The General

Listen, it’s simple, Buster Keaton’s The General is one of the greatest movies of all time. And the best way to see a movie — especially a comedy — is with a big crowd. And outside? On one of the best days of 2014? Forget it. There is absolutely no way that tonight’s showing of The General isn’t the greatest thing ever. Ever.

Live music by frequent Trylon collaborators Dreamland Faces. And we’re working with the excellent group Friends of the Cemetery. Show up early, get your blanket spread out, buy some food from the trucks and settle in for the best thing that ever was or will ever be.

The General (aka the greatest thing ever)
Saturday, May 24th
7pm doors, 8:30 showtime
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Tunes of Glory

Nearly every Guinness film we’ve shown in this series has been a comedy. But the films that likely turned Alec Guinness into Sir Alec Guinness were his dramas. His big dramas — KwaiZhivagoTwistArabia — are widely known by film fans. But the lesser seen Tunes of Glory is another stand out that we’re thrilled to be showing as part of this retrospective.

Guinness re-teams with director Ronald Neame (they’d made The Horse’s Mouth a couple of years earlier) for this much more down-to-earth story of loyalty, honor and competition in World War II.

Weirdly, the trailer isn’t on YouTube, but you can see it at the Criterion Collection.

Friday, May 23 – 7, 9pm
Saturday, May 24 – 7, 9pm
Sunday, May 25 – 5, 7pm
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ladykillers_poster

Before our Alec Guinness series gets all serious with Tunes of Glory, we feature one of his finest comedies The Ladykillers? How fine is it? Fine enough that Greatest American Filmmakers (to some), Joel & Ethan Coen chose it for the first film they every tried to remake. Of course, their remake was awful. But that’s really neither here nor there.

The Ladykillers (the good one, not the Coen one) brings together some of the greatest forces in mid-century English comedy. Guinness stars, Alexander Mackendrick (The Man in the White SuitSweet Smell of Success) directs, Peter Sellers appears in one of his first sizable screen roles. And in the middle of this nonsense is the immovable granite of Katie Johnson.

The result is silly, frantic and — because it’s from Ealing Studios — thoroughly charming.

The Ladykillers
Monday, May 19 – 7, 9pm
Tuesday May 20 – 7, 9pm
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Alfred Hitchcock defined himself in 1934-1935. Although he was an established director with specialty in tense filmmaking, these years saw him go from being a director to the Alfred Hitchcock. In 1934 his original version of The Man Who Knew Too Much established one of Hitch’s main career touchstones: the innocent man swept up in a world of intrigue.

While a great film (though I prefer the remake, singing and all), The Man‘s formula got a tweak with 1935’s The 39 Steps. The tense spy drama was blended with just a bit of wry levity and a liberal dose of romantic meet-cute (where ‘cute’ means ‘handcuffed together’, I guess).

Murder! Mystery! Treachery! Romance! How many of Hitchcock’s classics would that describe? Probably not Psycho, but still quite a few of the others.

The 39 Steps
Monday, April 28th
at The Riverview Theater
7pm
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Our month of Kurosawa Sans Samurai ends tonight with High and Low, his classic film of crime, kidnapping, greed and society. One of a long line of adaptations directed by Kurosawa, High and Low‘s plot comes from the police thriller King’s Ransom. But like The Bad Sleep Well or Yojimbo, Kurosawa again transforms the non-Japanese source into a thoroughly Japanese film.

A gripping thriller, a social critique, a sumptuous widescreen feast for the eyes, High and Low has everything I want in a Kurosawa film. No swordplay required.

Friday, March 28: 7, 9:45
Saturday, March 29: 7, 9:45
Sunday, March 30: 5, 8
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