Fred Astaire, the Marx Brothers, Audrey Hepburn, Katharine Hepburn, Gary Cooper, Humphrey Bogart, Bob Hope, Jimmy Stewart, Marlene Dietrich, and Maurice Chevalier all appear more than once this summer. That's entertainment!
To coincide with our national political conventions, we have selected four classic Hollywood films about traditional politics in America — all more than fifty years old — to reassur you that nothing is really new under the sun.
Ina more generous spirit, we have included four classical film versions of Shakespeare plays, to celebrate the legacy the Bard left us on his death just 400 years ago,
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.)
Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Olivia de Havilland, Leslie Howard, Thomas Mitchell, Barbara O'Neil, Hattie McDaniel, Butterfly McQueen, Victor Jory, Evelyn Keyes, Ann Rutherford, Laura Hope Crews, Harry Davenport, Jane Darwell, Ona Munson, Ward Bond.
July 1 is Olivia de Havilland's 100th birthday.
Everyone knows the famous names and the drama that "made" Gone With the Wind. Let's therefore mention a couple who get less attention: production designer William Cameron Menzies, who conceived the look of the movie and story-boarded most of it; and Jack Cosgrove, who painted matte backgrounds on glass for effects scenes. Their art is all through the picture and testifies to Selznick's command of detail and painstaking craft — old-fashioned movie-making, to say nothing of magic. There's one other name: Technicolor, a system that came of age with Gone With the Wind. Many in Hollywood doubted color (notably Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer). But after Gone With the Wind, and the enforced economizing of war, color became irresistable. Later on, Technicolor was abandoned for other systems supposedly truer to life. Today we regret the lost, painterly passion of Technicolor and its durability, for the new color systems fade, while Technicolor still burns.
Olivia de Havilland was determined to play the role of Melanie, even though the film was being made at a different studio. She auditioned in secret and was offered the role. The great difficulty came in convincing Jack Warner to make a deal to lend her to Selznick for the filming. According to Olivia, she invited Mrs. Warner to tea, explained her predicament, and Mrs. Warner agreed to help her.
A great film epic deserves to be seen in a theatre of epic proportions.
Gone With the Wind has been the fifth most widely attended
film at the Stanford Theatre — 55,170 tickets since 1989.
first played at the Stanford Theatre May 3, 1940; last played Nov 2014
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 June 2015
Claudette Colbert, Don Ameche, John Barrymore, Francis Lederer, Mary Astor, Elaine Barrie, Hedda Hopper, Rex O'Malley, Monty Woolley, Armand Kaliz.
A chorus girl (Claudette Colbert) arrives in Paris with nothing but the evening gown she is wearing. She meets an idealistic cab driver (Don Ameche) who disapproves of her gold-digging ways. A rich Parisian (John Barrymore) hires her to pose as a countess to lure away his wife's lover.
This picture, written by Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett, is one of the supreme gems of the Hollywood romantic comedy. John Barrymore said that it was the most fascinating screenplay he had ever read.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Apr 9, 1939; last played Jan 2012
Gary Cooper, Marlene Dietrich, Adolphe Menjou, Ullrich Haupt, Juliette Compton.
Foreign Legionnaire Cooper and mysterious cabaret singer Dietrich have a languid, moody, exotic love affair, with a truly unforgettable final fade-out. Morocco was a box-office smash, reportedly saving Paramount from bankruptcy. It remains a unique cinematic experience.
This exquisite film is one of the true classics of early Hollywood. Josef von Sternberg created a unique cinematic style, best seen in his films with Marlene Dietrich. They show a sensuous and almost decadent infatuation with visual imagination and the interplay of light and shadow on the screen. For this reason it is especially important that Sternberg's films be presented in the best possible prints.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Feb 18, 1931; last played July 2013
Marlene Dietrich, Clive Brook, Warner Oland, Anna May Wong, Eugene Pallette, Lawrence Grant, Louise Closer Hale, Gustav von Seyffertitz.
Shanghai Lily (Marlene Dietrich) is traveling on a train through China in the midst of a civil war, when armed rebels threaten the lives of her fellow passengers.
Josef von Sternberg created a unique cinematic style, with a sensuous and almost decadent infatuation with visual imagination and the interplay of light and shadow on the screen.
"It is ridiculous and lovely, just like an orgy for people who know nothing lasts. Yet the film is seventy-six years old as I write and still a monument of erotic art." David Thomson
first played at the Stanford Theatre Mar 27, 1932; last played July 2013
Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Van Johnson, Angela Lansbury, Adolphe Menjou, Lewis Stone.
Wealthy industrialist Grant Matthews (Tracy), intending to run for president, asks his estranged wife (Hepburn) to come back for appearances' sake during the campaign. When he begins to drift from his true values his wife's integrity brings him back to his senses.
Angela Lansbury is marvelous as the wealthy newspaper publisher backing Tracy's campaign.
first played at the Stanford Theatre May 16, 1948; last played Feb 2014
Ronald Reagan, Diana Lynn, Walter Slezak, Lucille Barkley, Herbert Heyes, Bonzo.
A professor tries to prove that environment, not heredity, dictates behavior by kidnapping a chimp and teaching him human values. Silly fun
"A cute, harmless little comedy." Leonard Maltin
first played at the Stanford Theatre July 2, 2004; last played Jan 2013
Brian Donlevy, Akim Tamiroff, Muriel Angelus, Louis Jean Heydt, Arthur Hoyt.
In this satire on corruption in politics, a bum who voted 37 times in one day rises all the way to the statehouse but falls just as quickly when he decides to go straight.
Preston Sturges was already a famous Hollywood screenwriter when he directed this, his first film.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Aug 23, 1940; last played Nov 2013
Betty Hutton, Eddie Bracken, William Demarest, Diana Lynn, Porter Hall, Akim Tamiroff, Brian Donlevy, Alan Bridge.
In one of the zaniest screwball comedies, Betty Hutton attends a wild, all-night party for departing soldiers, but the next day she cannot remember the name of the man she apparently married. James Agee said that watching this film is "like taking a nun on a roller coaster... one of the most violently funny comedies that ever came out of Hollywood."
"There's that flawless comic rhythm that is uniquely Sturges." Peter Bogdanovich
first played at the Stanford Theatre Nov 17, 1944; last played Dec 2013
James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Claude Rains, Edward Arnold, Guy Kibbee, Thomas Mitchell, Eugene Pallette, Beulah Bondi, H. B. Warner, Harry Carey, Astrid Allwyn, Ruth Donnelly, Charles Lane, Porter Hall.
Frank Capra's story about an idealistic junior senator who discovers the truth about Washington has lost none of its power after more than 70 years as an American classic. Indeed, the Library of Congress now presents special educational screenings for newly elected senators!
first played at the Stanford Theatre Dec 13, 1939; last played Mar 2014
May Robson, Warren William, Guy Kibbee, Glenda Farrell, Ned Sparks, Walter Connolly, Jean Parker, Nat Pendleton.
Apple Annie, a member of the New York City street scene, has a daughter at school in Spain, who has always believed the fiction that her mother was a wealthy lady. The daughter unexpectedly arrives from Spain with her future husband's aristocratic family. Annie's friends rise to the occasion.
Based on the story Madame La Gimp by Damon Runyon, this wonderful film (out of distribution for decades) is one of the true jewels in Capra's long and fruitful career. It was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, and Best Writing, the first time that any film made by Columbia Pictures was nominated for anything. It far outshines its 1961 remake, Pocketful of Miracles.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Mar 2, 1990; last played Sep 2013
Judy Holliday, Broderick Crawford, William Holden, Howard St. John.
The incomparable Judy Holliday plays the ultimate intelligent dumb blonde in this famous political comedy.
Judy Holliday won the Oscar as Best Actress, over Bette Davis in All About Eve and Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Aug 21, 1991; last played June 2007
Judy Holliday, Jack Lemmon, Peter Lawford, Michael O'Shea.
An unknown model comes to New York City and rents a billboard on Columbus Circle to display her name in giant letters in order to experience life as a celebrity. Once you've seen this film you can never forget the name Gladys Glover nor the actress Judy Holliday.
"Judy was the greatest actress I've ever worked with; absolutely sensational." Jack Lemmon
Jack Lemmon made his film debut as the documentary film maker and honest guy who loves her; John Saxon (also in his film debut) has a small uncredited role as a bystander in the park.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Aug 21, 1991; last played Sep 2015
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 July 2015
Humphrey Bogart, Jennifer Jones, Gina Lollobrigida. Robert Morley, Peter Lorre, Edward Underdown, Ivor Barnard, Bernard Lee, Marco Tulli, Mario Perroni, Alex Pochet, Aldo Silvani, Giulio Donnini, Saro Urzi, Juan de Landa, Manuel Serano, Mimo Poli.
A cast of unconventional characters seeks an elusive plot of land in Africa, which supposedly contains uranium. This "screwball noir" (shot on location in Italy) was neglected on its first release but now is regarded as a cult classic.
"It succeeded in some original (and perhaps dangerously marginal) way by finding a style of its own." Pauline Kael
first played at the Stanford Theatre Jan 31, 1998; last played July 2015
Ian Hunter, Verree Teasdale, Hobart Cavanaugh, Dick Powell, Ross Alexander, Olivia de Havilland, Jean Muir, Grant Mitchell, Frank McHugh, Dewey Robinson, James Cagney, Joe E. Brown, Hugh Herbert, Otis Harlan, Arthur Treacher, Anita Louise, Victor Jory, Mickey Rooney.
Max Reinhardt was a major figure in German theater in the early 20th century. In 1934 he staged A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Hollywood Bowl, and Warner Bros. — regarded by many as the working class studio — hired him to make this very artistic film.
Beautiful cinematography by Hal Mohr with unexpectedly charming performances from some of Warners' top stars, plus a radiant Olivia de Havilland in her very first movie.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Feb 6, 1935; last played Apr 2012
Groucho, Chico, Harpo, and Zeppo Marx, Margaret Dumont, Edgar Kennedy, Louis Calhern, Raquel Torres.
Arguably the Marx Brothers' best film, yet poorly received when released and criticized for being unconventional. The story is a somewhat surreal farce about war and international diplomacy.
"The Marx Brothers made the trip from vaudeville to Hollywood, and it's like Neil Armstrong stepping down onto the moon and landing on a banana peel." David Thomson
first played at the Stanford Theatre Dec 10, 1933; last played Dec 2013
Leslie Caron, Maurice Chevalier, Louis Jourdan, Hermione Gingold, Eva Gabor, Isabel Jeans.
Colette's original story (about the education of a courtesan) was softened somewhat to stress the emotional development of a charming but mischievous girl on the verge of womanhood. Three of the principal creators of My Fair Lady (Lerner, Loewe, and Beaton) helped Minnelli make Gigi one of the most successful musicals in history. It won nine Oscars (including Best Picture and Best Director), which was at the time the largest number ever awarded to a single film.
Gigi is a film that benefits enormously from being seen on the big screen and with the original magnetic stereophonic sound track.
Gigi has been the twenty-first most widely attended
film at the Stanford Theatre — 32,859 tickets since 1989.
first played at the Stanford Theatre July 20, 1990; last played Aug 2014
Rex Harrison, Kay Kendall, Sandra Dee, Peter Myers, Angela Lansbury, John Saxon, Diane Clare.
During the debutante season, the teen-aged American daughter (Sandra Dee) of an upper-class British father (Rex Harrison) comes to London to visit her now remarried father. Her new stepmother (Kay Kendall) insists on presenting her to society.
Vincente Minelli directed many Hollywood classics, including Meet Me in St Louis, An American in Paris, and Gigi. While virtually unknown to the public, The Reluctant Debutante has always been treasured by Minelli fans for its extraordinary humanity, style, and humor.
This great comic gem is practically unknown— except here at the Stanford Theatre! Regular patrons will recognize that we have already programmed this film on seventeen occasions, in an effort to introduce it to the public, which may be unaware of its existence. In fact, you might say that it is a cult favorite at the Stanford.
The Reluctant Debutante has been the twenty-fifth most widely attended
film at the Stanford Theatre — 29,315 tickets since 1989.
first played at the Stanford Theatre July 20, 1990; last played Aug 2014
Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Edward Everett Horton, Erik Rhodes, Eric Blore, Helen Broderick.
In their most popular film together (set in London and Venice), Ginger mistakes Fred for the husband of her best friend. In addition to the unforgettable dances, sensational score, and brilliant comedy script, Top Hat is notable for its gorgeous Art Deco sets.
World wide, Top Hat was the second most popular film in 1935. All five Irving Berlin songs became top hits and remain standards to this day: "Cheek to Cheek", "Isn't This a Lovely Day (to be Caught in the Rain)", "Top Hat, White Tie, and Tails", "No Strings", and "The Piccolino".
"Fred Astaire did not advance the art of film making. He only justified its right to exist." Satyajit RayTop Hat has been the nineteenth most widely attended film at the Stanford Theatre — 34,029 tickets since 1989.
Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Edward Everett Horton, Alice Brady, Erik Rhodes, Eric Blore, Lillian Miles, Betty Grable.
The first film made specially for Fred and Ginger (it was their second film together) was a tremendous box office success. It was based on Cole Porter's 1932 Broadway musical, but kept only one original song, Night and Day. A new song, The Continental, won the first Oscar ever given for Best Song.
Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers perform their first true romantic dance to Night and Day. To call it a dance of seduction could give entirely the wrong impression, but that is nonetheless what it is. Although Ginger had begun as a Charleston dancer in Texas, she had an innate understanding of the dramatic and emotional richness of the new style Astaire was creating.
The script is bright and fast-paced, and several supporting actors (Eric Blore, Edward Everett Horton, Erik Rhodes) would return in future films as a kind of Astaire-Rogers stock company.
Songs: Night and Day, music and lyrics by Cole Porter; Let's K-nock K-nees and Don't Let It Bother You, music and lyrics by Mack Gordon and Harry Revel; A Needle in a Haystack and The Continental, music and lyrics by Con Conrad and Herb Magidson.
All in all, The Gay Divorcee remains after nearly 80 years one of the very best musical pictures ever made.
This was the very first film we showed in our original Fred Astaire Festival in 1987. Some people said that watching Fred Astaire in a real theatre was pointless because everybody could see his films on late-night television. But our 1175-seat theatre was nearly sold out for two solid weeks. Many people came every night, and we received 700 fan letters. This is why the Stanford Theatre still exists.
The Gay Divorcee has been the twenty-seventh most widely attended
film at the Stanford Theatre — 29,009 tickets since 1989.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Nov 11, 1934; last played June 2014
Gary Cooper, Audrey Hepburn, Maurice Chevalier, John McGiver.
In Paris an American businessman (Cooper) hires a private detective (Chevalier) to investigate an enchanting young cello student (Hepburn), who happens to be the detective's daughter.
This picture seems inspired by the memory of the great Ernst Lubitsch, for whom Wilder had written two screenplays (Ninotchka and Bluebeard's Eighth Wife).
first played at the Stanford Theatre July 21, 1957; last played July 2011
Maurice Chevalier, Jeanette MacDonald, Charles Butterworth, Charles Ruggles, Myrna Loy, C. Aubrey Smith, Elizabeth Patterson, Ethel Griffies, Blanche Frederici, Robert Greig.
In one of the greatest film musicals in the entire history of the genre, Parisian tailor Chevalier comes to the chateau to get paid and eventually goes home with Princess Jeanette MacDonald. Myrna Loy has her first major role.
In the early 1930's Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette Macdonald made a series of sophisticated musicals, often directed by Lubitsch. The apotheosis of the series was this exquisite film directed by Mamoulian. Songs by Rodgers and Hart include Mimi and Isn't It Romantic?, the official theme song of the Stanford Theatre, which made its Palo Alto debut when this film opened at the Stanford Theatre.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Sep 18, 1932; last played Apr 2015
Laurence Olivier, Eileen Herlie, Basil Sydney, Jean Simmons, Felix Aylmer, Norman Wooland, Terence Morgan, Stanley Holloway, Peter Cushing, Esmond Knight, Anthony Quayle, Harcourt Williams, John Laurie, Niall MacGinnis, Patrick Troughton.
The Bard's only Best Picture (four were nominated in other years). Laurence Olivier directed and produced the film, and he won Best Actor.
Far from a "photographed stage play" this is an essay in creating moods by camera and lighting — almost at times a film noir.
first played at the Stanford Theatre May 8, 1993; last played Mar 2012
Jack Benny, Carole Lombard, Robert Stack, Stanley Ridges, Felix Bressart, Lionel Atwill, Sig Rumann, Tom Dugan, Charles Halton.
Carole Lombard's last and greatest film, an outrageously unique comedy about a troupe of ham actors in the Polish underground, trying to save Warsaw from Hitler. While Jack Benny ("that great, great Polish actor Joseph Tura") recites Hamlet's soliloquy on stage, his wife (Lombard) arranges for a young aviator to come to her dressing room. As the Nazi Colonel Ehrhardt later remarks, "What he did to Shakespeare, we ar now doing to Poland."
Lombard's tragic death shortly after the completion of this extraodinary film may have been the greatest single loss ever suffered by Hollywood. Imagine what films there might have been (Lombard was younger than Katharine Hepburn)!
first played at the Stanford Theatre May 7, 1942; last played July 2013
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 Nov 2014
Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse, Jack Buchanan, Oscar Levant, Nanette Fabray, James Mitchell.
Ex song-and-dance man Tony Hunter (Astaire) makes a comeback. From the opening note of the overture to the final "Made in Hollywood, USA", The Band Wagon offers two of the most entertaining hours ever manufactured in Culver City (the actual location of MGM).
The Band Wagon was a 1931 Broadway show, starring Fred Astaire and his sister Adele. The 1953 movie keeps three songs, but does not follow the original story.
"There have been few screen musicals as good as this one." Pauline Kael
Songs include: By Myself, Shine on Your Shoes, That's Entertainment, Dancing in the Dark, I Love Louisa, I Guess I'll Have to Change My Plans, Triplets, New Sun in the Sky, Louisiana Hayride.
first played at the Stanford Theatre July 18, 1987; last played May 2014
Bob Hope, Paulette Goddard, Gale Sondergaard, Douglas Montgomery, John Beal, George Zucco, Nydia Westman, Elizabeth Patterson, John Wray.
When the heirs to a spooky Bayou mansion gather at midnight to read the will, it's up to Bob to protect heiress Paulette Goddard from the sinister goings-on. The Cat and the Canary was such a hit that Hope and Goddard were teamed the following year in The Ghostbreakers, another scary comedy.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Dec 6, 1939; last played Nov 2010
Bob Hope, Paulette Goddard, Richard Carlson, Paul Lukas, Willie Best, Pedro De Cordoba, Virginia Brissac, Noble Johnson, Anthony Quinn, Tom Dugan, Lloyd Corrigan, Paul Fix.
Bob inadvertently stows away on an ocean liner where he meets an heiress on her way to take possession of her family's haunted ancestral castle.
This comic haunted house thriller is a worthy sequel to Bob and Paulette Goddard's big hit of 1939, The Cat and the Canary.
first played at the Stanford Theatre July 7, 1940; last played Apr 2010
Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, James Stewart, Ruth Hussey, John Howard, Roland Young, John Halliday, Mary Nash, Virginia Weidler, John Howard, Henry Daniell.
The society marriage of Tracy Samantha Lord and C. K. Dexter Haven ended in divorce. Tracy is about to marry "man of the people" George Kittredge, when Spy Magazine sends a couple of reporters to cover the wedding.
Philip Barry wrote the play specially for Katharine Hepburn. After its successful Broadway run she sold the play to MGM, retaining the right to select the director and cast.
Jimmy Stewart won the Oscar as Best Actor of 1940 for his performance as reporter Macauley Connor.
This wonderful picture ranks as one of the supreme treasures of Hollywood's golden age. The Stanford Theatre brings it back at least once a year — always to enthusiastic crowds. It never grows old!
The Philadelphia Story has been the eleventh most widely attended
film at the Stanford Theatre — 45,827 tickets since 1989.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Feb 9, 1941; last played Feb 2016
w/d Preston Sturges. ph Victor Milner. m Victor Young. Paramount. 88 min.
Claudette Colbert, Joel McRea, Rudy Vallee, Mary Astor, Sig Arno, Robert Warwick, Torben Meyer, Jimmy Conlin, William Demarest, Jack Norton, Robert Grieg, Roscoe Ates, Chester Conklin, Franklin Pangborn, Alan Bridge, Robert Dudley.
In one of the zaniest screwball comedies ever made, Claudette Colbert abandons husband Joel McRae and heads for a Palm Beach divorce. She encounters the Wienie King and boards a train, where she falls in with the wealthy members of the Ale and Quail Club. Rudy Vallee was a surprise sensation as the timid millionaire Hackensacker.
"One of the giddiest and most chaotic of Preston Sturges' satiric orgies." Pauline Kael
first played at the Stanford Theatre Feb 1, 1943; last played Dec 2013
Leslie Howard, Norma Shearer, John Barrymore, Basil Rathbone, Edna May Oliver, Henry Kolker, C. Aubrey Smith, Violet Kemble Cooper, Robert Warwick, Virginia Hammond, Reginald Denny, Ralph Forbes, Andy Devine, Conway Tearle.
MGM's top producer Irving Thalberg spent two years preparing this lavish Shakespearian film starring his wife Norma Shearer and directed by George Cukor. Shearer may have been a little old to play the teen-age Juliet (Leslie Howard was even older), but the film was a critical success and remains one of the best examples of an MGM "prestige" picture.
John Barrymore (Mercutio) and Basil Rathbone (Tybalt) suited their roles perfectly. On the set, Barrymore vexed the gentle Cukor by inserting foul words into the Shakespearian lines.
first played at the Stanford Theatre May 12, 1937; last played Mar 1999
Ronald Colman, Madeleine Carroll, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Mary Astor, C. Aubrey Smith, Raymond Massey, David Niven, Byron Foulger, Montagu Love.
An Englishman on vacation in Ruritania helps defeat a rebel plot by impersonating the local king, who is his exact double. He presides at the coronation of the absent king, foils the king's enemies, romances the king's intended, but, true to his code of honor, departs in the end.
This splendid adventure story, with spectacular duels between Colman and Fairbanks, is one of the great treasures of the cinema, and one of the most entertaining films ever made.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Dec 26, 1937; last played June 2015
Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly, Thomas Mitchell, Lloyd Bridges, Katy Jurado, Otto Kruger, Lon Chaney, Henry Morgan.
Gary Cooper, the retired marshal scheduled to leave town with his new Quaker bride, does his lonely duty at high noon for the ungrateful town.
Tiomkin wrote the music for the title song High Noon (lyrics by Ned Washington), and his entire score is a musical development on this single theme.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Apr 2, 1953; last played June 2010
James Stewart, Marlene Dietrich, Brian Donlevy, Charles Winninger, Samuel S. Hinds, Mischa Auer, Irene Hervey, Jack Carson, Una Merkel, Allen Jenkins, Warren Hymer, Billy Gilbert.
The newly arrived, mild-mannered deputy sheriff, who drinks milk at the saloon and refuses to wear a gun, isn't exactly what he seems.
This Hollywood classic is a western, a comedy, and a musical at the same time. Dietrich sings See what the boys in the back room will have and revives her career. The legendary fight between Dietrich and Una Merkel was filmed without a rehearsal.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Feb 11, 1940; last played July 2010
Walter Huston, Mary Astor, Ruth Chatterton, David Niven, Paul Lukas, Gregory Gaye, Maria Ouspenskaya, Odette Myrtil, Spring Byington, John Payne.
A midwestern car manufacturer retires so that he can take his culture-mad wife on a long trip to Europe. She finds excitement in this new world, eventually demanding a divorce. He continues on the trip alone and starts a relationship with a widow who appreciates him (Mary Astor). Eventually his wife decides she wants to return to him.
"While other writers were turning out novels ridiculing American materialism and glorifying the expatriate existence, Sinclair Lewis conceived a businessman-hero and showed him to be a true dreamer." Pauline Kael
"A film of maturity, intelligence, and understanding." Baseline Movie Guide
first played at the Stanford Theatre Dec 6, 1936; last played Oct 2014
Ruth Chatterton, George Brent, Lois Wilson, Johnny Mack Brown, Ruth Donnelly, Ferdinand Gottschalk, Philip Reed, Gavin Gordon. Kenneth Thompson, Huey White, Douglass Dumbrille.
Successful CEO Ruth Chatterton (president of a large auto company) amuses herself with a series of cynical casual affairs. A famous engineer (Brent) resists her at first, but eventually succumbs. The only problem is that he is old-fashioned and wants to get married!
first played at the Stanford Theatre Oct 1, 1994; last played Aug 2008
w/d Joseph L. Mankiewicz. ph Milton Krasner. m Alfred Newman. 20th Century-Fox. 138 min.
Bette Davis, George Sanders, Anne Baxter, Celeste Holm, Thelma Ritter, Gary Merrill, Hugh Marlowe, Gregory Ratoff, Marilyn Monroe, Barbara Bates, Walter Hampden.
Hollywood's devastating revenge against the "legitimate" stage, in which Broadway star Margo Channing (Bette Davis) is pursued by the cunningly obsequious Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter) under the eye of caustic drama critic Addison De Witt (George Sanders).
Six Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director, hardly do justice to one of the most popular films of all time.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Nov 12, 1950; last played Feb 2012
Gene Tierney, Rex Harrison, George Sanders, Edna Best, Vanessa Brown, Anna Lee, Robert Coote, Natalie Wood, Isobel Elsom.
Hollywood's most fathomlessly romantic fantasy, with Gene Tierney as a young widow who rents a house on the English coast and is romanced by the ghost of a dashing sea captain (Rex Harrison) who once lived there. For this fathomlessly romantic move, Bernard Herrmann wrote some of the most beautiful music ever heard on a Hollywood soundtrack.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Sep 19, 1990; last played July 2013
John Gielgud, James Mason, Marlon Brando, Greer Garson, Deborah Kerr, Louis Calhern, Edmond O'Brien, George Macready, Michael Pate, John Hoyt, Alan Napier.
This film version of Shakespeare's play has a straightforward, almost newsreel quality, as if we are watching real people with recognizable ambitions, who happen to have lived in ancient Rome (and who also happen to be great actors speaking great verse). It was supposedly influenced by the Orson Welles stage production of 1938.
The film industry was shocked at the choice of Brando for the part of Marc Antony. Brando was shocked himself, turning to John Gielgud for help in what turned out to be one of his most highly praised performances. One British critic wrote: "It is maddening to be forced to admit it, but it has been left to Hollywood to make the finest film version of Shakespeare yet to be seen on our screens."
Variety called Julius Caesar "... a tense, melodramatic story, clearly presented, and excellently acted by one of the finest casts assembled for a film. ... Any fears about Marlon Brando appearing in Shakespeare are dispelled by his compelling portrayal as the revengeful Mark Antony." But Brando modestly wrote in his autobiography: "... for me to walk on a movie set and play Mark Antony without more experience was asinine."
This great Shakespearian film was originally planned for release in stereophonic sound. Rozsa designed the score to make dramatic use of the new technology, but the film was never released to theaters in stereo, though the original magnetic masters of the stereophonic sound track still exist.
first played at the Stanford Theatre July 30, 1994; last played Feb 2012
Groucho, Chico, Harpo, & Zeppo Marx, Margaret Dumont, Lillian Roth, Louis Sorin, Robert Greig, Hal Thompson.
Fearless African explorer Capt. Jeffrey Spaulding (Groucho) and his secretary Horatio (Zeppo) join a society party in progress. On their heels are Signor Emanuel Revelli (Chico) and the Professor (Harpo).
Like The Cocoanuts, this was originally a Broadway musical comedy.
The songs, including Hooray for Captain Spaulding, the African Explorer, are by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby (played by Fred Astaire and Red Skelton in Three Little Words).
first played at the Stanford Theatre Sep 24, 1930; last played Nov 2013