We don’t know where you’ve been all break, but for us Film Board Reps, it’s been a hot and sticky summer–and with the hustle and bustle of move-in, the questionable dorm AC, and all the fun in the sun on Foss, the first few weeks of fall are looking to be just as clammy. So come Beat the Heat at the air-conditioned Goldsmith Family Cinema, home of the Wesleyan Film Series! Our first four nights are full of fun, but we’ve taken special care to bookend the affair with two thrillers guaranteed to send a refreshing chill down your spine.
Freshmen, listen up: the Film Series is a student-curated collection of films shown in the highest-quality formats four nights a week in a theater that’s the envy of the ’CAC. New and old, cheap or free, in two to three dimensions! Come on down and find out why the Film Series is the only way to Beat the Heat.
1963. USA. Dir: Alfred Hitchcock. With Tippi Hedren. 119 min. 35mm print.
Wednesday, September 9. 8PM. $5.
On August 18, 1961, residents in a sleepy California town awoke to the rattling noise of seabirds slamming into their rooftops, and the ghastly sight of streets covered with dead birds. Shortly thereafter, Alfred Hitchcock requested a news copy of the occurrence to use as “research material for his latest thriller.” The ensuing film has all of the moving parts of a thriller classic, ticking together like clockwork in the way that only Hitchcock could achieve. A pure representation of “The Master of Suspense” in his element, “The Birds” imbues boxed-up suburban lives with terrifying ornithological horror, deftly blended with the enough doom-laden intrigue to make you shiver, and capped off with a delightful performance by Tippi Hedren as the signature Hitchcock blonde. Don’t miss out on this grand, crowd-pleasing inauguration of a year jam packed with excitement and bold, masterful cinema.
“All That Jazz”
1979. USA. Dir: Bob Fosse. With Roy Scheider, Jessica Lange. 123 min.
Thursday, September 10. 8PM. Free.
This is not your ordinary musical. Knowing that it’s a semi-autobiographical fantasy by legendary director-choreographer Bob Fosse of “Cabaret” and “Chicago” fame, it’s understandable why “All That Jazz ” could be anything but ordinary. In a standout performance, Roy Schneider (“Jaws”) plays Joe Gideon, a theater director and choreographer trying to balance work on his latest Broadway musical with the editing of a Hollywood film he has directed. Alcohol, drugs, and sex punctuate flirtations with Angelique, the friendly neighborhood angel of death. With a structure often compared to to Federico Fellini’s “8½,” this Palme d’Or winning, frenzied fever dream of light, color, and drug-addled motion is a truly singular cinematic gem. Upon its release, Stanley Kubrick believed it to be the “best film I think I have ever seen.”
“The Princess Bride”
1987. USA. Dir: Rob Reiner. With Robin Wright, Cary Elwes. 98 min.
Friday September 11. 8pm. $5
One morning in sixth grade, your Film Board Representative, along with his classmates, was ushered into the auditorium to watch “The Princess Bride.” To his surprise, the classmate sitting next to him, a feared bully who had already completed puberty, who often administered rug burns to your representative, and who never smiled, could recite every line of the film’s iconic dialogue. His chuckles encouraged those of the students around him, and soon the makeshift movie theater echoed with the cheers and laughter of eight hundred sixth graders.
This is the power of “The Princess Bride,” a fantastical tale of romance and adventure nested within the story of a grandfather reading a book to his sick grandson. This love letter to storytelling triumphs due to performances by an all-star cast and dialogue by legendary screenwriter William Goldman, who writes with a balance of sincerity and irreverence capable of charming an auditorium’s worth of petulant middle-schoolers.
“Night of the Hunter”
1955. USA. Dir: Charles Laughton. With Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters. 92 min.
Saturday September 12. 9pm. Free.
Venerated actor and first-time director Charles Laughton released “Night of the Hunter ” to lukewarm reception in 1955. The story of a murderous preacher who charms a widow and terrorizes her children while searching for her dead husband’s nest egg was perhaps too unsettling for the general public. But thanks to an iconic performance by Robert Mitchum and the Expressionistic cinematography of Stanley Cortez, Laughton’s only directorial effort has had a significant legacy. Now recognized as a haunting work of art far ahead of its time, Laughton’s film has influenced countless filmmakers from Spike Lee, who pays tribute to Mitchum’s monologue about love and hate in “Do The Right Thing,” to the Coen brothers, who owe much to the film’s eccentric blend of beauty and evil.