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July 13 - 31

Summer Double Features - July

The Harvard Film Archive continues its summer tradition of two movies for the price of one featuring some of the best selections from our over 10,000 film collection, including many works which have never screened before at the HFA. The series is highlighted by blocks of genre classics including musicals, mysteries, historical epics, westerns and a healthy dose of realism.

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to Yakov Gubanov for his many years of wonderful silent film accompaniment.

July 13 (Friday) 7 pm

Trailers, etc.

Anything goes in our annual trailer show.  In addition to the tantalizing teases which keep bringing us back to the theater (including many trailers for our summer selections), we present a program of material originally designed to heighten and promote the theatrical experience.  Newsreels, cartoons and advertisements drawn from our extensive collection provide an enriching and enjoyable reflection on the complete moviegoing experience.

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July 14 (Saturday) 3 pm

The Adventures of Captain Marvel
(aka The Return of Captain Marvel)

Directed by John English and William Witney
US 1941, 35mm, b/w, 240 min. (12 episodes @ 20 minutes each)
With Tom Tyler, Frank Coghlan Jr., William 'Billy' Benedict





July 14 (Saturday) 8 pm

Spy Smasher

Directed by William Witney
US 1966, 35mm, b/w, 100 min.
With Kane Richmond, Marguerite Chapman, Sam Flint

An essential part of the early moviegoing experience was the film serial. Also known as chapter plays, these short films were often adapted from comic books and provided endless entertainment until television emerged as the new forum for this episodic format. Republic Pictures produced some of the most well regarded examples of this genre thanks to the skillful work of directors like William Witney. The Adventures of Captain Marvel chronicles the adventures of cub reporter Billy Batson who transforms into the aforementioned superhero to face off against criminal mastermind The Scorpion. The abridged Spy Smasher (condensed from an original 12-part serial released in 1942) presents the perils of the D.C. Comics secret agent who seeks to foil the Nazis in occupied France.

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Live Piano Accompaniment by Robert Humphreville
July 15 (Sunday) 7 pm

The Single Standard

Directed by John S. Robertson
US 1929, 35mm, silent, b/w, 73 min.
With Greta Garbo, Nils Asther, Johnny Mack Brown







July 15 (Sunday) 8:30 pm

Carnival in Flanders

Directed by Jacques Feyder
France 1935, 16mm, b/w, 95 min.
With Françoise Rosay, Micheline Cheirel, Lyne Clevers
French with English subtitles

Garbo doesn’t yet talk but she fills the screen with her own unique incandescence in one of her final MGM silents, The Single Standard. She portrays a socialite who refuses to conform to the double standard that permits men to reject monogamy while women are expected to commit. Patriarchy gets another challenge in Jacques Fevder’s rowdy romp Carnival in Flanders. When Spaniards arrive to invade the Flemish town of Boon, the men run and hide while the women take charge. Amidst the frivolity, the film offers a timely critique of occupation which caused the Nazis to ban it from screenings in Germany.  

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July 16 (Monday) 7 pm

Prix de beauté

Directed by Augusto Genina
France 1930, 35mm, b/w, 95 min.
With Louise Brooks, Georges Charlia, Augusto Bandini
French language version
Please note: 35mm print will screen with no English subtitles. An English subtitled DVD will screen simultaneously in Carpenter Center, Room B04.

July 16 (Monday) 9 pm


Directed by Michael Ritchie
US 1975, 35mm, color, 113 min.
With Bruce Dern, Barbara Feldon, Michael Kidd

Beauty pageants have often provided a suitable narrative device for films to celebrate the inner grace of the ugly duckling. These two selections provide a much darker, more incisive critique of these bizarre human spectacles. In Prix de beauté, Louise Brooks (in her final leading role) portrays a typist who leaves her desk job to become a contestant in the “Miss Europe” contest, much to the dismay of her insanely jealous lover. California’s Young American Miss Pageant (an actual contest staged in Santa Rosa) provides the backdrop for Michael Ritchie’s Altman-esque satire of the American Dream. The film features many future stars, including a teenage Melanie Griffith and Annette O’Toole. Please note: 35mm print of Prix de beauté will screen with no English subtitles.  There will be an English subtitled DVD screening simultaneously in CarpenterCenter, Room B04.

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July 17 (Tuesday) 6:30 pm

The Women

Directed by George Cukor
US 1939, b/w and color, 131 min.
With Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell








July 17 (Tuesday) 9 pm

All About Eve

Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz
US 1950, 35mm, b/w, 138 min.
With Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, George Sanders

This double-bill promises an evening of bold, brash performances from some of the best actresses of Hollywood’s golden age. George Cukor’s acid comedy about love and infidelity stars Norma Shearer as a society wife who is spirited off to a dude ranch near Reno when her friends convince her that her husband’s extramarital activities must be avenged. All About Eve stars Anne Baxter as an aspiring actress who maneuvers her way into the life of a Broadway star (Davis) and her close-knit circle of friends. As she plots her rise to the top, the ingenue is aided by the acid-pen of a shrewdly cynical theater critic (Sanders) who sees through her benevolent façade.

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July 18 (Wednesday) 7 pm

The Unfaithful Wife (La femme infidèle)

Directed by Claude Chabrol
France 1969, 35mm, color, 100 min.
With Stephane Audran, Michel Bouquet, Maurice Ronet
French with English subtitles





July 18 (Wednesday) 9 pm

The Pleasure Party (Une partie de plaisir)

Directed by Claude Chabrol
France 1975, 35mm, color, 98 min.
With Paul Gégauff, Danielle Gégauff, Paula Moure
French with English subtitles

Claude Chabrol explores the toll of infidelity in two of his best mid-career works. In The Unfaithful Wife, a man suspects his wife is cheating and hires a private detective to follow her. After his fears are confirmed and he is driven to murder, his wife develops a new interest in their once passionless marriage. Chabrol collaborated with his longtime friend, screenwriter Paul Gégauff on the semi-autobiographical The Pleasure Party. Gégauff stars along with his wife Danielle (who divorced him after the film’s completion) as a man who compels his spouse to explore relationships with other lovers, until he becomes violently jealous. In a morbid epilogue to the film’s production, Gégauff was stabbed to death by his second wife in 1983.

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July 19 (Thursday) 7 pm

A New Leaf

Directed by Elaine May
US 1971, 35mm, color, 102 min.
With Walter Matthau, Elaine May, Jack Weston







July 19 (Thursday) 9 pm

What’s Up Doc?

Directed by Peter Bogdanovich
US 1973, 35mm, color, 94 min.
With Ryan O’Neal, Barbra Streisand, Madeline Kahn

These two comic gems from the 1970s offer hilarious renderings of mismatched romance. In A New Leaf, Walter Matthau plays a wealthy spendthrift who faces bankruptcy after spending down his trust fund. He plots to marry and murder a rich botanist (May) but love gets in the way. May originally planned a much longer, darker satire before the film was reedited at the behest of producer Robert Evans. Arguably Barbra Streisand’s finest hour, What’s Up Doc? stars the famed songstress as a college drop-out who turns the life of a staid musicologist (O’Neal) upside-down. Director Bogdanovich pulls out all the stops in the film’s hilarious climactic chase through the streets of San Francisco.

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July 20 (Friday) 6:30 pm


Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
US 1964, 35mm, color, 130 min.
With Tippi Hedren, Sean Connery, Diane Baker







July 20 (Friday) 9:15 pm


Directed by Raoul Walsh
US 1947, 35mm, b/w, 101 min.
With Teresa Wright, Robert Mitchum, Judith Anderson

Neither Marnie Edgar (Hedren) nor Jeb Rand (Mitchum) can escape the childhood trauma and violence that pursue them in these psychological thrillers in which horses, the color red, and a man in spurs are loaded with ominous meaning.  In one of Hitchcock's late-period masterpieces, Marnie's kleptomania, frigidity, and incessant identity-swapping collide with Mark Rutland (Connery), whose amateur interest in zoology and psychology inspire him to tame Marnie's impulses and unlock her secret past.  Like Hitchcock, Walsh uses flashbacks to illuminate the past haunting Mitchum's anti-hero, who is persecuted in a series of tragedies, caught in a web of murder and revenge he doesn't understand.  Intensifying Pursued's Western film noir atmosphere are Teresa Wright's shape-shifting turn as adoptive sister/love interest/would-be executioner and James Wong Howe's stunning chiaroscuro photography.

Special thanks to the UCLA Film and Television Archive for loan of this archival print of Pursued. Preservation funded by The Film Foundation and the AFI/NEA Film Preservation Grants Program.

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July 21 (Saturday) 7 pm


Directed by Jean-Jacques Beiniex
France 1981, 35mm, color, 123 min.
With Frederic Andrei, Wilhelmina Wiggins Fernandez, Richard Bohringer
French with English subtitles

July 21 (Saturday) 9:15 pm


Directed by Luc Besson
France 1985, 35mm, color, 108 min.
With Christopher Lambert, Isabelle Adjani, Jean-Hugues Anglade
French with English subtitles

With the arrival of directors Jean-Jacques Beineix and Luc Besson in the 1980s, it seemed that French cinema had finally emerged from the post-New Wave era with a stylish new voice. Seen today these films still dazzle with their arch sense of humor, glossy surfaces and fast-paced action sequences. In Diva, a lowly courier obsessed with a beautiful opera singer makes a bootleg tape of her performance and becomes embroiled in a world of pimps, drug traffickers and music pirates. In Besson’s Subway, Christopher Lambert plays a safecracking punk who takes refuge in the Paris Underground after stealing valuable documents from a powerful millionaire. Within the strange confines of the Metro, he realizes his dream of forming a rock band along with numerous subterranean musicians.   

July 22 (Sunday) 7 pm


Directed by Ben Sharpsteen
US 1941, 35mm, color, 64 min.







Live Piano Accompaniment by Yakov Gubanov
July 22 (Sunday) 8:30 pm

He Who Gets Slapped

Directed by Victor Sjostrom
US 1924, 16mm, silent, b/w, 71 min.
With Lon Chaney, Norma Shearer, John Gilbert

In one of Disney’s darkest works, a baby elephant with oversized ears is ostracized by his fellow circus performers until he finds a new talent. The film has often been treated as a minor work in comparison to bigger budget productions such as Bambi and Snow White but this pared down fable (little dialogue, shorter running time) brilliantly combines satire and pathos. Directed by Victor Sjostrom (The Phantom Carriage), He Who Gets Slapped offers an eerily similar portrait of circus life. Lon Chaney portrays a scientist who is betrayed by his wife and his most-trusted colleague. Distraught, he joins the circus as a clown whose role is to be slapped by his fellow performers and falls in love with a bareback horse rider (Shearer).

Live Piano Accompaniment by Yakov Gubanov
July 23 (Monday) 7 pm

The Marriage Circle

Directed by Ernst Lubitsch
US 1924, 35mm, b/w, 78 min.
With Marie Prevost, Florence Vidor, Adolphe Menjou







July 23 (Monday) 8:45 pm

The Merry Widow

Directed by Ernst Lubitsch
US 1934, 35mm, b/w, 98 min.
With Maurice Chevalier, Jeanette MacDonald, Edward Everett Horton

This double bill pairs two decadent delights directed by the great Ernst Lubitsch. A classic sex comedy, The Marriage Circle revolves around Mizzie, a promiscuous woman who sets her flirtatious sights on her best friend’s husband. In the ensuing romantic roundelay, the beleaguered spouses eventually learn that something is not well with their marriages. In The Merry Widow, Maurice Chevalier stars as a playboy count who sings with delight about “girls, girls, girls.” He is enlisted to woo a wealthy widow (MacDonald) whose finances fund his small country’s economy. Featuring songs by Lorenz Hart, the film marked Lubitsch’s final collaboration with Chevalier and MacDonald.

July 24 (Tuesday) 7 pm

One from the Heart

Directed by Francis Ford Coppola
US 1982, 35mm, color, 107 min.
With Teri Garr, Frederic Forrest, Nastassja Kinski





Print courtesy of American Zoetrope.

July 24 (Tuesday) 9 pm

Pennies from Heaven

Directed by Herbert Ross
US 1981, 35mm, color, 108 min.
With Steve Martin, Bernadette Peters, Christopher Walken

These two overlooked musicals from the 1980s offer stylized interpretations of longing. With ballooning production costs including the construction of a massive soundstage replica of Las Vegas, One from the Heart nearly destroyed the career of director Francis Ford Coppola. Teri Garr and Frederic Forest portray a jaded couple who fall in and out of love to the strains of a downbeat score by Tom Waits. Adapted from Dennis Potter’s prize-winning BBC series, Pennies from Heaven stars Steve Martin (in what was then an uncharacteristic dramatic turn) as a struggling sheet music salesman who lip syncs to 1930s standards. Featuring Hopper-esque tableaux and Berkeley-esque production numbers, the film is rife with visual razzle-dazzle, in particular a dancing Christopher Walken.

July 25 (Wednesday) 7 pm

The Band Wagon

Directed by Vincente Minnelli
US 1953, 35mm, color, 111 min.
With Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse, Oscar Levant







July 25 (Wednesday) 9:15 pm

Whatever Happened to Baby Jane

Directed by Robert Aldrich
US 1962, 35mm, b/w, 134 min.
With Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Victor Buono

Two radically different backstage perspectives on the entertainment industry and the demise of the Hollywood dream factory. One of the last great musicals from MGM’s fabled Freed unit, Minnelli’s Technicolor extravaganza The Band Wagon follows a washed up dancer (Astaire) out to prove he can pull off one last show.  Casting real life rivals Bette Davis and Joan Crawford as aging sisters whose film careers have long faded, Aldrich’s Baby Jane delivers a devastating critique of the star system that suggests there are skeletons in every studio’s closet.

July 26 (Thursday) 7 pm

The Pied Piper

Directed by Jacques Demy
US/UK 1972, 35mm, color, 90 min.
With Donovan, Jack Wild, John Hurt



Print courtesy of Swank Films.

July 26 (Thursday) 9 pm

Don’t Look Back

Directed by D.A. Pennebaker
US 1967, 35mm, b/w, 96 min.

The music of Donovan emerged from the psychedelic folk scene of the 1960s and established him as one of the more enduring pop stars of the period. Of course, the one figure whose shadow loomed largest over Donovan’s stardom was Bob Dylan, represented here by D.A. Pennebaker’s rock documentary Don’t Look Back. The film chronicles Dylan’s 1965 tour of the United Kingdom and features a memorable encounter between the two in which Dylan offers a private rendition of “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue.”  The Pied Piper was one of Jacques Demy’s final English language productions and stars Donovan in the titular role as the fabled rat-catcher. Despite its G-rating, the film provides a seamy and pessimistic view of life in the fairy-tale town of Haemlin.

July 27 (Friday) 7 pm

Dead of Night

Directed by Alberto Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton, Basil Dearden, Robert Hamer
UK 1945, 35mm, b/w, 104 min.
With Mervyn Johns, Michael Redgrave, Googie Withers

July 27 (Friday) 9 pm

Concerto for the Right Hand (Konzert Fur Die Rechte Hand)

Directed by Michael Bartlett
West Germany 1986, 16mm, color, 79 min.
With Henry Akina, Miklos Koniger
German with English subtitles

The inanimate has provided many a scare over the years for filmgoers. This double feature pairs two films in which storefront mannequins and ventriloquist dummies raise the fright factor. One of the greatest horror anthologies ever produced, Dead of Night stars Mervyn Johns as an architect summoned to work on a Victorian country house inhabited by a cast of characters who have been infiltrating his own recurring nightmares. Among the most chilling of the film’s five sequences is Michael Redgrave’s turn as a ventriloquist tormented by his evil dummy. A surreal, rarely screened German production, Concerto for the Right Hand tells the tale of a lonely street sweeper who finds a mannequin and takes her home with him but loses its arm. Meanwhile, a shopkeeper who is missing his right arm finds the lost limb and uses it as his own, with frightening results.

July 28 (Saturday) 7 pm


Directed by Guillermo del Toro
Mexico 1994, 35mm, color, 92 min.
With Federico Luppi, Ron Perlman, Claudio Brook
English and Spanish with English subtitles





July 28 (Saturday) 8:45 pm

Sólo con tu pareja

Directed by Alfonso Cuarón
Mexico 1991, 35mm, color, 90 min.
With Daniel Giménez Cacho, Claudia Ramírez, Luis de Icaza
Spanish with English subtitles

Long before the successes of Pan’s Labyrinth and Children of Men, Guillermo del Toro and Alfonso Cuarón produced strikingly original works which heralded the advent of a new wave of Mexican cinema. In Cronos, an antique dealer discovers an ancient artifact which contains a strange insect-like device created by a 16th century alchemist. After the parasitic creature begins feeding off of the dealer, he becomes immortal and develops an insatiable bloodlust. An AIDS-era screwball comedy, Sólo con tu pareja follows the plight of a lothario who is led to believe he is HIV-positive by one of his conquests. Driven to suicide, the playboy meets a kindred spirit in the form of a despondent flight attendant.

Live Piano Accompaniment by Yakov Gubanov
July 29 (Sunday) 7 pm

The Cat and the Canary

Directed by Paul Leni
US 1927, 16mm, silent, b/w, 70 min.
With Laura La Plante, Creighton Hale, Forrest Stanley







July 29 (Sunday) 8:30 pm

And Then There Were None

Directed by René Clair
US 1945, 35mm, b/w, 97 min.
With Walter Huston, Barry Fitzgerald, Louis Hayward

A night of diablerie is inevitable when a cast of oddball characters gathers in a remote locale. In The Cat and the Canary, the family of a wealthy old man congregates for the reading of his will only to be pursued by a homicidal maniac. One of the great German émigré directors, Paul Leni infuses this early horror classic with expressionistic flair. Ten guests assemble for a fateful weekend at the hands of a vengeful judge in Agatha Christie’s oft-adapted stage play. With the rise of the Vichy government in World War II, director René Clair left France to work in Hollywood. And Then There Were None, his final American production, is arguably his most enjoyable.

July 30 (Monday) 7 pm

The Body Snatcher

Directed by Robert Wise
US 1945, 35mm, b/w, 77 min.
With Henry Daniell, Boris Karloff, Russell Wade







July 30 (Monday) 8:30 pm

Isle of the Dead

Directed by Mark Robson
US 1945, 35mm, b/w, 72 min.
With Boris Karloff, Ellen Drew, Helene Thimig

Following a successful career as a story editor for David O. Selznick, Val Lewton was hired to head RKO Pictures’ newly established horror unit in 1942. Designed as an economical way to capitalize on the popularity of Universal’s forays into the genre (Frankenstein, Dracula), Lewton’s productions offered stripped down exercises in the macabre, including some of Jacques Tourneurs’ most acclaimed works. Adapted from a Robert Louis Stevenson story, The Body Snatcher stars Boris Karloff as a murderous hansom cab driver whose victims are used for scientific expereiments. In Isle of the Dead, Karloff plays a Greek general who seeks to contain the effects of a deadly plague on a deserted Balkan island.

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July 31 (Tuesday) 7 pm

The Fall of Troy

Directed by Giovanni Pastrone and Luigi Romano Borgnetto
Italy 1910, 16mm, b/w, silent, 19 min.
With Luigi Romano Borgnetto, Giovanni Casaleggio, Madame Davesnes

Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ

Directed by Fred Niblo
US 1925, 35mm, b/w, silent with music track, 128 min.
With Ramon Navarro, Francis X. Bushman, May McAvoy

Italian director Giovanni Pastrone gained international renown for such lavish historical epics as Cabiria. Using a series of tableaux, Pastrone offers a more sparse vision of the Trojan War in The Fall of Troy. Although not as lavish (and expensive) as its more well known 1959 remake, Fred Niblo’s Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ was one of the most costly productions of the silent era and elevated screen idol Ramon Navarro to legendary status. Niblo shows the influence of his Italian forebears in many of the films more extravagant sequences, most notably the oft-cited (and imitated) chariot race.

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