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KENWOOD CLASSICS

Oct 20: CASABLANCA  |  Oct 22: STRANGERS ON A TRAIN  | Oct 23: GOONIES

  Oct 26: CORPSE BRIDE | Octt 27: DIAL M FOR MURDER  |  Oct 29: NORTH BY NORTHWEST

Oct 30: MISERY  |  Nov 3: ALL THE PRESIDENTS MEN  |  Nov 5: 2001 A SPACE ODYSSEY  |  Nov 6: CLOCK WORK ORANGE

 

Introducing KENWOOD CLASSICS! Join us weekly at the Kenwood Theatre for a selection of classic and cult films back on the Big Screen! Select films will be introduced and followed by a Q&A discussion with Film Professor Joe Horine.

 

CASABLANCA 
Sunday, Oct 20th at 5:00pm

Tickets:

Introduction with a Q&A following the film by Joe Horine

 

Synopsis:
One of the most beloved American films, this captivating wartime adventure of romance and intrigue from director Michael Curtiz defies standard categorization. Simply put, it is the story of Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), a world-weary ex-freedom fighter who runs a nightclub in Casablanca during the early part of WWII.

Despite pressure from the local authorities, notably the crafty Capt. Renault (Claude Rains), Rick's café (C) has become a haven for refugees looking to purchase illicit letters of transit which will allow them to escape to America. One day, to Rick's great surprise, he is approached by the famed rebel Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid) and his wife, Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman), Rick's true love who deserted him when the Nazis invaded Paris.

She still wants Victor to escape to America, but now that she's renewed her love for Rick, she wants to stay behind in Casablanca.

 

STRANGERS ON A TRAIN
Tuesday, Oct 22nd at 7:00pm

Tickets:

Introduction with a Q&A following the film by Joe Horine

 

Synopsis:
In one of Alfred Hitchcock's suspense classics, tennis pro Guy Haines (Farley Granger) chances to meet wealthy wastrel Bruno Anthony (Robert Walker) on a train. Having read all about Guy, Bruno is aware that the tennis player is trapped in an unhappy marriage to to wife Miriam (Laura Elliott) and has been seen in the company of senator's daughter Ann Morton (Ruth Roman).

Baiting Guy, Bruno reveals that he feels trapped by his hated father (Jonathan Hale). As Guy listens with detached amusement, Bruno discusses the theory of "exchange murders." Suppose that Bruno were to murder Guy's wife, and Guy in exchange were to kill Bruno's father? With no known link between the two men, the police would be none the wiser, would they?

When he reaches his destination, Guy bids goodbye to Bruno, thinking nothing more of the affable but rather curious young man's homicidal theories. And then, Guy's wife turns up strangled to death. Co-adapted by Raymond Chandler from a novel by Patricia Highsmith, Strangers on a Train perfectly exemplifies Hitchcock's favorite theme of the evil that lurks just below the surface of everyday life and ordinary men. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

 

GOONIES
Wednesday, Oct 23rd at 7:00pm

Tickets:

 

Synopsis:
Leonard Maltin wasn't alone when he noticed similarities between Goonies and the 1934 Our Gang comedy Mama's Little Pirate. Adapted by Chris Columbus from a story by Steven Spielberg, the film follows a group of misfit kids (including such second-generation Hollywoodites as Josh Brolin and Sean Astin) as they search for buried treasure in a subterranean cavern.

Here they cross the path of lady criminal Mama Fratelli (Anne Ramsey) and her outlaw brood. Fortunately, the kids manage to befriend Fratelli's hideously deformed (but soft-hearted) son (John Matuszak), who comes to their rescue. The Spielberg influence is most pronounced in the film's prologue and epilogue, when the viewer is advised that the film's real villains are a group of "Evil Land Developers."

The musical score makes excellent use of Max Steiner's main theme from The Adventures of Don Juan, not to mention contributions by the likes of Richard Marx and Cyndi Lauper. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

 

CORPSE BRIDE
Saturday, Oct 26th at 10:00am

Tickets:

 

Synopsis:
Tim Burton returns to the dark but fanciful animated style of The Nightmare Before Christmas with this stop-motion black comedy. Victor (voice of Johnny Depp) lives in a small European village in the 19th century, where he is pledged to marry Victoria (voice of Emily Watson), a partnership arranged by their parents.

The two only meet the day before their scheduled nuptials, and Victor performs disastrously in the wedding rehearsal. Later that evening, while he is walking through the woods and hopelessly practicing his vows, he puts Victoria's wedding band on what looks like a branch.

Victor quickly discovers this was a big mistake; as it happens, he has put the ring on the skeletal finger of the enchanted Corpse Bride (voice of Helena Bonham Carter), who then whisks him off to a dark and mysterious netherworld where they are now married. Victor is frightened in the land of the dead, and even realizes that he has fallen in love with his true fiancée, Victoria, so he searches for a way back to his own world.

Directed by Tim Burton in collaboration with animator Mike Johnson, Corpse Bride features a stellar voice cast, including Albert Finney, Christopher Lee, Richard E. Grant, Joanna Lumley, and Danny Elfman (who also composed the film's musical score). ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

 

DIAL M FOR MURDER
Sunday, Oct 27th at 5:00pm
Alfred Hitchcock

Tickets:

Introduction with a Q&A following the film by Joe Horine

Synopsis:
Based on the popular mystery play by Frederick Knott, Dial M For Murder is more talky and stagebound than most Hitchcock films, but no less enjoyable. British tennis pro Ray Milland suspects that his wealthy wife Grace Kelly is fooling around with handsome American Robert Cummings. Milland blackmails a disgraced former army comrade (Anthony Dawson) into murdering Kelly and making it look like the work of a burglar.

But Milland's carefully mapped-out scheme does not take into account the notion that Kelly might fight back and kill her assailant. When the police (represented by John Williams) investigate, Milland improvises quickly, subtly planting the suggestion that his wife has committed first-degree murder. He almost gets away with it; to tell you more would spoil the fun of the film's final thirty minutes.

Hitchcock claimed that he chose this single-set play because he was worn out from several earlier, more ambitious projects, and wanted to "recharge his batteries." Compelled by Warner Bros. to film Dial M for Murder in 3-D, Hitchcock perversely refused to throw in the standard in-your-face gimmickry of most stereoscopic films of the era--though watch how he visually emphasizes an important piece of evidence towards the end of the film. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

 

NORTH BY NORTHWEST
Tuesday, Oct 29th at 7:00pm

Tickets:

Introduction with a Q&A following the film by Joe Horine

Synopsis:
While having lunch at the Plaza Hotel in New York, advertising executive Roger O. Thornhill (Cary Grant) has the bad luck to call for a messenger just as a page goes out for a "George Kaplan." From that moment, Thornhill finds that he has stepped into a nightmare -- he is quietly abducted by a pair of armed men out of the hotel's famous Oak Room and transported to a Long Island estate; there, he is interrogated by a mysterious man (James Mason) who, believing that Roger is George Kaplan, demands to know what he knows about his business and how he has come to acquire this knowledge.

Roger, who knows nothing about who any of these people are, can do nothing but deny that he is Kaplan or that he knows what they're talking about. Finally, his captors force a bottle of bourbon into Roger and put him behind the wheel of a car on a dangerous downhill stretch. Through sheer luck and the intervention of a police patrol car and its driver (John Beradino), Roger survives the ride and evades his captors, and is booked for drunk driving.

He's unable to persuade the court, the county detectives, or even his own mother (Jesse Royce Landis) of the truth of his story, however -- Thornhill returns with them to the mansion where he was held, only to find any incriminating evidence cleaned up and to learn that the owner of the house is a diplomat, Lester Townsend (Philip Ober), assigned to the United Nations.

He backtracks to the hotel to find the room of the real George Kaplan, only to discover that no one at the hotel has ever actually seen the man. With his kidnappers once again pursuing him, Thornhill decides to confront Townsend at the United Nations, only to discover that he knows nothing of the events on Long Island, or his house being occupied -- but before he can learn more, Townsend gets a knife in his back in full view of 50 witnesses who believe that Roger did it.

Now on the run from a murder charge, complete with a photograph of him holding the weapon plastered on the front page of every newspaper in the country, Thornhill tries to escape via train -- there he meets the cooly beautiful Eve Kendall (Eva Marie Saint), who twice hides him from the police, once spontaneously and a second time in a more calculated rendezvous in her compartment that gets the two of them together romantically, at least for the night.

By the next day, he's off following a clue to a remote rural highway, where he is attacked by an armed crop-dusting plane, one of the most famous scenes in Hitchcock's entire film output. Thornhill barely survives, but he does manage to learn that his mysterious tormentor/interrogator is named Phillip Vandamm, and that he goes under the cover of being an art dealer and importer/exporter, and that Eve is in bed with him in every sense of the phrase -- or is she? ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi

 

MISERY
Wednesday, Oct 30th at 7:00pm

Tickets:

Synopsis:
Adapted from a Stephen King novel, Rob Reiner's Misery cast James Caan as a writer at a career crossroads. The film opens with Paul Sheldon (Caan) completing work on his latest novel, a break from his popular series of novels featuring the character Misery Chastain.

He gets into a severe car accident and is saved by Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates), a reclusive woman who nurses him back to health. Annie is a huge fan of the Misery novels, and she finishes reading the new one while Paul is convalescing. She becomes enraged when she discovers that Paul has killed off Misery. Annie injures Paul's foot severely so that he is unable to leave her house, and forces him to write a new Misery novel.

A local sheriff (Richard Farnsworth) and Paul's agent (Lauren Bacall) both attempt to track down what happened to the missing author. Misery shot the relatively unknown Kathy Bates to stardom, winning her one of the few Best Actress Oscars ever bestowed for portraying an evil character.

 

 

ALL THE PRESIDENTS MEN
Sunday, Nov 3rd at 5:00pm

Tickets:

Introduction with a Q&A following the film by Joe Horine

Synopsis:
A reconstruction of the discovery of the White House link with the Watergate affair by two young reporters from the Washington Post.

 

2001 A SPACE ODYSSEY
Tuesday, Nov 5th at 7:00pm

Tickets:

Introduction with a Q&A following the film by Joe Horine

Synopsis:
A mind-bending sci-fi symphony, Stanley Kubrick's landmark 1968 epic pushed the limits of narrative and special effects toward a meditation on technology and humanity. Based on Arthur C. Clarke's story The Sentinel, Kubrick and Clarke's screenplay is structured in four movements. At the "Dawn of Man," a group of hominids encounters a mysterious black monolith alien to their surroundings.

To the strains of Strauss's 1896 Also sprach Zarathustra, a hominid invents the first weapon, using a bone to kill prey. As the hominid tosses the bone in the air, Kubrick cuts to a 21st century spacecraft hovering over the Earth, skipping ahead millions of years in technological development. U.S. scientist Dr. Heywood Floyd (William Sylvester) travels to the moon to check out the discovery of a strange object on the moon's surface: a black monolith.

As the sun's rays strike the stone, however, it emits a piercing, deafening sound that fills the investigators' headphones and stops them in their path. Cutting ahead 18 months, impassive astronauts David Bowman (Keir Dullea) and Frank Poole (Gary Lockwood) head toward Jupiter on the spaceship Discovery, their only company three hibernating astronauts and the vocal, man-made HAL 9000 computer running the entire ship.

When the all-too-human HAL malfunctions, however, he tries to murder the astronauts to cover his error, forcing Bowman to defend himself the only way he can. Free of HAL, and finally informed of the voyage's purpose by a recording from Floyd, Bowman journeys to "Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite," through the psychedelic slit-scan star-gate to an 18th century room, and the completion of the monolith's evolutionary mission.

With assistance from special-effects expert Douglas Trumbull, Kubrick spent over two years meticulously creating the most "realistic" depictions of outer space ever seen, greatly advancing cinematic technology for a story expressing grave doubts about technology itself. Despite some initial critical reservations that it was too long and too dull, 2001 became one of the most popular films of 1968, underlining the generation gap between young moviegoers who wanted to see something new and challenging and oldsters who "didn't get it."

Provocatively billed as "the ultimate trip," 2001 quickly caught on with a counterculture youth audience open to a contemplative (i.e. chemically enhanced) viewing experience of a film suggesting that the way to enlightenment was to free one's mind of the U.S. military-industrial-technological complex. ~ Lucia Bozzola, Rovi

 

CLOCKWORK ORANGE
Wednesday, Nov 6th at 7:00pm

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Tickets:

Introduction with a Q&A following the film by Joe Horine

Synopsis:
Stanley Kubrick dissects the nature of violence in this darkly ironic, near-future satire, adapted from Anthony Burgess's novel, complete with "Nadsat" slang. Classical music-loving proto-punk Alex (Malcolm McDowell) and his "Droogs" spend their nights getting high at the Korova Milkbar before embarking on "a little of the old ultraviolence," such as terrorizing a writer, Mr. Alexander (Patrick Magee), and gang raping his wife (who later dies as a result).

After Alex is jailed for bludgeoning the Cat Lady (Miriam Karlin) to death with one of her phallic sculptures, Alex submits to the Ludovico behavior modification technique to earn his freedom; he's conditioned to abhor violence through watching gory movies, and even his adored Beethoven is turned against him. Returned to the world defenseless, Alex becomes the victim of his prior victims, with Mr. Alexander using Beethoven's Ninth to inflict the greatest pain of all.

When society sees what the state has done to Alex, however, the politically expedient move is made. Casting a coldly pessimistic view on the then-future of the late '70s-early '80s, Kubrick and production designer John Barry created a world of high-tech cultural decay, mixing old details like bowler hats with bizarrely alienating "new" environments like the Milkbar.

Alex's violence is horrific, yet it is an aesthetically calculated fact of his existence; his charisma makes the icily clinical Ludovico treatment seem more negatively abusive than positively therapeutic. Alex may be a sadist, but the state's autocratic control is another violent act, rather than a solution.

Released in late 1971 (within weeks of Sam Peckinpah's brutally violent Straw Dogs), the film sparked considerable controversy in the U.S. with its X-rated violence; after copycat crimes in England, Kubrick withdrew the film from British distribution until after his death. Opinion was divided on the meaning of Kubrick's detached view of this shocking future, but, whether the discord drew the curious or Kubrick's scathing diagnosis spoke to the chaotic cultural moment, A Clockwork Orange became a hit.

On the heels of New York Film Critics Circle awards as Best Film, Best Director, and Best Screenplay, Kubrick received Oscar nominations in all three categories. ~ Lucia Bozzola, Rovi

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