Saturday, April 04, 2015

April revivals: first half

Hey all, Mike here with a small revival list for the first half of April. All in the Museum of the Moving Image, but this time not all are part of a retrospective of films that influenced the creation development of the series Mad Men. The first two are, but not the third:  

PATTERNS (1956) and/of DEAR HEART (1964/65)- Sun April 3 at 4 (Patterns) or 7 (Dear Heart)- From the Museum's retrospective of stuff that influenced Matthew Weiner in some way with the creation/development of the TV series Mad Men. Two films that frankly, I've never heard of, but I am curious. Not sure which one I can do yet, so I'll post both and see what happens.
First, Patterns, written by Rod Serling. At this point in his career,he might have been known for radio, but little else. Stuff like Playhouse 90 was but a gleam in his eye, The Twilight Zone was a couple of years away from that. But the original version of Patterns for the Kraft Television Theatre launched Sterling's writing career. A dramatic example of the corporate world that Mr. Weiner has used a sort-of blueprint for the dramatic work environment scenes in Mad Men. Not dramatic in terms of secretary seduction or a staffer chopping off a nipple and putting it in a box. No, dramatic in terms of how brutally cold the business world can get. Cold-hearted boss Everett Sloane will stop at nothing to raise the level of young VP Van Heflin, at the expense of humiliating older Ed Begley. But what kind of impression will this make on Heflin . . . Note this is the film version, not the praised TV version with Richard Kiley in Heflin's role. 
With Patterns, to quote Mr. Weiner:
I saw this film version as a child on sick day from middle school; it was originally written and produced for live television in 1955. Rod Serling ingeniously creates a boardroom passion play with a chilling first-person climax that I never forgot. We used it often over the life of the series to get a sense of the real offices and to see how virtue and ambition can clash when the older generation is pushed aside and ruthless business confronts humanity.
Next, Dear Heart. A comedy from 1964 technically so that it could receive an Oscar nomination or two for Henry Mancini's work. It stars Geraldine Page as a woman in New York who's having trouble finding love, or even feeling she deserves it. It also stars Glenn Ford as a Don Draper type, who has no trouble attracting women (engaged to Angela Lansbury, cheating on her left and right with other women), but not feeling a lot of love their either. Then our two leads meet . . .

Dear Heart received a wide release in early 1965, and was practically ignored. An Oscar nomination for Mancini's title song meant nothing for the film. While the film on the whole hasn't been reconsidered on the whole, the writing of the characters and the performances have been looked at with a kinder light, especially with the Mad Men connection. With Dear Heart, to quote Mr. Weiner:
Stumbling upon this film gave me the impetus to finally write the pilot. I was taken by this mainstream Hollywood film that reflected a very casual attitude towards sex, something that seemed uncharacteristic to my preconceptions of the era. With its glib bachelor hero and dowdy, conservative ingénue, it tells a tale of moral corruption and heartbreaking duplicity in the form of a light comedy. As Glenn Ford tries to change his ways and take responsibility for his meaningless romances in glamorous Manhattan, I found a jumping-off point for the series.

THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939) in 3-D- Fri April 10 and Sunday April 12 at 12:30- plus Sunday April 12 at 3:30 with an introduction from Andy Ross and Micaela Biel, hosted by Dana Rossi- Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria- To draw the families into the Museum, the 3-D version of The Wizard of Oz has been playing since Good Friday, and will continue to play at the Museum at 12:30 PM through April 12th. And if you want to do the 12:30 screening on Friday the 10th or Sunday the 12th, I'm game. Though if you wish for what you might consider to be a more reasonable time, there will be a 3:30 screening on the 12th. It will be part of The Soundtrack Series, a podcast covering how music touches the lives of everyday people. When The Soundtrack Series does its live podcast at the Museum, it covers film soundtracks that serve special places in people's hearts. Hosted by Dana Rossi, it will broadcast live at this screening.

As for the Wizard itself, yes this is the same digital 3-D restoration that came out about a year and a half ago. No IMAX screen, but since the Museum's screen can expand to accommodate 70mm screenings, I'm sure the screening will turn out fine. The sound has been digitally restored, and the 3-D kicks in once Judy Garland is in Oz, not in any of the Kansas scenes. The film doesn't need 3-D to be enjoyed as the classic it is. But since most people are only familiar with Oz as a TV film, sometimes with commercials, the big screen experience of this is foreign to many. It certainly was to me until recently. I like the film prior, but it became a top 100 film for me afterwards. Yet another instance of the difference between shooting a bullet and throwing it, to quote comedian Larry Miller:

Let me know if there's interest, later all.

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