Wednesday, February 10, 2016


Actress Marsha Hunt, director Roger C. Memos, and historian Foster Hirsch took the stage at the Egyptian Theater on January 31, 2016 to discuss Hunt's life, career and her new documentary, Marsha Hunt's Sweet Adversity, which screened that evening with one of her films, None Shall Escape.

One of the first things Hunt said during the Q&A was: “I think I am, without question, the luckiest person I have ever known.” As the audience just watched during her documentary, she certainly was the recipient of a range of luck throughout her life and career, some good and some bad. 

Thursday, January 28, 2016


On October 30, 2009, the Egyptian Theater hosted a tribute marking the 50th Anniversary of Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone. Seven classic episodes were digitally projected in their entirety along with one of the most illustrious panels ever assembled on an American Cinematheque stage: writers Earl Hamner Jr., George Clayton Johnson, and Richard Matheson; cast members Arlene Martel and H.M. Wynant; producer William Self; and director Bob Butler. The program was hosted by television historian Marc Scott Zicree, author of The Twilight Zone Companion. In honor of the recent passing of George Clayton Johnson and his upcoming tribute at the Egyptian on February 26, enjoy his highlights from that evening.

From left: H.M. Wynant, William Self, George Clayton Johnson, Arlene Martel, Earl Hamner, Jr., Bob Butler, and Richard Matheson. Photo by Francisco Arcaute.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


In honor of the great cinematographer and director Haskell Wexler, who passed away last month at the age of 93, enjoy highlights of one of his Cinematheque appearances from July 2009. He appeared for  a screening of Medium Cool (1969) and Coming Home (1978) at the Aero Theatre. Mr. Wexler spoke to the audience during intermission after Medium Cool in conversation with fellow cinematographer Richard Crudo. Following are highlights of the question-and-answer session, which largely focused on Medium Cool and Mr. Wexler’s career in general.

First, let me ask you a few questions. How did Medium Cool come together?

H.W.: Subterfuge!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

IXCANUL, by Gretchen Hustig

On Saturday, December 6, 2015 the Aero welcomed director Jayro Bustamante and screened Ixcanul (Volcano), Guatemala's official - and first-ever! - submission for the Best Foreign Film Academy Award.  Film critic Carlos Aguilar introduced the movie and said it has been picked up and will be distributed by Kino Lorber this year.  He added, “It’s the most amazing film I’ve seen in a long time.” 

Monday, January 4, 2016


Eddie Redmayne was on the set of Les Misérables seeking out director Tom Hooper, but it wasn't to talk empty chairs at empty tables. Instead he had another story on his mind. The day before, Hooper had given Redmayne a script to look over – the director was attached to a movie about Lili Elbe, one of the first known recipients of sex reassignment surgery, and wondered if Redmayne was interested. “He came back the next morning and said, "oh my god, this is fantastic! When do we start?" remembers Hooper, smiling. "When do we start?" was a question Gail Mutrux, the producer, had been asking for fifteen years. Now Redmayne was about to find out what Tom Hooper already knew – that making The Danish Girl wasn’t going to be easy.

As so often happens in Hollywood, storytellers sometimes must put a good story on hold until producers decide audiences are ready to accept them, and therefore pay money to go and see them. Gail Mutrux had to wait fifteen years for this story to be told; Eddie Redmayne only four. Society, it seems, is moving in the right direction, and it’s thanks to political and social LGBTQ progress and bold TV shows like Transparent and Orange is the New Black. And yet it would be doing the story, the movie, and the performances – especially that of Alicia Vikander – a disservice to bracket The Danish Girl simply a transgender story. It is, of course, but at its core it’s a study of human relationships and the nature of love.  In that sense the movie has similarities to Hooper’s The King’s Speech. “I think in both movies, the central character is able to overcome their difficulties because they’re truly seen by those closest to them,” suggests Hooper, “In The King’s Speech, Colin Firth’s character has this wonderful relationship with Lionel Logue, and in The Danish Girl it’s [wife] Gerda’s love for Lili that allows her to go on this journey of identity."

Wednesday, December 9, 2015


Like many people born of the time, Douglas Fairbanks’ early life is a mystery. Maybe his father was John Fairbanks, a rich man from the genteel south. Or maybe it was H. Charles Ullman, a Pennsylvania lawyer who fought for the Union before he took off with his wife and child for the Rocky Mountains. You might read somewhere that Douglas Fairbanks was a prankster that got himself expelled from two schools, or that he attended Harvard University. Then again you might read something different. It isn't until he moved to Los Angeles in 1915 that we can be sure of anything - and in Los Angeles the truth never gets in the way of a good story.

And yet there is something uniquely appealing about this kind of past. One that is full of holes and blank spaces, of differing versions of events and contradictory statements.  We are drawn to it just like we are drawn to books and to movies, and to those people who have a way with words. Story broadens our understanding of human nature and narrative affords meaning to our lives. To audiences in the 1920’s, not knowing where Douglas Fairbanks came from was part of his mystique.