Wednesday, November 14, 2018


It won’t be long now until the American Cinematheque bestows its 32nd annual Award on four-time Academy Award-nominee Bradley Cooper. A glittering cast of famous friends are lined up to toast and roast the A Star Is Born filmmaker. Patricia Clarkson, Sam Elliott, Zach Galifianakis , Jennifer Garner, Ed Helms, Lady Gaga, Brian Klugman, Sienna Miller, Sean Penn, David O. Russell, and Vince Vaughn will appear in person to fete Cooper at the Cinematheque’s annual benefit gala. Culminating the evening, Sean Penn will present the 32nd American Cinematheque Award Sponsored by GRoW @ Annenberg to Cooper, on stage at The Beverly Hilton (9876 Wilshire Blvd.) on Thursday, November 29, 2018. The award presentation will be held in The Beverly Hilton’s International Ballroom in Beverly Hills, CA. The Title Sponsor is GRoW @ Annenberg.

At the top of the award show, the American Cinematheque will honor Dolby Laboratories as the recipient of the 4th Annual Sid Grauman Award, presented to Doug Darrow. This award is presented by Hill Valley.

Thursday, November 8, 2018


The American Cinematheque  re-opened the landmark 1922 Grauman's Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood on December 4, 1998, following an extensive restoration and renovation of the historic movie palace. This December, the organization celebrates its 20th anniversary at the Egyptian Theatre, by screening a new digital restoration of the 1923 Mary Pickford  film ROSITA, directed by Ernst Lubitsch. ROSITA will be accompanied by a live orchestra, directed by the renowned musicologist Gillian Anderson. Anderson  reconstructed the film’s original score by working from a cue sheet preserved by the George Eastman Museum.  This event marks her return to the Egyptian 20 years after she conducted on the night of the grand re-opening of the theatre. In honor of the occasion, we are republishing a 2017 article by Cari Beauchamp that explores the making of Rosita. To learn more about Mary Pickford click here.

The Museum of Modern Art, with cooperation from the Mary Pickford Foundation, has restored Ernst Lubitsch’s Rosita (1923), starring Mary Pickford, from the last known surviving nitrate print found at Gosfilmofond in Russia. The Pickford Foundation provided access to our 35mm elements and The Film Foundation and The Mayer Foundation also cooperated with MoMA on the restoration.

Rosita had its restoration premiere during a “pre-inaugural evening” before the Venice Film Festival on August 29, and it will be wonderful to have the film (and the original orchestral score they are recording for it) available to audiences again.

A variety of stories have grown up around Rosita over the years; in fact, the Venice press release says, “The film was, by all accounts, a major critical and commercial success on its first release, but in later years Pickford turned against it, for reasons that still remain mysterious.” Actually, the story isn’t really “mysterious” at all, but is nuanced and a bit complicated, so this seems as good a time as any to revisit Rosita and Mary’s thinking about it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018


“He is the greatest actor I have ever seen,” commented a tearful George Segal, regarding Richard Burton’s performance in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966). “People mention Brando, but there’s never a false moment in Richard’s performance.” Foster Hirsch interviewed Segal after a screening of the film at the Aero Theatre on August 5, 2018. Segal added that he had seen Burton’s Hamlet on stage and, for the first time, understood the character.

Photo by Sasha Lebedeva
“I can’t believe I’m still here,” smiled Segal, the only surviving actor from the film, after the applause from his standing ovation quieted down. All four actors - Segal, Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, and Sandy Dennis - received Oscar nominations for their performances, with Taylor and Dennis winning. The film is one of only two in history that was nominated for every Academy Award for which it was eligible (the other being Cimarron). Hirsch described Virginia Woolf as an American masterpiece.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

AIRPLANE AT THE AERO, by Judith Resell

“We said we want to make a comedy with no comedians, so we got turned down a lot,” writer-director David Zucker said of his movie Airplane! (1980) after an August 3, 2018 screening at the Aero Theater. When the film was finally picked up, it was with industry titans Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg, so it went well from that point forward.

Photo by Sasha Lebedeva
The unusual casting approach Zucker and his colleague Joel Stein insisted upon was to cast major dramatic actors in parts that parodied their own work, and also allowed them to play the character straight. If the characters in the script were played purely for comedy, it simply wouldn’t work.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018


The American Cinematheque’s retrospective Modernist Master: Michelangelo Antonioni, begins Thursday, September 13th and runs through Sunday, September 23rd at the Egyptian Theatre.

By 1959, Michelangelo Antonioni had directed five features over ten years, none of which made very much money. He was in the midst of shooting a film that would change cinema forever. But at the moment, he was stranded on a tiny, uninhabited island - his production company having virtually abandoned him and the storms cutting him off from any other means of rescue - with a crew that was on strike, having not been paid for weeks or fed for days.

The island on which they were shooting would provide the central mystery at the heart of L’Avventura (1960) - a woman goes missing, and is never found. That it should nearly swallow its makers whole in the midst of production feels almost fitting, and establishes a vital pattern that would define Antonioni’s work going forward. In his films, people are defined physically, by they make and do and the ways they express themselves; yet the physical world in his films is forever unfulfilling, uninspiring, and is slowly, gradually eroding us until we rot.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018


In honor of Mae West's 125th birthday, the Egyptian Theatre will screen her bawdy classic She Done Him Wrong on Saturday, August 18, with an introduction by author Michael Gregg Michaud.

Did you know that Mae West released a holiday album in 1966 called Wild Christmas? Among the songs were - of course - an especially suggestive version of “Santa Baby,” and such innuendo-filled tunes as “Santa Come Up and See Me” and “Put the Loot in the Boot, Santa.”

Award-winning former L.A. Times film critic Kevin Thomas was all of 30 when he was assigned to interview West about the Christmas disc at her famed white and gold apartment at Hollywood's Ravenwood apartment building. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship that lasted until her death in 1980 at age 87.