On Film: UCLA festival a fascinating window into our cinematic past – Kenneth Turan: LA Times

'Exile Express' UCLA Film & Television Archive
‘Exile Express’
UCLA Film & Television Archive

Kenneth Turan

Los Angeles Times

The UCLA Festival of Preservation doesn’t have a motto, but if it did it might be “Give me your tired films, your huddled masses of forgotten and decaying cinema, and I will breathe fire into them and set them free.” Really.

Put on every other year by the UCLA Film & Television Archive to showcase the work it has preserved, the 17th edition of the festival begins its monthlong run at the Hammer Museum’s Billy Wilder Theater on March 5 with Anthony Mann’s undervalued “Men in War.” Forget Cannes, Sundance, even the Oscars: This is the cinematic event I look forward to most of all.

That’s because no other movie festival comes close to it in the magnificent breadth of neglected but compelling American film material it puts on display. This year’s group includes forgotten classics such as 1927’s completely charming “My Best Girl” with Mary Pickford in her final silent role, a surprisingly effective performance by the often-derided Anna Sten in “Exile Express,” and even outré exploitation items such as the 1930s undead double bill of “White Zombie” and “Ouanga.”

… also showing…

“Woman on the Run.” Made in 1950 and once believed lost in a studio fire, this is an altogether splendid and distinctive film noir set in San Francisco and shot by the great Hal Mohr (with key sections done on the old Santa Monica Pier). It stars Ann Sheridan as a mordant wife who has to find her estranged husband before contract killers get him in their sights.

Given how sought after noirs are by audiences, it’s no surprise to find two more in the UCLA lineup. “Too Late for Tears” stars Lizabeth Scott in one of her signature roles as a woman whose life spins out of control (whose wouldn’t?) when $100,000 lands in the back seat of her car, while “The Guilty,” based on a story by noir meister Cornell Woolrich, has Bonita Granville playing identical twins who are at each other’s throats. Literally. Sample dialogue: “I didn’t trust her as far as you could throw a boxcar.”

…see website or click on link to article for full schedule…and, Kenneth Turan is always worth a read for some of the most insightful views on film today…

Where: Billy Wilder Theater, Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood

When: March 5 through 30

Info: (310) 206-8013 or http://www.cinema.ucla.edu

All screenings at 7:30 p.m. except as noted.

via On Film: UCLA festival a fascinating window into our cinematic past – LA Times.

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