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Dan McGinty, a homeless man during the Depression, gets paid street money to vote multiple times in Chicago. He soon gets in good with the local political boss, who decides to make him the Machine's new star front-man. He's even fixed up with a politically expedient wife, gets all the way to the Mayor's office, and is primed for the Governor's chair. Then when he's about to become governor, McGinty is overcome by a wave of morality and publicly confesses to some past shady deals -- bringing himself, the Boss and the Machine down. This is the great Preston Sturges' first movie as director as well as screenwriter, and is a very funny rumination on politics and corruption. The movie's huge success on a tight budget made Sturges an overnight star as a director, and set the stage for his succession of great, if somewhat off-beat, comedies. It remains a very funny film that's still got a political bite.
Starring Groucho, Harpo, Chico & Zeppo Marx, Margaret Dumont.
Directed by Leo McCarey. 1933, 70mins., B&W
Freedonia’s new President, Rufus T. Firefly, insults everyone in sight and sings a song about how he intends to abuse his power, which makes him wildly popular. Meanwhile, a rival country sends spies, who promptly become close confidants of the President. Ironically, the movie seemed too crazy to audiences in 1933, and its disappointment at the box office prompted Paramount to end its contract with the Marx Brothers. But time has given much perspective, and now the film is embraced as one of the Brothers' -- who went on to much success at MGM -- best.
Admission: $10 for adults; $8 for seniors (65+) and children (12 & younger).
Combo pricing for also seeing Saturday films.
Saturday, January 28 at 6PM
A political leader is in trouble, and his team decides the best way to save him is divert the public's attention. A "spin-doctor" is hired, and he in turn engages a Hollywood producer to "stage" a big, flag-waving event -- namely, a war. In addition to its unnerving prescience about manipulative politics, shallow news coverage and the public's credulity and short attention span, this movie boasts spot-on performances, including De Niro who, as the cynical spin doctor, proves that he is very good at satirical comedy. And Hoffman embodied everyone's worst assumptions about the callowness of Hollywood. For better or worse, "Wag The Dog" is not just a very funny movie, it's a great cautionary tale.
Admission: $8 for adults; $6 for seniors (65+) and children (12 & younger).
Combo pricing for seeing more than one film.
Saturday, January 28 at 8:15PM
At this point in history, "Citizen Kane" is synonymous with "great film," but we should not offhandedly overlook why that is so. Orson Welles came to Hollywood at age 24 as the acclaimed boy genius of stage and radio, and was given unprecedented creative control over his first film. Welles -- who assembled and extraordinary crew that included Herman Mankiewicz, Robert Wise, Bernard Herrmann and Gregg Toland -- used that freedom to the hilt, including breaking conventions in linear narrative, introducing long takes in deep focus and high contrast, and creating innovative sets. But perhaps most strikingly, Welles' subject was very unusual for an American film: a less-than-flattering take on power, politics, motivation and character in a story that was loosely based on the life of two American media moguls: most famously, William Randolph Hearst; and also Colonel Robert R. McCormick.
Not surprisingly, Hearst did his best to suppress the film, and it was not a box office success. Because of the film's financial failure and Hearst's efforts, Welles' star fell considerably in the eyes of Hollywood's moguls, and for the rest of his life they deemed him difficult to work with. But both in terms of both technical innovation and daring subject matter, "Citizen Kane" went on to influence every generation of filmmaker since. It also helped introduce some great film actors, including Joseph Cotten, Everette Sloan, and Agnes Moorehead. It remains an extraordinary bit of cinema that must be seen on the Big Screen.
$8 for adults; $6 for seniors (65+) and children (12 & younger). Combo pricing for seeing more than one.