Thursday, December 31, 2009

Revival: 42nd Street

Happy New Year! This week's revival film: 42ND STREET (1933)

Saturday, January 2 at Noon
Monday, January 4 at 7 PM
Thursday, January 7 at 9 PM

42ND STREET 1933 Dir. Lloyd Bacon. Warner Baxter, Bebe Daniels, Ruby Keeler, Dick Powell, George Brent, Guy Kibbee, Una Merkel, Ginger Rogers. Choreography by Busby Berkeley. 89m. bw. 35mm.

"42ND STREET's charm and fascination lie in director Bacon's fast-paced and vivid backstage atmosphere, crammed with exhausted chorus kids and sudden hysterics. The great cast is in fine fettle....The real star, though, is the master of kaleidoscopic imagery, Busby Berkeley. Backed by the ebullient songs of Harry Warren and Al Dubin, Buzz unleashed his startling creations on an escapism-hungry public. The dizzying combination of sexuality and abstraction in such numbers as "Young and Healthy," "Shuffle Off to Buffalo," and the title tune remains potent to this day. A film that returned it's $400,000 investment ten times over, inspired dozens of imitations and a Broadway reprise in the 1970s, 42ND STREET, "that avenue I'm takin' you to," remains hard to beat."
-- TV Guide

Monday, December 28, 2009

Some photos from Lost & Found reception

Featuring work by Greglan Ward, Kristin Tata, Annie Gray Robtrecht, Sarah Matson, Antoinette Suiter, Andrew Hegele, Alex Russel, Melody Often, and Heather Boaz.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Revival: A Night at the Opera

The Charles' revival for this week is A NIGHT AT THE OPERA.

Show Times:
Saturday, December 26 at Noon
Monday, December 28 at 7 PM
Wednesday, December 30 at 9 PM
No Thursday Show.

1935. Dir. Sam Wood. Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx, Kitty Carlisle, Margaret Dumont. 96m. bw.

"Two beautifully stuffed American targets - grand opera and high society - are left dismantled, flapping like scarecrows. (If you ever could listen to Il Trovatore with a straight face, you can never do so again.)...This comedy has its classic sequence: the stateroom scene, which is widely regarded as the funniest five minutes in screen history. It will sustain you through the dreadful duets."
(Pauline Kael)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Revival: Manhattan

This week's revival: Woody Allen's MANHATTAN.

Show Times:
Saturday, December 19 at Noon
Monday, December 21 at 7 PM
Wednesday, December 23 at 9 PM
(No Thursday Show)

1979 Dir. Woody Allen. Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Michael Murphy, Mariel Hemingway, Meryl Streep. Cinematography, Gordon Willis. 96m. bw. CinemaScope. 35mm.

"Woody Allen's 1979's bittersweet mash note to the city features gorgeous widescreen black-and-white photography from Gordon Willis and a fabulous cast. TV writer Isaac (Allen) chases love and sex with teenaged Tracy (Mariel Hemingway), but it's the neurotic Mary (Diane Keaton) who comes between him and his best friend. Hopelessly romantic, unabashedly nostalgic, and comically self-reflexive, at this point Manhattan is the most quintessentially Woody Allen of his career, being explicitly about relationships--to each other, to movies--and how they shape the self. It remains an entertaining treat." (City Paper)

"Woody Allen's great leap forward into character development and dramatic integrity (1979). The story is La Ronde with a thrown cog, as Allen's Isaac Davis, a television writer with serious aspirations, turns among three women (Mariel Hemingway, Diane Keaton, and Meryl Streep), his spin impelled by best friend Michael Murphy. The script is funny and observant, full of shocks of recognition..." (Dave Kehr)

"The only truly great American movie of the 1970s. A masterpiece that has become a film for the ages by not seeking to be a film of the moment." (Andrew Sarris)

"The Woody Allen movie where it all came together. The city is gorgeously rendered by cinematographer Gordon Willis; the apartments are lovingly cluttered with cultural detritus; the mainly East Side locations have been fastidiously selected. Every line is a one-liner, but the dialogue flows擁t's not only funny but also seamless." (J. Hoberman)

"Stunningly Beautiful! Woody's supreme masterpiece!" (Time Out New York)

The most refined distillation of Woody Allen's sensibility and his best film." (NY Magazine)

Interview with cinematographer Gordon Willis

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Revival: Trouble in Paradise

A new print of Ernst Lubitsch's TROUBLE IN PARADISE is the revival for this week.

Saturday, December 12 at Noon
Monday, December 14 at 7 PM
Thursday, December 17 at 9 PM

1932 Ernst Lubitsch. Herbert Marshall, Miriam Hopkins, Kay Francis, Edward Everett Horton, Charles Ruggles, C. Aubrey Smith, Robert Greig, Leonid Kinskey. 86m. bw.

"...the most Lubitschian Lubitsch. Herbert Marshall and Miriam Hopkins are a pair of professional thieves who fall in love while plundering the Riviera, but when Marshall falls under the spell of the wealthy Parisienne he intends to fleece (Kay Francis), their perfect relationship falters. The bons mots fly and an elegant immorality abounds, while beneath the surface the most serious kinds of emotional transactions are being made." (Dave Kehr)

“One of the gossamer creations of Lubitsch's narrative would be impossible in this brief notice to describe the innumerable touches of wit and narrative skill with which it is unfolded.” (Alexander Bakshy)

“A shimmering, engaging piece of virtually every scene a lively imagination shines forth.” (NY Times)

"I have played Trouble in Paradise to three different generations over the past forty years or so, to the delight of all of them." (Alistair Cooke)

"A masterpiece of light comedy, with sparkling dialogue, innuendo, great performances and masterly cinematic narrative...the masterpiece of American sophisticated cinema." (Leslie Halliwell)

"This movie seemed to have everything: the grace and elegance of the twenties, the egalitarian conscience of the thirties, the visual wit of the silent cinema, and the verbal wit of the talkies." (Andrew Sarris)

"Trouble in Paradise has none of the single-entendre tawdriness or salacious Puritanism that gives pre-Code Hollywood its carnival flavor. Style is substance in Lubitsch's instantly recognized masterpiece: "As close to perfection as anything I have ever seen in the movies," the young Dwight Macdonald wrote in a little literary magazine. Indeed, style is morality....
Never equaled, Trouble in Paradise twinkles like the polestar in the sky above the comedies of Billy Wilder, George Cukor, and (less brightly) Otto Preminger; it anticipates the banter of Hitchcock's To Catch a Thief and North by Northwest." (J. Hoberman)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Friday, November 27, 2009

Revival: Breakfast at Tiffany's

BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S is the Charles' revival film for this week.

Saturday, November 28 at Noon
Monday, November 30 at 7 PM
Thursday, December 3 at 9PM

1961 Blake Edwards. Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, Patricia Neal, Buddy Ebsen, Martin Balsam, Mickey Rooney. Cinematography by Franz Planer. Oscar for Best Original Song "Moon River" (Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer) 115m. Technicolor.

Audrey Hepburn brought a bounty of spontaneous humor and emotion to her signature roles, and it's all on slapstick-sophisticated display in 1961's "Breakfast at Tiffany's." Except for Mickey Rooney's controversial comic caricature of a Japanese expatriate, it's a soft, romantic variation on Truman Capote's novella of the same name. But it creates its own goofy glamour and casts its own warming glow. (Michael Sragow)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Revival: Duck Soup

Don't miss DUCK SOUP at the Charles-- Saturday and Monday showings only.

Saturday, November 21 at Noon
Monday, November 23 at 7 PM
No show Thursday.

1933 Leo McCarey. Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Chico Marx, Zeppo Marx, Margaret Dumont, Louis Calhern, Edward Arnold. 68m. bw. 35mm.

"A Marx Brothers revival has long been overdue. Let's hope the Charles' presentation of their masterpiece "Duck Soup" helps kicks one off. It's a good thing that the Charles plays old movies more than once a week. The punning effrontery of Groucho and the dialect comedy of Chico come so fast and mock-furious that even their target audiences in the 1930s had to attend the films several times to catch all the jokes. Each brother of the brothers (except game, banal Zeppo) could also be a sight gag unto himself. And each had his comic force multiplied when he played off another Marx or two. Chico's piano-playing, for example, could be a drag, but the group knew how to mine it for laughs.

They had already annihilated college life in their 1932 burlesque "Horse Feathers," and the next year, in "Duck Soup," they took on an even larger institution than academia - statehood - as Groucho (here the president of the struggling nation of Freedonia) and Chico and Harpo (as secret agents) aim fusillades at every aspect of war with an abandon unmatched until Kubrick made "Dr. Strangelove" 40 years later. And even Kubrick backed off from ending his film with a custard-pie fight, while the Marx Brothers merrily sling slimy fruit at Freedonia's patroness while celebrating a meaningless victory over the country of Sylvania. It makes most other parodies of nationalism taste like thin broth, indeed." (Michael Sragow)

"A few years ago I was asked what films I would like to see again just for my own pleasure, and without a second's thought I replied Duck Soup." (Pauline Kael)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Crispin Glover screening It Is Fine! at the Charles Theatre

On Thursday, November 19th, Crispin Hellion Glover will appear at the Charles Theatre to present his Big Slide Show and a screening of his film “It Is Fine! EVERYTHING IS FINE” (2007. Part 2 of the "It" Trilogy). The screening will be followed by a question and answer session and a book signing.

... But first, get in the spirit before he arrives with a screening of River's Edge at The LOFT (120 North Ave) on wednesday night the 18th at 8pm. First 20 people through the door get free tickets for the events at The Charles.
and let rumors of an after party circulate freely.

Tickets avaiable now at the Charles Theatre box office and at Brown Paper Tickets.
For more information (347) 247 3921
Show Time: 7:30
Tickets are $20 and are available now at the Charles Theatre box office. Buy your tickets early!

Charles Theatre
1711 N. Charles Street
(410) 727-FILM

The LOF/t
120 North Ave

Friday, November 6, 2009

Revival: The Hustler

This week the Charles presents an archival print of THE HUSTLER starring Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason.

Saturday, November 7 at Noon
Monday, November 9 at 7 PM
Thursday, November 12 at 9 PM

1961 Robert Rossen. Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason, Piper Laurie, George C. Scott, Murray Hamilton, Myron McCormick, Michael Constantine, Stefan Gierasch, Jake LaMotta (bartender), Art Smith (uncredited). 134 m. bw. Cinemascope.

Robert Rossen's 1961 feature is a somber morality play postulating as existential hero a pool hustler perfecting his craft (Paul Newman at his best). It makes wonderful use of its seedy locations (memorably filmed in black-and-white 'Scope by Eugen Shuftan, who won an Oscar for his work) and its first-rate secondary cast (Piper Laurie, Jackie Gleason, George C. Scott, Myron McCormick, and Murray Hamilton). Adapted by Rossen and Sidney Carroll from a Walter Tevis novel, this picture is so much better than Martin Scorsese's belated sequel The Color of Money that they don't even belong in the same category. A postnoir melodrama with metaphysical trimmings, it does remarkable things with mood and pacing, and the two matches with Gleason as Minnesota Fats are indelible. (Jonathan Rosenbaum)

watch trailer

Monday, October 26, 2009

Children's Halloween Matinee

On Saturday, October 31st at noon the Charles will host a special children's matinee of ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN. Children will be admitted free. Adults $6.

ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN will screen again on Monday, November 2 and Thursday, November 5. (No free admission for children on Monday and Thursday)

ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN (1948 Charles Barton) Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Lon Chaney Jr., Bela Lugosi, Glenn Strange, Lenore Aubert, Jane Randolph. 83m. bw. Archival 35 mm film print. Not Rated.

The comedy duo's finest onscreen hour comes in the shape of this wonderful horror spoof which also unites all of Universal's scariest horror heroes under the same cinematic roof. Here, the pair are at the mercy of Dracula, Frankenstein and the werewolf, after the neck-chomper (Lugosi) hatches a plan to resurrect the long-dead bolt-head with Abbott's brain. This works so well not only because of the tight comic control which builds to a hysterical finale (all the monsters on the loose), but because Lugosi and Chaney as the werewolf play the entire thing as straight as can be, leaving the truly wacky antics to Abbott And Costello. (Channel 4)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Revival: Amarcord

This week's revival: A new technicolor print of Federico Fellini's AMARCORD.

Saturday, October 24 at Noon
Monday, October 26 at 7 PM
Thursday, October 29 at 9PM

1973 Federico Fellini. Pupella Maggio, Armando Brancia, Magali Noël, Bruno Zanin, Ciccio Ingrassia.123m. In Italian and Greek with English subtitles. Technicolor.

"If ever there was a movie made entirely out of nostalgia and joy, by a filmmaker at the heedless height of his powers, that movie is Federico Fellini's AMARCORD. The title means "I remember" in the dialect of Rimini, the seaside town of his youth, but these are memories of memories, transformed by affection and fantasy and much improved in the telling. Here he gathers the legends of his youth, where all of the characters are at once larger and smaller than life -- flamboyant players on their own stages.

At the center is an overgrown young adolescent, the son of a large, loud family, who is dizzied by the life churning all around him -- the girls he idealizes, the tarts he lusts for, the rituals of the village year, the practical jokes he likes to play, the meals that always end in drama, the church's thrilling opportunities for sin and redemption, and the vaudeville of Italy itself -- the transient glories of grand hotels and great ocean liners, the play-acting of Mussolini's fascist costume party."
-Roger Ebert

Friday, October 16, 2009

Revival: Touch of Evil

A beautiful archival print of the restored version of TOUCH OF EVIL will be played as the Charles Theatre's revival for this week.

Saturday, October 17 at Noon
Monday, October 19 at 7 pm
Thursday, October 22 at 9 pm

1958 Orson Welles. Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, Orson Welles, Joseph Calleia, Akim Tamiroff, Dennis Weaver, Marlene Dietrich, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Mercedes McCambridge, Keenan Wynn, Joseph Cotten. bw. 111 minute restored version from 1998.

After seeing the work print of his last Hollywood feature, Orson Welles wrote a lengthy memo requesting several changes in editing and sound—work that was carried out in 1998 by producer Rick Schmidlin and editor Walter Murch with myself as consultant. About the original 95-minute 1958 release (superseded since the mid-70s by a 108-minute preview version), Dave Kehr wrote, “Eternal damnation to the wretch at Universal who printed the opening titles over the most brilliant establishing shot in film history—a shot that establishes not only place and main characters in its continuous movement over several city blocks, but also the film's theme (crossing boundaries), spatial metaphors, and peculiar bolero rhythm.” These titles now appear at the film's end—yielding a final running time of 111 minutes—and in the opening shot Henry Mancini's music comes exclusively from speakers in front of the nightclubs and from a car radio. Other changes involve different sound and editing patterns and a few deletions, all of which add up to a narrative that's easier to follow, but there's no new or restored footage. To quote Kehr again, “Welles stars as the sheriff of a corrupt border town who finds his nemesis in visiting Mexican narcotics agent Charlton Heston; the witnesses to this weirdly gargantuan struggle include Janet Leigh, Marlene Dietrich, Akim Tamiroff, and Joseph Calleia, who holds the film's moral center with sublime uncertainty.” (Jonathan Rosenbaum)

"Touch of Evil is a sensational calling card Welles is almost touchingly eager to demonstrate what he can do. The dialogue is as intricately overlapped as the lighting is cross-hatched; the cameos are as vivid as possible in a black-and-white movie; the camera work and blocking have the coordination of an Olympic pole vaulter. The very first day of shooting, Welles choreographed an astoundingly efficient 12-minute expository shot in which his camera glided from room to room to room while an assortment of cops, lawyers, and suspects pace in and out, yelling, fencing, and looking for evidence. ("Twelve pages in one take," Heston noted in his journal that night.)....Unable to shoot on location in Tijuana, Welles came up with a wonderful alternative (and an implicit metaphor for Hollywood) by using the once fashionable seaside neighborhood of Venice a designed community which, after oil was discovered there in 1927, deteriorated from a fantasy Europe to a wide-open sailor town to a beatnik slum of scummy canals and crumbling colonnades. As Welles's set, the place has no normal life. It has been imbued with the sinister clutter of a derelict amusement park tattered posters, windblown detritus, cars careening through the empty streets."
- J. Hoberman

"A disreputable classic whose brave sensibility more than matches its towering bravura." (Michael Sragow)
Read Michael Sragow on Touch of Evil

"Marvellously garish...a terrific entertainment...
the cast is assembled as perversely as in a nightmare."
- Pauline Kael

Friday, October 9, 2009

Leave Her To Heaven at the Charles Theatre

A new restored 35mm print of John Stahl’s LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN Starring Gene Tierney and Cornel Wilde will be the Charles Revival Series' film for this week.

Saturday, October 10 at Noon
Monday, October 12 at 7 PM
Thursday, October 15 at 9PM

(1945 John M. Stahl) Gene Tierney, Cornel Wilde, Jeanne Crain, Vincent Price. Chill WIlls. 110 m. Technicolor.

"Gene Tierney as the most fatale femme in movie history provides the red-hot center to John Stahl's magnificently obsessive 'Leave Her to Heaven' (1945), a delirious Technicolor film noir and a hot pick for the Charles' revival series in a superb 35 mm restoration. From the moment Tierney and Cornel Wilde (playing a best-selling writer) meet as strangers on a train, the film exerts a hypnotic pull as murderous romance, courtroom spectacular (with Vincent Price as the DA) and dysfunctional-family tragicomedy: 'There's nothing wrong with [her], it's just that she loves too much!' says Mom."
-Michael Sragow

"STAGGERINGLY BEAUTIFUL... There's neither a bland nor trivial frame in the whole thing. And it was perhaps never more gorgeous since its release than it is now, in the wonderful restoration... A strangely heartening reminder of just how exhilaratingly bizarre Hollywood moviemaking could get!”
-Glenn Kenny

"Mesmerizing! A very special film! A glorious restoration!"
-Martin Scorsese

"(LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN is) a noir from the classic era, only photographed in rococo color and draped in baroque melodrama."
-Bret McCabe

“A MASTERPIECE OF AMERICAN CINEMA. The onscreen melo boils, but Stahl's gaze remains spare and precise,
like an acidic fusion of Ozu and Naruse. The glamour of the film's palette is but a bandage on a festering canker...
God is in the details, but he remains tauntingly at the margins.”
– Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York

“Stahl's purpose unfolds only on the big screen, where the blue-velvet skies and the lethally smooth waters
acquire the unquestioned clarity of a fever dream. Color is the lifeblood of the film, Stahl takes the time to feel his way
into the more vivid hues of the heart... Technicolor reaches its astounding apogee in the lips of Gene Tierney, as red as a witch's apple. Each frame of her seems to be hand-tinted.”
– Anthony Lane, The New Yorker

"SPECTACULAR! Pure drama and pure cine noir, all at the same time, with brilliant, deceptive photography
which knocks the spectator out when he discovers that those pastel shades conceal vast amounts of madness and sordidness. A forerunner of Sirk, but more turbulent... The most frightening film that cinema has given us about the evil of jealousy.”
– Pedro Almodóvar

“Gothic pyschologizing melodrama, so preposterously full-blown and straight-faced that it's a juicy entertainment.”
-Pauline Kael

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Hand-Made Experimental Animation at the Charles Theatre

This week's revival: Hand-made experimental ANIMATION programmed by animator Karen Yasinsky and sponsored in part by the MICA Animation Department and JHU Film/Media Studies.

A screening of experimental animations from some of the masters. Don't miss this chance to see magicians of the single frame, from Lewis Klahr's bursting collage of image and color to Robert Breer's sublime manipulation of our processing of image through time. Including long lost dolls, operatic divas, sausages and a few surprises. 16 mm.

2 Screenings Only!
Monday, October 5 at 7pm
Thursday, October 8 at 9pm
(No Saturday Show)

Including Lewis Klahr, Janie Geiser, Robert Breer, Adam Beckett and others.

Lewis Klahr: Lulu
"Lewis Klahr has developed a signature style of cutout animation using illustrations from old magazines and, occasionally, photographic cutouts. LULU was commissioned to be shown as an interlude for a Danish production of Alban Berg's opera, and it is a remarkably intricate piece of work. Berg's instructions call for an expository filmic sequence, but Klahr takes a more indirect approach, collaging stills of diva Constance Hauman with iconographic motifs and metaphoric condensations derived from the heroine's lurid fall from grace. A roulette wheel is a central image, at once a harbinger of chance and a catherine's wheel on which the body and soul of this femme fatale is broken. Intensities of color - predominantly gold, red, and blue - join with vertical movements into and out of frame in mirroring the rising and subsiding intensities of Berg's musical phrases. For those familiar with Lulu's dramatic trajectory, it is like watching an implosion of elements drawn to the center from opposite ends of her story, the moment at which Fate drops its mask of neutrality." - Paul Arthur, Film Comment
1996, 16mm, color/so, 3m,

Janie Geiser: The secret story
The Secret Story arose as a response to several beautifully decayed toy figures from the 1930s that were given to me as a gift. These figures, and other toys, objects and illustrations that I found from the period between the world wars, suggested a kind of unearthed hidden narrative which I have attempted to re-piece together, as if these figures were the hieroglyphics of a just-forgotten tongue. The Secret Story revolves around the central figure of the woman, and her girl-double, who look somewhat like versions of Snow White. She wanders through landscapes of rivers and floods, home and war, and memory and illness, culminating in an ecstatic walk in the forest, suggesting both the dark and cathartic trajectories of the richest fairy tales.
1996, 16mm, color/so, 8.5m,

Robert Breer: 69
"It's so absolutely beautiful, so perfect, so like nothing else. Forms, geometry, lines, movements, light, very basic, very pure, very surprising, very subtle." - Jonas Mekas, The Village Voice; "A dream of Euclid." - Donald Richie
Awards: NY Film Festival; London Film Festival; Tours Film Festival; Oberhausen Film Festival.
1968, 16mm, color/so, 5m

Robert Breer: Fuji
"A poetic, rhythmic, riveting achievement (in rotoscope and abstract animation), in which fragments of landscapes, passengers, and train interiors blend into a magical color dream of a voyage. One of the most important works by a master who - like Conner, Brakhage, Broughton - spans several avant-gardes in his ever more perfect explorations." - Amos Vogel, Film Comment
Awards: Oberhausen Film Festival, 1975; Film as Art, American Film/Video Festival.
1974, 16mm, color/so, 8.5m,

Adam Beckett: Sausage City
Newly preserved print courtesy Iota Center and Academy Film Archive, Music: Brillo
Starting with a white screen a city of interlocking boxes evolves, always moving, constantly changing perspective. After a while, this group of sausages begins to emerge. They are a thoroughly rendered (using fancy colored-pencil technique) bunch of sausages. As time passes there get to be a whole bunch of sausages; in fact, the screen becomes one mass of seething, throbbing, pullulating life. The ending is a surprise.
Awards: Humboldt Film Festival, 1974; Ann Arbor Film Festival, 1974.
1974, 16mm, color/so, 5.5m

Friday, October 2, 2009

Noetic Justice

Artists include Adam Beaver, Jennifer Strunge, Kristin Tata, Jessica Hans, John Jones, and Melody Often.  Special thanks to Sara Seidman.