Friday, November 13, 2020 - 6:00pm
CinemaLit Popcorn Pop-Up Salon: November -- Comic Relief
Hello Film Lovers,
Welcome back to CinemaLit! We have missed our Friday night gatherings. Laura, Pam, and I are excited to launch this new format for CinemaLit as we Shelter at Home. We will be viewing films on Kanopy and gathering online for a Popcorn Pop-Up Salon!
All you will need is either a Mechanics' Institute library card, or a San Francisco Public Library card, which will give you access to Kanopy and its treasure trove of movies. Make a reservation as usual via Eventbrite and watch the film on Kanopy at your leisure. You will receive a link to the Friday night CinemaLit salon on Zoom two days in advance. On the night of the salon click the Zoom link and join us.
If you do not receive a Zoom Link by the day of the event, contact Pam Troy at [email protected]
Mechanics’ Institute members can now sign up for FREE access to Kanopy, a wonderful film streaming service. To sign up:
1. Click on THIS LINK.
2. Click on the large orange login button that reads, “Log in to milibrary.”
3. Enter the 14-digit bar code from your MI Library card
4. Set up your account following Kanopy’s instructions, including your email and a password.
5. Kanopy will send verification to your email address.
You’ll be able to choose from a wonderful selection of films, including classics, pre-code, foreign films, and documentaries, including the films we’ve scheduled this month for CinemaLit.
If you are not a Mechanics’ Institute member, consider membership and click HERE to join online:
Or, you can check with your public library to see if they are Kanopy members. If so, you may use your public library card to set up a Kanopy account.
Matthew Kennedy, curator and host
CinemaLit Film Series
November 2020 – "Comic Relief!"
In acknowledging the profound anxieties of our time, we present "Comic Relief!" for November films at CinemaLit. If the selections this month succeed in transporting us to another time and place with laughter, well, isn't that what we could use right now?
"Comic Relief!" features Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928), The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1943), and Ball of Fire (1941). All are sterling products of Hollywood's studio era. Their directors - Buster Keaton, Preston Sturges, and Howard Hawks – loom large in film history. All three films are touchstones in American comedy, with each now inducted into the coveted National Film Registry.
Such high pedigree and dignified honors don't mean these are stuffy old relics. Far from it; they're bubbly delights. Join in the fun. As Ball of Fire's sassy slangy Sugarpuss O'Shea would say, "Hook on!"
November 13 -- The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1943) 99 min
Writer-Director Preston Sturges is best remembered for a series of nimble and witty screwball comedies in the 1940s – The Great McGinty, The Palm Beach Story, The Lady Eve and Sullivan's Travels. Add to that essential list The Miracle of Morgan's Creek, which could be his screwiest of all.
You can practically hear Sturges giggling as the outlandish story came to life in his head and on paper. Trudy Kockenlocker (a boisterous Betty Hutton) is a small-town girl with a fondness for soldiers. After a wild night, she discovers she's married and pregnant. But who is her husband? She doesn't remember… his name was something like "Ratzkiwatzki." Meanwhile sweet stuttering local boy Norval Jones (perennial nice guy Eddie Bracken) loves Trudy, and together they concoct a plan for Noval to impersonate Ratzkiwatzki so Trudy can divorce him, then turn around and marry Norval for real. Along for the ride are Trudy's father (a cantankerous but warm hearted William Demarest), a startlingly aware teenage sister (Diana Lynn), and all manner of politicians, police, journalists, nurses, and colorful townspeople getting in on the silly mayhem.
It's been said the real miracle of The Miracle of Morgan's Creek is that the film ever got made! The Hays Production Code office sent Paramount seven pages of objections to the script, with its drunken heroine, randy soldiers, casual treatment of sex, irreverence toward marriage and The Nativity, and the none-too-subtle name of Kockenlocker. When production began, Sturges had only ten pages of approved script, and wasn't sure what the title's miracle would be. Somehow he overcame the blue-nosed censoring squeamishness of the era, and we are still laughing at the results.
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.”
Register with Eventbrite below.
If the green TICKET button is not immediately visible, scroll down on the right in the Eventbrite window until it appears