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June 26-August 15, 2004

TREASURES FROM THE HARVARD FILM ARCHIVE: A-Z

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 9,000 prints. This year, we are taking a freeform approach to our alphabetical arrangement incorporating film directors (Jean Renoir, Ermanno Olmi) and film actors (Terence Stamp, Gerard Depardieu) as well as a variety of genres and other unconventional categories.

All screenings are double features. A single admission ticket is good for both films in one evening. Enjoy!

SPECIAL OFFER! HFA SUMMER PASS

This summer, buy an HFA Summer Pass, watch great movies, and stay cool. The pass gives entry for one to every screening this summer, over 50 movies, for just $90. Buy the pass during business hours at the HFA offices beginning June 14, or any night at the box office when you come for a screening, beginning June 26. Cash or check only, please. Questions? Call 617 496-6046.



A

June 26 (Saturday) 7 pm
June 27 (Sunday) 9 pm

Vera Cruz

Directed by Robert Aldrich
US, 1954, color, 94 min.
With Gary Cooper, Burt Lancaster, Ernest Borgnine

Gary Cooper stars as a former Confederate military leader who loses his plantation in the Civil War and becomes a mercenary in the untamed frontier of the Mexican borderland. He meets up with a duplicitous rancher, played with roguish charm by Burt Lancaster, who, along with his band of outlaws (Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson and Jack Elam) lead the conflicted hero through a series of twists and double crosses on a special mission to Mexico to protect a beautiful countess. As in Kiss Me Deadly, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, and The Dirty Dozen, Aldrich shows his knack at constructing multifaceted characters whose morality is constantly in question. Both a tribute to the traditions of the old Western and an embrace of the of the genre’s modernist revisions, Aldrich’s unique approach laid the groundwork for the hyperviolent style of both Peckinpah and Leone.

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June 26 (Saturday) 9 pm
June 27 (Sunday) 7 pm

Ulzana’s Raid

Directed by Robert Aldrich
US, 1972, color, 105 min.
With Burt Lancaster, Bruce Davison, Joaquin Martinez

A young cavalry lieutenant enlists the services of a seasoned scout to find Ulzana, a rebellious Apache who has fled his reservation on a reign of terror. While supposedly united in their search for the enemy, the efforts of the brigade are frequently undermined by clashes between Burt Lancaster’s jaded yet sympathetic army guide and Bruce Davison’s idealistic Christian lieutenant whose love-your-brother sentimentality quickly deteriorates into seething racism. As in Vera Cruz, Aldrich once again turns the conventions of the Western inside out. The result is a trenchant allegory of Vietnam-era disillusionment.

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B

June 28 (Monday) 7 pm
June 29 (Tuesday) 9:30 pm

Sweethearts

Directed by W.S. Van Dyke
US, 1938, color, 114 min.
With Jeanette MacDonald, Nelson Eddy, Frank Morgan

A veteran Broadway stage couple are tempted by the chance to go to Hollywood in this delightful operetta. Although the couple are motivated by the promise of financial and artistic freedom, the offer proves more disruptive to their already hectic lives as suspicions of infidelity arise. Sensing Jeanette Macdonald’s desire to move beyond her on-screen pairing with Nelson Eddy, MGM furnished the film with a lavish budget which included the use of three-strip Technicolor. With a screenplay by Dorothy Parker and Alan Campbell, the film provides more barbed exchanges than were customary for MacDonald and Eddy.

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June 28 (Monday) 9 pm
June 29 (Tuesday) 7 pm

The Boy Friend

Directed by Ken Russell
UK/USA, 1971, color, 133 min.
With Twiggy, Christopher Gable, Max Adrian

Long before Baz Luhrmann visited the Moulin Rouge. Ken Russell displayed his knack for visual and musical pastiche in this rarely screened gem. Swinging London’s favorite supermodel, Twiggy, makes a charming film debut as Polly Browne, a theatrical stage manager who understudies for an injured star in front of an audience that includes Hollywood director and talent scout Cecil B. DeThrill. At the same time, Polly finds herself falling in love with the leading man of the play. Polly indulges in several ornate fantasy sequences, enabling Russell to stage send-ups of Busby Berkeley’s elaborate song and dance numbers. Through the interplay between the theatrical performance and the film’s fantasy sequences, Russell creates a meta-musical, through which he simultaneously celebrates and pokes fun at the conventions of the genre.

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C

July 1 (Thursday) 7 pm
July 2 (Friday) 9 pm

Uncle Vanya (Dyadya Vanya)

Directed by Andrei Konchalovsky
USSR, 1970, b/w and color, 104 min.
With Innokenti Smoktunovsky, Sergei Bondarchuk, Yekaterina Mazurova
Russian with English subtitles

Cited by both Woody Allen and Charlie Chaplin as one of the best film versions of Chekhov’s work, Andrei Konchalovsky’s interpretation focuses on the unique space of a decaying dacha that serves as a clear metaphor for the sense of loss contemplated by each of the characters. The first-rate cast includes War and Peace director Sergei Bonardchuk as Astrov. The film inspired scholars Mira and Antonin Liehm to declare that "the sorrow, the nostalgia and the hopelessness of the Russian intelligentsia had found a true poet."

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July 1 (Thursday) 9 pm
July 2 (Friday) 7 pm

An Unfinished Piece for a Player Piano (Neokonchennaya pyesa dyla mekhanicheskogo pianino)

Directed by Nikita Mikhalkov
USSR, 1977, color, 103 min.
With Aleksandr Kalyagin, Yelena Solovey, Yevgeniya Glushenko
Russian with English subtitles

A splendid adaptation of Chekhov’s play Platonov, Mikhalkov’s work is dense with the atmosphere of a lazy summer’s day. Guests of a general’s window gather at a country estate in turn-of-the-century Russia. The ingenious mise-en-scène and intricate camera movements delicately reveals characters attempting to recapture their past while becoming immersed in a tragic farce. The Chekhovian humor of the original material perfectly complements the film’s bittersweet drama. The beautiful cinematography by Pavel Lebeshev contributes to the merger of the dramatic and the cinematic.

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D

July 3 (Saturday) 7 pm
July 4 (Sunday) 9 pm

Mon Oncle D'Amerique (My Uncle in America)

Directed by Alain Resnais
France, 1980, color, 126 min.
With Gérard Depardieu, Nicole Garcia, Roger Pierre
French with English subtitles

Richard Roud characterized this work as “one of the greatest films about the human condition ever made.” The film’s engaging structure brings the theories of the French behavioral scientist Henri Laborit (who actually appears in the film to provide exegesis) together with the stories of three ordinary French citizens (each with a cinematic alter-ego): a Parisian actress, a media executive with political aspirations, and a farmer turned textile-plant director. Each responds to pressures, as Laborit’s theories would predict, through flight, struggle, or inhibition—and each takes solace in the hope that the proverbial “uncle” made good in America, and will come through to save the day. An unqualified commercial success, the film was awarded a special Critics’ Prize at Cannes.

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July 3 (Saturday) 9 pm
July 4 (Sunday) 7 pm

Maîtresse

Directed by Barbet Schroeder
France, 1973, color, 112 min.
With Gérard Depardieu, Bulle Ogier, André Rouyer
French with English subtitles

A provincial young man develops a relationship with a professional maîtresse (or dominatrix) after being implicated in the burglary of her apartment. At ground level, everything seems legitimate but in a dungeon below the stairs, the maîtresse fulfills all the desires of her punishment-seeking clientele. Barbet Schroeder’s classic of taboo love graphically depicts the politics of sexual bondage and sits well alongside the masochistic undertones of Last Tango in Paris.

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E

July 5 (Monday) 7 pm
July 6 (Tuesday) 8:45 pm

The Man in the White Suit

Directed by Alexander Mackendrick
UK, 1951, b/w, 85 min.
With Alec Guiness, Joan Greenwood, Cecil Parker

This satire on British industry represents a more ambitious project than usually undertaken in Ealing comedies. Alec Guiness plays a laboratory dishwasher in a textile mill who invents a fabric that neither wears out nor gets dirty, thereby incurring the wrath of both management and labor, who conspire to prevent its success. The Man in the White Suit’s confrontation between altruism and the business world anticipates Alexander Mackendrick’s later, darker investigation of naked greed, Sweet Smell of Success.

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July 5 (Monday) 8:45 pm
July 6 (Tuesday) 7 pm

The Titfield Thunderbolt

Directed by Charles Crichton
UK, 1953, color, 84 min.
With Stanley Holloway, George Relph, Naunton Wayne

The first Technicolor Ealing comedy tells the story of a village near Bath that bands together to save their local train line from budgetary extinction. A train-aficionado bishop leads the charge against a cadre of faceless bureaucrats, resurrecting a locomotive from the local museum in order to take over control of the line on behalf of the townspeople. Douglas Slocombe’s photography captures Crichton’s zany West Country England in a cozy, romantic glow.

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F

July 8 (Thursday) 7 pm
July 9 (Friday) 9 pm

The Tarnished Angels

Directed by Douglas Sirk
US, 1958, b/w, 91 min.
With Rock Hudson, Dorothy Malone, Robert Stack

Adapted from William Faulkner’s Pylon and considered by the author to be the best film realization of any of his novels, The Tarnished Angels is set in New Orleans during the 1930s. Reuniting the cast from director Douglas Sirk’s previous film, Written on the Wind, the film stars Robert Stack as a World War I ace who works as a carnival flier, Dorothy Malone as his parachute-jumper wife, and Rock Hudson as a newspaper reporter who looks on as Stack’s unhappy family fights a battle for survival. Through the film’s striking black-and-white CinemaScope camera work, Sirk’s preoccupation with the space of interpersonal relationships has never been more clearly or dynamically expressed. The illusion of freedom afforded by flight stands in stark contrast to the hobbled, earthbound concerns of Sirk’s characters. As German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder succinctly noted: "I have rarely felt fear and loneliness so much as in this film."

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July 8 (Thursday) 9 pm
July 9 (Friday) 7 pm

To Have and Have Not

Directed by Howard Hawks
US, 1944, b/w, 100 min.
With Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Walter Brennan

Only nominally based on Hemingway’s novel, Hawks’ World War II-era morality play underscores the necessity of responsibility, even when burdened with the failure of others. Set in Martinique, the film features Humphrey Bogart as a cynical fishing-boat privateer who finally decides to fight for the French Resistance after falling in love with a girl (Lauren Bacall, here in her debut). To Have and Have Not is above all an atmosphere piece, however. Night clubs and hotel lobbies, strange shafts of light reflecting on the surface of the South Sea, witty exchanges and sexual double entendres—these are what has made the film a classic.

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G

July 10 (Saturday) 7 pm

Swimming to Cambodia

Directed by Jonathan Demme
US, 1987, color, 85 min.
With

Outfitted with a glass of water, a pointing stick, and two maps, Spalding Gray launches into an 85-minute rant on his experiences playing a minor role in Roland Joffé’s The Killing Fields, digressing into Bangkok strip clubs, the US military-industrial complex, and a host of other tangents along the way. Alternating among the comic, didactic, and confessional, Swimming to Cambodia brought new life to the monologue film, a form perfected by Gray. Jonathan Demme sparingly documents Gray’s mono-mental odyssey with only a few well-timed lighting and sound cues, otherwise preserving the real-time feel of the event.

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July 10 (Saturday) 8:45 pm

Monster in a Box

Directed by Nick Broomfield
US, 1992, color, 87 min.
With Spalding Gray

Spalding Gray moves his one-man show out of Cambodia into more personal terrain addressing the foibles of writing a novel, aliens and AIDS, earthquakes and artist colonies, writer’s block in Nicaragua and photography in St. Petersburg. Meanwhile, the “monster” looms in the wings: Gray’s unwieldy 1,800-page manuscript of his novel, “Impossible Vacation.” Nick Broomfield, better known for his first-person investigative documentaries, provides inventive camera work to increase visual variety. Laurie Anderson’s electronic incidental music accentuates the monologue’s momentum.

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H

July 11 (Sunday) 7 pm
July 12 (Monday) 9:30 pm

Hell’s Angels

Directed by Howard Hughes
US, 1930, b/w, 90 min.
With Ben Lyon, James Hall, Jean Harlow

At the outbreak of World War I, two brothers attending Oxford leave their educational pursuits aside to join the RAF. Their competitive relationship is challenged by each man’s feelings for a morally questionable young woman, played by a pre-code Jean Harlow, who made her big break delivering her signature line: “Would you be shocked if I put on something more comfortable?” Regarded as a producer and presenter of numerous Hollywood films, Hughes went through several noted filmmakers including Howard Hawks and James Whale before taking the helm himself. The result is a compelling war drama featuring spectacular aerial dogfights and Zeppelin raids, as well as one of the costliest budgets of its time.

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July 11 (Sunday) 8:45 pm
July 12 (Monday) 7 pm

The Carpetbaggers

Directed by Edward Dmytryk
US, 1964, color, 150 min.
With George Peppard, Carroll Baker, Alan Ladd

The life of Howard Hughes gets a sordid roman à clef treatment thanks to the lusty pen of Harold Robbins, whose novel was adapted for the film. After the death of his father, young Jonas Cord assumes the reins of his family’s dynamite business. He eventually turns to the aviation and motion picture industries to further build on his inherited wealth. Along the way he romances and betrays a series of beauties including Carroll Baker, playing the elder Cord’s widow, who becomes a starlet at Jonas’s production company. Despite its salacious tagline (“This is adult entertainment!”), the film was relatively tame even for its time but went on to become a great commercial success thanks to the public’s insatiable appetite for celebrity gossip.

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I

July 13 (Tuesday) 7 pm
July 15 (Thursday) 9:15 pm

Morgan! (aka Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment)

Directed by Karel Reisz
US, 1966, color, 97 min.
With David Warner, Vanessa Redgrave, Robert Stephens

David Warner stars as Morgan, a young man with two passions in life: Karl Marx and gorillas. When his ex-wife (Vanessa Redgrave, in an impressive film debut which earned her an Oscar nomination) decides to marry a rather well-tempered art dealer, Morgan enlists all of his zany faculties to sabotage the impending union. In the vein of Richard Lester’s social realist comedies, Karel Reisz’s Morgan! captures both the grit of the everyday and the irreverence of Swinging London.

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July 13 (Tuesday) 9 pm
July 15 (Thursday) 7 pm

A Few Days with Me

Directed by Claude Sautet
France, 1988, color, 131 min.
With Daniel Auteuil, Sandrine Bonnaire, Danielle Darrieux
French with English subtitles

After having a nervous breakdown which caused him to stop speaking, an heir to a family-run chain of supermarkets (Auteuil) emerges from a stay at a psychiatric hospital. His mother (Darrieux) sends him to inspect one of the stores in the town of Limoges where he meets a young woman (Bonnaire) with whom he begins a brief yet idyllic affair. A series of complications develop involving, among others, the woman’s boyfriend, who proves to be a comrade rather than a rival for the young woman’s affections. As in his later film, Un Coeur en Hiver, Sautet delicately handles the intricacies of this cinematic love triangle and offers a pointed critique of bourgeois culture.

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J

July 16 (Friday) 6:30 pm
July 17 (Saturday) 6:30 pm

For Me and My Gal

Directed by Busby Berkeley
US, 1942, b/w, 105 min.
With Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, George Murphy

Gene Kelly made his film debut in this collaboration between director Berkeley and the producer and sometime lyricist Arthur Freed. Kelly plays Harry Palmer, a song-and-dance man who maims his own hand in order to dodge the World War I draft. His stage partner Jo Hayden (Garland) leaves him in disappointment, and it is up to Harry to redeem himself. Rife with World War II-era escapist patriotism elevated by the chemistry and star power of its leads, For Me and My Gal also features the American screen debut of the Hungarian musical star Márta Eggerth, who performs an unforgettable number in a railroad car.

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July 16 (Friday) 8:30 pm
July 17 (Saturday) 8:30 pm

A Star is Born

Directed by George Cukor
US, 1954, color, 154 min.
With Judy Garland, James Mason, Jack Carson

An alcoholic movie star stumbles into the act of a young showgirl.The two fall in love while his career wanes and hers is on the rise. A comeback vehicle for Garland, this much darker reworking of Cukor’s own What Price Hollywood? features stellar turns from both leads and a collection of songs by Harold Arlen and Ira Gershwin which would become Garland standards. After premiering the full-length 180-minute version of the film, Warner Brothers decided to cut almost thirty minutes of footage for fear that audiences would not tolerate the longer version.

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K

July 18 (Sunday) 7 pm
July 19 (Monday) 9 pm

The Killers

Directed by Robert Siodmak
US, 1946, b/w, 105 min.
With Burt Lancaster, Edmond O’Brien, Ava Gardner

A seminal work of film noir, The Killers marked the screen debut of Burt Lancaster, who gives a brilliant performance as a marked man refusing to flee from his hired assassins. Loosely based on a Hemingway short story, the film proceeds through flashbacks to reveal the circumstances of his murder and, with it, the seamier side of America in the forties. German-émigré director Siodmak combines strong chiaroscuro lighting, moody nocturnal cityscapes, and a potent Miklos Rosza score in approaching the nihilistic vision at the heart of the work. Ava Gardner gives one of the more memorable renditions of the femme fatale in her portrayal of a night-club singer who is the mob boss’s girl.

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July 18 (Sunday) 9 pm
July 19 (Monday) 7 pm

The Killer

Directed by John Woo
Hong Kong, 1989, color, 111 min.
With Chow Yun-Fat, Danny Lee, Sally Yeh
Cantonese and Japanese with English subtitles

John Woo, Chow Yun-fat, and the Hong Kong action cinema in general gained international attention with the release of The Killer. A contract killer (Chow) accidentally blinds a nightclub singer (Yeh) and, guiltily, decides to take a last job in order to buy her a cornea transplant. Meanwhile, a renegade cop (Lee) assigned to the case begins to feel an affinity for the killer. All of the classic Woo elements are in evidence here: intricately choreographed violence, religious imagery, operatic melodrama and, of course, white doves flying in slow motion.

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L

July 20 (Tuesday) 7 pm
July 22 (Thursday) 9 pm

The Geisha Boy

Directed by Frank Tashlin
US, 1958, color, 98 min.
With Jerry Lewis, Marie McDonald, Sessue Hayakawa

In one of his first solo-comedies after a fruitful stint with partner Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis plays a third-rate magician who joins a USO entertainment tour in Japan. During the tour, a young orphan attaches himself to Lewis, taking him as a surrogate father. Tashlin employs his distinct, cartoonish style, honed during his years as an animator, and supplies some great visual jokes, including a magician’s rabbit that becomes a character in its own right. Much to the chagrin of Brooklynites, the film features a cameo by the then-recently relocated Los Angeles Dodgers, who play an exhibition game against a Japanese team.

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July 20 (Tuesday) 9 pm
July 22 (Thursday) 7 pm

The Saga of Anatahan

Directed by Josef von Sternberg
Japan, 1954, b/w, 92 min.
With Akemi Negishi, Suganume, Ikio Sawamura
English and Japanese with English subtitles

Josef von Sternberg’s rarely seen last film reaches the height of stylization: he re-creates the Pacific island setting in a Japanese studio out of paper and cellophane, employing Kabuki-trained actors with no knowledge of English. Based on a factual incident, the film tells of a dozen Japanese merchant seamen shipwrecked in 1944 on Anatahan, where they find a man and a woman. By the time they are persuaded that World War II is over, in 1951, five men have died in fights over the woman. Von Sternberg’s baroque vision is fully realized in the film he himself considered his best.

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M

July 23 (Friday) 7 pm
July 24 (Saturday) 9 pm

The Threepenny Opera

Directed by G. W. Pabst
Germany, 1931, b/w, 112 min.
With Rudolf Forster, Carola Neher, Reinhold Schünzel
German with English subtitles

In 1929, Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill were engaged to adapt their successful transposition of John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera to the screen. Brecht wanted to give the film more anti-bourgeois bite than the stage version. His changes proved too strong for his capitalist producers. Brecht sued them and lost. Also lost were some of the songs and the disenchanted irony which was replaced by charm. A mix of realism and stylized settings, the performances and wonderful score and lyrics retain much of the pungency of the original.

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July 23 (Friday) 9 pm
July 24 (Saturday) 7 pm

The Beggar’s Opera

Directed by Peter Brook
UK, 1953, color, 94 min.
With Laurence Olivier, Dorothy Tutin, Stanley Holloway

This rarely revived screen rendition of John Gay’s scandalous, immensely popular eighteenth-century musical drama remains faithful to the author’s operatic vision of London’s subterranean world of highwaymen and pickpockets. In a rare singing performance, Laurence Olivier stars as the legendary womanizing scoundrel, MacHeath. The film is helmed by visionary British theater director Peter Brook (Marat/Sade) and features original music by Sir Arthur Bliss

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N

July 25 (Sunday) 7 pm

Why We Fight: Divide and Conquer

Directed by Frank Capra
US, 1943, b/w, 57 min.
With

During World War II, the US Army commissioned a series of propaganda films from notable directors including Frank Capra and John Huston. The films in Capra’s Why We Fight series are of particular interest for their adept use of found footage in forging a coherent narrative account of the war. Divide and Conquer documents Germany’s conquest of France and features footage also used in Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will.

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July 25 (Sunday) 8 pm

Is Paris Burning?

Directed by René Clément
France, 1966, b/w and color, 173 min.
With Gert Fröbe, Orson Welles, Kirk Douglas
French with English subtitles

Near the end of World War II, remaining Nazi factions are under attack from members of the French Resistance. Featuring a screenplay by Francis Ford Coppola and Gore Vidal, the film is nothing if not star-studded. Orson Welles appears as the Swiss ambassador, alongside his compatriots Glenn Ford, Kirk Douglas, and Anthony Perkins, as well as who’s who of 1960s French film, including Leslie Caron, Alain Delon, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Yves Montand, and Albert Rémy. Gert Fröbe stars as the Nazi general in charge of Paris, under orders to torch the city if the rebels or the Allies begin to take control. For all the star power of the cast, however, the true star of the film is the city of Paris itself, lovingly photographed by Clément and cinematographer Marcel Grignon.

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O

July 26 (Monday) 7 pm
July 27 (Tuesday) 8:45 pm

Il Posto

Directed by Ermanno Olmi
Italy, 1961, b/w, 90 min.
With Loredanna Detto, Sandro Panseri, Tullio Kezich
Italian with English subtitles

Young Domenico treks from his small village to Milan to interview for a “job for life” at an anonymous megacompany. There he gets to know a beautiful co-candidate (Loredana Detto) as well as the absurd and sadistic realities of office life. Olmi’s second feature balances a devastating critique of corporate culture with a humane realism attuned to emotional subtleties.

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July 26 (Monday) 8:45 pm
July 27 (Tuesday) 7 pm

The Fiances (I fidanzati)

Directed by Ermanno Olmi
Italy, 1963, b/w, 84 min.
With Carlo Cabrini, Anna Canzi
Italian with English subtitles

Long engaged, Giovanni and Liliana return to the the dance hall where they first met only to suffer through a miserable evening: Giovanni is moving to Sicily for sixteen months in pursuit of work. Liliana is convinced their engagement won’t endure the separation and they part on bad terms. Absence and longing lead the couple to negotiate their relationship anew. Olmi’s laconic examination of characters circumscribed by their environment yields a rich emotional journey.

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P

July 29 (Thursday) 7 pm
July 30 (Friday) 7 pm

The Mystery of Picasso (Le mystère Picasso)

Directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot
France, 1956, b/w and color, 78 min.
With
French with English subtitles

Clouzot could not have followed up his shocking Les Diaboliques, with its impossibly pessimistic view of human nature, with a more different film. Here, the viewer is allowed to watch Pablo Picasso in the act of creation, sketching and painting on a translucent screen, accompanied by a soundtrack ranging from bebop to flamenco. Interspersed are shots of the 75-year-old genius mugging for the camera. Many of the paintings in this technically adventurous and life-affirming work were destroyed after its production, and exist only in this unique film.

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July 29 (Thursday) 8:30 pm
July 30 (Friday) 8:30 pm

Van Gogh

Directed by Maurice Pialat
France, 1991, color, 158 min.
With Jacques Dutronc, Alexandra London, Bernard Le Coq
French with English subtitles

By focusing on the last two months of the artist’s life, director Maurice Pialat, an established painter in his own right, eschews the more sensational aspects of Van Gogh’s biography in favor of a more contemplative portrait of his daily life. Jacques Dutronc portrays Van Gogh not as a mad eccentric but as a serious individual struggling to control his personal demons. Although the production of art is central to the story, the film gives equal attention to the day-to-day interactions of Van Gogh with his brother, his doctor, and his lover. Set in the Northern French village of Auvers-sur-Olise, Pialat’s film works at a leisurely pace to reflect on the incredibly prolific final days of the master painter.

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Q

July 31 (Saturday) 7 pm
August 1 (Sunday) 9:15 pm

The Pawnbroker

Directed by Sidney Lumet
US, 1954, b/w, 116 min.
With Rod Steiger, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Brock Peters

Mostly shot on the streets of New York, this film combines cinéma-vérité style and a Resnais-like oneiric recollection of the past, as a Jewish pawnbroker (Steiger) copes with the obsession of his concentration camp memories. The pressures of living in Harlem force themselves upon the protagonist, while the interpolated memory flashes throughout the film make the narrative extremely associative and self-referential. Quincy Jones’s jazzy soundtrack serves as a fitting complement to Steiger’s tortured subjectivity.

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July 31 (Saturday) 9 pm
August 1 (Sunday) 7 pm

The Getaway

Directed by Sam Peckinpah
US, 1972, color, 122 min.
With Steve McQueen, Ali MacGraw, Sally Struthers

Carter “Doc” McCoy (McQueen) is sprung from prison by a crooked politician who wants him to pull off a bank heist. Instead, he heads for the Mexican border with his wife Carol (MacGraw) and the loot in tow, and the mob hot on their trail. Peckinpah sure-handedly navigates the film’s many action sequences, leading up to a final showdown in an El Paso hotel. Al Lettieri and Sally Struthers round out the cast as Doc’s vengeful one-time partner and his somewhat-willing hostage. Walter Hill adapted the film’s script from a novel by Jim Thompson. Slim Pickens makes a memorable cameo as a trash collector who doesn’t care what the McCoys are involved in, so long as they are married.

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R

August 2 (Monday) 7 pm

The Little Match Girl (La petite marchande d’allumettes)

Directed by Jean Renoir
France, 1928, b/w, 40 min.
With Catherine Hessling, Manuel Raaby, Jean Storm
French language version

Live piano accompaniment by Peter Freisinger

Using the story by Hans Christian Andersen, Renoir makes skillful use of sharp and soft focus to portray the sordid reality of the little match girl (Hessling) in direct juxtaposition with the clarity of her fantasies. A sentimental but complex contemplation of the relationship between art and society.

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August 2 (Monday) 8 pm

Nana

Directed by Jean Renoir
France, 1926, b/w, silent, 110 min.
With Catherine Hessling, Jean Angelo, Werner Krauss
French language version

Live piano accompaniment by Peter Freisinger

Zola’s celebrated novel provided Renoir with the greatest challenge of his early career. His adaptation reveals the director’s love of artifice and theatrical spectacle and his fascination with class relations. The exploration of psychology within a wide social setting produces a mix of comedy and tragedy. Even at such an early stage in his prolific career, Renoir demonstrates his capacity to handle actors, involving them in psychologically justified mise-en-scène. The lavish production was designed by future director Claude Autant-Lara.

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S

August 3 (Tuesday) 7 pm
August 5 (Thursday) 9 pm

Billy Budd

Directed by Peter Ustinov
UK, 1962, b/w, 125 min.
With Peter Ustinov, Robert Ryan, Terence Stamp

Actor Peter Ustinov directed, produced, starred in, and adapted from a Broadway play this version of Herman Melville's classic allegorical tale of treachery in the eighteenth-century British navy. Under Ustinov's direction there is a decided shift in emphasis from Melville's portrayal of absolute good and evil to a poignant examination of the blindness of justice and the law. Featuring an array of sterling performances, the angelic Billy is played by a blond Terence Stamp in his film debut. Ustinov himself is Man-o-War Captain Vere, forced to try the naïve Billy for the accidental murder of evil master-at-arms Claggart, played with staggering authority by Robert Ryan, who had long coveted the role.

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August 3 (Tuesday) 9:15 pm
August 5 (Thursday) 7 pm

The Hit

Directed by Stephen Frears
UK, 1984, color, 100 min.
With John Hurt, Terence Stamp, Tim Roth

Terence Stamp portrays an informer hiding out in Spain after turning on his fellow criminals. Ten years, later two hitmen (Tim Roth, John Hurt) arrive and take him to Paris to be executed, but nothing goes as planned. Stamp is cool as ice as a snitch waiting for his comeuppance, and Roth makes an impressive film debut. A funny yet unconventional work, it provided the avenue for director Stephen Frears to move from his acclaimed television work to the top tier of contemporary British directors.

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T

August 6 (Friday) 7 pm

Trailers, Trailers, Trailers

Introduced by Film Conservator Julie Buck

With the boom of DVD and the Internet over the last five years, movie trailers are more popular than ever. A two-minute advertisement that usually sums up a film’s plot and cast, the trailer attempts to seduce the audience and often barely relates to the actual quality of the film production. In fact, the best trailers could be considered exemplars of an art form in their own right. Hollywood has even gotten in on the act with an awards show called "The Golden Trailer," dedicated to recognizing the work of advertising firms that create the previews. While the original trailers of classic Hollywood films often show up as extras on a DVD, forgotten gems such as the trailer for Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid or the pre-recall Governor Arnold in Conan the Barbarian are often overlooked. Trailers, Trailers, Trailers is an A to Z sample of the more than 1,500 trailers held by the Harvard Film Archive and an attempt to bring back to life forgotten trailers of the past.

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U

August 7 (Saturday) 7 pm
August 8 (Sunday) 9 pm

Wild Strawberries (Smultronstallet)

Directed by Ingmar Bergman
Sweden, 1957, b/w, 97 min.
With Victor Sjoström, Ingrid Thulin, Bibi Andresson
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. Bibi 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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August 7 (Saturday) 9 pm
August 8 (Sunday) 7 pm

The Decline of the American Empire

Directed by Denys Arcand
Canada, 1986, color, 101 min.
With Dominique Michel, Dorothée Berryman, Louise Portal
French with English subtitles

Four university professors share their thoughts on life and love while preparing a feast at a country estate as their female guests engage in a similar exchange at a sauna. When the two groups converge, their comfortable intellectual banter is disrupted by some startling revelations. Although derisively dubbed as a Quebecois Big Chill, Arcand’s work provides far deeper insights into middle-class ennui. Arcand recently followed up on these characters in his Oscar-winning film, The Barbarian Invasions.

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V

August 9 (Monday) 7 pm

Boat People (Tou bun no hoi)

Directed by Ann Hui
Hong Kong, 1982, color, 111 min.
With Paul Chiang, Meiying Jia, George Lam
Cantonese with English subtitles

Director Hui’s melodrama is an important landmark of the Hong Kong New Wave. Shaomi Akutagawa, a Japanese journalist, arrives in Vietnam intent on documenting the country’s recovery from the war. He meets a young girl from a poor family who helps him open his eyes to the oppressive living conditions of the North Vietnamese in the years after the end of the war. Implicitly anti-communist, the film was censored in China at the time of its release, but went on to a successful showing at Cannes and the Best Picture and Best Director prizes at the 1983 Hong Kong Academy Awards.

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August 9 (Monday) 9 pm

Who’ll Stop the Rain

Directed by Karel Reisz
US, 1978, color, 125 min.
With Nick Nolte, Michael Moriarty, Tuesday Weld

Based on Robert Stone’s classic novel Dog Soldiers, about the moral and psychological consequences of the Vietnam War, Who’ll Stop the Rain follows a jaundiced war correspondent (Moriarty) and his ex-Marine buddy (Nolte) from the battlefields of Vietnam back to counterculture Berkeley, where their plot to smuggle heroin into the States sours into bloodshed and ruin. Set amongst the cultural icons of a dying drug and hippie culture in 1971, the film exacts a complex performance from Nolte, whom Newsweek’s David Ansen described as “a fascinating mixture of raw physical power, courage, and pathology.”

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W

August 10 (Tuesday) 7 pm

The Big Parade

Directed by King Vidor
US, 1925, b/w, silent, 115 min.
With John Gilbert, Renée Adorée, Hobart Bosworth

King Vidor's stunning antiwar film is one of the classics of silent cinema. Containing realistic, remarkably staged battle sequences and moments of powerful drama, The Big Parade follows the enlistment and service of an American soldier (silent-screen great John Gilbert) who fights in France in the First World War. Though the film was made in the early years of American filmmaking, Vidor has a superior command of the medium, creating scenes that are not only brilliantly constructed but achingly intimate and disturbing. Stanley Kubrick's Paths of Glory is said to have been influenced by Vidor's masterpiece.

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August 10 (Tuesday) 9 pm

What Price Glory

Directed by Raoul Walsh
US, 1926, b/w, silent, 116 min.
With Edmund Lowe, Victor McLaglen, Dolores del Rio

An odd mix of harsh melodrama and bawdy comedy, this early silent from Raoul Walsh proudly wears the marks of masculine rivalry which the director would explore throughout his career. Two soldiers spar for the love of a woman until the grim realities of World War I change their fate. Featuring graphically terrifying battle sequences, the film gained much of its notoriety from the coarse interplay between Lowe and McLaglen, who were given free rein to improvise profanities which escaped the discretion of the silent-era Hollywood censors who only responded to printed obscenity.

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X

August 11 (Wednesday) 7 pm

Nosferatu the Vampyre (Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht)

Directed by Werner Herzog
West Germany/France, 1979, color, 124 min.
With Klaus Kinski, Isabelle Adjani, Bruno Ganz
German with English subtitles

Werner Herzog’s rendering of the vampire legend remakes what he called “the most important film ever made in Germany.” Owing its ambition (rather than aesthetic) to the 1922 F.W. Murnau classic, Herzog minimizes dialogue and formalizes acting to create a counterpart to the narrative’s descent into doom. Luminous cinematography contributes to the overall uneasiness, as does a soundtrack replete with creepy atmospherics and effects. More Gothic romance than horror film, Herzog’s foray into Dracula territory represents an ambitious experiment in historical recreation and style.

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August 11 (Wednesday) 9:15 pm

Matewan

Directed by John Sayles
US, 1987, color, 132 min.
With Chris Cooper, James Earl Jones, Mary McDonnell

A small mining community in rural West Virginia is torn between the efforts of union organizers and the mining companies. Further dividing the community is the company’s decision to hire African-American and Italian immigrant workers in order to cut labor costs, a choice which fuels the town’s climate of distrust toward outsiders. Based on actual events which led to the 1920 West Virginia Mine War, John Sayles’ acclaimed work makes full use of his reliable stable of actors (Chris Cooper, Mary McDonnell, David Strathairn, Kevin Tighe, Gordon Clapp) to give the director’s distinct spin on the failure of the American Dream.

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Y

August 12 (Thursday) 7 pm

The Front Page

Directed by Lewis Milestone
US, 1931, b/w, 101 min.
With Adolphe Menjou, Pat O’Brien, Mary Brian

This fast-paced, raucous comedy was remade numerous times by the likes of Howard Hawks (as His Girl Friday) and Billy Wilder. An adaptation of Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur’s 1928 Broadway play, The Front Page follows Hildy Johnson, a reporter on the verge of retirement, as he investigates the escape of death-row murderer Earl Williams. Hildy finds Williams and, hoping to get the scoop on the story, hides him in a roll-top desk in the paper’s press room. With Williams hidden safely in the desk, Hildy is free to investigate what turns out to be the real story: the political corruption of 1920s Chicago. Adolphe Menjou makes a memorable appearance as Hildy’s hard-nosed editor, Walter Burns.

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August 12 (Thursday) 9:15 pm
August 13 (Friday) 7 pm

Sweet Smell of Success

Directed by Alexander Mackendrick
US, 1957, b/w, 96 min.
With Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis, Susan Harrsion

With story and dialogue by Ernst Lehman and Clifford Odets, crisp cinematography by James Wong Howe, and direction by Ealing comedy director Alexander Mackendrick, this sharp-edged, gritty story of Manhattan newspaper men explores the underbelly of the tabloid trade, full of double-dealing, slander, and blackmail. Lancaster plays the powerful J.J. Hunsecker (based on the gossip columnist Walter Winchell), a man with an iron grip on the fate of those he writes about (or ignores) in his daily column. Sidney Falco (Curtis), a desperate press agent, will do anything to get his clients an appearance in the paper. When his kid sister gets involved with a jazz musician, Hunsecker forces Falco to discredit the suitor and break up the romance. Shot on location in Manhattan, the film travels from the city’s swankiest clubs to its dirtiest back alleys, as lives are made and broken over thirty-six hours in “this dirty town.”

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Z

August 14 (Saturday) 7 pm
August 15 (Sunday) 9:15 pm

The Milky Way (La Voie lactée)

Directed by Luis Buñuel
France/Italy, 1968, color, 102 min.
With Laurent Terzieff, Paul Frankeur, Delphine Seyrig
French with English subtitles

One of Buñuel’s most vigorous critiques of Catholic doctrine, The Milky Way is a picaresque tale about a pair of tramps who set off from Paris on the classic European pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. During the course of their journey, they traverse not only space but time, traveling back in history to bear witness to Jesus’ speech at the wedding in Cana, remarks by the Virgin Mary about her son’s grooming habits, and even an appearance by the Devil himself. More corrosive are the discussions of the articles of faith by less vaunted figures such as a rural police inspector whose skepticism about the nature of the Eucharist leads him to conclude, "You’ll never convince me that the body of Christ can be enclosed in a piece of bread!"

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August 14 (Saturday) 9:15 pm
August 15 (Sunday) 7 pm

Ordet

Directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer
Denmark, 1955, b/w, 126 min.
With Henrik Malberg, Preben Lerdorff-Rye, Cay Kristiansen
Danish with English subtitles

In a remote West Jutland farming community, a severe father of three sons refuses to let one of them, Anders, marry the daughter of a man with whom he has religious differences. When Inge, his daughter-in-law, dies in childbirth, Johannes, the visionary son, prays for her resurrection. Based on a famous play by Kai Munk and winner of Best Film at the 1955 Venice Film Festival, Dreyer’s penultimate work is an extraordinary expression of spiritual optimism. Dreyer achieves the powerful effects by deceptively simple means. Using only 114 shots, he makes the film into an enriching experience.

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