The Stanford Theatre

Bette Davis

Eight Films in Four Weekends

Our Warner Bros. program last year featured many Bette Davis pictures. Our current calendar offers eight more.

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 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.)

September 10 – 13: closed

September 14 – 17:
"Mildred — she's come back."
Of Human Bondage (1934) (4:15), 7:30
d John Cromwell. w Lester Cohen, based on the novel by W. Somerset Maugham. ph Henry W. Gerrard. m Max Steiner. RKO. 83 min.

Leslie Howard, Bette Davis, Frances Dee, Kay Johnson, Reginald Denny, Alan Hale, Reginald Sheffield, Reginald Owen, Desmond Roberts.

In this celebrated Somerset Maugham tale, a sensitive medical student is obsessed with a selfish, scheming waitress.

Bette Davis' fierce, fearless performance was early evidence of her unique screen personality.

"Mildred was the first leading-lady villainess ever played on a screen for real." Bette Davis

"Davis makes her role work through sheer will; she doesn't let it happen, she makes it happen — and boy, you'd better watch!" Pauline Kael

"I made it very clear that Mildred was not going to die of a dread disease looking as if a deb had missed her noon nap... Mildred emerged as a reality — as immediate as a newsreel and as starkly real as a pestilence." Bette Davis

first played at the Stanford Theatre July 28, 1934; last played July 2015

"If I weren't a gentleman's gentleman I could be such a cad's cad."
It's Love I'm After (1937) 5:50, 9:05
d Archie L. Mayo. w Casey Robinson. ph James Van Trees. m Heinz Roehmheld. Warner/1st National. 90 min.

Leslie Howard, Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, Eric Blore, Patric Knowles, George Barbier, Spring Byington, Bonita Granville, Georgia Caine, Veda Ann Borg, E.E. Clive, Valerie Bergere, Sarah Edwards, Thomas Pogue, Grace Fields.

This screwball comedy was the third film Bette Davis made with Leslie Howard. They play a high-strung theatrical couple who fight (even on stage) but intend to marry, until a star-struck member of the audience (Olivia de Havilland) shows too much interest in Howard.

Eric Blore fans (as which of us is not!) should not miss this movie.

A 35mm print was made especially for our 2008 festival from the original camera negative at the Library of Congress.

first played at the Stanford Theatre May 31, 2008; last played May 2016

September 18 – 20: closed

September 21 – 23:
The Little Foxes (1941) (3:50), 7:30
d William Wyler. w Lillian Hellman, from her play. ph Gregg Toland. m Meredith Willson. Goldwyn. 116 min.

Bette Davis, Herbert Marshall, Teresa Wright, Richard Carlson, Charles Dingle, Dan Duryea, Patricia Collinge, Charles Dingle, Carl Benton Reid, Jessie Grayson, John Marriott, Russell Hicks, Lucien Littlefield, Virginia Brissac

A shrewd, ruthless woman will stop at nothing to get what she wants. In one of her greatest roles, Bette Davis offers a fascinating and compelling portrayal of the malignant Regina Giddens.

first played at the Stanford Theatre Nov 16, 1941; last played June 2015

Cabin in the Cotton (1932) 6:00, 9:40
d Michael Curtiz. w Paul Green, from the novel by Harry Harrison. ph Barney McGill. Warner. 79 min.

Richard Barthelmess, Dorothy Jordan, Bette Davis, Hardie Albright, David Landau, Berton Churchill, Dorothy Peterson, Russell Simpson, Tully Marshall, Henry B. Walthall, Clarence Muse.

A paternalistic southern landowner favors a promising young sharecropper (Richard Barthelmess), while his southern belle daughter (Bette Davis) sets out to seduce him. Growing conflicts between her father and the sharecroppers, however, eventually test his loyalty.

This social drama about life on a cotton plantation gave Bette Davis her first truly memorable role, including her famous line, "I'd like to kiss you, but I just washed my hair."

35mm print from Warners.

first played at the Stanford Theatre Sep 10, 1994; last played Apr 2008

September 24 – 27: closed

September 28 – 30:
In This Our Life (1942) (4:15), 7:30
d John Huston. w Howard Koch,, from the novel by Ellen Glasgow. ph Ernest Haller. m Max Steiner. Warner Bros. 101 min.

Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, George Brent, Dennis Morgan, Charles Coburn, Frank Craven, Billie Burke, Hattie McDaniel, Lee Patrick, Walter Huston.

A spoiled woman elopes with her sister's fiancÚ the day before the wedding. Married life is not to her liking, but her husband conveniently make her a widow.

first played at the Stanford Theatre June 28, 1942; first showing by the Stanford Theatre Foundation

Satan Met a Lady (1936) 6:05, 9:20
d William Dieterle. w Brown Holmes, based on The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett. ph Arthur Edeson. m Bernhard Kaun. Warner Bros. 75 min.

Bette Davis, Warren William, Alison Skipworth, Arthur Treacher, Marie Wilson, Winifred Shaw, Porter Hall, Olin Howland, Charles Wilson.

The second film version of The Maltese Falcon follows the story with a few changes. Smooth-talking Warren William plays the detective, Bette Davis is the femme fatale, and a priceless ram's horn stands in for the black bird.

first played at the Stanford Theatre June 5, 2008; last played Mar 2011

October 1 – 4: closed

October 5 – 7:
The Man Who Came to Dinner (1941) (3:55), 7:30
d William Keighley. w Julius J. & Philip G. Epstein, from the play by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart. ph Tony Gaudio. m Frederick Hollander. Warner Bros. 112 min.

Monty Woolley, Bette Davis, Ann Sheridan, Jimmy Durante, Reginald Gardiner, Richard Travis, Billie Burke, Grant Mitchell.

In this mile-a-minute comedy, based on the 1939 Broadway hit play, a radio celebrity, invited to dinner by a small-town hostess, slips on the front doorstep, and terrorizes his suburban hosts during his extended recovery.

first played at the Stanford Theatre Apr. 12, 1942; last played Feb 2009

The Working Man (1933) 6:00, 9:35
d John G. Adolfi. w Charles Kenyon, Maude T. Howell, based on the short story Adopted Father by Edgar Franklin. ph Sol Polito. Warner Bros. 75 min.

George Arliss, Bette Davis, Theodore Newton, Hardie Albright, Gordon Westcott, J. Farrell MacDonald, Charles Evans, Frederick Burton, Pat Wing, Edward Van Sloan, Claire McDowell.

The owner of the Reeves Shoe Company (George Arliss) and the late owner of the Hartland Shoe Company were friendly rivals in business and in love. While on a fishing trip, Mr. Reeves happens to meet Hartland's children (including Bette Davis), who are more interested in partying than looking after their late father's firm. Without revealing his identity, the sly old fox manages to become their trustee and guides them to a proper understanding of their responsibilities.

This was Bette's second picture with the wonderful George Arliss.

A new 35 mm print was made especially for our 2008 festival from the original camera negative at the Library of Congress.

first played at the Stanford Theatre June 28, 1933; last played July 2013