By MCN Editor

Los Angeles County Museum of Art Film Programs

July 9 7:30 pm Trouble in Paradise
July 9 9:05 pm Desire
July 10 7:30 pm Ninotchka
July 10 9:30 pm Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife
July 16 7:30 pm Design for Living
July 16 9:15 pm The Smiling Lieutenant
July 17 7:30 pm The Shop Around the Corner
July 17 9:20 pm Angel
July 23 7:30 pm One Hour With You
July 23 9 pm The Merry Widow
July 24 7:30 pm To Be or Not to Be
July 24 9:20 pm A Royal Scandal
July 30 7:30 pm The Marriage Circle
July 30 9:05 pm So This is Paris
July 31 7:30 pm Heaven Can Wait
July 31 9:35 pm Cluny Brown
June 22 1 pm Suspicion
June 29 1 pm Forbidden Planet
July 6 1 pm Singin’ in the Rain
July 13 1 pm The Adventures of Robin Hood
July 20 1 pm The Big Sleep
July 27 1 pm Lassie Come Home
Fuller at Fox (August 6–13)
Mizoguchi’s Life of Oharu (August 14)
Antonioni’s Le Amiche (August 20 & 21)

Tickets are $10; $7 for LACMA members, seniors (62+), and students with valid ID. Price includes both films in a double bill except where noted. Tickets to only the second film on a double bill are $5. Tuesday Matinees: $2; $1 seniors (62+). Tickets are on sale now and may be purchased at the museum box office (323 857-6010). All films and guests are subject to change and many films are unrated and may not be appropriate for younger viewers. For more information or to check current programs, call the museum box office at (323) 857-6010, visit or subscribe to the Film Department’s e-newsletter by emailing
Laughter in Paradise: The American Comedies of Ernst Lubitsch
At the invitation of Mary Pickford, Berlin-born Ernst Lubitsch, a famous director of fantasy films and historic epics in Germany, arrived in Hollywood in 1923 and launched a career that revolutionized American comedy for decades to come. A master storyteller with a genius for naughty innuendo, Lubitsch’s films were hailed for their sophisticated characters, sparkling wit, sexual daring, and a visual style that “implied” rather than showed, thus giving rise to the term “the Lubitsch Touch.” By all reports, Lubitsch was one of the most focused directors in Hollywood, meticulously developing successive scripts with the same writers, shooting quickly on set, where he frequently acted out all the parts, and repeatedly casting favorite actors in roles tailored to their particular talents. In the ‘30s, his “troupe” included Claudette Colbert, Gary Cooper, Maurice Chevalier, Jeanette MacDonald, Marlene Dietrich, and, prominently, Miriam Hopkins, a comic muse to Lubitsch but an actress detested by most of Hollywood, especially her co-stars.
By the end of the decade, as the Depression waned and war clouds gathered over Europe, moviegoing tastes changed and Lubitsch himself turned from the brittle, cynical, sophisticated comedies that brought him great success to a more character-driven and dramatic style of comedy. Suddenly his sharp wit and knowledge of human behavior was even more telling in the context of a real world populated with individuals coping with problems greater than adultery and social prominence. Respected by the industry—Hollywood lore abounds with Lubitsch anecdotes—and adored by actors, Lubitsch revealed new depths of some of the biggest stars and finest actors in Hollywood, among them Greta Garbo (“she is the only star I ever worked with I did not have to drag away from the mirror”), James Stewart, Carole Lombard (who died before seeing the performance that might have changed her career), the leads of Heaven Can Wait—Don Ameche, whom Lubitsch had resisted casting but who gave the greatest performance of his career, and Gene Tierney, a sexy ingénue who shone in the role of an understanding wife and was soon one of Fox’s most valuable properties. Last but not least, there was Jack Benny, a huge star on radio, for whom Lubitsch was “the greatest director in motion pictures (and) very easy to work with… just by watching him you knew exactly what to do.”
Billy Wilder, the co-writer of Ninotchka and himself a director of comedies that are notable for having his “touch,” was undoubtedly Lubitsch’s greatest advocate, as demonstrated by a sign that hung for years on his office wall: “How would Lubitsch have done it?” Lubitsch, who died of a heart attack in 1947 at the age of 53, was still close to Wilder’s heart when, years later, he recalled the funeral: “William Wyler and I walked silently to our car. Finally I said, to break the silence, ‘No more Lubitsch.’ To which Wyler replied, ‘Worse than that—no more Lubitsch films.’ For twenty years since then we all tried to find the secret of the ‘Lubitsch touch.’ Oh, we sometimes managed a few feet of film that momentarily sparkled like Lubitsch. Like Lubitsch, not real Lubitsch. His art is lost. That most elegant of screen magicians took his secret with him.”
This four-week retrospective opens on July 9 with the Art Deco-saturated Trouble in Paradise, the epitome of the Lubitsch touch and the director’s favorite film; the Friday program highlights such pre-Code, innuendo-rich comedies as Design for Living, an audience favorite starring Miriam Hopkins, Fredric March, and Gary Cooper, and three Maurice Chevalier musicals including a lavish MGM production of The Merry Widow co-starring an enchanting Jeanette MacDonald. The final Friday features two of the director’s most popular silent comedies with live musical accompaniment: The Marriage Circle, a very sly and funny tale of the misunderstandings that result when two adulterous couples become friends, and So This is Paris, an unforgettable portrait of the Roaring ‘20s.
Ninotchka, starring Greta Garbo and with a screenplay by protégé Billy Wilder, kicks off a Saturday line-up of Lubitsch’s mature films, in which the director’s profound understanding of the human condition is apparent in comedies that are more dramatic than brittle and are infused with a greater warmth. The line-up includes The Shop Around the Corner, a sentimental masterpiece in which co-workers Margaret Sullavan and James Stewart overcome their differences and find true love; To Be or Not to Be, Lubitsch’s audacious black comedy about a troupe of resilient actors who plot against the Nazis in occupied Poland; and on closing night, a delicious double bill of Heaven Can Wait, the multigenerational chronicle of a Gay Nineties roué and Lubitsch’s only color film, and Cluny Brown, in which Charles Boyer, a house guest on a British estate, falls for lady plumber Jennifer Jones.
We appreciate the cooperation of Cinematheque Ontario’s James Quandt and Brad Deane in preparing this copy.
Trouble in Paradise
July 9 | 7:30 pm
Gleaming black and white cinematography and incredible Art Deco sets by Hans Dreier, Paramount’s top production designer, add sparkle to this witty tale of two jewel thieves— Marshall and Hopkins—who pose as sophisticated aristocrats in order to rob languorous Parisian widow Francis of her perfume fortune. Lightning-quick repartee between these con artists (meeting for dinner in Venice, they express their growing attraction by pick-pocketing increasingly personal items from each other) gives way to complicated emotions when Francis falls for Marshall, thus forcing an incensed Hopkins to concoct her own brand of larceny. “Trouble in Paradise is about people who are impossibly adult, in that fanciful movie way—so suave, cynical, sophisticated that they glide. In this pre-Code film, the sexual undertones are surprisingly frank and we understand that none of the characters are in any danger of mistaking sex for love… The comedy material is given dignity by the actors; the characters have a weight of experience that suggests they know life cannot be played indefinitely for laughs.”—Roger Ebert, The Great Movies.
1932/b&w/83 min. | Scr: Samson Raphaelson; dir: Ernst Lubitsch; w/ Miriam Hopkins, Herbert Marshall, Kay Francis.
July 9 | 9:05 pm
As Paramount’s newly appointed head of production, Lubitsch oversaw The Devil is a Woman, Sternberg’s last film with Dietrich, and personally produced Desire, the star’s first post-Sternberg film, in which she plays a cosmopolitan jewel thief whose attempts to retrieve the necklace that she dropped into the pocket of American businessman Cooper while crossing the Spanish border leads to comedy and romance. “The actors get more close-ups than Lubitsch might have given them… but Borzage’s gentle eroticism matches up nicely with the usual Lubitsch playfulness, and the dialogue sparkles with an elegant melancholy. Cross-pollinating Lubitsch’s taste in plot and characters with Borzage’s ability to articulate emotional resonance, Desire is fascinating for the considerable influence it had on Preston Sturges’ The Lady Eve.”—Scott Eyman, Laughter in Paradise.
1936/b&w/89 min. | Prod: Ernst Lubitsch; Scr: Edwin Justice Mayer, Waldemar Young, Samuel Hoffenstein; dir: Frank Borzage; w/ Marlene Dietrich, Gary Cooper.
July 10 | 7:30 pm
Billed (incorrectly) as the film in which “Garbo laughs,” Ninotchka tells the story of a female Soviet envoy extraordinaire sent to Paris to retrieve jewelry that belongs to the people but has regrettably ended up in the hands of a Russian aristocrat. When an irrepressible and smitten Melvyn Douglas undermines her robotic resolve with such forbidden fruit as couture fashion and French champagne, Ninotchka’s “conversion” to capitalism is both touching and hilarious. “Garbo brings an incredible sensual abandon to the role of a glum, scientifically trained Bolshevik (and) the film includes an historic encounter: when the instinctual artist of the screen meets the great stylist and technician of the stage—Ina Claire, as Grand Duchess Swana—the fur flies exquisitely.”—Pauline Kael.
1939/b&w/110 min. | Scr: Billy Wilder, Charles Brackett, Walter Reisch; dir: Ernst Lubitsch; w/ Greta Garbo, Melvyn Douglas, Ina Claire.
Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife
July 10 | 9:30 pm
Stylish, well-bred Colbert marries and divorces humorless millionaire Cooper whose success in business is offset by his seven failed marriages; but when she sets out to recapture her husband, her schemes lead to his mental breakdown and confinement in a straitjacket. A satiric, slapstick depiction of the battle of the sexes that combines the cynicism of Wilder with the more generous personality of Lubitsch, Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife is “a screwball comedy of fits, starts and anxieties… (ending) in a brisk little brawl on the asylum floor.”—Ed Sikov, Screwball.
1938/b&w/85 min. | Scr: Billy Wilder, Charles Brackett; dir: Ernst Lubitsch; w/ Claudette Colbert, Gary Cooper, Edward Everett Horton.
Design for Living
July 16 | 7:30 pm
Loosely adapted from the Noel Coward-Lunt-Fontaine soufflé by Ben Hecht, the proletarian author of The Front Page (who claimed to have retained only one line from Coward’s original) Design for Living thumbs its nose at rigid sexual mores with finesse and wit, and can be appreciated today as one of Lubitsch’s most ambitious and daring films. A young American artist (Hopkins) working for an advertising firm in Paris falls in love with two men: a painter (Cooper) and a playwright (March). Unable to choose between them, she ends up marrying her boss, only to decide she can’t live without her bohemian companions. “The earliest (and probably the most iconoclastic) example of the genre which was to become known as screwball comedy, and a film of outstanding cinematic grace.”—Ed Lowry, Screwball.
Print courtesy of UCLA Film & Television Archive.
1933/b&w/93 min. | Scr: Ben Hecht; dir: Ernst Lubitsch; w/ Miriam Hopkins, Fredric March, Gary Cooper.
The Smiling Lieutenant
July 16 | 9:15 pm
The Smiling Lieutenant was a coup for Lubitsch—an Oscar-nominated hit and the third in a trio of enormously successful musicals. Like The Love Parade and Monte Carlo that preceded it, Lieutenant continued to deviate from the “all-singing, all-dancing” approach that had become a genre staple, rejecting the limitations of the stage and experimenting with the introduction of music to narrative. The film’s plot springs from a romantic gesture gone awry: Chevalier, an Austrian officer, winks at Colbert, his lover, but the wink is intercepted by mousy Hopkins, the King’s daughter, who demands that the handsome lieutenant marry her. Confronted with her husband’s lack of affection, sheltered wife turns to knowing ex and is told in a witty song to “freshen up your lingerie”— good advice that leads to a happy resolution. “A work of total assurance.” — James Harvey, Romantic Comedy in Hollywood.
1931/b&w/93 min. | Scr: Ernest Vajda, Samson Raphaelson, Ernst Lubitsch; dir: Ernst Lubitsch; w/ Maurice Chevalier, Claudette Colbert, Miriam Hopkins.
The Shop Around the Corner
July 17 | 7:30 pm
Lubitsch himself considered this eloquent, romantic comedy set in the workplace one of his greatest achievements, remarking that “never did I make a picture in which the atmosphere and the characters were truer than in this picture.” In an understated and memorable performance, James Stewart plays an ambitious store manager in pre-war Budapest drawn to feisty new employee Margaret Sullavan, who disdains his advances in favor of a passionate pen pal she has never met. Shop’s inestimable charm derives equally from the dynamic chemistry between its actors and the ingenious dramatic irony of its plot. “One of Lubitsch’s greatest gifts to us… a picture that makes you feel good about people and life, even when it touches you with the transience of happiness, the pain of regret, the irreconcilable difference between youth and age. Like all great art, it enriches the soul.” —Peter Bogdanovich.
1940/b&w/99 min. | Scr: Samson Raphaelson; dir: Ernst Lubitsch; w/ Margaret Sullavan, James Stewart, Frank Morgan.
July 17 | 9:20 pm
Nowhere are the famed Lubitsch touches more finely executed than in the story of Angel, a low-key masterpiece that failed on release but is now ranked among his best films by critics like Sarris and Godard. Dietrich, the bored wife of distracted London diplomat Marshall, revisits her past at a thinly disguised bordello in Paris, where she meets Douglas and is indiscreet. Though she flees without giving her besotted lover a name—he calls her “Angel”—fate would have it that Marshall and Douglas are old friends who reunite at a dinner party; it is only a matter of time before Marshall invites Douglas to meet his charming wife. In Angel, Lubitsch perfected his gift for ironic revelation through exclusion, keeping major dramatic moments off-screen to brilliant effect: he would never again make a film of such refined emotional intensity. “The ritziest of all the Lubitsch comedies—the most discreet, the most soft-spoken, the one with the most impeccable manners.”—James Harvey, Romantic Comedy in Hollywood,
1937/b&w/91 min. | Scr: Samson Raphaelson; dir: Ernst Lubitsch; w/ Marlene Dietrich, Herbert Marshall, Melvyn Douglas
One Hour With You
July 23 | 7:30 pm
For this musical remake of his silent hit The Marriage Circle, Lubitsch reunited Jeanette MacDonald and Maurice Chevalier, who had co-starred three years earlier in The Love Parade, his first talkie. Though the two films share the same plot—a doctor and his wife become embroiled in romance and deceit with another married couple and a garrulous middle-aged man—One Hour With You demonstrates the director’s mastery at blending narrative with music and features moments when Chevalier explains his amorous dilemmas directly to the audience. Though nominated for a Best Picture Oscar and considered a return to form by many critics—his previous film, the heavy drama The Man I Killed, was a box-office failure—One Hour With You engendered controversy when Lubitsch, in response to complaints from Chevalier, replaced George Cukor as director a week into production. “A charming film; it is a crowning jewel in Lubitsch’s career… but it reflects little of Cukor’s personality as found in his own comedies and musicals.”—Gary Carey, Cukor & Co.
1932/b&w/80 min. | Scr: Samson Raphaelson; dir: Ernst Lubitsch; w/ Maurice Chevalier, Jeanette MacDonald, Charles Ruggles.
The Merry Widow
July 23 | 9 pm
Set in the rustic kingdom of Marshovia, Lubitsch’s witty adaptation of the popular operetta boasts opulent sets (for which legendary MGM art director Cedric Gibbons won an Oscar), ravishing songs beautifully sung, and gorgeous formal symmetry. Jeanette MacDonald, at the peak of her beauty and comic powers, plays Mme Sonia, the widow whose fortune dictates the fate of her homeland and its sheepherding citizens. When the newly merry Sonia flees Marshovia for the bright lights of Paris and its battery of greedy suitors, the rakish Captain Danillo of the Royal Guard (Chevalier) is called upon to do his patriot duty and dispatched to seduce the widow, thus ensuring her return. Miraculously produced just prior to the prudish Production Code, The Merry Widow is a stirring endorsement of personal freedom and the pursuit of pleasure, and has been called “the sexiest musical of the thirties—perhaps the sexiest musical ever.”—Film Comment.
1934/b&w/99 min. | Scr: Ernest Vajda, Samson Raphaelson; dir: Ernst Lubitsch; w/ Maurice Chevalier, Jeanette MacDonald, Edward Everett Horton, Una Merkel.
To Be or Not to Be
July 24 | 7:30
Films that satirized the Nazis as bumbling bureaucrats or depicted the followers of Hitler as robotic thugs proliferated in pre-war Hollywood—Chaplin’s The Great Dictator, with its blend of slapstick, sentiment and patriotism, outgrossed Rebecca in 1940—but by 1942 America had joined the Allies and Lubitsch’s audacious mix of farce and thriller and biting sarcasm was condemned for its “tasteless” humor and quickly disappeared from screens. Set in occupied Warsaw in 1939, To Be or Not to Be revolves round a troupe of Shakespearean actors, headed by sexy Maria Tura (Lombard) and her vain husband Joseph (Benny) aka “that great Polish actor” who impersonates Nazis in a daring ruse to foil a political assassination. As the wall between theater and reality crumbles, Lubitsch directs his performers through a dizzying array of entrances, exits, and costume changes, while peppering the action with a string of blistering yet very funny one-liners, none more controversial than the outrageous remark to Benny by Sig Ruman’s backslapping Nazi commandant: “What you did to Shakespeare, we are now doing to Poland.” “Lubitsch’s most modernist film… (and) one of the least cynical comedies ever made. The Nazis in the film are like normal people. They are also monsters. Evil is clearly named, but it is also brought closer to familiar feelings and situations than audiences expected which is what gives the film its special quality of hilarity.”—James Harvey, Romantic Comedy in Hollywood.
1942/b&w/99 min. | Scr: Edwin Justice Mayer; dir: Ernst Lubitsch; w/ Carole Lombard, Jack Benny, Robert Stack, Sig Ruman.
A Royal Scandal
July 24 | 9:20 pm
Lubitsch’s second film for Fox was a remake of his silent hit Forbidden Passage, a satirical romp starring Pola Negri as Catherine the Great; for the retitled sound version, Lubitsch offered the role of the sexually voracious Czarina to Tallulah Bankhead, a lioness of the Broadway stage whose rare appearance on celluloid thrilled her devoted fans. Lubitsch collaborated with To Be or Not to Be screenwriter Mayer on a script peppered with risqué one-liners and supervised the actors’ rehearsals, but due to Lubitsch’s heart problems, Otto Preminger directed the actual filming. The finished comedy clearly lacks the Master’s lightness of touch and his skill with ensemble performances—by contrast Preminger relies on reaction shots and dialogue delivered at top speed—but A Royal Scandal is often very funny in the spirit of Mel Brooks, but with better production values. Bankhead, surrounded by palace intrigue and a parade of lovers, plays the Czarina as an extremely vigorous personality with a Russian accent by way of Brooklyn. Coburn is fun as the corrupt Chancellor, and as the French Ambassador, shrugging at the romantic shenanigans and speaking faux Gallic Franglaise, Vincent Price is hysterically camp.
1945/b&w/94 min. | Prod: Ernst Lubitsch; scr: Edwin Justice Mayer, Bruno Frank; dir: Otto Preminger; w/ Tallulah Bankhead, Charles Coburn.
The Marriage Circle
July 30 | 7:30
The first of five successful features he made for Warner Bros. and a major creative turning point in Lubitsch’s career, The Marriage Circle introduced, with a subtlety that far surpassed the films of his contemporaries, motifs and a style that would characterize much of Lubitsch’s work in Hollywood. Set in Vienna, the film maps the comic web of adultery and suspicion surrounding a happily married couple and an unhappily married couple. As the noted critic Herman G. Weinberg wrote, “the plot can be summed up in a line by Alexandre Dumas: ‘the chains of matrimony are so heavy it takes two to carry them, sometimes three.’ Not to be overlooked in the midst of the delicate irony… is that the milieu in which these charming people lives is an ideal world in microcosm.”
1924/b&w/85 min./silent | Scr: Paul Bern; dir: Ernst Lubitsch w/ Florence Vidor, Monte Blue, Marie Prevost, Adolphe Menjou.
So This is Paris
July 30 | 9:05 pm
An inventive and dynamic treatment of love triangles, Lubitsch’s favorite subject, So This Is Paris consolidated the critical view that Lubitsch could unfailingly outsmart and outlaugh the competition with films that dealt openly with sex outside of marriage. Dr. Giraud (Blue) stumbles across an old love whose husband is in the process of flirting with the doctor’s wife, Mrs. Giraud (Miller). Much scheming and dodging ensues between clandestine rendezvous, culminating in a hilarious masquerade ball in which the drunken Dr. Giraud attempts to pick up his own wife. “The standout scene of the film is an astounding Charleston sequence at a Parisian ball, with multifarious double exposures and special effects.”—A Guide to World Cinema.
Print courtesy of the Library of Congress
1926/b&w/80 min./silent | Scr: Hans Kraly; dir: Ernst Lubtisch w/ Monte Blue, Lilyan Tashman, Patsy Ruth Miller.
Heaven Can Wait
July 31 | 7:30 pm
Recently deceased Henry Van Cleve (Ameche), a socially prominent man married for fifty years to the woman of his dreams (Tierney) stands in judgment at the gates of hell and recounts his sins—woman by woman, decade by decade, beginning in the 1870s, when, at age fifteen and already a lothario, he is seen getting tipsy with the French maid. Though Lubitsch delighted in saying that his amorous hero was “a man only interested in good living with no aim of accomplishing anything noble” and that his picture “had no message and made no point whatsoever,” Heaven Can Wait is an emotionally rich and deeply personal film with a great deal to say about the strictures of society, the compromises of marriage, eccentric relatives, the pleasure and pain of time passing, and the nature of innocence and guilt. Faced with the script’s episodic flashback structure, and making full use of the elaborate period sets and the rich color palette that were hallmarks of Fox productions in the 1940s, Lubitsch crafted a series of alternately poignant and comic vignettes that gather momentum as the narration circles back to Van Cleve awaiting his fate. “A series of animated tintypes poking sly fun at the manners, decorations and naughtiness of the Gay Nineties.”—Theodore Huff, An Index to the Films of Ernst Lubitsch.
1943/color/112 min. | Scr: Samson Raphaelson; dir: Ernst Lubistch; w/ Gene Tierney, Don Ameche, Charles Coburn.
Cluny Brown
July 31 | 9:35 pm
Lubitsch’s last film is a cheeky send-up of the British aristocracy that lampoons upper-class customs—theirs is a life of gardening, tea parties, and weed-killers—with keen insight and verve. Set just before the outbreak of the Second World War, the story revolves around the odd-couple pairing of a Czech writer (Boyer) who is hiding from the Nazis at the genteel country manor of a British family and Cluny Brown (Jones), the estate’s irreverent Cockney maid whose love of plumbing (!) has dimmed her prospects for middle-class marriage. It’s only a matter of time before Boyer and Jones each recognize their soulmate in the other and in so doing inject a new spirit into the tradition-bound household. “A merry charade with all the Lubitsch raffishness. And the closing scene, played in frantic pantomime, was touched with the old charm…It was a nice note for the Lubitsch story to end on—high trill with bells and violin”—Herman G. Weinberg, The Lubitsch Touch.
1946/b&w/100 min. | Scr: Samuel Hoffenstein, Elizabeth Reinhardt; dir: Ernst Lubitsch; w/ Charles Boyer, Jennifer Jones, Peter Lawford.
Every Tuesday at 1 pm, LACMA presents a classic film from the Warner Bros./Turner Entertainment Company’s library. Admission: $2; $1, seniors (62+).
June 22
A recently married woman comes to believe that her dashing husband is a murderer.
1941/b&w/102 min. | Scr: Samson Raphaelson, Joan Harrison, Alma Reville; dir: Alfred Hitchcock; w/ Cary Grant, Joan Fontaine, Sir Cedric Hardwicke.
Forbidden Planet
June 29
A group of space troopers investigates the destruction of a colony on a remote planet.
1956/color/106 min./Scope | Scr: Cyril Hume; dir: Fred McLeod Wilcox; w/ Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis, Leslie Nielsen, Warren Stevens.
Singin’ in the Rain
July 6
A silent-screen swashbuckler finds love while trying to adjust to the coming of sound.
1952/color/103 min. | Scr: Adolph Green, Betty Comden; dir: Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly; w/ Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, Debbie Reynolds, Jean Hagen, Millard Mitchell, Cyd Charisse.
The Adventures of Robin Hood
July 13
The bandit king of Sherwood Forest leads his Merry Men in a battle against the corrupt Prince John.
1938/color/104 min. | Scr: Norman Reilly Raine, Seton I. Miller; dir: Michael Curtiz, William Keighley; w/ Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone, Claude Rains.
The Big Sleep
July 20
Private eye Philip Marlowe investigates a society girl’s involvement in the murder of a pornographer.
1946/b&w/113 min. | Scr: William Faulkner, Leigh Brackett, Jules Furthman; dir: Howard Hawks; w/ Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, John Ridgely, Martha Vickers, Dorothy Malone.
Lassie Come Home
July 27
A faithful collie undertakes an arduous journey to return to her lost family.
1943/color /90 min. | Scr: Hugo Butler; dir: Fred M McLeod Wilcox; w/ Roddy McDowall, Donald Crisp, Dame May Whitty.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon