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.)
Cary Grant (Roger Thornhill), Eva Marie Saint (Eve Kendall), James Mason (Philip Vandamm), Jessie Royce Landis (Clara Thornhill), Leo G. Carroll (Professor), Philip Ober (Lester Townsend), Josephine Hutchinson (Handsome Woman), Martin Landau (Leonard), Adam Williams (Valerian), Edward Platt (Victor Larrabee), Robert Ellenstein (Licht), Les Tremayne (Auctioneer).
In Hitchcock's most successful blending of romance and suspense, and one of Hollywood's most enduring classics, mild-mannered advertising executive Cary Grant answers the wrong page one afternoon and finds himself embroiled with spies, murderers, the FBI, and Eva Marie Saint — which only gives Hitchcock the chance to display some of his most extravagant fantasies, such as the crop dusting scene and the Mt. Rushmore climax.
"Cinema, approached in this way, becomes a truly abstract art, like music... It's obvious that the fantasy of the absurd is a key ingredient in your film-making formula." François Truffaut
"The fact is I practice absurdity quite religiously." Hitchcock
"Since that [crop-dusting] scene doesn't move the action forward, it's the kind of concept that would simply never occur to a screenwriter; only a director could dream up an idea like that." Truffaut
Hitchcock appears crossing the street.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Jan 24, 1990; last played June 2018
Cary Grant (John Robie), Grace Kelly (Frances Stevens), Jessie Royce Landis (Jessie Stevens), John Williams (H.H. Hughson), Charles Vanel (Bertani), Brigitte Auber (Danielle Foussard), Jean Martinelli (Foussard), Georgette Anys (Germaine), Roland Lessaffre (Jean Hebey), René Blancard (Commissioner Lepic).
Cary Grant plays a retired cat-burglar who is suspected of a series of jewel thefts committed by a copy-cat.
More romantic comedy than suspense thriller, the film was made on location on the French Riviera, where Grace Kelly met Prince Rainier.
"Grace Kelly actually looks alive, and she's sexier than she is in anything else." Pauline Kael
"Sex on the screen should be suspenseful, I feel. If sex is too blatant or obvious, there's no suspense." Hitchcock
Hitchcock's cameo appearance is on a bus, next to Cary Grant.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Sep 14, 1955; last played May 2018
Margaret Lockwood (Iris Henderson), Michael Redgrave (Gilbert Redman), Paul Lukas (Dr. Hartz), Dame May Whitty (Miss Froy), Cecil Parker (Eric Todhunter), Linden Travers (Margaret Todhunter), Mary Clare (Baroness), Naunton Wayne (Caldicott), Basil Radford (Charters), Emile Boreo (Hotel Manager), Philip Leaver (Signor Doppo), Zelma Van Dias (Signora Doppo), Catherine Lacey (The Nun).
A lady mysteriously vanishes from a train. The other passengers deny that she ever existed, but a young woman is determined to find her. Hitchcock's last great British film is one of the most consistently engaging films anyone ever made.
"The quintessence of screen suspense." Pauline Kael
first played at the Stanford Theatre Jan 22, 1990; last played Jan 2017
Nova Pilbeam (Erica Burgoyne), Derrick de Marney (Robert Tisdall), Percy Marmont (Col. Burgoyne), Edward Rigby (Old Will), Mary Clare (Aunt Margaret), John Longden (Inspector Kent), George Curzon (Guy), Basil Radford (Uncle Basil), Pamela Carme (Christine Clay), George Merritt (Sgt. Miller), J.H. Roberts (Henry Briggs).
A quarrel leaves a woman dead. Her body washes up on the beach, a raincoat belt wrapped tightly around her neck. The prime suspect is the owner of the belt, the dead woman's gigolo who escapes the authorities and enlists the aid of the daughter of a local constable in seeking out the real murderer.
The innocent charm of this delightful film makes it even more enjoyable than some of Hitchcock's later masterpieces. Highly recommended!
first played at the Stanford Theatre Apr 30, 1990; last played Jan 2015
Teresa Wright (Charlie Newton), Joseph Cotton (Uncle Charlie), Macdonald Carey (Jack Graham), Henry Travers (Joseph Newton), Patricia Collings (Emma Newton), Hume Cronyn (Herbie Hawkins), Edna May Wonacutt (Ann Newton), Wallace Ford (Fred Saunders).
A young woman gradually discovers the shocking truth: that her charming visiting uncle may be the notorious Merry Widow murderer.
The film was shot on location in Santa Rosa (highly unusual for 1943). The younger daughter is played by a Santa Rosa girl whose father ran the local grocery store. Thornton Wilder's screenplay captures the flavor of small-town America.
Tiomkin's score is great fun, twisting the "Merry Widow Waltz" into a phantasmagoria.
Hitchcock claimed this was his favorite.
Hitchcock (cameo appearance as a bridge player on the train):
He's a killer with an ideal; he's one of those murderers who feel that they have a mission to destroy. It's quite possible that those widows deserved what they got, but it certainly wasn't his job to do it. There is a moral judgement in the film... Uncle Charlie loved his niece, but not as much as she loved him. And yet she has to destroy him. To paraphrase Oscar Wilde: `You destroy the thing you love.'
first played at the Stanford Theatre Mar 7, 1992; last played May 2018
Robert Walker (Bruno Antony), Farley Granger (Guy Haines), Ruth Roman (Anne Morton), Leo G. Carroll (Sen. Morton), Patricia Hitchcock (Barbara Morton), Laura Elliott (Miriam Haines), Marian Lorne (Mrs. Antony), Howard St. John (Capt. Turley), Jonathan Hale (Mr. Antony), John Brown (Prof. Collins), Norma Varden (Mrs. Cunningham), Robert Gist (Hennessey).
In one of Hitchcock's most fascinating films, a sympathetic psychopath (Robert Walker) ensnares a champion tennis player (Farley Granger) into a murder pact.
This film is noteworthy for Robert Walker's remarkably subtle portrayal of the demonic Bruno, who is one of Hitchcock's greatest creations.
Tiomkin's score is especially effective in the famous tennis match, alternating the musical themes of the two characters.
"One of the best things... is the explosion, with the follow-shots on feet going one way and then the other. There are also the crisscrossing rails. There's a sort of symbolic effect in the way they meet and separate." - François Truffaut
"A key exposition of the madman hero." David Thomson
Cameo appearance boarding train with double bass.
first played at the Stanford Theatre July 8, 1951; last played May 2018
Tallulah Bankhead, William Bendix, Walter Slezak, Mary Anderson, John Hodiak, Henry Hull, Heather Angel, Hume Cronyn, Canada Lee.
Victims of a torpedoed freighter (among them a society woman, a left-wing crew member and a Nazi) struggle for survival aboard a lifeboat.
"The technical challenge was enormous. I never let that camera get outside the boat, and there was no music at all; it was very rigorous. Of course the characterization by Tallulah Bankhead dominated the whole film.
We wanted to show that at that moment there were two world forces confronting each other, the democracies and the Nazis, and while the democracies were completely disorganized, all of the Germans were clearly headed in the same direction. So here was a statement telling the democracies to put their differences aside temporarily and to gather their forces to concentrate on the common enemy, whose strength was precisely derived from a spirit of unity and of determination." Hitchcock
Cameo appearance in newspaper ad for Reduco.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Mar 9, 1944; last played Dec 2006
James Stewart (Rupert Caldell), John Dall (Shaw Brandon), Farley Granger (Philip), Joan Chandler (Janet Walker), Sir Cedric Hardwicke (Mr. Kentley), Constance Collier (Mrs. Atwater), Edith Evanson (Mrs. Wilson), Douglas Dick (Kenneth Lawrence), Dick Hogan (David Kentley).
Two college students kill a third for intellectual thrills and hide his body in a chest from which they serve cocktails to the man's parents, fiancée, and former professor.
This intense film was an important experiment from a technical point of view, in that it is shot in continuous 10-minute takes and lacks normal film editing.
"I undertook Rope as a stunt; that's the only way I can describe it... I got this crazy idea to do it in a single shot." Hitchcock
This was the first of James Stewart's four films with Hitchcock.
Hitchcock makes his cameo appearance crossing the street under main title.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Nov 1, 1948; last played Mar 2013
Laurence Olivier (Maxim de Winter), Joan Fontaine (She), George Sanders (Jack Favell), Judith Anderson (Mrs. Danvers), Nigel Bruce (Maj. Giles Lacy), Gladys Cooper (Beatrice Lacy), Florence Bates (Mrs. Van Hopper), Reginald Denny (Frank Crawley), C. Aubrey Smith (Col. Julyan), Melville Cooper (Coroner), Leo G. Carroll (Dr. Baker), Leonard Carey (Ben), Philip Winter (Robert), Edward Fielding (Frith), Forrester Harvey (Chalcroft), Lumsden Hare (Tabbs).
Max de Winter brings his young new wife home, but the new mistress of Manderley is haunted by the memory of the mysterious Rebecca and the sinister housekeeper, Mrs. Danver.
Best Picture of 1940 and undoubtedly one of the greatest romantic films ever made. David O. Selznick brought Alfred Hitchcock to Hollywood under contract to direct four pictures. Both men were already masters of their trade, but their collaboration yielded this timeless masterpiece, which combines the distinct genius of both. Selznick fought to cast little-known Joan Fontaine for what was her finest performance.
Waxman's music insidiously suggests the ghostly presence of the dead Rebecca. The score employs a novachord, an early electronic keyboard instrument.
Hichcock's cameo appearance: walking by a telephone booth.
first played at the Stanford Theatre May 26, 1940; last played Apr 2018
Cary Grant (Johnie Aysgarth), Joan Fontaine (Lina McLaidlaw), Sir Cedric Hardwicke (Gen. McLaidlaw), Nigel Bruce ("Beaky" Thwaite), Dame May Whitty (Mrs. McLaidlaw), Isabel Jeans (Mrs. Newsham), Heather Angel (Ethel), Auriol Lee (Isobel Sedbusk), Reginald Sheffield (Reggie Weatherby), Leo G. Carroll (Capt. Melbeck).
A meek wife grows sick with suspicion when she becomes convinced her charming husband has plans to murder her and claim her fortune. Joan Fontaine isn't quite sure. Don't be surprised if you're not quite sure either: the original story had a different ending.
Joan Fontaine won an Oscar for her performance. This was the second of Waxman's four scores for Hitchcock, and the first of the four films that Hitchcock and Grant made together.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Mar 8, 1942; last played Mar 2016
Madeleine Carroll, John Gielgud, Peter Lorre, Robert Young, Percy Marmont, Florence Kahn, Lilli Palmer, Charles Carson.
A British Intelligence Service agent is sent to Switzerland during World War I to eliminate a spy. Unfortunately the identity of the spy is unknown, and any error might mean assassinating an innocent person, perhaps a tourist.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Sep 2, 1936; last played Feb 2013
Madeleine Carroll (Pamela), Robert Donat (Richard Hannay), Lucie Mannheim (Annabella Smith), Godfrey Tearle (Prof. Jordan), Peggy Ashcroft (Margaret Crofter), John Laurie (John Crofter), Helen Haye (Mrs. Jordan), Wylie Watson (Mr. Memory), Frank Cellier (Sheriff Watson), Peggy Simpson (Young Maid).
When a woman stumbles into his room with a knife in her back, a Canadian vacationing in London finds himself a police suspect. He has only one clue to clear himself: find the secret of the 39 steps. Seeking to prove his innocence, he travels to Scotland and becomes entangled with a spy ring and — even better — Madeleine Carroll.
This film, remarkable for its humor and suspense, captivated audiences everywhere.
"Simply one of the best films of its genre" Baseline Movie Guide
first played at the Stanford Theatre Sep 4, 1935; last played Apr 2018
Cary Grant (Devlin), Ingrid Bergman (Alicia Huberman), Claude Rains (Alexander Sebastian), Louis Calhern (Paul Prescott), Leopoldine Konstantin (Mme. Sebastan), Reinhold Schunzel (Dr. Anderson), Moroni Olsen (Walter Beardsley), Ivan Triesault (Eric Mathis), Alexis Minotis (Joseph), Ricardo Costa (Dr. Barbosa), Eberhard Krumschmidt (Emil Hupka).
U.S. agent Cary Grant enlists the help of notorious party girl Ingrid Bergman to infiltrate a ring of Nazis in South America.
Notorious is without doubt one of the supreme creations of Hollywood's golden age. Many persons (including Truffaut) regard it as Hitchcock's greatest film, and it is a leading candidate for top rank among the films of Ingrid Bergman and of Cary Grant. In any case, it is one of the most popular films at the Stanford Theatre (topped only by Casablanca, Roman Holiday, and Sabrina).
first played at the Stanford Theatre Jan 5, 1947; last played May 2018
Ingrid Bergman, Joseph Cotten, Michael Wilding, Margaret Leighton, Cecil Parker, Denis O'Dea, Jack Watling, Harcourt Williams, John Ruddock, Ronald Adam.
A titled Irish girl elopes with her father's groom amidst scandal and tragedy, ending up in Australia. Years pass, and a childhood friend pays a visit, only to find she has changed dramatically, and her household is strangely unsettling.
A period film set in 19th century Australia, this was a box-office failure, due in part to Ingrid Bergman's enormous salary. Some critics considered it a masterpiece, others thought it was simply a flop, but it has enjoyed a growing reputation with more recent critics.
"A rich account of emotional self-sacrifice." David Thomsen
first played at the Stanford Theatre May 14, 1990; last played Feb 2015
Sylvia Sidney, Oscar Homolka, John Loder, Desmond Tester, Joyce Barbour, Matthew Boulton, S.J. Warmington, William Dewhurst, Austin Trevor, Torin Thatcher.
The Verlocs manage a small movie theater in London. Mr. Verloc, however, moonlights as an anarchist bomber and saboteur, something his wife doesn't realize until too late.
Compelling and stark, this film was banned in some countries as a textbook on terrorism. It is actually based on Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent, but the title had to be changed to avoid confusion with Hitchcock's previous film.
"It may be just about the best of his English thrillers." Pauline Kael
first played at the Stanford Theatre Apr 23, 1990; last played Apr 2018
Leslie Banks, Edna Best, Peter Lorre, Frank Vosper, Hugh Wakefield, Nova Pilbeam, Pierre Fresnay, Cicely Oates, D.A. Clarke-Smith, George Curzon, Henry Oscar.
While vactioning in Saint Moritz, an English couple inadvertantly hear the dying words of a secret agent. Their young daughter is kidnapped to prevent them from interfering with an assassination plot.
The film contains one of Hitchcock's most celebrated set pieces: the planned assaissination during a concert at London's Albert Hall.
first played at the Stanford Theatre June 26, 1993; last played Feb 2000
James Stewart (John "Scotttie" Ferguson), Kim Novak (Madeleine Elster / Judy Barton), Barbara Bel Geddes (Midge), Tom Helmore (Gavin Elster), Henry Jones (Coroner), Raymond Bailey (Doctor), Ellen Corby (Manageress), Konstantin Shayne (Pop Leibel), Lee Patrick (Older Mistaken Identity), Paul Bryar (Capt. Hansen), Margaret Brayton (Saleswoman).
A San Francisco man engages a detective to investigate his wife's unusual fantasy that she comes from a different time. Widely regarded as Hitchcock's greatest masterpiece, Vertigo is a film that deserves to be seen over and over. Here is another chance!
Despite Hitchcock's outspoken reservations about her, Kim Novak gave one of the greatest performances in the history of the cinema.
The film was photographed in and near San Francisco. If you are inspired to make a pilgrimage to San Juan Bautista, you will discover that the actual mission does not have a tower.
"That whole erotic aspect of the picture is fascinating... when Stewart hauled Kim Novak out of the water... he takes her to his place, where we find her asleep in his bed. As she gradually comes to, there's an implication, though it's not specifically stated, that he's probably taken the girl's clothes off and has seen her in the nude. The rest of that scene is superb, as Kim Novak walks around with her toes sticking out of his bathrobe and then settles down by the fire, with Stewart pacing back and forth behind her." Truffaut
"So it is a masterpiece and an endless mystery — a love story, yet a hate story, too… If you are moved by this film, you are a creature of cinema." David Thomson
Hitchcock makes his cameo appearance crossing the street.
first played at the Stanford Theatre June 15, 1958; last played May 2018
Tippi Hedren, Sean Connery, Diane Baker, Martin Gable, Louise Latham, Bob Sweeney, Milton Selzer, Alan Napier, Henry Beckman, Edith Evanson, Mariette Hartley.
A frigid kleptomaniac? It must have been something about her childhood.
Tippi Hedren's compelling performance banishes the otherwise natural thought that the story resembles a Freudian pot-boiler.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Sep 2, 1964; last played Apr 2015
Henry Fonda, Vera Miles, Anthony Quayle, Harold J. Stone, Esther Minciotti, Charles Cooper, Nehemiah Persoff, Laurinda Barrett, Norma Connolly, Doreen Lang, Frances Reid, Lola D'Annunzio, Robert Essen, Kippy Campbell, Dayton Lummis, John Heldabrand.
Semi-documentary about a man accused of a crime he did not commit, filmed in the locations where the actual events took place, using some of the actual people involved in the real case as extras.
"We come back again to my eternal fear of the police. I've always felt a complete identification with the feelings of a person who's arrested, taken to the police station in a police van and who, through the bars of the moving vehicle, can see people going to the theatre, coming out of a bar, and enjoying the comforts of everyday living." Hitchcock
Cameo appearance narrating prologue.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Feb 6, 1957; last played Mar 2013
Montgomery Clift, Anne Baxter, Karl Malden, Brian Aherne, O.E. Hasse, Dolly Haas, Roger Dann, Charles Andre, Judson Pratt, Ovila Legare, Gilles Pelletier, Nan Boardman, Henry Corden.
A priest hears a murderer's confession but will not divulge the man's identity to the police, even when he himself is accused and arrested for the crime.
"We Catholics know that a priest cannot disclose the secret of the confessional, but the Protestants, the atheists, and the agnostics all say, `Ridiculous! No man would remain silent and sacrifice his life for such a thing'." Hitchcock
Cameo appearance crossing at top of staircase.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Mar 17, 1992; last played Mar 2000
Anthony Perkins (Norman Bates), Janet Leigh (Marion Crane), Vera Miles (Lila Crane), John Gavin (Sam Loomis), Martin Balsam (Milton Arbogast), John McIntyre (Sheriff Chambers), Lurene Tuttle (Mrs. Chambers), Simon Oakland (Dr. Richmond), Frank Albertson (Tom Cassidy), Patricia Hitchcock (Caroline), Vaughan Taylor (George Lowery), John Anderson (California Charlie).
Hitchcock's most notorious and terrifying film. A lonely young man and his mysterious mother run a small roadside motel where people check in... but don't always check out. Taking a shower was never the same again after 1960.
Psycho was shot by a television unit at a cost of $800,000. The notorious shower scene took 7 days to shoot, has 70 camera setups, and lasts 45 seconds on screen. What we see and what we think we see are two different things: the knife never touches the body.
When originally released, no late-comers were admitted once the film had started, and audiences were asked not to reveal the ending to their friends.
"Psycho has a very interesting construction and that game with the audience was fascinating. I was directing the viewers. You might say I was playing them, like an organ... I take pride in the fact that Psycho, more than any of my other pictures, is a film that belongs to film-makers... The way in which it was told caused audiences all over the world to react and become emotional." Hitchcock
"Despite decades of parody and imitation, this picture has lost none of its power to manipulate auidences' emotions. Pure filmmaking at its finest." Leonard Maltin
Cameo appearance on sidewalk in Texas hat.
Important notice: Many who first saw Psycho in their youth have reported lasting emotional disturbances. Parents are cautioned, therefore, against bringing young children to this film.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Aug 21, 1960; last played June 2018
Edmund Gwenn, John Forsythe, Shirley MacLaine, Mildred Natwick, Mildred Dunnock, Jerry Mathers, Royal Dano, Parker Fennelly, Barry Macollum, Dwight Marfield, Leslie Woolf.
"The trouble with Harry is... he's dead!" was a publicity tag line for this black comedy. When Harry's body turns up in the woods, several people assume they are responsible for his demise.
Beautifully filmed on location in Vermont in the Fall. This was Shirley MacLaine's first movie.
"The whole humor of the picture hinges on a single device: an attitude of disconcerting nonchalance. The characters discuss the corpse as casually as if they were talking about a pack of cigarettes." Truffaut
"That's the idea. Nothing amuses me so much as understatement." Hitchcock
Cameo appearance walking past outdoor art exhibit.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Mar 19, 1992; last played Feb 2015