Restored gems, Polish classics, Pinter films in free Emory screenings

Emory University’s Cinematheque, a reliable source of art films, international cinema and titles generally residing outside the mainstream, plans a busy fall, presenting three just-announced series of free screenings, with details still to come on a fourth.

The first series is the “UCLA Festival of Preservation,” showcasing American classics and lesser-known gems that have been recently restored by the UCLA Film and Television Archive. The 12-film series kicks off Aug. 27 with the 1946 film noir “The Chase.”

The second series to launch will be “Screenplay by Harold Pinter,” three films written by the late playwright-screenwriter, starting with the 1963 British drama about class and power clashes, “The Servant,” starring Dirk Bogarde and James Fox, on Sept. 12. The Pinter films complement Theater Emory’s Pinter Fest (several events coming in the fall).

Finally, on Oct. 8, the 11-film series “Martin Scorsese Presents: Masterpieces of Polish Cinema” rolls out with “Ashes and Diamonds,” the 1958 final film of director Andrzej Wajda’s war trilogy.

Emory film and media studies professor Matthew H. Bernstein said the profusion came about when the hard-to-resist Polish series became available after the Cinematheque had committed to the UCLA preservation series. Then Emory theater colleagues asked for the shorter Pinter series to be added.

“Fortunately, we have the resources to do so,” Bernstein said, “and so it should be a cinephile’s heaven.”

Here’s a look at what’s in store in the “UCLA Festival of Preservation” (all screenings at 7:30 p.m. in White Hall, 208, on the Emory Campus) …

  • Aug. 27: “The Chase” (1946), directed by Arthur Ripley. A film noir focusing on a poor ex-GI (Robert Cummings) who finds work with a successful businessman (Steve Cochran), then meets his trophy wife (Michele Morgan).
  • Sept. 3: “Gun Crazy” (1950), directed by Joseph H. Lewis. An often-imitated low-budget film noir that itself very loosely adapts the Bonnie and Clyde story.
  • Sept. 10: A silent film double feature. “Mantrap” (1926), directed by Victor Fleming. A flirtatious wife (1920s “it” girl Clara Bow) fancies two men in the wilds of Canada. And “Midnight Madness” (1928), directed by F. Harmon Weight. A gold digger (Jacqueline Logan) marries a wealthy diamond miner (Clive Brook), who becomes determined to show her a life of poverty in South Africa. Live piano accompaniment by Donald Sosin.
  • Sept. 17: “International House” (1933), directed by Edward Sutherland, starring W.C. Fields, George Burns and Gracie Allen; “Thirty Day Princess” (1934), directed by Marion Gering, with Cary Grant and Sylvia Sidney; and “Busy Bodies” (1933), directed by Lloyd French, starring Laurel and Hardy. This program of pre-Code (before industry censorship guidelines were instituted) films includes three different types of early ’30s comedy.
  • Sept. 24: “Double Door” (1934), directed by Charles Vidor; and “Supernatural” (1933), directed by Victor Halperin. A double feature of the dark side: In “Double Door,” an older woman holds a sister and brother captive; “Supernatural” stars Carole Lombard as a solid citizen who becomes demonically possessed.
  • Oct. 1: “That Cold Day in the Park” (1969), directed by Robert Altman. A psychological drama about a lonely single woman (Sandy Dennis) and the handsome, apparently homeless, mute man (Michael Burns) she takes in.
  • Oct. 10: “Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxographer” (1975), directed by Thom Andersen; and “Robert Frost: A Lover’s Quarrel With the World” (1963), directed by Shirley Clarke. Two major American documentary filmmakers present portraits of two major American artists.

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