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 are back, 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 5 – Make Way for Tomorrow, (1937), 92 minutes, directed by Leo McCarey, starring Beulah Bondi, Victor Moore, and Fay Bainter.
Economic hardships force an elderly couple to separate and live with different adult children. Make Way for Tomorrow's loving concern for aging parents is without equal in studio era Hollywood. Bondi was just 48 when she played the family matriarch, and there isn't a moment she's not convincingly thirty years older. Prepare for tears. Orson Welles called Make Way for Tomorrow, "The saddest movie ever made. It would make a stone weep."
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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