The Stanford Theatre

Happy Hoidays

November 22 — December 24, 2014

For the five weeks leading up to Christmas we present some our favorite films that seem full of the holiday spirit.

As usual, we are showing It's a Wondeful Life at 9:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Advance tickets are recommended since we almost always sell out. They go on sale (for $10.00) on December 12.

The Stanford Theatre is dedicated to bringing back the movie-going experience of Hollywood's Golden Age. 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.

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.)

November 22 – 23:
"Meet me in St. Louis, Louis, meet me at the fair..."
Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) 3:30, 7:30
d Vincente Minnelli. w Irving Brecher & Fred F. Finklehoff, from stories by Sally Benson. ph George Folsey. songs Hugh Martin & Ralph Blane MGM. 113 min.

Judy Garland, Margaret O'Brien, Mary Astor, Lucille Bremer, Tom Drake, June Lockhart, Marjorie Main, Leon Ames, Harry Davenport, Joan Carroll, Chill Wills.

A year in the life of of the Smith family at 5135 Kensington Avenue in St. Louis, leading up to the 1904 World's Fair; based on a series of New Yorker stories by Sally Benson.

One of the very greatest films Hollywood ever made, Meet Me in St. Louis established Minnelli as the undisputed master of of the film musical. He directed the film with a warm nostalgic glow that is never saccharine. The film also made Judy Garland, who had her best role since Dorothy, a major adult star. It was the biggest box office success of MGM's first 20 years, and it remains one of the most universally loved films ever made.

Minnelli often identified the "Halloween" episode as his favorite sequence among all his films, and the performance of seven-year-old Margaret O'Brien as the troubled younger sister "Tootie" stands out as one of the true miracles in the history of the cinema.

Songs include: The Boy Next Door, The Trolley Song, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

first played at the Stanford Theatre Mar 11, 1945; last played Aug 2013

Our Vines Have Tender Grapes (1945)
d Roy Rowland. w Dalton Trumbo, from the novel by George Victor Martin. ph Robert Surtees. m Bronislau Kaper. MGM. 105 min.

Edward G. Robinson, Margaret O'Brien, James Craig, Agnes Moorehead, Jackie `Butch' Jenkins, Morris Carnovsky, Frances Gifford, Sara Haden.

The story of a Norwegian family in rural Wisconsin, with the inspired if unusual casting of Edward G. Robinson as the strict but kind and understanding father.

This exquisite little film is on a double bill with the famous musical in order to encourage you to see "Tootie" in another wonderful role.

"Few films touch the heart so deeply as this one, and fewer still present such moving performances." Baseline Movie Guide

first played at the Stanford Theatre Nov 1, 1945; last played Mar 2009

November 24 – 27: closed

November 28 – 30:
Holiday Inn (1942) (4:15), 7:30
d Mark Sandrich. w Claude Binyon, Elmer Rice. ph David Abel. m/ly Irving Berlin. Paramount. 101 min.

Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Walter Abel, Marjorie Reynolds, Virginia Dale, Louis Beavers.

In this perennial classic, Bing Crosby introduces White Christmas, and Astaire does his sensational firecracker dance.

Songs: White Christmas; You're Easy to Dance With; I'll Capture Your Heart; Lazy; Be Careful, It's My Heart; Happy Holiday; Come to Holiday Inn; Let's Start the New Year Right; Abraham; Easter Parade; I Can't Tell a Lie; Say It With Firecrackers; Song of Freedom; I've Got Plenty to Be Thankful For.

first played at the Stanford Theatre Sep 13, 1942; last played June 2014

"If you can't sleep, it isn't the coffee, it's the bunk."
Christmas in July (1940) 6:10, 9:25
w/d Preston Sturges. ph Victor Milner. m Sigmund Krumgold. Paramount. 67 min.

Dick Powell, Ellen Drew, Ernest Truex, Al Bridge, Raymond Walburn, William Demarest.

In this charmingly offbeat romantic comedy, a young man mistakenly believes he has won $25,000 in a slogan contest.

"Probably Sturges' warmest comedy, and a fine illustration of the 'common man' touch which tempered his worldly sophistication." Baseline Movie Guide.

first played at the Stanford Theatre Jan 16, 1941; last played Feb 2009

December 1 – 4: closed

December 5 – 7:
Little Women (1933) (3:40), 7:30
d George Cukor. w Sarah Y. Mason & Victor Heerman, from the novel by Louisa May Alcott. ph Henry Gerrard. m Max Steiner. RKO. 115 min.

Katharine Hepburn, Joan Bennett, Jean Parker, Frances Dee, Spring Byington, Edna May Oliver, Paul Lukas, Douglass Montgomery, Henry Stephenson, Samuel S. Hinds, John Lodge, Nydia Westman.

You may have seen the remakes, but this is the genuine article: the classic story of four daughters living in 19th century New England that gave Katharine Hepburn one of the best roles of her entire career.

David O. Selznick, who was head of production at RKO, deserves much of the credit for the enormous success of this film. It was an early example of Selznick's faith in classic literary material, brought to the screen with taste and production values.

"A lovely, graceful film, and surprisingly faithful to the atmosphere, the Victorian sentiments, and the Victorian strengths of the Louisa May Alcott novel." Pauline Kael
"Offers endless pleasure no matter how many times you've seen it." Leonard Maltin
"An example of Hollywood's best filmmaking." Baseline Movie Guide

first played at the Stanford Theatre Jan 1, 1934; last played Dec 2011

The Secret Garden (1949) 5:45, 9:35
d Fred M. Wilcox. w Robert Ardrey, from the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. ph Ray June. m Bronislau Kaper. MGM. 92 min.

Margaret O'Brien, Herbert Marshall, Gladys Cooper, Elsa Lanchester, Dean Stockwell, Brian Roper.

An orphan girl comes to live with her moody uncle and changes the lives of those around her.

This classic film version of the famous novel shows what an extraordinary actress Margaret O'Brien was.

first played at the Stanford Theatre Nov 27, 1949; last played Jul 2012

December 8 – 11: closed

December 12 – 14:
Miracle on 34th Street (1947) (3:55), 7:30
d George Seaton. w George Seaton, story by Valentine Davies. ph Charles Clarke, Lloyd Ahern. m Cyril Mockridge. 20th Century-Fox. 94 min.

Edmund Gwenn, Maureen O'Hara, Natalie Wood, John Payne, Gene Lockhart, Porter Hall, William Frawley, Jerome Cowan, Thelma Ritter.

One of America's most beloved Christmas movies. A Santa Claus working at Macy's department store, a kindly gentleman who calls himself Kris Kringle, has everyone believing in Santa Claus, exept for one little girl.

first played at the Stanford Theatre Jul 13, 1947; last played Dec 2009

Apartment for Peggy (1948) 5:40, 9:15
w/d George Seaton, from the novelette by Faith Baldwin. ph Harry Jackson. m David Raksin. 20th Century-Fox. 98 min.

Jeanne Crain, William Holden, Edmund Gwenn, Gene Lockhart, Griff Barnett, Randy Stuart, Bett Ann Lynn.

An elderly professor contemplates suicide, but things change when a young wife and her GI husband come to live in his attic. The professor is played by Edmund Gwenn, who played Santa Claus in Miracle on 34th Street.

first played at the Stanford Theatre Oct 28, 1948; last played Aug 2013

December 15 – 18: closed

December 19 – 23:
"I want your opinion, your honest opinion."
The Shop Around the Corner (1940) (3:35), 7:30
d Ernst Lubitsch. w Samuel Raphaelson, from the play by Nikolaus Laszlo. ph William Daniels. m Werner Heymann. MGM. 97 min.

James Stewart, Margaret Sullavan, Frank Morgan, Joseph Schildkraut, Sara Haden, Felix Bressart, William Tracy.

In the days before Christmas. a new sales clerk (Margaret Sullavan) is hired by a Budapest shop. She and the manager (Jimmy Stewart) have a stressful relationship on the job, unaware that they have been conducting a romance as pen pals who have never met in person.

"Among the greatest of films... The cafe conversation may be the best meeting in American Film." David Thomson
"One of the most beautifully acted and paced romantic comedies ever made." Pauline Kael
"Never did I make a picture in which the atmosphere and the characters were truer than in this picture." Ernst Lubitsch

first played at the Stanford Theatre Feb 4, 1940; last played Dec 2011

Heaven Can Wait (1943) 5:25, 9:20
d Ernst Lubitsch. w Samson Raphaelson, from the play Birthdays by Lazlo Bus-Fekete. ph Edward Cronjager. m Alfred Newman. 20th Century-Fox. 112 min.

Don Ameche, Gene Tierney, Laird Cregar, Charles Coburn, Marjorie Main, Eugene Pallette, Allyn Joslyn, Spring Byington, Signe Hasso, Louis Calhern.

On his death, Henry van Cleve, at heart a good and generous man, assumes that his philandering has destined him to Hell; but the remarkably urbane Devil insists on reviewing his entire life.

"Witty Samuel Raphaelson script helps make this a delight." Leonard Maltin

This film has absolutely no connection with the 1978 film of the same title, which is a remake of Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941).

first played at the Stanford Theatre Sep 5, 1943; last played Feb 2011

December 24:
"All you can take with you is that which you've given away."
It's a Wonderful Life (1946) 9:00
d Frank Capra. w Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett, Frank Capra, based on the short story The Greatest Gift by Philip Van Doren Stern. ph Joseph Walker, Joseph Biroc. m Dimitri Tiomkin. Liberty. 129 min.

James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell, Henry Travers, Beulah Bondi, Frank Faylen, Ward Bond, Gloria Grahame, H. B. Warner, Frank Albertson, Samuel S. Hinds, Mary Treen.

Every Christmas Eve more than 1000 people watch George Bailey's Odyssey at The Stanford Theatre. It's our most important tradition.

first played at the Stanford Theatre Apr 27, 1947; last played Dec 2013