Monthly Archives: November 2016

Return to Washington Square: William Wyler’s Academy Award-Winning Classic The Heiress – 35mm Screening

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $5 • NEIU Students: $2

14-heiress-600Wednesday, November 30 @ 7:30 PM / NEIU
THE HEIRESS
Directed by William Wyler • 1949
Here for once is a Hollywood literary adaptation that lives up to its eight Academy Award nominations and its finely-honed sense of self-importance. (The original ad campaign simply tagged it as “A Truly Great Motion Picture,” confident that no further elaboration was necessary.) The project was instigated by Olivia DeHavilland, who caught Ruth and Augustus Goetz’s dramatization of Henry James’s novel Washington Square on Broadway and brought the property to the attention of William Wyler. Improbably, DeHavilland saw herself as the ideal actress to play sullen society spinster Catherine Sloper, daughter of a prominent New York doctor (Ralph Richardson, reprising his role from the London stage production) who shames and berates her constantly. Swept off her feet by the flirtatious entreaties of wastrel bachelor Morris Townsend (Montgomery Clift), Catherine must balance carnal desire and character judgment for the first time in her life. None of Wyler’s contemporaries could match him for stature or craftsmanship, and his films formed the backbone of André Bazin’s theories of mise en scène, yet his work is now screened all too infrequently. Assailed by Manny Farber and the auteurist critics who followed in his wake for the supposed crime of making arty films with social aspirations, Wyler and his work need no apology. A class act in every respect (including Aaron Copland’s score), The Heiress remains an expertly calibrated chamber drama that builds to an unforgettably cruel climax. (KW)
Film Stock: Kodak B+W (2001)
115 min • Paramount Pictures • 35mm from Universal

Preceded by: Selected Cartoon

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Chicago Weather Got You Down? Take a Mediterranean Vacation with Jules Dassin’s Topkapi – 35mm Screening

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $5 • NEIU Students: $2

13-topkapi-600

Wednesday, November 23 @ 7:30 PM
TOPKAPI
Directed by Jules Dassin • 1964
Ever watch Jules Dassin’s Rififi and wish it was a little less devastating? That the hardened criminals were a little less…hard? No? Ten years after Dassin made one of history’s greatest heist films, he does what on paper seems like a truly awful idea, a Technicolor spoof of the very genre he helped define. Shot on location in Turkey and Greece, the result is a surprisingly well crafted and joyous mix of tension and laughs. Elizabeth Lipp (Melina Mercouri) is our purring tour guide and mastermind behind the theft of a bejeweled dagger kept in Istanbul’s Topkapi Palace. She and her ex-lover (Maximilian Schell) gather together a motley crew of thieves for the job, including Robert Morley as a mechanics wiz, French actor and mime Gilles Ségal as “The Human Fly,” and last but not least, Peter Ustinov as a small-time con man hired as the driver. Ustinov’s sweating, bumbling hustler is widely considered to be the heart of the film (he won an Oscar for it that year), and he spoke highly of the role. “The character is so absurd. I love the idea of a man who aims low and misses.” Topkapi is famous for its 40-minute final heist scene, but don’t be late to this one because the psychedelic opening sequence is just as memorable. (RL)
120 min • Filmways Pictures • 35mm from Park Circus
Preceded by: “Sports in Action: Best in Show” (Richard Wink, 1964) – 35mm IB Technicolor –  10 min

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