On Saturday, January 12, the Egyptian Theatre will host a screening of the Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy classic Adam's Rib. After the film, various contributors to the book When Women Wrote Hollywood: Essays on Female Screenwriters in the Early Film Industrywill appear in person for a signing. Below is an excerpted essay from the book by Rosanne Welch that explores the screenwriting team of Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin. AMANDA Listen Adam. I know that deep down you agree with me with all I believe and want and hope for. We couldn’t be so close if you didn’t. If I didn’t feel you did. —Adam’s Rib by Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin
From the start Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin had a writing career like few other writers in the Hollywood of the 1940s and 1950s. Their career earned them praise as “probably the greatest pure screenwriting collaboration in all Hollywood history." They wrote all four of their films as original screenplays on speculation, not under the auspices of a particular studio producer, and the same personal friend, George Cukor, directed all four films. This resulted in the fact that none of their films underwent major studio rewrites by other writers. Gordon and Kanin were involved in the production of each film beginning in pre-production and all the way through filming and post- production periods; a privilege not granted to many screenwriters then or now.
“I designed 2,000 costumes!” exclaimed Alexandra Byrne as she discussed her work for Mary Queen of Scots after a screening of the film at the Aero Theatre on December 5, 2018. Byrne won an Oscar for her work on Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007) and designed the costumes for Elizabeth (1998) as well. Byrne explained that she uses costumes to tell the contrasting stories of the queen so close to her heart - Elizabeth - and Queen Mary of Scotland.
“The nugget of the film is when the two queens meet,” Byrne said. Although the queens have been bitter rivals, in this scene Byrne uses color to forge a link between the two, with Elizabeth dressed in burnt orange to match the rust of Mary’s armor.
The holiday season is in full swing at the American Cinematheque with screenings at the Egyptian and Aero of such yuletide favorites as 1958’s Auntie Mame (co-presented with Outfest); 2003’s Elf; the beloved 1946 classic It’s a Wonderful Life; and such offbeat fare as 1992’s Batman Returns and 1984’s Gremlins. This season, film writer/historian Jeremy Arnold will be on hand at the Aero Theatre to present a series of holiday films. Besides introducing the programs, he will also sign copies of his new book, Turner Classic Movies: Christmas in the Movies.
On December 20, Arnold will present the acclaimed drama The Lion in Winter, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Set in 1183, it stars Peter O’Toole as Henry II and Katharine Hepburn as his estranged wife Eleanor of Aquitaine reuniting for the holidays. Arnold returns on December 21 for a double bill of the 30th anniversary of the blockbuster action-flick Die Hard, starring Bruce Willis, and the 1950 rarity The Trail of Robin Hood starring Roy Rogers. The latter has been restored in 4K by Paramount Archives from the original 35mm Trucolor negatives and positive separations. And on December 22, he’ll be presenting the most traditional of the quartet: Vincente Minnelli’s magical 1944 Technicolor musical Meet Me in St. Louis, starring Judy Garland, Tom Drake, and Margaret O’Brien, who won a juvenile Oscar for her endearing performance.
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.
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.
“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.