Peter Sellers proved that he was the true successor to the comedic throne left vacant by Chaplin when he played three roles in this sardonically irreverent cold war comedy classic. After the insane American General Jack D. Ripper launches a nuclear airstrike against the U.S.S.R., it's up to a British Captain (Sellers), a befuddled President (also Sellers) and all of his men to prevent the apocalypse. Did we mention that this is a comedy? As pointed today as it was when released over 50 years ago, Dr. Strangelove still makes us laugh at the worst thing imaginable.
Based on Nathaniel Benchley's comedic novel The Off-Islanders, this all-star satire concerns the wave of paranoia that rushes over the residents of a small New England island when a Russian submarine runs aground near the shore. Believing an enemy invasion has begun, the citizens form a muddled militia. Now it's up to the level-headed policeman (Brian Keith) and a kindly Russian Lieutenant (Alan Arkin in his debut) to avoid an international catastrophe and get the sub back where it belongs. Highlighted by cast of comedic superstars that includes Carl Reiner, Jonathan Winters, and Paul Ford, the film also features the talents of Eva Marie Saint, John Phillip Law, Theodore Bikel, and Michael J. Pollard. Directed by Norman Jewison. US. 1966. NR. 126 minutes. Park Circus. 35mm projection.
During the 1950s McCarthy witch hunts, blacklisted writers who wanted to work had two choices: move to Europe or hire a front. Woody Allen stars in this comedy/drama as Howard Prince, a cashier/bookie, who pretends to be a writer so he can sell TV scripts for his blacklisted friend Alfred Miller (Michael Murphy). When the scripts are bought and Howard becomes a success, the House Un-American Activities Committee grows suspicious of this overnight writing genius. Hilarious and heartbreaking in equal measure, The Front features blacklisted talent in front of and behind the camera, including actor Zero Mostel (The Producers), screenwriter Walter Bernstein (Fail-Safe) and director Martin Ritt (Hud, Norma Rae). Directed by Martin Ritt. US. 1976. PG. 95 minutes. Sony. Digital projection.
Two years before producing his Oscar-winning comedy/drama Annie Hall, Woody Allen delivered his farcical tour de force - Love and Death. A parody of the brooding Russian literature of Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy, Love and Death concerns the coward Boris Grushenko (Allen) who mistakenly becomes a war hero in the Russian Army during the Napoleonic Wars. After a series of misadventures, Boris finds himself enlisted in a plot to assassinate Napoleon (Back to the Future's slacker-hating principal James Tolkan). Perhaps the funniest of Allen early films, Love and Death marks his third on-screening pairing with Diane Keaton. Directed by Woody Allen. US. 1975. PG. 85 minutes. Park Circus. 35mm projection.
Recognized as an inspirational performer and prodigious lyricist, Scottish folk rocker Al Stewart's roots are in the legendary folk clubs of 1960's London, where he worked with artists such as Simon and Garfunkel, Cat Stevens, Bert Jansch and Ralph McTell. Perhaps best known for his singles "Year of the Cat," "Nostradamus," and "Time Passages," the veteran singer-songwriter has released over 20 albums and counting.
After years of neglect, John Huston and Truman Capote's cult collaboration is back on the big screen in a new restoration of its uncensored International cut! Filmed along the Italian coastline, this cult caper follows the antics of a group of oddballs led by Humphrey Bogart who conspire to buy a uranium mine in Africa. Written on the set by Capote, Beat the Devil's snappy dialogue and anarchic pacing are the result of its frenzied film shoot. This hilarious send-up of hardboiled movies also stars Jennifer Jones, Gina Lollobrigida, Bernard Lee, Robert Morley and Peter Lorre. Directed by John Huston. UK. 1953. NR. 89 minutes. Sony. Digital projection.
The Yardbirds of the 1960s gave us three of the great rock guitarists: Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page. They created hard rock out of standard twelve-bar blues, doubling the tempos and whacking the amps up to ten. The Yardbirds expanded the range of the electric guitar, experimenting with feedback, sustain and fuzztone. They were a bridge between the tributary white R&B of early-sixties London and the pastures of fuzz-toned psychedelia and power-chorded heavy metal that came later. Jim McCarty, the one remaining original member, fronts a new generation of the band. The lineup he put together in 2015 includes guitarist Johnny A, bassist Kenny Aaronson, singer/harpist/percussionist Myke Scavone and guitarist/singer John Idan.
In 1974, Mel Brooks revolutionized the genre parody with two hit films: the first was Blazing Saddles; the second was Young Frankenstein. Based by an idea conceived by Gene Wilder on the Saddles set, and written by Wilder and Brooks, Young Frankenstein lovingly lampoons both Mary Shelly's gothic tale and classic Universal monster movies with everything from slapstick and sight gags to double entendre and dancing. Spending most of his career trying to distance himself from his heritage ("it's pronounced Frahn-ken-steen!"), Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (Wilder) is drawn into the family business when he inherits his grandfather's castle - and secret laboratory. Now obsessed with his grandfather's quest to give life to the dead, Frederick and his assistants (Teri Garr, Cloris Leachman and a scene-stealing Marty Feldman) produce a new creation (Peter Boyle). Then the real fun begins! Forty-three years after its release, Young Frankenstein continues to leave audiences laughing and influence wave-after-wave of comedians. Don't miss your chance to see this classic comedy on the big screen before Halloween! Directed by Mel Brooks. US. 1974. PG. 106 minutes. Fox. Digital projection.
"The king and queen of the banjo" (Paste Magazine) share a unique musical partnership. Béla Fleck is a 16-time Grammy Award winner who has taken the instrument across multiple genres, and his wife, Abigail Washburn, is a singer-songwriter and clawhammer banjo player who re-radicalized the instrument by combining it with Far East culture and sounds. Their self-titled debut album as a duo won the pair the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Folk Album.
Banjo pioneer Bela Fleck is known for his "blu-bop" brand of jazz and bluegrass. He is also the only musician to be nominated for Grammy awards in jazz, bluegrass, pop, country, spoken word, Christian, composition and world music categories.