Wild About Wilder

Mondays, November 18 - December 16, 2002

This year marks the sad passing of Billy Widler, one of cinema's most versatile directors. His career reflects an amazing facility with all types of film: from romantic comedy to film noir to topical drama. and he drew brilliant performances from some of the most famous talents in movie history, from Marilyn Monroe, Marlene Dietrich and Kim Novack to Dean Martin, Kirk Douglas and, of course, Jack Lemmon. Lemmon was a particular favorite of Wilder, starring in seven of his films including his most famous, SOME LIKE IT HOT. Wilder was responsbile for first teaming the famous Odd Couple of Lemmon and Walter Matthau to hilarious effect in THE FORTUNE COOKIE. but Wilder's taste also ran to serious drama with winning results like THE LOST WEEKEND, Wilder's portrait of alcoholism, which garnered four Academy Awards - Best Actor, Screenplay, Director and Picture. the Brattle celebrates this remarkable talent with a seven film tribute featuring some of his best-loved films and two brand new 35mm prints: the ludicrous Show Biz send-up, KISS ME STUPID and perennial Brattle noir fave, THE BIG CARNIVAL aka ACE IN THE HOLE.

Monday, November 18, 2002

New 35mm Print! The (Slightly) Racier European Version!
Kiss Me, Stupid
at 5:00, 7:15, 9:45
1964 Billy Wilder w/Dean Martin, Kim Novak, Ray Walston, Felicia Farr

Vegas crooner and womanizer Dino (Martin) is stranded in Climax , Nevada (really!) when his car is sabotaged by two locals looking for their big break, gas station owner and songster Barney Milsap and piano teacher-composer Orville Spooner. But Orville panics when he learns that Dino needs a nightly dose of love to ward off persistent migraines, and proceeds to hide his wife away, while friendly hooker Polly (Novak) poses as his lovely wife instead. This ploy is not foolproof, however, and leads to a seduction scene originally censored and scrapped in the American version, yet intact in this European (hence racier) print.

Monday, November 25, 2002

The Lost Weekend
at 7:30
1945 Billy Wilder w/Ray Milland, Jane Wyman, Phillip Terry

Ray Milland won an Oscar for his performance in this gripping portrait of the destructive powers of alcoholism. Weekend getaway plans go awry when Don (Milland) convinces brother Wick (Terry) and girlfriend Helen (Wyman) to attend a concert at Carnegie Hall without him, allowing Don to desperately search for booze and quickly descend toward a final collapse. Wilder's dark drama also earned Oscars for best picture, director, and screenplay.

Witness for the Prosecution
at 5:00, 9:45
1958 Wilder w/Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich, Charles Laughton, Elsa Lanchester.

Based on the play by Agatha Christie. Although Sir Wilfred Robards (Laughton) is the most brilliant barrister in England, he's forced to give up work (as well as the brandy and cigars) as he recovers from a heart attack. He's tempted back into the profession to defend a young Leonard Vole (Power) who's accused of murdering a rich old widow. But there's a big problem: Vole's not-so-legal German wife (Dietrich) wants to testify against him as the film's witness for the prosecution. Sadly, Wilder's intriguing courtroom drama was shut out of the Oscar race by David Lean's The Bridge on the River Kwai.

Monday, December 2, 2002

New 35mm Print!
The Big Carnival (aka Ace in the Hole)
at 5:15, 7:30, 9:45
1951

Wilder w/Kirk Douglas, Jan Sterling, Robert Arthur, Porter Hall Wilder's media satire was ahead of its time. Kirk Douglas is a New Mexico newspaper reporter looking for an opportunity to break a big story and resurrect his career. He finds that chance when a local miner becomes trapped in a cave. Douglas milks the disaster for all its worth, creating a national media spectacle. Yet he learns a lesson when tragic consequences befall the miner and eventually, Douglas.

Monday, December 9, 2002

Some Like it Hot
at 7:15
1959 Wilder w/Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, Marilyn Monroe, Geroge Raft

Dubbed the funniest movie ever made by AFI, SOME LIKE IT HOT is a wildly absurd tale of bumbling musicians Joe (Curtis) and Jerry (Lemmon), who witness the bloody St. Valentine's Day Massacre, forcing them to flee and hide from the mob by dressing in drag and joining an all-girl band. Marilyn Monroe as bandmate and singer Sugar complicates things as Joe falls in love (or is it lust?) with Hollywood's classic blonde bombshell, while jerry has his hands full with a beau of his own.

The Fortune Cookie
at 4:45, 9:45
1966 Wilder w/Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Ron Rich, Judi West, Cliff Osmond

Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau pair up for the first time ever in this dark comedy about a shady lawyer, Willie (Matthau), who convinces sportscaster and brother-in-law Harry (Lemmon) to file suit after he's bowled over and injured by player Boom Boom Jackson during a football game. To convince the insurance company and guarantee a windfall, Willie makes Harry exaggerate the seriousness of his injuries, making Boom Boom feel so guilty that he starts to wait on the invalid hand and foot. A scathing, comedic look at a litigious society, Matthau earned a Oscar for best supporting actor.

Monday, December 16, 2002

The Seven Year Itch
at 5:15, 7:30 9:45
1955 Wilder w/Marilyn Monroe, Tom Ewell, Evelyn Keyes

Yes, this is the film with Marilyn Monroe over a gusty grate in a billowing white dress. But it's also a farce that pokes fun at male sexual fantasy and guilt as Richard Sherman (Ewell) meets his new neighbor, The Girl (Monroe) and tries (in vain) to seduce her. His wife and kids have been hauled off for the summer holiday, but that doesn't stop Ewell from worrying about the repercussions of his thoughts and actions. Watch for Wilder's parody of the famed beach scene in From Here to Eternity.

 

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