CinemaLit - The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) – 88 minutes ONSITE at Mechanics' Institute | Mechanics' Institute

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CinemaLit - The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) – 88 minutes ONSITE at Mechanics' Institute
November 2021 CinemaLit: She's a Character!

CinemaLit is Live Again!

After more than a year of Friday night CinemaLit discussions on Zoom, we're going live again at the Mechanics' Institute screening room. Join us at 6pm for a film followed by a lively discussion. CinemaLit concessions have returned, with wine service!

All attendees must wear masks and bring proof of vaccination.

CinemaLit November 2021: She's a Character!

November at CinemaLit honors three great character actresses of classic Hollywood: Beulah Bondi, Agnes Moorehead, and Thelma Ritter. If you're an old movie buff and don't know their names, you've seen their faces. Collectively they earned 12 Academy Award nominations as Best Supporting Actress. None of them ever was bestowed an Oscar, an oversight the Academy cannot live down. Each had long careers and appeared time and again in dozens of films, most always supporting younger, prettier, and more famous stars. But their talent and versatility were occasionally given a chance to shine in full light. The three films in our series, Make Way for Tomorrow (1937), The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), and The Mating Season (1951), showcase these wonderful actresses at their best.

November 12 – The Magnificent Ambersons, 1942, 88 minutes, directed by Orson Wells, starring Joseph Cotton, Tim Holt, and Agnes Moorehead.

The Ambersons of turn-of-the-century Indianapolis see their world, and their privileged place in it, slip away in this elegant and elegiac film. Moorehead had appeared one year earlier in Welles' feature debut, Citizen Kane, in the tiny but indelible role of Kane's mother. Here she is given far more to do, and she burns up the screen as Aunt Fanny, an embittered woman always on the edge of complete nervous collapse.



Matthew Kennedy, CinemaLit’s curator, has written biographies of Marie Dressler, Joan Blondell, and Edmund Goulding. His book Roadshow! The Fall of Film Musicals in the 1960s, was the basis of a film series on Turner Classic Movies. 


I don't have a favorite film,” Matthew says. "I find that my relationships to films, actors, genres, and directors change as I change over the years. Some don't hold up. Some look more profound, as though I've caught up with their artistry. I feel that way about Garbo, Cary Grant, director John Cassavetes, and others."

Classic films have historical context, something only time can provide,” Matt observes. “They become these great cultural artifacts, so revealing of tastes, attitudes, and assumptions.”


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CinemaLit Films

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4th Floor Meeting Room
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Future CinemaLit Films

Jan 28 - 6:00pm

CinemaLit: The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946) 117 min -- Virtual Salon on Zoom
January 2022 CinemaLit: – Barbara Stanwyck: Take Two

Feb 11 - 6:00pm

CinemaLit: Killer of Sheep (1978) 81 min -- Virtual Salon on Zoom
February 2022 CinemaLit: – Black Lives on Film