The 2014-15 Film Club is back at The Venue 1550 at the Daystar Center, 1550 S. State St., Chicago. Hosted by Stephen Reginald, the film club will feature “Hitchcock in the 40s.” Alfred Hitchcock films to be screened, include Rebecca, Shadow of a Doubt, and Notorious. Movies will be screened at 6:30 p.m. on the second Tuesdays* of the month, starting May 13, 2014. Reginald will introduce each film giving background information before screenings, with discussion afterward. Reginald is a freelance writer/editor and popular instructor at Facets Film School in Chicago.
Hitchcock’s films endure
Alfred Hitchcock was one of the most successful directors in the history of film. Probably no other director’s work has been so widely acclaimed, examined, and written about. Hitchcock never took his audience for granted. He always believed that entertaining them was his primary goal as a filmmaker. During the 1940s, Hitchcock amassed an incredible body of work in Hollywood. It was during this decade that he first collaborated with Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman, two of his favorite actors. It was a period where he stretched his storytelling ability by directing Lifeboat, a film where the entire cast is confined to a rowboat. And just to prove he could do it all, Hitchcock directed a screwball comedy starring the screwball girl herself, Carole Lombard!
Rebecca (1940) was Alfred Hitchcock’s first American film and collaboration with producer David O. Selznick. It was also the only Hitchcock film to ever win the Academy Award for Best Picture. Rebecca is based on the best-selling novel by Daphne du Maurier. The moody suspense classic stars Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine. Fontaine plays a young, innocent woman who falls in love with the older widower, Maxim de Winter (Olivier), heir to the magnificent estate, Manderley. When the new Mrs. de Winter settles in to her new home, the spirit of Rebecca, Maxim’s deceased first wife, overwhelms her. And to make matters worse, housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson) does everything to keep Rebecca’s memory alive, thus diminishing her new mistress. What is the secret that Rebecca took with her to the grave? A secret that haunts the inhabitants of Manderley still. A secret that even the grave cannot contain.
June 10, 2014
Foreign Correspondent (1940) The master of suspense’s second American film was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, losing the award to Hitchcock’s Rebecca! The story of a foreign correspondent (Joel McCrea) in prewar Europe is a roller coaster ride of action and suspense. Filmed entirely on Hollywood sound stages and back lots, the movie boast some impressive sets, including a 10-acre recreation of Amsterdam Square. The film features an outstanding supporting cast that includes Laraine Day, Herbert Marshall, George Sanders (also in Rebecca that same year), and Robert Benchley.
July 8, 2014
Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941) A classic screwball comedy from the master of suspense? Yes, yes, indeed! When Ann Smith (Carole Lombard) discovers that her marriage to David Smith (Robert Montgomery) isn’t valid due to a technicality, she wonders if she should renew her vows. When David muses, in moment of brutal honesty, that if he had it to do all over again, he might not get remarry, Ann decides she wants to call it quits. When she starts dating David’s law partner, Jeff Custer (Gene Raymond), David is determined to win her back at all costs. With a screenplay by Norman Krasna, Hollywood legends Lombard and Montgomery and a supporting cast that includes Jack Carson, Philip Merivale, Lucille Watson, and Esther Dale, you’ll swear the film was directed by Leo McCarey or Howard Hawks.
August 12, 2014
Suspicion (1941) Joan Fontaine won an Best Actress Academy Award for her portrayal of Lina McLaidlaw, a shy, but rich young woman who falls head-over-heels in love with Johnnie Aysgarth (Cary Grant), a playboy who may or may not want her dead. In his first collaboration with Alfred Hitchcock, Grant reveals a darker side to his persona, not seen on screen before. Featuring a cast of British supporting players, including Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Nigel Bruce, and Dame May Whitty, you’ll be mesmerized by the tale the Master weaves.