Events & Films

April 2017
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April 2017
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Murder, My Sweet
April 21 8:00 PM - 10:00 PM at Landmark Loew's Jersey Theatre

Friday, April 21 at 8PM

Starring  Dick Powell, Claire Trevor, Anne Shirley.
Directed by Edward Dmytryk.  1944  95 mins  B&W  In 35mm.
Dick Powell, who had first become a star playing good guy romantic leads in early 1930s musicals such as “42nd Street,” literally turned his career around with an arresting performance as the cynical, world weary private detective Philip Marlow in this key early Film Noir based on Raymond Chandler’s “Farewell, My Lovely.” Director Edward Dmytryk captured the wit and verbal fluency of Chandler's style more successfully than any of the other film adapted from his writing, but not scripted by him. Through the use of voice-over narration, this sharp, skillfully made movie is able to retain the writer's vision of rot beneath the cheery surfaces of the City of Angels, as the sardonic detective keeps up a running commentary on the far-from angelic rogue’s gallery of characters.
Hired by a hulking, psychotic (Mike Mazurik) to locate his old girlfriend, Marlowe is pitched headlong into a morass of intrigue and deception. The participants include a duplicitous a glamour-girl (Claire Trevor), a sodden slattern, a suave blackmailer, and a dyspeptic doctor. At one point, the detective is railroaded into a lunatic asylum, where under the influence of drugs he experiences surrealistic delirium the like of which would not be seen on screen again until Hitchcock's “Vertigo” in 1958. The "bad" characters here are so fascinating that the two "good" characters, heroine Anne Shirley and detective Don Douglas, seem wishy-washy by comparison.
Unlike some Noirs in which the protagonist is overwhelmed by a nightmarish sense of disorientation, Chandler's detective, who seems to either get cold-cocked or drugged in every other scene, has the wit of the only sane man in a world gone mad. Claire Trevor makes a slyly elusive femme fatale, and Powell is perfect as the snarky, semi-tough hero. The part put him back on top of the box office and enabled him to extend his acting career into the 1950s, which led to an even more lucrative "third life" as a powerful TV-studio executive. Chandler's story had previously been filmed in 1942 as “The Falcon Takes Over,” and it was produced for a third time, finally under its original title “Farewell, My Lovely”, in 1975, with Robert Mitchum as Marlowe.

Admission For Each Film: $8 Adults / $6 Seniors & Students
(Combo pricing for seeing more than one film in a weekend series.)

* Film descriptions complied from various sources.

The Blue Dahlia
April 22 6:30 PM - 8:20 PM at Landmark Loew's Jersey Theatre

Saturday, April 22 at 6:30PM

Starring Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake,  William Bendix, Howard Da Silva.
Directed by George Marshall.  1946  96mins  B&W  In 35mm.

This neat, fast-paced perfectly cast film noir is among the best of its genre – and unique in one very notable way:  Though many of Raymond Chandler's books were turned into films, and he himself adapted other writers' novels into screenplays, “The Blue Dahlia” is the only work that he wrote directly for the screen. No surprise, then, that the film is laden with the fast-paced dialogue, grim wit, disillusioned attitude, hard-boiled men, and mysterious women that were Chandler's hallmarks.

Alan Ladd plays Johnny Morrison, who returns from WWII to find his wife Helen having a party and in the arms of another man. They have a terrible fight, and she is later found dead. Pursued by the cops, and never sure if he is being set up, Johnny enlists the aid of a woman (Veronica Lake), who is the ex-wife of Helen's lover.

Ladd and Lake were paired in seven successful films in the 1940s, and always played off of each other’s strengths well (not to mention, both were rather diminutive in height, and so were literally a perfect fit on screen) but they were never better together than here: he is at his steely, no-nonsense best, and she is, as always, the perfect femme-fatale – intoxicatingly seductive but with a sharp edge of mystery. Nicely directed by George Marshall, who remarkably was most known for comedies, the film moves with great pace to an exciting, satisfying conclusion. This was John Houseman's first success as a Hollywood producer; he was previously known for his stage productions, starting with his work with Orson Welles. And Chandler was nominated for a second Academy Award for best screenplay (his first was “Double Indemnity”).

Body Heat
April 22 8:30 PM - 11:00 PM at Landmark Loew's Jersey Theatre

Saturday, April 22 at 8:30PM

Starring  William Hurt, Kathleen Turner,  Richard Crenna, Ted Danson.
Directed by Lawrence Kasdan.  1981  115mins  Color  Rated R  In 35mm.

For those who think Film Noir is buried in the B&W of the 1940s – think again. It may be in color, but there’s also plenty of Noir’s signature mix of simmering heat and cold calculation in this classic from the 1980s.

Kathleen Turner plays a devious wife who spins a web that traps a naïve, mesmerized lawyer (William Hurt) in a scheme to kill her husband. Writer-director Lawrence Kasdan, in his directorial debut, keeps the suspense and eroticism at full power, with plot twists aplenty in what is very satisfying reworking of the landmark Noir movie “Double Indemnity” – scripted by Raymond Chandler. He expertly uses the heat of the coastal Florida milieu; the film practically sweats. But the local weather and stuffy interiors of this Deep South Noir are only part of the reason it feels so hot: Turner is so sultry that it's hard to imagine this was her first starring role. The film launched her career and Kasdan’s and jump-started a Noir revival that had begun with “Chinatown” in 1974. Ted Danson, Mickey Rourke, and Richard Crenna provide solid support.

 

Admission For Each Film: $8 Adults / $6 Seniors & Students
(Combo pricing for seeing more than one film in a weekend series.)

* Film descriptions complied from various sources.

His Girl Friday - Free Screening to Celebrate Jersey Journal
April 29 7:30 PM - 10:00 PM at Landmark Loew's Jersey Theatre

To celebrate its 150th Anniversary, The Jersey Journal -- the Loew's hometown newspaper -- wants to give you and everyone else a really neat gift: a fun evening at the Loew's FOR FREE.


On Saturday, April 29 starting at 7:30PM, you can enjoy a performance on the Loew's Wonder Organ by Nathan Avakian -- who is one of the youngest and most celebrated artists playing theatre organs in our time! And following that, "His Girl Friday" starring Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell. It's one of the most fast-paced and acclaimed comedies of the Classic Hollywood era, and it just happens to be about crusading newspapers and two rival reporters (who used to be married). It will be shown in 35mm on the Loew's BIG screen.

And as noted above, it will all be FREE!

Why the big deal about the JJ? In today's world of blogs and other electronic media, for a newspaper to survive at all is, frankly, a big deal. But for The Jersey Journal to be able to mark 150 years of continuous service to its community is a REALLY big deal. It makes the Loew's, coming up for 88 years old, seem almost a youngster in comparison.

That means, of course, that the JJ was there when plans for the Loew's were first announced. The paper covered the Theatre's grand opening, and its big First Anniversary bash during which legendary Mayor Frank Hague cut a huge cake on stage. The JJ offered reviews of all the live shows that performed on the Loew's stage in the Theatre's first years, and carried ads for the hundreds and hundreds of movies that were shown on the Theatre's screen through the decades. The paper helped announce scrap metal and blood drives at the Loew's during World War II, and publicized kiddie holiday shows that mayors hosted there during the 1950s and '60s.

The Jersey Journal was there to publish the news when the Loew's was closed and scheduled for demolition in 1986. It covered the long fight by Friends of the Loew's to save the Theatre. And since that battle was won, the paper has also reported on FOL's work -- and sometimes struggle -- to renovate, restore, reopen and operate the landmark Theatre as a non-profit arts center for our community.

In other words, The Jersey Journal and the Loew's Jersey go way back. So it's wholly fitting that the JJ will celebrate its sesquicentennial in the grand old Theatre that still stands in the Square that bears the paper's name.



About "His Girl Friday"

“The Front Page,” a slamming-doors kind of comedy/thriller with rapid fire, street-wise dialogue that was a huge hit on Broadway in 1928, had already been made into a hit 1931 movie of the same title when, in 1940, producer Howard Hawks decided to give it another cinematic turn – but with a decided twist.

The basic setup remained: scheming newspaper editor Walter Burns and star reporter Hildy Johnson have a distinctly symbiotic professional relationship that Hildy is about to break-up by getting married and quitting, but Walter is prepared to do almost anything to prevent that from happening. But in this version, Hildy the hard-charging reporter is a woman -- in the considerable persona of Rosalind Russell, who was then entering her prime as an archetype of the energetic, ambitious woman. And Walter the editor was transmuted into also being Hildy’s ex-husband, played by Cary Grant with his trademark blend of cheerful nonchalance and devilish manipulation. In doing this, Hawks added a scintillating battle of the sexes to the already very funny proceedings. And if anything, this version makes the original’s barbs about political corruption, the courts, and freedom of the press even sharper.

As Hildy announces her intention to forsake journalism for marriage to the decidedly cloddish Bruce Baldwin (played to typecast perfection by Ralph Belamy), her editor and ex-husband feigns happiness, all the while plotting to try to win her back. The ace up Walter's sleeve is late-breaking news concerning the impending execution of anarchist Earl Williams (John Qualen) that lays bare blatant political chicanery – the kind of story Walter knows Hildy the consummate reporter can't pass up. The proceedings get still hotter when Williams escapes and is hidden from the cops by Hildy and Walter right in the prison pressroom.

“His Girl Friday” arguably has the fastest, most cleverly constructed script of any comedy of the 1930s/early ‘40s, with kaleidoscope action, instantaneous plot twists, and overlapping dialogue. And if you listen closely, you'll hear a couple of "in" jokes, one concerning Cary Grant's real name (Archie Leach), and another poking fun at Ralph Bellamy's patented "poor sap" screen image.

At the time, “His Girl Friday” was also rather groundbreaking cinema for the portrayal of a woman as a hard-charging, intelligent and thoroughly professional reporter who may well have been even smarter than her scheming editor and ex. In this, Rosalind Russell became the screen epitome of a female reporter decades before Candice Bergen's star turn as TV's Murphy Brown.