A series of classic films, hosted by Holmes Osborne (Donnie Darko, That Thing You Do), features stories of suspense, humor and drama.
FRIDAYS NIGHT AT 8 P.M.
CARNIVAL OF SOULS (1962)
Premiere January 10
One of the great “atmospheric” horror films of the 60’s, featuring a remarkable performance by Candace Hilligoss as a church organist who is the “soul” survivor of a drag race crash. Moments after the car she has been riding in sinks to the bottom of a river and all are thought dead, she miraculously emerges from the river dazed but okay. Thus begins her sojourn into the world of dead souls.
THE LIFE AND ADVENTURES OF NICHOLAS NICKLEBY (1947)
Premiere January 17
This British adaptation of Dickens’ novel championing decency in the age of the rod successfully brings to the screen Dickens’ finely etched characters. The performances are top drawer, with Derek Bond as the gentlemanly Nicholas, Cedric Hardewicke as the perfidious Ralph Nickleby, Aldred Drayton as the cruel school headmaster aptly named Wacksford Squires who terrorizes his boys by lashing instead of teaching.
KANSAS CITY CONFIDENTIAL (1952)
Premiere January 24
In this film noir classic ex-Kansas City cop, Timothy Foster (Preston Foster), conceives and executes the “perfect crime.” Foster plans a bank hold-up and recruits the most violent criminals to do the job, concealing their identities from each other so no one can squeal. Ex-con, Joe Rolf (John Payne), who has gone straight working as a delivery man, becomes the innocent victim of Foster’s scheme.
A STAR IS BORN (1937)
Premiere January 31
The classic Hollywood love story about two movie stars who cross paths, one on the way up and the other on the way down. The story was remade in 1954 with Judy Garland and James Mason, in 1974 with Barbara Streisand and Kris Kristofferson and in 2018 with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. This one is the best, with Janet Gaynor as small town girl who dreams of making it big in Hollywood and does, thanks to Norman Maine (Fredric March) who discovers her.
BEAT THE DEVIL (1953)
Premiere February 7
Humphrey Bogart fires this comedy thriller with his dry wit, a perfect match to the equally talented screenwriter Truman Capote and director John Huston. Bogart is Billy Dannreuther, who is associated with four “brilliant criminals at the climax of their most brilliant effort.” They include Peterson (Robert Morley), O’Hara (Peter Lorre) and the vituperative Major Ross (Ivor Barnard) who have concocted a scheme to get uranium out of British East Africa.
Premiere February 14
Updated to 1970s London, this faithful adaptation of Herman Melville’s classic follows a young accounting clerk rebelling against his employer by responding to demands to do work by saying, “I prefer not to.” This is carried on ad absurdum until the office is in chaos because the other employees must do Bartleby’s work. It is an impeccably mounted study of employment, insanity, and the rigors of everyday life from one of literature’s most acclaimed geniuses.
THINGS TO COME (1936)
Premiere February 21
One of the most important science fiction films of all time, it opens as World War II begins and takes us on a 100 year time trip to 2036 A.D., when a man and a woman are rocketed to the moon. We witness an evolution of mankind from post-apocalyptic savagery to high-tech “modern life”. H.G. Wells, wrote the story and screenplay, and Academy Award winning director-designer William Cameron Menzies directed with an incredible stylistic and visual flair.
THE THIRD MAN (1949)
Premiere February 28
This film noir crime drama about changing emotions and loyalties, stars Joseph Cotten, in probably his finest role, as Holly Martins, a writer of dime novels, summoned to post war Vienna by his old friend Harry Lime for a writing assignment. When he arrives he discovers that Harry is dead and has left behind a beautiful lover, and a tangled web of criminal activities being investigated by Major Calloway.
SANTA FE TRAIL (1940)
Michael Curtiz’s re-telling of the John Brown legend makes for a marvelous film with Errol Flynn and Ronald Reagan as pre-Civil War buddies, Jeb Stuart and General George Custer, who trained together at West Point and would go on to take different sides in the North South struggle. Raymond Massey gives a towering performance as John Brown, which culminates with his defeat at Harper’s Ferry and his ultimate hanging for his drastic methods to abolish slavery.
THE LAST MAN ON EARTH (1964)
In this doomsday scenario with mankind destroyed by a pestilence of unknown origin, Vincent Price plays a lone survivor who resorts to making stakes to impale the vampire-like zombies who co-inhabit the Earth. Immune to the disease, he is ecstatic to discover a woman who is also a survivor, but she too is a potential vampire who is only able to retard the vampire germ with a vaccine she has acquired.
THE BIG LIFT (1950)
In 1948, the Soviet Union blockades the Allied sectors of Berlin to bring the entire city under their control. A semi-documentary about the resulting Berlin Airlift gives way to stories of two fictitious U.S. Air Force participants: Sgt. Hank Kowalski, whose hatred of Germans proves resistant to change, and Sgt. Danny McCullough, whose pursuit of an attractive German war widow gives him a crash course in the seamy side of occupied Berlin.
THE LADY VANISHES (1938)
Vanished is the operative description of this Alfred Hitchcock espionage thriller as Iris Henderson is returning home by train after celebrating her last days as a single woman. She has befriended a kindly Governess who helped her board the train after an odd incident where she was grazed by a falling flower pot. After dining with the elderly lady, Iris wakes up from a nap to discover Miss Froy has vanished.
HIS GIRL FRIDAY (1940)
Craziness abounds in this classic re-working of the original 1930 film version of The Front Page. Hildy is played by Rosalind Russell, who makes the mistake of returning to the office to tell her former husband and boss, editor Walter Burns (Cary Grant), that she is leaving the newspaper business to marry an insurance salesman.This screwball comedy classic deservedly has the reputation of being “the fastest farce on celluloid.”