygone era by assembling a summer season of double-feature screenings drawn from its extensive collection of 7,000 prints. This year, our alphabetical arrangement shifts from film directors to film actors: incomparable legends of the silent cinema and contemporary screen icons, the actresses and leading men of Hollywood and their international counterparts, mainstream stars and independent talents. Included are such electrifying performers as the legendary German actor Emil Jannings; British legends John Gielgud, Alec Guiness, and Lawrence Olivier; and a host of leading ladies from Jean Arthur to Barbara Stanwyck, Julie Christie to Elizabeth Taylor. Some of the film pairings allow us to bring together performers from distinct traditions; others contrast films from the same year or trace the evolution of acting styles. As usual, we have included celebrated art films (Wild Strawberries, Red Desert), masterpieces of silent cinema (The Last Laugh and The Passion of Joan of Arc), and classic comedies (Kind Hearts and Coronets and The Philadelphia Story). 

We again encourage your active participation by offering a single admission fee that provides entry to all the features for a given evening.

Actors A to Z: Treasures from the Harvard Film Archive is supported in part by the Harvard Extension School and the Summer School. Students 18 and under pay only $3.

July 1 (Monday) 7 pm
July 3 (Wednesday) 7 pm

Bibi Andersson: Wild Strawberries (Smultronstallet)

Directed by Ingmar Bergman
Sweden 1957, 35mm, b/w, 97 min.
With Victor Sjoström, Ingrid Thulin
Swedish with English subtitles

One of Bergman’s most celebrated films, Wild Strawberries recounts the story of an elderly professor (played by Scandinavian-cinema veteran Victor Sjoström) who returns to his alma mater to receive an honorary doctorate. During the journey, haunting visions of his childhood and memories of a youthful love affair are rekindled by an encounter with a young hitchhiker. Andersson, who appeared in numerous Bergman films, plays the double role of the modern girl and the lost love from the fields of wild strawberries.

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July 1 (Monday) 8:45 pm
July 3 (Wednesday) 8:45 pm

Jean Arthur: Mr. Deeds Goes to Town

Directed by Frank Capra
US 1936, 35mm, b/w, 115 min.
With Gary Cooper, George Bancroft 

This Oscar-winning Frank Capra film presents Longfellow Deeds (Cooper), a rural everyman who inherits his uncle’s fortune and decides to give it all away. While the media heralds Deeds as a champion of the people, one cynical editor (Bancroft) asks his most hard-boiled city reporter (Arthur) to dig up some scandal. The photogenic Jean Arthur delivers an astringent performance as she mixes up a good deal of chemistry with her leading man. The all-American optimism and idealism of the Deeds character is an enduring emblem of the immigrant director’s own  view of American society.

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July 2 (Tuesday) 7 pm

Sonia Braga: Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands (Dona Flor e seus dois maridos)

Directed by Bruno Barreto
Brazil 1976, 35mm, color, 110 min.
With Jose Wilker, Mauro Mendonca
Portuguese with English subtitles

A variation on Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit, this unique sex comedy shattered Brazilian box-office records and proved enormously popular in its worlwide release. It tells the story of Doña Flor, a woman who decides to remarry a respectable but libidinally challenged pharmacist after her philandering husband drops dead at a carnival. When her first husband’s ghost visits her in bed, she has to make the decision of a lifetime: passion or security? Sonia Braga’s electrifying, sultry performance as the title character catapulted her to international stardom.

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July 2 (Tuesday) 9 pm

Richard Burton: Look Back in Anger

Directed by Tony Richardson
UK 1959, 35mm, b/w, 101 min.
With Claire Bloom, Mary Ure 

In this powerful adaptation of the John Osbourne drama, Richard Burton gives one of his finest performances on film as Jimmy Porter, an ill-tempered and arrogant young man with a grudge against the establishment and disdain for those around him.  Angered by the absence of opportunity, Jimmy becomes a symbol for a lost generation of working-class, university-educated young men.

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July 5 (Friday) 7 pm
July 7 (Sunday) 7 pm 

Julie Christie: Don’t Look Now (Sommarnattens Leende)

Directed by Nicolas Roeg
UK 1973, 35 mm, color, 110 min.
With Donald Sutherland

A young British couple, devastated by their daughter’s accidental death, travels to Venice where they establish contact with the child through a blind medium. Haunted by recurring visions of the child, they make a series of discoveries that drive the film to its frightening, psychological resolution. Adapted from Daphne Du Maurier’s short story, this unnerving exploration of the supernatural is full of hypnotic, ominous imagery and one of the most memorable lovemaking scenes in the history of film. British icon Julie Christie, of Darling, Doctor Zhivago, and Fahrenheit 451 fame, followed up her Oscar-nominated performance in Robert Altman’s McCabe and Mrs. Miller with this gripping performance opposite Donald Sutherland.

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July 5 (Friday) 9 pm
July 7 (Sunday) 9 pm

Soumitra Chatterjee: Charulata (The Lonely Wife)

Directed by Satyajit Ray
India 1964, 35mm, b/w, 124 min.
With Madhabi Mukherjee, Sailen Mukherjee
Bengali with English subtitles

In one of his most enduring masterpieces, Indian director Satyajit Ray paired two of his favorite actors. Madhabi Mukherjee plays the childless Calcutta housewife Charulata, who feels neglected by her career-oriented husband. Soumitra Chatterjee (who appeared in fifteen of Ray’s films) is the husband’s dynamic cousin Amal, to whom Charulata develops a deep attachment. Encouraged by Amal to pursue her writing, Charulata undergoes an intellectual and sexual awakening that neither her husband nor late nineteenth-century Bengali society is quite ready for. Ray depicts his heroine’s growing self-awareness through subtle poetic shifts in visual composition that are reminiscent of Jean Renoir.

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July 6 (Saturday) 7 pm
July 8 (Monday) 7 pm

Robert De Niro: The King of Comedy

Directed by Martin Scorsese
US 1983, 35mm, color, 109 min.
With Jerry Lewis, Sandra Bernhard

This significant departure for celebrated collaborators Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro is a mordant black comedy about Rupert Pupkin, a fanatic autograph seeker and wannabe comedian who concocts a bizarre plan to achieve instant show-business fame. Fueled by unrealistic aspirations, Rupert resorts to increasingly drastic measures in order to appear on his favorite television program. De Niro gives a riveting and unsettling performance as the unhinged loser whose obsessive personality seems well-suited to the inhuman demands of the entertainment industry.

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July 6 (Saturday) 9 pm
July 8 (Monday) 9 pm

Robert Duvall: The Great Santini

Directed by Lewis John Carlino
US 1979, 35mm, color, 115 min.
With Blythe Danner, Michael O’Keefe

Robert Duvall plays Colonel “Bull” Meechum, an expert Marine fighter pilot and authoritative family man who drives his wife and kids perilously close to the edge. Unable to shed his military persona in peacetime, Meechum becomes “a warrior without a war” who can show love only through discipline. In an Oscar-nominated role reminiscent of his hard-boiled portrayal of Lieutenant Colonel Kilgore in Apocalypse Now, Duvall delivers a vivid, nuanced performance as a man intolerant of defiance at home but propelled by his own internal contradictions toward self-destruction. 

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