Feature films and short subjects from the silent era through the 1960s—all preserved on 35 mm film by the Library of Congress Film Preservation Lab—will be screened in January at the Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation in Culpeper, Virginia.
The process of preserving a motion picture can be a long and tedious endeavor. Repairing old, fragile film frame-by-frame can take weeks, followed by extensive timing, printing and processing. Added to that is the level of expertise and skill necessary for photochemical preservation. This month’s selections, curated by the lab staff, show off some of their best preservation work and include some of their favorite titles.
Programs include the National Film Registry titles "Shadow of a Doubt," directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and "Nothing But a Man," a 1964 drama set in Alabama during the civil rights movement. Washington D.C.-based silent film accompanist Andre Earle Simpson will perform for an evening of "Oddities and Shorts" on Jan. 23. He also will perform the following evening for a double feature of silent-movie rarities "Feel My Pulse," a comedy starring Bebe Daniels, and "The Air Mail," an adventure starring Warner Baxter.
Short-subject films will be presented before select programs. Titles are subject to change without notice. Screenings at the Packard Campus are preceded by an informative slide presentation about the film, with music selected by the Library’s Recorded Sound Section.
All Packard Campus programs are free and open to the public, but children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult. For general Packard Campus Theater information, call (540) 827-1079 ext. 79994 or (202) 707-9994 during regular business hours. For further information on the theater and film series, visit www.loc.gov/avconservation/theater/. In case of inclement weather, call the theater information line no more than three hours before showtime to confirm cancellations.
Seating at the Packard Campus Theater’s free screenings is on a first-come, first-serve basis. However, for a ticketing service charge, patrons can ensure admission to these shows by reserving tickets through the State Theatre website (www.culpepertheatre.org) or by visiting the State Theatre ticket office at 305 S. Main Street in Culpeper, Virginia.
The Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation is a state-of-the-art facility funded as a gift to the nation by the Packard Humanities Institute. The Packard Campus is the site where the nation’s library acquires, preserves and provides access to the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of motion pictures, television programs, radio broadcasts and sound recordings (www.loc.gov/avconservation). The Packard Campus is home to more than 7 million collection items. It provides staff support for the Library of Congress National Film Preservation Board (www.loc.gov/film), the National Recording Preservation Board (www.loc.gov/rr/record/nrpb) and the national registries for film and recorded sound.
Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. It seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs, publications and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at www.loc.gov.
Library of Congress Packard Campus Theater Schedule
Thursday, Jan. 8 (7:30 p.m.)
"It Happened Tomorrow" (United Artists, 1944)
René Clair directed this fantasy comedy set in the 1890s about Larry (Dick Powell), a bored obituary writer for the Evening News. He wishes he could see into the future so he could scoop his colleagues and become the paper’s top reporter. When a guardian angel grants his wish, Larry’s life becomes full of unexpected complications involving a beautiful fortune-teller (Linda Darnell), her overprotective uncle (Jack Oakie) and the news of his own death. The film was a popular success for United Artists and received Oscar nominations for best sound recording and best music scoring by Robert Stolz.
Friday, Jan. 9 (7:30 p.m.)
"Shadow of a Doubt" (Universal, 1943)
When her mother’s younger brother Charlie (Joseph Cotten) comes to visit the family in their small-town home, his adoring niece, also named Charlie (Teresa Wright), slowly begins to realize that her uncle may be a sought-after serial killer. Director Alfred Hitchcock often said that "Shadow of a Doubt" was his favorite film. This suspense thriller, which also stars Macdonald Carey, Patricia Collinge, Henry Travers, Wallace Ford and Hume Cronyn, was added to the National Film Registry in 1991.
Saturday, Jan. 10 (7:30 p.m.) Warner Bros. Crime Drama Double Feature
"Flaxy Martin" (Warner Bros., 1949)
Virginia Mayo stars as the title character, a showgirl and the girlfriend of crime syndicate lawyer Walter Colby (Zachary Scott). When Colby is hired to defend a mobster on a murder charge, he finds himself framed in another killing. Directed by Richard L. Bare, this film noir also stars Dorothy Malone, Douglas Kennedy and Helen Westcott.
"Night Nurse" (Warner Bros., 1931)
A private-duty nurse is hired to look after two sick children at the mansion of their alcoholic socialite mother. She soon becomes suspicious that the treatment prescribed by their doctor is slowly starving the children to death and that the family’s brutish chauffeur is involved. William A. Wellman directed this crime drama, which stars Barbara Stanwyck, Ben Lyon, Joan Blondell and Clark Gable in one of his most impressive early appearances.
Thursday, Jan. 15 (7:30 p.m.)
"Nothing But a Man" (Cinema V, 1964)
A groundbreaking work filmed during the tumult of the mounting civil rights movement, this independent film tells the story of Duff (Ivan Dixon), a proud railroad worker from the wrong side of the tracks who marries a preacher’s genteel schoolteacher daughter (Abbey Lincoln). Duff commands respect, a stand that angers his white employers and frightens his father-in-law. Directed by Michael Roemer, the drama features a largely black cast in a story that transcends race and looks at issues of class and gender. In 1964, "Nothing But a Man" won the San Giorgio Prize at the Venice Film Festival, awarded to films considered especially important for the progress of civilization. The film was named to the National Film Registry in 1993.
Thursday, Jan. 22 (7:30 p.m.)
"Cain and Mabel" (Warner Bros., 1936)
Clark Gable and Marion Davies star in this romantic comedy about a prizefighter and a Broadway dancer who can’t stand each other, but agree to concoct a phony romance for publicity. Directed by Lloyd Bacon, the film features elaborate musical production numbers and a supporting cast of favorite character actors, including Allen Jenkins, Roscoe Karns, Walter Catlett and Ruth Donnelly.
Friday, Jan. 23 (7:30 p.m.)
"Oddities and Shorts"
This screening will feature both fictional short subjects and actuality footage that was recently preserved by the Library of Congress Film and Video Preservation labs. Included on the program are "Two Tars," (MGM, 1928), starring Laurel and Hardy as two sailors on shore leave who get themselves and dozens of innocent bystanders into a huge traffic jam; the National Film Registry title "A Trip Down Market Street Before the Fire" (April, 1906), a rare record of San Francisco’s principal thoroughfare and downtown area before the destruction of the great earthquake and fire; "San Francisco after the Fire" (1906); and "A Tour of the Thomas H. Ince Studio" (1920).
Saturday, Jan. 24 (7:30 p.m.) Silent Movie Double Feature
"Feel My Pulse" (Paramount, 1928)
Bebe Daniels stars as Barbara Manning, a sheltered rich girl and hypochondriac. When Barbara inherits a health sanitarium, she moves in, hoping to find a cure for her many imagined illnesses. However, it turns out the place is actually a front for bootleggers and a hideout for criminals on the lam, which gives Barbara just the jolt of excitement and romance she needs. Directed by Gregory La Cava, this silent comedy stars William Powell, Richard Arlen and Heinie Conklin. Andrew Earle Simpson will provide live musical accompaniment.
"The Air Mail"(Paramount, 1925)
Airmail pilot Russ Kane comes to the aid of a young woman and her invalid father who are stranded in a ghost town and badly in need of medicine. Russ and his teenage sidekick Sandy engage in battles with a gang of dope smugglers in the air and escaped convicts on the ground as they set out to accomplish their mission. Directed by Irvin Willat, this adventure story—filmed when transporting mail by airplane was still quite new—stars Warner Baxter, Billie Dove and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. Preserved by the Library of Congress Film Preservation Lab, this incomplete print was preserved from the only known surviving copy of the movie. Andrew Earle Simpson will provide live musical accompaniment.
Thursday, Jan. 29 (7:30 p.m.)
"Mary of Scotland" (RKO, 1936)
John Ford directed this historical drama, which stars Katharine Hepburn as Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, whom England’s Queen Elizabeth I (Florence Eldridge) considers a royal threat. Confined to her quarters after a palace coup, Mary eventually escapes and flees to England where she receives a less-than-warm reception. Fredric March and Douglas Walton co-star as the ill-fated monarch’s love interests. The film was based on Maxwell Anderson’s blank-verse play and adapted for the screen by Dudley Nichols.
Friday, Jan. 30 (7:30 p.m.) Thriller Double Feature
"I Wake Up Screaming"(20th Century-Fox, 1941)
When model and would-be actress Vicky Lynn is murdered, police interrogate Vicky’s manager, Frankie Christopher (Victor Mature) and her sister Jill (Betty Grable). Though both are released and other suspects are questioned, a particularly tenacious detective continues to go after Frankie and piles up circumstantial evidence against him. Frankie turns to the distrustful Jill, who may have information that will clear him. H. Bruce Humberstone directed this entertaining film noir, which also stars Carole Landis and Laird Cregar.
"The Human Monster" (Monogram, 1939)
Béla Lugosi stars as Dr. Orloff, a mysterious physician and insurance-agency proprietor who becomes the primary suspect in a series of grisly London murders. Released as "The Dark Eyes of London" in Britain, the movie became the first British film to receive the "H" rating for "Horrific." Walter Summers directed this adaptation of the 1924 novel by Edgar Wallace.
Saturday, Jan. 31 (7:30 p.m.)
"Darling" (Embassy, 1965)
Julie Christie won the Academy Award for best actress in her first leading role as up-and-coming fashion model Diana Scott, who sleeps her way to the top of the London fashion scene at the height of the Swinging Sixties. Dirk Bogarde portrays a television news reporter and Laurence Harvey a public relations mogul, both of whom Scott uses to further her ambitions. The biting social satire also won Oscars for best original screenplay and best costumes, while both the film and its director, John Schlesinger, scored Oscar nominations.