The Library’s Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation is hosting a night of music and conversation featuring Country Music Hall of Famer Connie Smith as part of the ongoing “Marty Stuart Sessions” concert series at the Packard Campus Theater. Smith will be joined by her husband of 20 years, Marty Stuart, on Wednesday, Nov. 1, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are required for this free event and can be reserved at http://www.conniesmith.eventbrite.com beginning today, Oct. 16, at 9 a.m.
The 75th anniversary of key events in the North African Campaign of the Second World War will be observed with screenings of “The Desert Fox: The Story of Rommel” (1951) and “Casablanca” (1942). Set in that Moroccan city in the early days of WWII before the United States entered the conflict, “Casablanca” was one of the first 25 films selected for preservation in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress as being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” The 75th anniversary of the film’s premiere will be celebrated with a screening at the end of the month. Originally scheduled for release in early 1943, the premiere at the Hollywood Theater in New York City was moved up to Nov. 26, 1942, to coincide with the Allied invasion of North Africa and the capture of Casablanca.
Three silent films are also in the Nov. lineup: Harold Lloyd’s hilarious thrill comedy “Safety Last!” with live musical accompaniment by Andrew Simpson, the first film adaptation of J.M. Barrie’s “Peter Pan” (1924) and “The Scarlet Letter” (1927) starring Lillian Gish, based on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic tale. Stephen Horne will provide musical accompaniment for “Peter Pan” and “The Scarlet Letter.”
Programs are free and open to the public, but children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Seating at the screenings is on a first-come, first-serve basis unless otherwise noted. For general Packard Campus Theater information, call (540) 827-1079 ext. 79994 or (202) 707-9994. 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.
Library of Congress Packard Campus Theater schedule
Wednesday, Nov. 1 (7:30 p.m.)
‘Marty Stuart Sessions: Connie Smith’ (Live)
Country Music Hall of Famer Connie Smith will be joined by her husband and multiple Grammy Award-winning country music singer-songwriter Marty Stuart in a live performance as part of the ongoing “Marty Stuart Sessions” concert series at the Packard Campus Theater. The evening will include an in-depth conversation between Smith and Stuart on her musical career and the evolution of female country music stars over the years. The talk will be followed by a musical performance by both artists. The “Marty Stuart Sessions” concert series is made possible in part by the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation and the Marty Stuart Congress of Country Music. The event is free and open to the public. Tickets are required for entry and can be reserved at conniesmith.eventbrite.com beginning Monday, Oct. 16, at 9 a.m.
Thursday, Nov. 2 (7:30 p.m.)
‘Safety Last!’ (Hal Roach – Pathe, 1923)
Harold Lloyd created what is considered the most recognizable image in silent comedy: the man dangling from a clock in “Safety Last!” Joining forces with Hal Roach in 1915, the pair of former movie extras started a company to produce Lloyd’s films, and the comedian was soon one of the highest-paid actors and biggest box-office draw. Bolstered by his success with a few early “thrill” shorts and inspired by a popular stunt performer known as “the human fly,” Lloyd was eager to make a feature-length film that would give audiences the same excitement. In the film, Lloyd’s country boy seeks fame and fortune in the big city and ends up as an unwitting human fly forced to scale a tall building, delivering Lloyd’s recipe for success: “a laugh, a scream and a laugh.” Lloyd’s frequent co-star and soon-to-be wife Mildred Davis appears as “The Girl.” “Safety Last!” was added to the National Film Registry in 1994. Also on the program, a 1915 Harold Lloyd short, “Peculiar Patients’ Pranks.” Live musical accompaniment will be provided by Andrew Simpson.
Friday, Nov. 3 (7:30 p.m.)
‘Hud’ (Paramount, 1963)
Paul Newman received his third Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of the title character, the surly and unscrupulous son of a Texas rancher who locks horns with his father over business and family matters. Loosely based on Larry McMurtry’s debut novel, “Horseman, Pass By,” the film received seven nominations, with Melvyn Douglas winning for best actor in a supporting role as Hud’s father; Patricia Neal for best actress in a leading role as housekeeper Alma Brown; and James Wong Howe for best cinematography. In his recent article “Horseman, Pass By and Hud: From Novel to Film,” for theasc.com, American cinematographer and director John Bailey wrote a modern assessment of the film: “Naked and narcissistic self-interest have always been a dark undercurrent to the limpid surface stream of American optimism and justice, but it is not a reach to see the character of Hud as an avatar of the troubling cynicism of that other side of American populism – the side that espouses a fake concern for one’s fellow man while lining one’s own pockets.” Bailey, a member of the Library of Congress’s National Film Board, will introduce this screening of “Hud.” He is an award-winning cinematographer whose films range from “American Gigolo,” “Groundhog Day” and “Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters” to this year’s “How to Be a Latin Lover.” In October, Bailey was elected president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Saturday, Nov. 4 (7:30 p.m.)
‘Abbott and Costello Meet the Keystone Kops’ (Universal, 1955)
Bud Abbott and Lou Costello’s prolific work on radio, film and television made them one of the most popular comedy teams of the 1940s and early 1950s. “Meet the Keystone Kops,” one of the team’s later film efforts, is set in 1912 and follows the exploits of Bud and Lou (as Harry “Slim” Pierce and Willie “Tubby” Piper) as they purchase the Edison Movie Studio in Orange, New Jersey. After discovering that the seller, Joseph Gorman (Fred Clark), swindled them, they follow the grifter to Hollywood, where he has assumed the identity of a European director at Snavely Pictures. Bumbling and circumstances result in Pierce and Piper becoming Snavely’s new slapstick comedy team, and the comic duo proceed to save the day by enlisting the aid of the Keystone Kops in capturing Gorman, who has absconded with the studio payroll. Two members of the original Keystone Kops of silent films appear in the picture: Hank Mann and Heinie Conklin, as well as a cameo appearance by pioneering silent-era comedy director and producer Mack Sennett. The film will be introduced by Bob Furmanek, co-author of “Abbott and Costello in Hollywood.” Furmanek was the personal archivist of the Abbott and Costello estates and is the founder and CEO of the 3-D Film Archive, the first organization dedicated to saving and restoring our stereoscopic film heritage.
Thursday, Nov. 9 (7:30 p.m.)
‘The Desert Fox: The Story of Rommel’ (20th Century-Fox, 1951)
Based on the book by Desmond Young, this biographical film about German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel focuses on the period between his retreat from North Africa and his death. An exceptional tactician, Rommel earns the respect not only of his own men but of the enemy. Directed by Henry Hathaway and starring James Mason in the title role, the film and book have been accused of playing a significant role in the creation of the view that Rommel was an apolitical, brilliant commander, opposed Nazi policies and was a victim of the Third Reich due to his (now disputed) participation in the July 1944 plot against Adolf Hitler, while omitting Rommel’s early association with him. It is being shown in remembrance of the 75th anniversary of the Second Battle of El Alamein in Egypt, a decisive battle of the Second World War won by the Allies. Rommel was in charge of the Panzer Army Africa composed of German and Italian infantry and mechanized units (tanks) during the battle.
Thursday, Nov. 16 (7:30 p.m.)
‘Peter Pan’ (Paramount, 1924)
The first film adaptation of J.M. Barrie’s enormously successful 1902 stage play “Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up,” remains one of the silent era’s most successful fantasies, notable not only for Betty Bronson’s exquisitely stylized performance as Peter, but also for its elaborate settings and special effects. Directed by Herbert Brenon and featuring Mary Brian as Wendy and Anna May Wong as Tiger Lily, the film closely follows the plot of the original play and even goes so far as to incorporate much of its original stage dialogue in the intertitles. Thought to be lost for decades, James Card, film restorer and curator of George Eastman House in Rochester, New York, discovered a well-preserved copy in a vault at the Eastman School of Music in the 1950s, and made a preservation of that source. Film historian David Pierce (now assistant chief of the Library of Congress National Audio Visual Conservation Center) discovered an additional and hitherto unknown 16 mm copy at the Disney Studios that had been made when the company acquired the rights to the property in 1938. A new restoration was undertaken by the George Eastman House combining the two sources in 1994. “Peter Pan” was added to the National Film Registry in 2000. London-based musician Stephen Horne will provide live musical accompaniment for the film.
Friday, Nov. 17 (7:30 p.m.)
‘The Scarlet Letter’ (MGM, 1927)
Lillian Gish stars in this adaptation of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1850 novel as Hester Prynne, who engages in an adulterous relationship with the Rev. Dimmesdale (Lars Hanson) in Puritan New England. Gish, one of the most respected and popular actresses of her time, managed to get the film made by winning over a number of women’s and church groups around the country that considered the subject matter of the book unacceptable for the movies. Her pristine reputation, combined with a tasteful script by the great Hollywood screenwriter Frances Marion, caused them to change their minds and give the project their blessing. Directed by Swedish actor and filmmaker Victor Seastrom (Sjöström), the film also stars Henry B. Walthall, Karl Dane, William H. Tooker and Marcelle Corday. London-based musician Stephen Horne will provide live accompaniment for the film.
Saturday, Nov. 18 (2 p.m.)
‘Fly Away Home’ (Columbia, 1996)
In this family drama inspired by a true story, 13-year-old Amy Alden (Anna Paquin) rescues a nest of goose eggs and raises the flock of orphaned Canada geese after they hatch. When a game warden explains that geese learn everything from their parents including migratory routes, and that the chicks have imprinted on Amy as their mother, she and her inventor father (Jeff Daniels) attempt to lead the gaggle by ultralight aircraft on a 500 mile migration to a bird sanctuary in North Carolina. Directed by Carroll Ballard, the film received an Oscar nomination for Caleb Deschanel for Best Cinematography. “Fly Away Home” won the 1997 Broadcast Film Critics Association Critics Choice Award as the best family film.
Thursday, Nov. 30 (7:30 p.m.)
‘Casablanca’ (Warner Bros., 1942)
One of the most beloved of American films, this captivating romantic adventure directed by Michael Curtiz tells the story of world-weary ex-freedom fighter Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), who runs a nightclub in Casablanca during the early part of WWII. Despite pressure from the local authorities, led by the wily Capt. Renault (Claude Rains), Rick’s cafe has become a haven for refugees. One of those refugees is Rick’s true love, who deserted him when the Nazis invaded Paris (Ingrid Bergman), and her Resistance leader husband (Paul Henreid). How the triangle would resolve itself wasn’t known even to cast members until the last days of filming. The film’s dialogue and the timeliness of world events swirling around Casablanca, Morocco, made the eventual best picture winner a favorite with wartime audiences. “Casablanca” was among the first movies added to the National Film Registry in its inaugural year, 1989. This month marks the 75th anniversary of the film’s premiere.