The Centerville Historical Museum’s first movie series of 2020 explores three different themes/periods: Courtroom Dramas, Makes/Remakes, and Films of the 1950s.
All shows are at 1:00 p.m., Saturdays. Admission, popcorn and candy are free. (Donations gladly accepted.) After-film discussion with Anthony Ambrogio, for anyone who cares to stay.
Courtroom dramas have been a staple of the cinema, especially once the movies learned to talk. You can find a lot of talking in the courtroom (and a lot of drama—especially in the movies, which leave out all the boring bits of a real trial). This sample of courtroom films gives us a pair of pre-Code examples, a couple of classic 1930s pictures, a courtroom drama that shows up in the middle of a medical movie series, and a couple of classic 1960s pictures on the subject.
Saturday, March 14, 1PM: The People vs. Dr. Kildare (1941) 78 m. Released 05/02/41
Dr. Kildare (Lew Ayres) saves the life of an ice skater (Bonita Granville), but, even though her leg heals, she still can’t walk and sues him for malpractice. This seventh entry in the popular MGM series also features series regulars Lionel Barrymore as Dr. Gillespie, Laraine Day as Nurse Mary Lamont, Alma Kruger as Nurse Molly Byrd, and Red Skelton as orderly Vernon Briggs.
March 21: No Movie
Saturday, March 28, 1PM: Judgment at Nuremberg (1961) 179 m. Released 12/19/61
1948: Spencer Tracy heads a three-judge panel considering the guilt of four Nazi judges (including Burt Lancaster). Richard Widmark is the prosecuting attorney; Maximillian Schell (who won an Oscar) is the defense attorney; Montgomery Clift and Judy Garland are two of the witnesses. The picture also won a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar.
Saturday, April 4, 1PM: To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) 129 m. Released 12/25/62
Alabama, 1932: Gregory Peck is small-town lawyer Atticus Finch, a widower raising two small children. (He won a Best Actor Oscar for his performance.) He is called upon to defend a black man (Brock Peters) accused of raping a white woman.
Makes/Remakes. Countless movies have been remade, sometimes more than once, often with varying results. Makes/remakes is a topic we hope to return to periodically in our series, since there is a great deal of material there and much that’s of interest. We’ll try to select originals and remakes that complement or contrast with one another (sometimes both things
at once)—as indicated by the four pictures we’ve picked for our initial offerings.
Saturday, April 18, 1PM: Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933) 77 m. Released 02/18/33
Ivan Igor, after surviving a fire caused by his unscrupulous partner some years before, continues to create figures for a new wax museum, but in a sinister way. Fay Wray plays the object of his unwanted attention (this was the third and final teaming of the two); Glenda Farrell takes on the role of the crusading (nosy) newspaper reporter; and Frank McHugh is her
editor. The pre-Code film was released in both black and white and two-strip color.
Saturday, April 25, 1PM: House of Wax (1953) 88 m. Released 04/25/53
This 3D remake (unfortunately, we can’t show it in 3D) sets the story in the nineteenth century instead of the present day and tones down certain elements that were then prohibited by the Code. It launched Vincent Price’s horror-film career (although he had played in several horror films in the late 1930s and early 1940s). Phyllis Kirk and Carolyn Jones play objects of his odd affection; Frank Lovejoy is the cop on the case; and Charles Bronson turns up in the role of a henchman.
Saturday, May 9, 1PM: Anna Karenina (1935) 95 m. Released 11/01/35
One of Garbo’s most famous roles. In the first sound-film version of this story, she plays Tolstoy’s tragic heroine, married to Basil Rathbone’s Alexi Karenin but in love with Count Vronsky (Fredric March). Freddie Bartholomew is her son; also starring Maureen O’Sullivan (Tarzan’s Jane) as Kitty.
Saturday, May 23, 1PM: Anna Karenina (2012) 129 m. Released 09/07/12
This film, which is at least the eighth (and most recent) sound-film version of this oft-filmed tale, was scripted by renowned playwright Tom Stoppard and directed by Joe Wright, who’d made Pride and Prejudice  and Atonement  with Keira Knightly. Here, Knightly portrays Anna; Jude Law is her husband; and Aaron Taylor-Johnson is Vronsky