Lecture on Film: Mark Schenker concludes John Huston lecture series, piloting “The African Queen” Sun., Nov. 13, 1 PM

Prof. Mark Schenker of Yale College presents the final lecture in his series “How to Read a Film—4 by John Huston” on Sunday, Nov. 13, at 1 PM. This afternoon, Schenker will discuss Huston’s 1951 adventure “The African Queen,” starring Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart. Admission is $7.

african_queen_ver3_xlg_web

John Huston is one of the giants of American cinema history. A director, screenwriter and occasional actor, his resume includes “The Maltese Falcon,” “Key Largo,” “The African Queen,” “The Man Who Would Be King” and “John Huston’s The Dead.” He was nominated for 15 Academy Awards and won twice (for direction and screenwriting for “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre”).

Writing in 1968, a young Roger Ebert first saw the film as part of a short theatrical re-release. Wrote Ebert:

Perhaps many in the audience, like myself, were seeing the film for the first time. We discovered that its reputation is deserved: It is an almost perfect illustration of how much a really good movie can please. Things happen on the screen that makes you happy. You get involved.

This was a movie that respected its audience and respected its genuine desire to be well and intelligently entertained. By contrast, “The Ambushers” and other mass-produced “entertainments” are obviously made by people with little imagination and no real passion for craftsmanship. Much of “The African Queen’s” success probably can lie credited to those thoroughbreds, Bogart and Miss Hepburn. They took what was probably intended to be a adventure film and turned it into a comedy (and even a statement on human life) by bringing their own personalities into play.

View a trailer for “The African Queen”:

 

UPCOMING EVENTS:

• Wednesday, Nov. 9. NORDIC/CELTIC FOLK MUSIC DUO: WIKFORS & MOSSMAN

• Thursday, Nov. 10. BEST VIDEO FILM & CULTURAL CENTER GALA FIRST ANNIVERSARY BENEFIT (at The Ballroom at The Outer Space) with JEFF FULLER & FRIENDS, THE BANDIDOS, MERCY CHOIR, THE RED HOTS

• Friday, Nov. 11. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: FERNANDO PINTO PRESENTS JESSE TERRY & CALLAGHAN

• Sunday, Nov. 13. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—JOHN HUSTON’S “THE AFRICAN QUEEN” (1 PM)

• Sunday, Nov. 13. KLEZMER JAM (6 PM)

• Wednesday, Nov. 16. IMPROVISATION/AVANT-GARDE: TOM BLANCARTE, CHRIS CRETELLA, ZACH ROWDEN

• Thursday, Nov. 17. LITERARY: ALICE MATTISON—”THE PLEASURES AND PERILS OF WRITING A NOVEL”

• Friday, Nov. 18. PARTY PUNK: TINY BOX BOOKING presents POSTURE & THE GRIZZLY, PRINCE DADDY & THE HYENA, MILKSHAKES, JUST FRIENDS (7 PM)

• Saturday, Nov. 19. JAZZ JAM with ALLEN LOWE, JEFF FULLER & ED CERCONE

• Monday, Nov. 21. MEMBER’S CHOICE FILM SCREENING: “RUNAWAY TRAIN”

• Wednesday, Nov. 23. AMERICAN PRIMITIVE GUITAR: DANIEL BACHMAN, ALEXANDER

• Friday, Nov. 25. BLUEGRASS/TRADITIONAL COUNTRY: DAVE PETERSON (A GUITARTOWNCT PRODUCTION)

• Saturday, Nov. 26. FILM SCREENING FOR KIDS: “THE INCREDIBLE JOURNEY” (Sponsored by Pediatrics Plus of North Haven)

• Monday, Nov. 28. MEMBER’S CHOICE FILM SCREENING: “CHARADE”

• Wednesday, Nov. 30. JAZZ: URI SHAHAM TRIO

• Thursday, Dec. 1. ACOUSTIC GUITAR: GLENN ROTH, SINGER-SONGWRITER: KRISTEN GRAVES

• Friday, Dec. 2. INDIE ROCK: THE SAWTELLES CD RELEASE SHOW, HANK HOFFMAN (solo)

• Sunday, Dec. 4. FREE FIRST SUNDAY AFTERNOON BLUEGRASS JAM (PRESENTED BY GUITARTOWNCT)

• Monday, Dec. 5. MEMBER’S CHOICE FILM SCREENING: “PAT GARRETT & BILLY THE KID”

• Friday, Dec. 9. BLUEGRASS: DALE ANN BRADLEY BAND (A GUITARTOWNCT PRODUCTION)

• Monday, Dec. 12. MEMBER’S CHOICE FILM SCREENING: “WINTER’S BONE”

• Friday, Dec. 16. JAZZ: JEFF FULLER & FRIENDS

• Saturday, Dec. 17. FILM SCREENING FOR KIDS: “THE GOONIES” (Sponsored by Pediatrics Plus of North Haven)

• Monday, Dec. 19. MEMBER’S CHOICE FILM SCREENING: “CONTACT”

• Friday, Jan. 6. ACOUSTIC FOLK BLUES & MORE: VANGE DURST

• Friday, Jan. 13. BLUEGRASS: FIVE IN THE CHAMBER

• Friday, Jan. 27. JAZZ: BADSLAX

• Saturday, Jan. 28. FILM SCREENING FOR KIDS: “MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO” (Sponsored by Pediatrics Plus of North Haven)

 

Rob Harmon’s Picks 5/13/14

Rob_Harmon_image_for_picksKatharine Hepburn’s Birthday

Last Wednesday I got out of work early and the weather was so beautiful that I felt like I just had to go… somewhere. Thinking ahead to this week I found myself driving down I-95 to Old Saybrook—it’s not far—where I got directions to Fenwick, down by the water. I had been there before but a long time ago. It was a mellow day and not much was going on: people were playing golf, the tennis courts being repaired, seagulls flapping in the breeze, etc. It was a nice day for a walk.

The pioneering actress Katharine Hepburn is gone, unfortunately, and her traces are easier to find amongst her large filmography than it is where she used to live at her family’s home in Fenwick, or anywhere else for that matter. Luckily, Best Video is stocked with movies by this most iconic of Nutmeggers and this week marks what would have been Hepburn’s 107th birthday (Monday, May 12th, to be exact), so what better way to celebrate?

Katharine Hepburn won a total of four Oscars in her long and storied career, for MORNING GLORY (1933), GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER (1967), THE LION IN WINTER (1968), and ON GOLDEN POND (1981), and was nominated for a further eight, but awards do not do justice to her abilities as an actress.

Hepburn brought a rare combination of intelligence and gumption to the dramatic arts in Hollywood, equally at home in light romantic comedies and serious drama. Whether she intended it or not, she was trailblazing as a feminist icon, both in terms of style—brazenly wearing trousers in the 1930’s when such attire was frowned upon for women, for example—and gaining better roles for women—orchestrating her own “comeback” from the damning title of “box office poison” in 1938 with near-complete control over the film version of Philip Barry’s Broadway hit THE PHILADELPHIA STORY in 1940.

Today she is equally feted as actress, writer and source of pithy bon mots  (she wrote two books and is the subject of innumerable others, including a collection of quotes and sayings to live by), fashion trend-setter (her sartorial style is the subject of a recent book and a current costume exhibition at the Connecticut Historical Society in Hartford), romantic (her 25-year relationship with Spencer Tracy was something of an open-secret in Hollywood, and the fruitful on-screen partnership spawned 9 films), and Connecticut Yankee and all-around exemplar of independent living at a time when women in Hollywood—and women in general—were generally denied such freedom.

Below is an opinionated and not-wholly-scientific Top 13 List of Katharine Hepburn’s Best Movies:

1. HOLIDAY (dir. George Cukor, 1938)
2. BRINGING UP BABY (dir. Howard hawks, 1938)
3. ADAM’S RIB (dir. George Cukor, 1949)
4. The Philadelphia Story (dir. George Cukor, 1940)
5. The Lion in Winter (dir. Anthony Harvey, 1968)
6. WOMAN OF THE YEAR (dir. George Stevens, 1942)
7. LONG DAY’S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT (dir. Sidney Lumet, 1962)
8. STAGE DOOR (dir. Gregory La Cava, 1937)
9. SUMMERTIME (dir. David Lean, 1955)
10. THE AFRICAN QUEEN (dir. John Huston, 1951)
11. ALICE ADAMS (dir. George Stevens, 1935)
12. LITTLE WOMEN (dir. George Cukor, 1933)
13. PAT AND MIKE (dir. George Cukor, 1952)

Enjoy!