Wednesday, April 26, 2017

THE MERCHANT OF VENICE AND OTHER WELLES RARITIES, by F.X. Feeney

Citizen Kane, Touch of Evil, F for Fake and other beloved Welles classics are showing at the Egyptian starting May 5 to honor his great legacy. On Saturday May 6, 2017 – the 102nd anniversary of Orson Welles’s birth - the exceptional program includes The Merchant of Venice, his lost film from the late 1960s, which has been painstakingly restored and presented by Stefan Droessler of the Munich Film Museum. Screening with it will be other mesmerizing fragments of such incomplete Welles films as King Lear, The Deep, and The Dreamers, also preserved and curated by Mr. Droessler.



Orson Welles was not a patient man, not in the “win a few, lose a few” sense that a system such as Hollywood demands. “I’m a mud turtle,” he liked to say, meaning he could go for years, even decades, even half a lifetime, staying true to this or that project. Upon his death in 1985, there remained at least six feature films in various states of progress (Don Quixote, The Deep, The Merchant of Venice, The Other Side of the Wind, The Dreamers, and King Lear) squirreled away in vaults or stashed under beds in cities around the world, not to mention complete scripts for countless others.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

AMY ADAMS TO RECEIVE 31ST AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE AWARD SPONSORED BY GROW @ ANNENBERG

The American Cinematheque will present the 31st American Cinematheque Award Sponsored by GRoW @ Annenberg to Academy Award nominee Amy Adams at the Cinematheque’s annual benefit gala. The presentation will take place Friday, November 10, 2017 at The Beverly Hilton (9876 Wilshire Blvd.) in Beverly Hills, CA. The award presentation is held in the International Ballroom and will include in-person tributes from some of Adams’ colleagues and friends (to be announced as they are confirmed).




"The American Cinematheque is extremely pleased to honor Amy Adams as the 31st recipient of the American Cinematheque award at our celebration this year," said Rick Nicita, American Cinematheque Chairman. “Amy Adams is one of the most beloved, admired and respected actresses in movies today. Her credits range from critical favorites like American Hustle and Arrival to blockbusters like Enchanted and Man of Steel, combining strong reviews and commercial success. Her appeal crosses all demographic groups and she continues to broaden her audience with performances that illuminate her movie-star qualities. She has been honored with many nominations and awards from critics, fans and industry organizations all over the world. In the words of one of her directors, she is smart, tough, funny, warm, ambitious and, of course, beautiful. Combined with her shining talents and unequalled likability in a career that is skyrocketing, Amy Adams is the ideal recipient of the American Cinematheque’s 31st annual award.”

Thursday, April 6, 2017

HOLLYWOOD FEUD: BETTE VS JOAN, by Heidi Honeycutt

From April 13 - 15, 2017, at the Egyptian Theatre, fhe American Cinematheque is hopping on the bandwagon of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford’s legendary (and now televised) bitter feud on the set of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? In 1962, Baby Jane was a risky, slightly degrading move for both Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, aging mega-stars finding that good roles for women over 50 were fewer and farther between than they had hoped. But it worked. And by “worked,” I mean it introduced a whole new generation of movie fans to these two actresses, making them household names well into the 21st century. Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? is renowned as a “hag horror” movie – campy, ridiculous, exploitative films that put once-beloved aging actresses in cheap thrillers, throwing their good names around drive-ins like used tissue paper. Films like Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte, What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice?, What's the Matter With Helen?, and Die! Die! My Darling (among many others) exist merely to parody the amazing careers of the actresses playing the (often psychotic) older female roles. 



Monday, April 3, 2017

EGYPTIAN THEATRE 2016-2017 RESTORATION AND RENOVATION



After 9 months of upgrades, renovations and restoration, the 1922 Egyptian Theatre is ready for its close-up. The American Cinematheque documented this process - from the artists who restored flaking murals to the electricians who re-wired the projection booth, to the carpet layers who installed the new custom-designed carpet. This legend of Hollywood history has been freshened up as it heads into its 95th anniversary on October 18, 2017! The work was funded by a grant from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA). To find out what is onscreen, click here.

Sid Grauman's 1922 Egyptian Theatre underwent some restoration and renovation work in 2016-17, thanks to a grant from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA). Original murals in the courtyard were restored by Silverlake Conservation. Property Developers Group Construction served as the general contractor. Sandra Costa Design Group and L'Esperance Design designed the carpet. Marco Marraccini, RA Associate Principal/Abramson Teiger Architects designed the concession stand. 



The Egyptian Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard is the home of the first Hollywood movie premiere, which was Robin Hood starring Douglas Fairbanks on October 18, 1922. The Egyptian Theatre was extensively restored and renovated in 1997-1998 by the non-profit American Cinematheque. The theatre re-opened after a $15 million dollar rehabilitation on December 4, 1998. It continues to operate as a movie theatre. 

Friday, March 31, 2017

A CONVERSATION WITH WALTER HILL, by Jim Hemphill

America’s greatest living action filmmaker returns in top form in The Assignment, the deliriously entertaining new film from director Walter Hill. The premise, from a screenplay co-written by Hill and Denis Hamill, is pure lurid pulp: male assassin Frank Kitchen (Michelle Rodriguez) runs afoul of a brilliant but deranged surgeon (Sigourney Weaver) who has him abducted and knocked unconscious. When Frank comes to, he discovers that he’s been surgically altered and now has the body of a woman – a revelation that only briefly slows down his obsessive quest for revenge.


It’s a provocative conceit that might be offensive in other hands, and indeed Hill has already been hit with criticism that the movie’s premise is transphobic. Yet the director isn’t just being self-serving or disingenuous when he says that the film is its own defense, for The Assignment’s narrative – its actual narrative, not the one imagined by people who haven’t actually seen the film – splinters off in a number of progressive directions, both sociologically and aesthetically. The only way in which The Assignment looks backward is in its sublime sense of action moviemaking craft, which has more in common with the classically composed perfection of Kurosawa and Peckinpah than the frantically cut hand-held style of most recent thrillers. Like Hill’s best work (The Warriors, Streets of Fire, Johnny Handsome), the film strikes a unique and effective balance between serious moral inquiry and the giddy pop pleasures of comic books, crime fiction, and disreputable genre flicks, and it has a propulsive structure that strips everything down to what’s essential, fulfilling Hill’s ideal of elegant simplicity. I spoke with Hill about the movie, which is currently available on multiple VOD platforms and will receive a limited theatrical release on April 7, on the eve of an American Cinematheque tribute to his work. If you’re in Los Angeles, you can see Hill in person at that tribute along with screenings of The Assignment and several Hill masterpieces, including a 70mm presentation of Geronimo: An American Legend.

Head over to Filmmaker Magazine to see the full interview with Hill.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

NOIR CITY COMES TO HOLLYWOOD, by Kim Luperi

So, what is film noir? How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie pop? The world may never know on both counts, but there are certainly several legitimate postulations for the former.



Film still from THIS GUN FOR HIRE, our NOIR CITY '17 opening night film.
Film noir, translating to “black film” in French, was a term bestowed retroactively to features generally referred to as melodramas or crime dramas at the time of their production; at first, the moniker was usually reserved for American titles that fit the bill made after World War II. Coined in Nino Frank’s 1946 essay and explored in depth by French critics Raymond Borde and √Čtienne Chaumeton in their 1955 work Panorama du film noir am√©ricain 1941–1953 (A Panorama of American Film Noir) the label has, in the ensuring six decades, been alternatively referred to as a genre, style, cycle, period, mood and so on. Certainly, some of these identifiers hold more water than others, but overall, film noir tends to transcend boundaries placed upon it. That goes for time, as well; with a plethora of visual and story influences including German Expressionism, hardboiled detective fiction (Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain), neo-realism and the anguish of the war years, traces of noir can be recognized across a multitude of genres stretching from today back to a century ago. Despite the range attributed to films noir, many scholars have settled on 1940's Stranger on the Third Floor as the first full-fledged noir picture.