Monday, August 06, 2012

UCLA Summer Series: Jean Arthur and Rod Serling

UCLA's Budd Boetticher series comes to an end next Sunday, August 12th, but there are two more interesting series to enjoy this summer at the Billy Wilder Theater.

"The Two Faces of Jean," celebrating the career of Jean Arthur, starts on Friday night, August 10th, and continues through the end of September.

The series contains an interesting mix of well-known Arthur films with more obscure titles. All but a couple of the films in the series are being shown in restored 35mm prints.

One of my favorite Arthur comedies, IF YOU COULD ONLY COOK (1935), is paired with a film I hadn't heard of, MOST PRECIOUS THING IN LIFE (1934). Both will be shown in restored prints on September 10th. IF YOU COULD ONLY COOK is a really delightful little movie with Arthur and incognito millionaire Herbert Marshall serving as cook and butler to genial gangster Leo Carrillo, and I highly recommend it.

George Stevens biographer Marilyn Ann Moss will be present at a double bill of Stevens' THE MORE THE MERRIER (1943) and THE IMPATIENT YEARS (1944), directed by Irving Cummings. THE MORE THE MERRIER, also starring Joel McCrea and Charles Coburn, is one of my favorite comedies ever. THE IMPATIENT YEARS, with Arthur, Coburn, and Lee Bowman, was originally envisioned as a sequel to THE MORE THE MERRIER. Arthur and Bowman play a couple who knew each other only briefly before marrying and struggle to reconnect when the husband returns from military service.

Other films in the series include PARTY WIRE (1935), ADVENTURE IN MANHATTAN (1936), TOO MANY HUSBANDS (1940), ARIZONA (1940), and ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS (1939).

Visit UCLA's page on the Arthur series for a complete list of titles and dates. Susan King of the Los Angeles Times has more info on the series, including comments from UCLA and USC film historians.

Meanwhile, a Rod Serling series began recently; my plans to blog about it before the series started had to be put on hold when I was offline briefly due to a computer upgrade late last month. I would have loved to be able to see the first film in the series, the Robert Taylor Western SADDLE THE WIND (1958), for which Serling wrote the screenplay.

Upcoming Serling titles being shown at UCLA include SEVEN DAYS IN MAY (1964) and the PLAYHOUSE 90 TV production REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT (1956).

The Serling series runs through September 19th. More titles and dates can be found at the UCLA website. Carl Reiner is scheduled to attend the screening on August 26th.

Finally, there's a great double bill this Sunday closing out the series of films directed by Budd Boetticher: ESCAPE IN THE FOG (1945) with Nina Foch and BEHIND LOCKED DOORS (1948), starring Richard Carlson and Lucille Bremer (MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS). BEHIND LOCKED DOORS is an excellent "B" movie which I enjoyed seeing on DVD, and I wish I had the time to see that one at UCLA.


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