Mark Schenker’s “How to Read a Film” series concludes with “Inglourious Basterds” Sun., Oct. 31, at 2 PM

Mark Schenker’s tenth installment of his popular “How to Read a Film” series culminates with the examination of Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds” on Sun., Oct. 31, at 2 PM. Admission is $7.

Schenker explored the screwball comedy “Bringing Up Baby” as the first film in this series, the second was the noir “Criss Cross,” and he delved into John Ford’s western “The Searchers” on Oct. 24.

In previous installments of “How to Read A Film,” Schenker has zeroed in on a specific director’s oeuvre or focused on four films in a particular genre, like film noir. For this series, he will “focus more broadly on genre, and how a consideration of three great genres of American film can yield a greater understanding of one of Quentin Tarantino’s masterpieces, “Inglourious Basterds,” which audaciously combines aspects of screwball comedy, film noir, and western.”

This will be an indoors event with the following covid protocols in place:
• 30 attendees max
• proof of vaccination required
• masks required (they can be lowered to take drinks or eat popcorn but should be raised back up when done)

From Roger Ebert’s 2009 review of “Inglourious Basterds”:

Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds” is a big, bold, audacious war movie that will annoy some, startle others and demonstrate once again that he’s the real thing, a director of quixotic delights. For starters (and at this late stage after the premiere in May at Cannes, I don’t believe I’m spoiling anything), he provides World War II with a much-needed alternative ending. For once the basterds get what’s coming to them.

Mark Schenker’s lectures are accompanied by screenings of the films to illustrate the points he is making—it’s like a live commentary track! His previous lectures on the films of Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, and Billy Wilder (among others) and the historical context in which the TV series “Downton Abbey” took place were erudite and entertaining.

Mark Schenker’s “How to Read a Film” series continues with “The Searchers” Sun., Oct. 24, at 2 PM

Best Video Film & Cultural Center is pleased to bring back Mark Schenker for the tenth installment of his popular “How to Read a Film” series, which started Sun., Oct. 3, at 2 PM. Admission to each lecture is $7.

The series continues on Sun., Oct. 24, at 2 PM as Schenker illuminates the 1956 John Ford western “The Searchers.” (Schenker explored the screwball comedy “Bringing Up Baby” as the first film in this series; the second was the noir “Criss Cross.”)

In previous installments of “How to Read A Film,” Schenker has zeroed in on a specific director’s oeuvre or focused on four films in a particular genre, like film noir. For this series, he will “focus more broadly on genre, and how a consideration of three great genres of American film can yield a greater understanding of one of Quentin Tarantino’s masterpieces, “Inglourious Basterds,” which audaciously combines aspects of screwball comedy, film noir, and western.”

This will be an indoors event with the following covid protocols in place:
• 30 attendees max
• proof of vaccination required
• masks required (they can be lowered to take drinks or eat popcorn but should be raised back up when done)

The remaining schedule for the series:

Sun., Oct. 24, 2 PM: “The Searchers” (1956, western, dir. by John Ford)

Sun., Oct. 31, 2 PM: “Inglourious Basterds” (2009, dir. by Quentin Tarantino)

In a 50th anniversary appreciation of “The Searchers,” the New York Times critic A.O. Scott writes:

Ernest Hemingway once said that all of American literature could be traced back to one book, Mark Twain’s “Huckleberry Finn,” and something similar might be said of American cinema and “The Searchers.” It has become one of those movies that you see, in part, through the movies that came after it and that show traces of its influence. “Apocalypse Now,” “Punch-Drunk Love,” “Kill Bill,” “Brokeback Mountain”: those were the titles that flickered in my consciousness in the final seconds of a recent screening in Cannes of Ford’s masterwork, all because, at crucial moments, they seem to pay homage to that single, signature shot.

Mark Schenker’s lectures are accompanied by screenings of the films to illustrate the points he is making—it’s like a live commentary track! His previous lectures on the films of Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, and Billy Wilder (among others) and the historical context in which the TV series “Downton Abbey” took place were erudite and entertaining.

Mark Schenker’s “How to Read a Film” series continues with “Criss Cross” Sun., Oct. 10

Best Video Film & Cultural Center is pleased to bring back Mark Schenker for the tenth installment of his popular “How to Read a Film” series, starting on Sun., Oct. 3, at 2 PM. Admission to each lecture is $7.

The series continues on Sun., Oct. 10, as Schenker illuminates the 1949 film noir classic “Criss Cross.” (Schenker explored the screwball comedy “Bringing Up Baby” as the first film in this series.)

In previous installments of “How to Read A Film,” Schenker has zeroed in on a specific director’s oeuvre or focused on four films in a particular genre, like film noir. For this series, he will “focus more broadly on genre, and how a consideration of three great genres of American film can yield a greater understanding of one of Quentin Tarantino’s masterpieces, “Inglourious Basterds,” which audaciously combines aspects of screwball comedy, film noir, and western.”

This will be an indoors event with the following covid protocols in place:

• 30 attendees max
• proof of vaccination required
• masks required (they can be lowered to take drinks or eat popcorn but should be raised back up when done)

The remaining schedule for the series:

Sun., Oct. 10, 2 PM: “Criss Cross” (1949, film noir, dir. by Robert Siodmak)

Sun., Oct. 24, 2 PM: “The Searchers” (1956, western, dir. by John Ford)

Sun., Oct. 31, 2 PM: “Inglourious Basterds” (2009, dir. by Quentin Tarantino)

In a capsule review in The New Yorker, Richard Brody writes:

Robert Siodmak’s grimly romantic film noir, from 1949, set in Los Angeles, offers a hectic fusion of on-location texture and stylish artifice. Burt Lancaster stars as Steve Thompson, an armored-car driver whose barroom brawl with a gangster, Slim Dundee (Dan Duryea), is staged to throw police off the trail of their criminal conspiracy. Yet their mutual hatred is real; it’s based on their rivalry for the love of Anna (Yvonne De Carlo), Steve’s ex-wife. Working with a script by the novelist Daniel Fuchs that features long flashbacks and interior monologues, Siodmak builds Steve’s morbidly subjective tale with startling visual flourishes, gestural details, and erotic tensions.

Mark Schenker’s lectures are accompanied by screenings of the films to illustrate the points he is making—it’s like a live commentary track! His previous lectures on the films of Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, and Billy Wilder (among others) and the historical context in which the TV series “Downton Abbey” took place were erudite and entertaining.

Mark Schenker returns with 10th “How to Read a Film” series Sun., Oct. 3, at 2 PM

Best Video Film & Cultural Center is pleased to bring back Mark Schenker for the tenth installment of his popular “How to Read a Film” series, starting on Sun., Oct. 3, at 2 PM. Admission to each lecture is $7.

In previous installments of “How to Read A Film,” Schenker has zeroed in on a specific director’s oeuvre or focused on four films in a particular genre, like film noir. For this series, he will “focus more broadly on genre, and how a consideration of three great genres of American film can yield a greater understanding of one of Quentin Tarantino’s masterpieces, “Inglourious Basterds,” which audaciously combines aspects of screwball comedy, film noir, and western.”

This will be an indoors event with the following covid protocols in place:

• 30 attendees max
• proof of vaccination required
• masks required (they can be lowered to take drinks or eat popcorn but should be raised back up when done)

The schedule for the series:

Sun., Oct. 3, 2 PM: “Bringing Up Baby” (1938, screwball comedy, dir. by Howard Hawks)

Sun., Oct. 10, 2 PM: “Criss Cross” (1949, film noir, dir. by Robert Siodmak)

Sun., Oct. 24, 2 PM: “The Searchers” (1956, western, dir. by John Ford)

Sun., Oct. 31, 2 PM: “Inglourious Basterds” (2009, dir. by Quentin Tarantino)

Of “Bringing Up Baby,” the inaugural film in this series, Brian Tallerico wrote at RogerEbert.com:

Movies don’t get much more delightful and joyous than “Bringing Up Baby,” a film that honestly shaped my youth. Raised on classic musicals, my mother also loved classic comedies, and comedies don’t get more classic than this 1938 screwball masterpiece from Howard Hawks. Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant star in a film that was reportedly so much fun to make that the production had to regularly stop for laugh breaks.

Mark Schenker’s lectures are accompanied by screenings of the films to illustrate the points he is making—it’s like a live commentary track! His previous lectures on the films of Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, and Billy Wilder (among others) and the historical context in which the TV series “Downton Abbey” took place were erudite and entertaining.

Mark Schenker concludes “How to Read a Film” series on screwball comedies with “Ball of Fire” on Sun., Dec. 15, at 1 PM

In this ninth installment of his series “How to Read A Film,” Mark Schenker, Dean of Academic Affairs of Yale College, turned to screwball comedies. Like the gangster movie, the Western and the Hollywood musical, the genre of screwball comedy films originated in the United States. The new satirical spin (hence “screwball”) on romantic comedy stressed witty dialogue and zaniness over sentimental love, and placed big name stars in odd situations. As with gangster movies, horror films and lavish musicals, the genre found a ready audience with Depression-era film-goers who were eager for escapist fare.

The final lecture with film in this series—rescheduled from Dec. 1 due to snow—will be on Sun., Dec. 15, at 1 PM. The series winds up with “Ball of Fire” from 1941, starring Barbara Stanwyck. (The previous films were the 1934 “It Happened One Night” on Nov. 10; “The Awful Truth” [1937], and “Some Like It Hot” [1959].) Admission is $7.

From Bosley Crowther’s rave 1942 New York Times review:

According to legend, Samuel Goldwyn has made some beautiful lapsi linguae in his time and has done things with the King’s English that stand as a monument to his name. Maybe. But still Mr. Goldwyn can’t be too touchy on that score, for now he has produced a picture which deliberately kicks the language around in a manner so colorful and lively that you can almost sense his tongue stuck in his cheek. “Ball of Fire” is the title of this wholly ingratiating lark, and so pleasant is its spoofing of the professional pose, so comprehensive is its handling of the modern vernacular and so altogether winning are Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck in it that it had the customers jumping with enjoyment at the Music Hall yesterday.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Mark Schenker “How to Read a Film” explores “Some Like It Hot” Sun., Dec. 8, at 2 PM

In this ninth installment of his series “How to Read A Film,” Mark Schenker, Dean of Academic Affairs of Yale College, turns to screwball comedies. Like the gangster movie, the Western and the Hollywood musical, the genre of screwball comedy films originated in the United States. The new satirical spin (hence “screwball”) on romantic comedy stressed witty dialogue and zaniness over sentimental love, and placed big name stars in odd situations. As with gangster movies, horror films and lavish musicals, the genre found a ready audience with Depression-era filmgoers who were eager for escapist fare.

Because of the postponement due to snow of “Ball of Fire,” scheduled for Dec. 1, the remaining schedule has been rearranged as follows: What would have been the final lecture on “Some Like It Hot” will take place as planned on Sun., Dec. 8, at 2 PM. “Ball of Fire” has been rescheduled to Sun., Dec. 15, but at 1 PM rather than 2 PM.

Director Billy Wilder’s 1959 “Some Like It Hot” stars Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, and Jack Lemmon. Roger Ebert described “Some Like It Hot” as “one of the enduring treasures of the movies, a film of inspiration and meticulous craft, a movie that’s about nothing but sex and yet pretends it’s about crime and greed.”

From A.H. Weiler’s 1959 New York Times review:

There should be no doubt this morning that the members of the happily irreverent film troupe that made “Some Like It Hot” have done something constructive about the old wheeze that begins, “Who was that lady I saw you with?” For, in fashioning this overlong, occasionally labored but often outrageously funny series of variations on an ancient gag, they have come up with a rare, rib-tickling lampoon that should keep them, the customers and the management … chortling with glee.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

UPDATE 11/30: POSTPONED! Mark Schenker continues “How to Read a Film” series on screwball comedies with “Ball of Fire” on Sun., Dec. 1, at 2 PM

UPDATE: Due to the concerning weather reports, this Sunday’s scheduled How to Read a Film event with Mark Schenker is being postponed. We will announce the rescheduled date as soon as we can. (Hopefully next weekend with the final lecture/film shifted to 12/15.)

In this ninth installment of his series “How to Read A Film,” Mark Schenker, Dean of Academic Affairs of Yale College, turns to screwball comedies. Like the gangster movie, the Western and the Hollywood musical, the genre of screwball comedy films originated in the United States. The new satirical spin (hence “screwball”) on romantic comedy stressed witty dialogue and zaniness over sentimental love, and placed big name stars in odd situations. As with gangster movies, horror films and lavish musicals, the genre found a ready audience with Depression-era filmgoers who were eager for escapist fare.

The third lecture with film in this series will be on Sun., Dec. 1. The series winds up on Dec. 8. Admission to each lecture is $7. The Dec. 1 movie is “Ball of Fire” from 1941, starring Barbara Stanwyck. (The series began with the 1934 “It Happened One Night” on Nov. 10; the second film was “The Awful Truth.”.)

Dec 1, 2 PM: Ball of Fire (1941)

Dec 8, 2 PM: Some Like It Hot (1959)

From Bosley Crowther’s rave 1942 New York Times review:

According to legend, Samuel Goldwyn has made some beautiful lapsi linguae in his time and has done things with the King’s English that stand as a monument to his name. Maybe. But still Mr. Goldwyn can’t be too touchy on that score, for now he has produced a picture which deliberately kicks the language around in a manner so colorful and lively that you can almost sense his tongue stuck in his cheek. “Ball of Fire” is the title of this wholly ingratiating lark, and so pleasant is its spoofing of the professional pose, so comprehensive is its handling of the modern vernacular and so altogether winning are Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck in it that it had the customers jumping with enjoyment at the Music Hall yesterday.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Mark Schenker continues “How to Read a Film” series on screwball comedies with “The Awful Truth” on Sun., Nov. 17, at 2 PM

In this ninth installment of his series “How to Read A Film,” Mark Schenker, Dean of Academic Affairs of Yale College, turns this time to screwball comedies. Like the gangster movie, the Western and the Hollywood musical, the genre of screwball comedy films originated in the United States. The new satirical spin (hence “screwball”) on romantic comedy stressed witty dialogue and zaniness over sentimental love, and placed big name stars in odd situations. As with gangster movies, horror films and lavish musicals, the genre found a ready audience with Depression-era filmgoers who were eager for escapist fare.

The second lecture with film in this series will be on Sun., Nov. 17. The series skips Nov. 24 and winds up on Dec. 1 and Dec. 8. Admission to each lecture is $7. The series continues on Nov. 17 with the 1937 movie “The Awful Truth.” (The series began with the 1934 “It Happened One Night” on Nov. 10.)

Schenker will consider three such films from the “classic” period of the genre, and then turn to a masterpiece of the form from the late 1950’s, when its heyday had passed. The remaining schedule:

Nov 17, 2 PM: The Awful Truth (1937)

Dec 1, 2 PM: Ball of Fire (1941)

Dec 8, 2 PM: Some Like It Hot (1959)

From Bosley Crowther’s 1937 New York Times review of “The Awful Truth”:

To be frank, “The Awful Truth” is awfully unimportant, but it is also one of the more laughable screen comedies of 1937, a fairly good vintage year. Its comedy is almost purely physical- like that of the old Avery Hopwood stage farces- with only here and there a lone gag to interrupt the pure poetry of motion, yet its unapologetic return to the fundamentals of comedy seems, we repeat, original and daring.

Its obvious success with a modern audience is also rather disquieting. Just when it began to appear that an excellent case had finally been made out for spoken wit and adultness of viewpoint on the screen, the mercurial Mr. McCarey, who only a few months ago saddened us to the point of tears with his “Make Way for Tomorrow,” shocks us with a comedy in which speech is subsidiary, and maturity exists only to be deflated into abject juvenility.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Mark Schenker launches next “How to Read a Film” series on great screwball comedies Sun., Nov. 10, at 2 PM

In this ninth installment of his series “How to Read A Film,” Mark Schenker, Dean of Academic Affairs of Yale College, turns this time to screwball comedies. Like the gangster movie, the Western and the Hollywood musical, the genre of screwball comedy films originated in the United States. The new satirical spin (hence “screwball”) on romantic comedy stressed witty dialogue and zaniness over sentimental love, and placed big name stars in odd situations. As with gangster movies, horror films and lavish musicals, the genre found a ready audience with Depression-era filmgoers who were eager for escapist fare.

All four lectures will be held on Sunday afternoons at 2 PM, starting on Sunday, Nov. 10. The second lecture will be on Sun., Nov. 17. The series skips Nov. 24 and winds up on Dec. 1 and Dec. 8. Admission to each lecture is $7. The series kicks off with the 1934 multiple Oscar-winning “It Happened One Night.”

Schenker will consider three such films from the “classic” period of the genre, and then turn to a masterpiece of the form from the late 1950’s, when its heyday had passed. The schedule:

Nov 10, 2 PM: It Happened One Night (1934)

Nov 17, 2 PM: The Awful Truth (1937)

Dec 1, 2 PM: Ball of Fire (1941)

Dec 8, 2 PM: Some Like It Hot (1959)

Roger Ebert’s capsule take on “It Happened One Night,” from 2009:

The surprise success of “It Happened One Night” made Frank Capra one of the screen’s top directors and provided the prototype for a decade of screwball comedies. Romantic comedies like “When Harry Met Sally…” and “The Sure Thing” draw on the rapid banter, outrageous comic situations and sexy road trip of “It Happened One Night.” The movie even provided inspiration for one of the screen’s most enduring characters, Bugs Bunny.

Mark Schenker’s lectures are accompanied by clips from the films to illustrate the points he is making. His previous lectures on the films of Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, and Billy Wilder (among others) and the historical context in which the TV series “Downton Abbey” took place were erudite and entertaining.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

 

Mark Schenker’s “How to Read a Film” series on film noir masterpieces concludes Sun., July 14, with 1984’s “Blood Simple,” the debut Coen Brothers film

In this eighth installment of his series “How to Read A Film,” Mark Schenker, Dean of Academic Affairs of Yale College, has been presenting four lectures on “A Half-Century of Film Noir Masterpieces.” The lectures have been held on consecutive Sunday afternoons at 2 PM, starting on Sunday, June 23. Admission to each lecture is $7. The series concludes Sunday, June 14, with a focus on the 1984 debut film by the Coen Brothers, “Blood Simple.”

“A Half-Century of Film Noir Masterpieces” has featured works by four directors who are new to Mark Schenker’s presentations at Best. In movies that range from the early talkie “M” by German director Fritz Lang (explored June 23) through two Hollywood films of the classic noir period of the 1940’s-50’s, through the neo-noir of the Coen Brothers’ “Blood Simple,” the series covers more than a half-century of noir and showcases the acting talents (in addition to the 26-year-old Lorre in the afore-mentioned “M”) of Dick Powell, Claire Trevor, Humphrey Bogart, Gloria Grahame, Frances McDormand and the great character actor M. Emmet Walsh.

From Janet Maslin’s 1984 review of “Blood Simple” in The New York Times:

Black humor, abundant originality and a brilliant visual style make Joel Coen’s ”Blood Simple” a directorial debut of extraordinary promise. Mr. Coen, who co-wrote the film with his brother Ethan, works in a film noir style that in no way inhibits his wit, which turns out to be considerable. This is a film in which a dying man, mistakenly shot by a woman who cannot see him (and who meant to kill someone else), can hear her shout one more insult at the intended victim – and answer her, ”Well, ma’am, if I see him I’ll sure give him the message.”

Mark Schenker’s lectures are accompanied by clips from the films to illustrate the points he is making. His previous lectures on the films of Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, and Billy Wilder (among others) and the historical context in which the TV series “Downton Abbey” took place were erudite and entertaining.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.