Four of our films feature Fred MacMurray, who was the perfect comic foil for many great comediennes of Hollywood's Golden Age. His frequent partners included Carole Lombard, Claudette Colbert, and Barbara Stanwyck.
In 1943, MacMurray was the highest paid actor in Hollywood, and the fourth highest paid American. When Billy Wilder approached him to play shady Walter Neff in Double Indemnity, MacMurray was nervous about ruining his image, but Wilder was right, and MacMurray later considered it his best performance. Nevertheless, MacMurray excelled at comedy, and in our series we include his very best, Murder, He Says.
Starting in mid-July, we will present a major Warner Bros. festival, curated by David Thomson.
The Stanford Theatre is dedicated to bringing back the movie-going experience of Hollywood's Golden Age. It is one of the few places where you can still watch movies on a big screen projected the way they were intended — in 35mm prints. Great classic films were not made to be watched on a video screen in your living room. They depend on a larger-than-life image, and the shared reactions of a real audience.
The Stanford Theatre first opened in June of 1925. For decades nearly every important Hollywood picture played there on its first release. The people of Palo Alto saw them all for the very first time in this theatre.
In 1987 the Packard Foundation bought the theatre and restored it to its original condition. It quickly became America's most popular classic movie house. More people saw Casablanca there on its 50th anniverary in 1992 than at any other theatre in America.
The non-profit Stanford Theatre Foundation is dedicated to the preservation and public exhibition of films from the Golden Age of Hollywood. This means classic movies in a classic movie palace, complete with Wurlitzer organ rising from the orchestra pit every night before and after the 7:30 show, or providing the accompaniment to “silent” films.
Note: This is an unofficial posting of the Stanford Theatre schedules, from published information. This site is in no way connected with the Stanford Theatre nor the Stanford Theatre Foundation. Please check out the official site at http://www.stanfordtheatre.org in case this schedule isn't quite up-to-date! Programs are subject to change. For information, call (650) 324-3700.
(Showtimes in parentheses are for the Saturday and Sunday screenings.)
Rex Harrison, Audrey Hepburn, Stanley Holloway, Wilfrid Hyde White, Gladys Cooper, Jeremy Britt, Theodore Bikel, Isobel Elson, Mona Washbourne, Walter Burke.
The film version of My Fair Lady (Best Picture of 1964) came nearly a decade after the Broadway musical. In the meantime, Lerner and Loewe created the music for Gigi. Although Audrey Hepburn had played Gigi on Broadway in 1952, she turned down the role in the 1958 film. Many people in 1964 thought that Julie Andrews should have played Eliza (as she did on Broadway). It may be a little hard to accept Audrey as a guttersnipe in the early scenes, but future generations will surely be grateful to rediscover in this film the most authentic fair lady of our age. The world will be grateful that Cukor's film preserves Rex Harrison in one of the great performances of the twentieth century.
My Fair Lady has been the twelfth most widely attended
film at the Stanford Theatre — 44,957 tickets since 1989.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Sep 8, 1990; last played July 2015
Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn, Eddie Albert, Hartley Power, Harcourt Williams.
A young princess on a European goodwill tour escapes her guardians for 24 hours of freedom in Rome with an American reporter (Gregory Peck).
The whole world fell in love with Audrey Hepburn in her first Hollywood role. The film received a total of ten Oscar nominations and Audrey was voted Best Actress.
"When she smiles, we're all goners." Pauline Kael
Roman Holiday has been the second most widely attended film at the
Stanford Theatre — 71,232 tickets since 1989.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Sep 20, 1953; last played July 2016
Humphrey Bogart, William Holden, Audrey Hepburn, Walter Hampden, John Williams, Martha Hyer, Joan Vohs, Marcel Dalio, Marcel Hillaire, Nella Walker, Francis X. Bushman, Ellen Corbey.
In this wonderfully romantic picture Audrey Hepburn plays Sabrina, the chauffeur's daughter on a Long Island estate. She loves the playboy son (Holden) of her father's boss, but his stuffy elder brother (Bogart) surprises everyone in the end.
Bogart was not happy while making this film, but we are grateful that he did it.
Isn't it Romantic is the theme song of the Stanford Theatre.
Sabrina has been the third most widely attended film at the
Stanford Theatre — 68,522 tickets since 1989.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Oct 13, 1954; last played Aug 2016
Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, Patricia Neal, Buddy Ebsen, Martin Balsam, John McGiver, Mickey Rooney.
Charmingly degenerate and enormously popular fairy tale about madcap Holly Golightly, who lives on the money men give her but finds a soulmate in the "kept" writer living in the apartment above. Her rendition of "Moon River" (Hepburn's own voice) helped it win the Academy Award as Best Song.
For those who may disapprove of Mickey Rooney's racial caricature of Mr. Yunioshi, we offer this quotation from his autobiography: "I was downright ashamed of my role."
Breakfast at Tiffany's has been the seventeenth most widely
attended film at the Stanford Theatre — 38,915 tickets since 1989.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Oct 31, 1961; last played Aug 2012
Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, Fred MacMurray, Ray Walston, Jack Kruschen, Joan Shawlee, Edie Adams, David Lewis.
An ambitious clerk (Jack Lemmon) has been lending his apartment to the firm's philandering executives for their secret trysts. He himself has his eye on the elevator girl (Shirley MacLaine).
Voted Best Picture of 1960, this film also won an Oscar for Billy Wilder as director.
The Apartment has been the thirty-eighth most widely
attended film at the Stanford Theatre — 23,830 tickets since 1989.
first played at the Stanford Theatre June 29, 1960; last played Aug 2012
Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds, Millard Mitchell, Jean Hagen, Rita Moreno, Cyd Charisse, Douglas Fowley.
Perhaps the most popular film musical of all time is set in Hollywood at the dawn of talking pictures. Silent stars Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) and Lena Lamont (Jean Hagen) are making their first sound picture. When Lena's voice doesn't quite match her glamorous image, up-and-comer Debbie Reynolds steps in.
Singin' in the Rain has been the eleventh most widely attended
film at the Stanford Theatre — 45,970 tickets since 1989.
first played at the Stanford Theatre July 27, 1991; last played Feb 2016
Rita Hayworth, Gene Kelly, Lee Bowman, Phil Silvers, Jinx Falkenburg, Leslie Brooks, Eve Arden, Otto Kruger.
A Brooklyn chorus girl becomes a top fashion model (with a wealthy suitor), but she can't forget where she really belongs.
"Big time from the word go, Cover Girl deserves to stand among the best film musicals of all times... The dancing of Rita Hayworth and Gene Kelly is superb... All of these statements of facts leave a reviewer slightly breathless. But that's the way Cover Girl leaves an audience." Hollywood Reporter
first played at the Stanford Theatre Apr 30, 1944; last played July 2009
Cary Grant, Raymond Massey, Priscilla Lane, Josephine Hull, Jean Adair, Jack Carson, Edward Everett Horton, Peter Lorre, James Gleason, John Alexander.
Two lovable old ladies serve a special elderberry wine to help old men forget their loneliness.
Capra borrowed Hull and Adair from the Broadway play and made the film in 1941. For contractual reasons, the film could not be released until the play closed (after nearly four years) in 1944. Capra had to change the ending of the play because the preview audience would not accept the death of the beloved character actor Edward Everett Horton.
Arsenic and Old Lace has been the seventy-first most widely
attended film at the Stanford Theatre — 15,890 tickets since 1989.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Nov 5, 1944; last played Jan 2014
James Stewart, Josephine Hull, Victoria Horne, Peggy Dow, Cecil Kellaway, Charles Drake, Jesse White, Nana Bryant, Wallace Ford.
A kind and generous man (who does enjoy a drink) has a special friend- a large invisible rabbit. His family tries to have him committed to an asylum, but we soon begin to wonder who is really sane and who is insane.
This whimsical film is one of James Stewart's most famous roles.
"This is a happy movie and leaves a long, lingering warm glow." Baseline Movie Guide
Harvey has been the eighty-third most widely attended
film at the Stanford Theatre — 13,395 tickets since 1989.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Feb 4, 1951; last played Jan 2013
Carole Lombard, Fred MacMurray, Alison Skipworth, Douglas Dumbrille, William Frawley, Porter Hall, George Barbier, Lumsden Hare, Sig Rumann, Mischa Auer.
A Brooklyn showgirl masquerading as a Swedish princess gets mixed up in murder on board a luxury steamship.
first played at the Stanford Theatre June 25, 1936; last played Apr. 1994
Carole Lombard, Fred MacMurray, Ralph Bellamy, Astrid Allwyn, Ruth Donnelly, Marie Prevost, William Demarest.
A manicurist (Carole Lombard) and an impoverished playboy (Fred MacMurray) are desperate to land wealthy mates, but they fall in love instead.
This sparkling comedy was supervised by Lubitsch, who was then director of production at Paramount.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Nov 11, 1935; last played Apr 1994
Irene Dunne, Cary Grant, Randolph Scott, Gail Patrick, Ann Shoemaker, Scotty Beckett, Mary Lou Harrington, Donald MacBride, Hugh O'Connell.
On the very day of his remarriage, Cary Grant is stunned when his supposedly dead first wife (Irene Dunne) reappears after having spent seven years shipwrecked on a desert island.
first played at the Stanford Theatre July 3, 1940; last played Apr 2002
Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Melvyn Douglas, Reginald Denny, Sharyn Moffett, Connie Marshall, Louise Beavers, Ian Wolfe, Harry Shannon, Tito Vuolo, Nestor Paiva, Jason Robards.
A Manhattan advertising man (Grant) and his wife (Myrna Loy) set out to renovate a dilapidated farmouse in the Connecticut countryside, but they soon discover the age-old perils of dealing with architects and contractors.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Aug 22, 1948; last played June 2002
Claudette Colbert, Fred MacMurray, Marjorie Main, Percy Kilbride, Louise Allbritton, Richard Long, Billy House, Ida Moore, Donald MacBride.
On the night of their wedding, Fred MacMurray informs his new bride Claudette Colbert that he has purchased a ranch, and they are to move there immediately to raise chickens.
first played at the Stanford Theatre May 18, 1947; first showing by the Stanford Theatre Foundation
Fred MacMurray, Marjorie Main, Helen Walker, Peter Whitney, Jean Heather, Porter Hall, Mabel Paige, Barbara Pepper.
The publicity tagline for this zany mystery was "Nutty as a fruit cake!" and it certainly lives up to the hype.
Fred MacMurray's search for a missing co-worker leads him to a rickety house in a remote rural area, There he stumbles upon a maniacal family who will stoop to anything (even poison) in their search for money hidden somewhere in the house.
first played at the Stanford Theatre July 1, 1945; first showing by the Stanford Theatre Foundation
Danny Kaye, Glynis Johns, Basil Rathbone, Cecil Parker, Mildred Natwick, Angela Lansbury, Edward Ashley, Robert Middleton, Michael Pate, Alan Napier, Herbert Rudley, John Carradine.
Wonderfully funny swashbuckler satire, with Danny Kaye as a carnival performer masquerading as a court jester, who gets mixed up in a plot to romance princess Angela Lansbury. Unfortunately for the besotted princess, the "jester" is in love with Maid Jean (Glynis Johns), and then there's the trouble with the ultimate villain/swordfighter Basil Rathbone.
"One of the best comedies ever made." Leonard Maltin
first showing at the Stanford Theatre
Danny Kaye, Virginia Mayo, Boris Karloff, Florence Bates, Fay Bainter, Thurston Hall, Ann Rutherford, Gorden Jones, Reginald Denny.
Kaye plays a mild-mannered proofreader who is dominated by his harridan mother and shrewish girlfriend. He escapes everyday life by imagining himself the hero of his own adventures, but gets in trouble with real-life jewel thieves and the girl of his dreams (Virginia Mayo). Thurber offered producer Goldwyn $10,000 not to film his classic short story.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Feb 22, 1948; last played Nov 2003
Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Dorothy Lamour, Anthony Quinn, Dona Drake.
In what many consider to be the best of the Road pictures, Bing Crosby sells Bob Hope into slavery to beautiful princess Dorothy Lamour. Crosby's guilt (and a nightmare visit from Aunt Lucy) send him to his pal's rescue — only to find Hope living in luxury as the princess' intended husband. Wisecracking camels, desert mirage mix-ups and wonderful songs are among the many highlights of this delightfully zany film.
Songs: Road to Morocco, Moonlight Becomes You, Constantly, and Ain't Got a Dime to My Name.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Dec 31, 1942; last played Apr 2010
Martha Raye, Bob Hope, Andy Devine, Alan Mowbray, Gale Sondergaard, Sig Rumann, Ernest Crossart, Paul Harvey, Frances Arms, Ivan Simpson, Monty Woolley.
A millionaire hypochondriac, thinking he has just weeks to live, marries an heiress to help her out. Then he finds out he's not dying.
first played at the Stanford Theatre July 2, 1939; last played June 2003
Joel McCrea, Veronica Lake, Robert Warwick, William Demarest, Franklin Pangborn, Porter Hall, Byron Foulger, Eric Blore, Robert Greig, Torben Meyer, Jimmy Conlin, Margaret Hayes.
A Hollywood director, ashamed of his frivolous work, determines to make a serious, socially relevant film. Dressed as a tramp, he sets out to experience the real world with ten cents in his pocket. In the end, he discovers that comedy is divine after all.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Apr 2, 1942; last played Dec 2013
Ginger Rogers, Ray Milland, Rita Johnson, Robert Benchley, Diana Lynn, Edward Fielding, Frankie Thomas, Raymond Roe, Charles Smith, Larry Nunn, Billy Dawson, Lela Rogers, Aldrich Bowker, Boyd Irwin, Byron Shores.
In this wartime comedy, a down-on-her-luck working girl (Ginger Rogers) can't afford a railway ticket home to Ohio, so she disguises herself as a 12-year-old girl and buys a half-price ticket. Major Ray Milland meets her on the train and offers his protection to this curiously and uncomfortably attractive "child."
This was Wilder's first Hollywood assignment as a director. Ginger Rogers' real mother plays her character's mother in the film.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Dec 22, 1942; last played Feb 2009
Deanna Durbin, Charles Laughton, Robert Cummings, Guy Kibbee, Margaret Tallichet, Catharine Doucet, Walter Catlett, Charles Coleman, Leonard Elliott, Irving Bacon, Gus Schilling, Wade Boteler, Dorothea Kent, Clara Blandick.
A young man's wealthy father is seemingly near death, and his last wish is to meet his son's fiancée. The son hires a hat check girl to impersonate her, and his father is so delighted, he recovers. Now they're afraid to tell him the truth, fearing a relapse.
Songs: "The Lord's Prayer," music by Albert Hay Malotte; "Clavelitos," Spanish words and music by Joaquin Valverde, English lyrics by Mrs. M.T.E. Sandwith; "When I Sing," adapted from the Sleeping Beauty ballet by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky; "Goin' Home," music adapted from the New World Symphony by Antonín Dvorák; "Viene la conga," words and music by Valdesti.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Dec 15, 2012; last played Sep 2013
Deanna Durbin, Ralph Bellamy, David Bruce, George Coulouris, Allen Jenkins, Dan Duryea, Edward Everett Horton, Jacqueline de Wit, Patricia Morison, Elizabeth Patterson, Maria Palmer, Samuel S. Hinds, William Frawley.
A curious and imaginative young lady witnesses a murder during a journey on a train. When no one will believe her story, she coerces an exasperated mystery writer to help her solve the mystery.
Deanna is funny and charming in this amusing mystery. And the villain is a real surprise!
Deanna Durbin married the director of this picture, Charles David.
Songs: "Give Me a Little Kiss," music and lyrics by Roy Turk, Jack Smith, and Maceo Pinkard; "Night and Day," music and lyrics by Cole Porter; "Silent Night, Holy Night," music by Franz Gruber, words by Joseph Mohr, English translation anonymous.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Dec 26, 2012; last played Dec 2012
Humphrey Bogart, Katharine Hepburn, Robert Morley, Peter Bull, Theodore Bikel, Walter Gotell, Gerald Onn, Peter Swanwick, Richard Marner.
A gin-drinking river trader and a prim missionary travel down the river together in German East Africa during WW I, in one of the greatest adventures and love stories ever filmed.
"An inspired piece of casting brought Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn together. This is a comedy, a love story, and a tale of adventure, and it is one of the most charming and entertaining movies ever made." Pauline Kael
The African Queen has been the forty-eighth most widely
attended film at the Stanford Theatre — 21,877 tickets since 1989.
first played at the Stanford Theatre June 22, 1991; last played Aug 2013
Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Joan Blondell, Gig Young, Dina Merrill, Neva Patterson.
Hepburn is the head of a large TV network's reference department; Tracy is the "methods engineer" who disrupts her quiet, orderly world by installing Emmy, an enormous electronic computer.
Made 60years ago, Desk Set is one of the first comedies to exploit the inherent absurdity of human beings battling with recalcitrant hardware and software.
first played at the Stanford Theatre May 26, 1957; last played July 2013
W. C. Fields, Kathleen Howard, Mary Brian, Grady Sutton, Vera Lewis, Lucien Littlefield, Oscar Apfel.
The Man on the Flying Trapeze is similar to Fields' masterpiece It's a Gift; he even has the same harridan wife (Kathleen Howard) helping make his life miserable. All he wants is to take an afternoon off to enjoy the fights, but one thing leads to another...
first played at the Stanford Theatre Aug. 4, 1935; first showing by the Stanford Theatre Foundation
Peggy Hopkins Joyce, W.C. Fields, Stuart Erwin, Sari Maritza, George Burns, Gracie Allen, Bela Lugosi, Edmund Breese, Lumsden Hare, Franklin Pangborn, Harrison Greene, Rudy Vallee, Colonel Stoopnagle and Budd, Cab Calloway and His Orchestra, Baby Rose Marie, Sterling Holloway.
A zany cast of characters converges at the International House hotel (in Wu-Hu, China) to bid on a new invention - television! This film established Fields as a comic force.
first played at the Stanford Theatre June 24, 1933; last played June 2011
Robert Preston, Shirley Jones, Buddy Hackett, Hermione Gingold, Paul Ford, Pert Kelton, Timmy Everett, Ronny Howard, Charles Lane, Mary Wickes.
Con man Harold Hill (Robert Preston) comes to small-town River City, Iowa in 1912 and convinces the citizens to invest in band instruments and uniforms. Instead of escaping with the money, he falls for the "old maid" librarian, but when the townspeople discover his scheme, his fate depends on making his wild proclamations about a wonderful marching band come true.
first played at the Stanford Theatre July 27, 1962; first showing by the Stanford Theatre Foundation
Debbie Reynolds, Walter Brennan, Leslie Nielsen, Mala Powers, Sidney Blackmer, Mildred Natwick, Ray Wray, Louise Beavers.
Sweet, naive country girl Tammy rescues a sophiticated bachelor after his plane crashes in a nearby swamp. When her grandfather is sent to jail for selling moonshine, he sends Tammy to stay with the bachelor.
first showing at the Stanford Theatre