Never seen a Preston Sturges film? Boy are you are in for a rare treat! From American Masters,
Considered the father of the screwball comedy, Preston Sturges was recognized as one of the great early writers in Hollywood… Sturges, however, had been consistently dissatisfied with director’s interpretations of his work, and in 1939 convinced his employers, Paramount Pictures, to let him direct his own script. For the opportunity to direct, Sturges sold “THE GREAT MCGINTY”, his newest script, for $1. The film earned him an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay (the first time this award had been handed out). Sturges followed this by writing and directing a handful of other big hits including “CHRISTMAS IN JULY” (1940) and “THE LADY EVE” (1941). The success of these films set the precedent for other writers to become directors.
In The Lady Eve,
Charles Pike is the son of a beer magnate who becomes the target of the father-daughter team of card sharps ‘Colonel’ Harry and Jean Harrington. Their plan to rob the naive man blind hits a snag, however, when Jean falls head over heels for an equally-smitten Pike.
And in case you’re wondering, it doesn’t get much better in the classic movie world than the pairing up of Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda.
Find The Lady Eve in our library catalog.
Carol Reed’s 1947 masterpiece, Odd Man Out gets the Criterion treatment to showcase its’ glory. From Criterion,
Taking place largely over the course of one tense night, Carol Reed’s psychological noir, set in an unnamed Belfast, stars James Mason as a revolutionary ex-con leading a robbery that goes horribly wrong. Injured and hunted by the police, he seeks refuge throughout the city, while the woman he loves (Kathleen Ryan) searches for him among the shadows. Reed and cinematographer Robert Krasker (who would collaborate again on The Third Man) create images of stunning depth for this fierce, spiritual depiction of a man’s ultimate confrontation with himself.
Find Odd Man Out in our library catalog.
In honor of the official start of summer this week, let’s throwback to 2001’s camp classic ode to the 80’s, Wet Hot American Summer. Netflix loved it so much they decided to create a newly rebooted Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp which will hit the streaming service July 17. But for now, let’s focus on the original since it’s Throwback Thursday. From Rotten Tomatoes,
The setting is Camp Firewood, the year 1981. It’s the last day before everyone goes back to the real world, but there’s still a summer’s worth of unfinished business to resolve. At the center of the action is camp director Beth, who struggles to keep order while she falls in love with the local astrophysics professor. He is busy trying to save the camp from a deadly piece of NASA’s Skylab which is hurtling toward earth. All that, plus: a dangerous waterfall rescue, love triangles, misfits, cool kids, and talking vegetable cans. The questions will all be resolved, of course, at the big talent show at the end of the day.
Find Wet Hot American Summer in our library catalog.
Before Claire Danes starred in the outstanding Homeland. Before Jared Leto won the Oscar last year for Dallas Buyers Club, there was My So-Called Life. The series debuted in 1994. It lasted only one season. 20 years later it’s considered a modern classic paving the way for more realistic portrayals of teenagers in television. From Wikipedia,
It was the first teen drama that didn’t feel like an after-school special. No one ever learned a very important lesson or uttered the phrase ‘I love you, Dad.’ Angela acted like a real 15-year-old, with all the crying jags and Buffalo Tom concerts that implies. What’s even more impressive is that anyone who watched the show back in the ’90s, when angst and Manic Panic felt totally of the moment, can now enjoy it on a very different level. Suddenly, Angela’s parents are relatable.
Find My So-Called Life at both library locations in our catalog.
Every mean snowstorm has its silver lining. Not only did we get spared yesterday from 30+” of snow, Downton Abbey‘s fifth season was released on DVD and Blu-ray. Yes, you can binge watch the entire season before it airs on PBS. That’s a full 3 1/2 weeks before the final episode airs on February 22, 2015 and more than a month before the extra holiday episode airs on PBS March 1, 2015. So Downtonians take note – your favorite public library has you covered for all your British Costume Drama binge watching. Just be careful what you say around Violet. She might stab you with her retort!
Find Downton Abbey Season 5 on DVD and Blu-ray in both library locations.
What else could we possibly feature as a Throwback Thursday film the week before Christmas other than the warm and wonderful Barbara Stanwyck classic, Christmas in Connecticut. Stanwyck stars with Dennis Morgan in a tale of mistaken identity. Stanwyck’s character Elizabeth Lane is a Martha Stewart type journalist who poses as a married suburban woman when in fact she is single and lives in NYC. An invite for a war hero (Morgan’s handsome Jefferson Jones) from the publisher to her Connecticut home turns into madcap bedlam as Morgan falls for the “married” woman. Not to be missed is the supporting performance from S.Z. Sakall as the wacky Uncle Felix who is the real mastermind behind Elizabeth’s skills. As with most films from the 1940’s, this concludes with a very happy ending. Christmas in Connecticut is a must-see for anyone interested in warm-hearted classic holiday films and an absolute must-see for those of us living in the nutmeg state.
Find Christmas in Connecticut in our library catalog.
What would Halloween be without the original screamfest Halloween starring the original scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis? Halloween started it all way back in 1978. And it still packs a punch after all these years! Queue up this DVD and be prepared to be scared out of your wits!
Find Halloween in our library catalog.
Let’s hear it for local boy Paul Newman and his canon of outstanding films. Find a large selection of Paul’s greatest work in the library’s DVD collection including Sting, Absence of Malice, Cool Hand Luke, The Young Philadelphians, Harper, The Verdict, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Nobody’s Fool, and The Hustler.
Paul Newman was born on January 26, 1925, in Cleveland, Ohio. He turned to acting after getting kicked off the football team in college. He made his Broadway debut in 1953 and began doing television and films, eventually becoming known as one of the finest actors of his time. He created a food company, Newman’s Own, that donates all proceeds to charity. Newman died of cancer on September 26, 2008.
Paul Newman will be long remembered for his great films, his vibrant lifestyle and his extensive charitable works, and his relationship with Joanne Woodward will always be regarded as one of the most successful and enduring love stories in Hollywood history.
View our complete list of Paul Newman films in the library’s catalog.
Criterion remastered and reissued Federico Fellini’s classic 1960 film La dolce vita. From Criterion,
The biggest hit from the most popular Italian filmmaker of all time, La dolce vita rocketed Federico Fellini to international mainstream success—ironically, by offering a damning critique of the culture of stardom. A look at the darkness beneath the seductive lifestyles of Rome’s rich and glamorous, the film follows a notorious celebrity journalist (a sublimely cool Marcello Mastroianni) during a hectic week spent on the peripheries of the spotlight. This mordant picture was an incisive commentary on the deepening decadence of contemporary Europe, and it provided a prescient glimpse of just how gossip- and fame-obsessed our society would become.
With our star and fame obsessed American culture, it certainly will be fascinating to take a look back at how Fellini saw it over 50 years ago! And no one does pristine film restoration with attention to detail better than Criterion.
Find Criterion’s La dolce vita in our catalog.