Grin, Smile, Smirk: The Films of Burt Lancaster

11/26/10 to 12/11/10

Burt Lancaster was known for his exuberant grin. This toothsome survey features taut existential noirs, acrobatic extravaganzas, and judicious social dramas from Burt's beaming career.

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  • The Swimmer, December 11

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Past Films

  • A Child is Waiting

    • Saturday, December 11 6:30 PM

    John Cassavetes (U.S., 1963). Cassavetes's second studio production is a hard-hitting drama about the social reforms needed to care for mentally disabled children, with Burt Lancaster as a headstrong psychologist determined to fight for his charges' rights, and Judy Garland as a music instructor. “Cassavetes elicits magnificent performances from his cast.”-Time Out (102 mins)

  • The Swimmer

    • Saturday, December 11 8:40 PM

    Frank Perry (U.S., 1968). A tanned Burt Lancaster plays a middle-aged suburbanite slowly reaching the deep end, one highball at a time, in this riveting drama based on the John Cheever story. “Has the shape of an open-ended hallucination... a grim, disturbing and sometimes funny view of upper-middle-class American life”-NY Times (94 mins)

  • Birdman of Alcatraz

    • Thursday, December 9 7:00 PM

    John Frankenheimer (U.S., 1962). In jail for life, a double murderer transforms himself from caged man to bird expert in this thoughtful prison drama starring Burt Lancaster, Karl Malden, and Telly Savalas. From the director of The Manchurian Candidate. “A powerful reminder of one of the deepest values of life, that of human dignity.”-Films and Filming (147 mins)

  • Elmer Gantry

    • Sunday, December 5 4:45 PM

    Richard Brooks (U.S., 1960). Burt Lancaster is the prototypical American huckster Elmer Gantry, who realizes he can sell God just as well as vacuum cleaners in this searing satire on evangelical corruption and the American way, adapted from a Sinclair Lewis novel. Photography by legendary cinematographer John Alton. (146 mins)

  • The Crimson Pirate

    • Saturday, December 4 6:30 PM

    Robert Siodmak (U.S., 1952). Lancaster and fellow real-life acrobat buddy Nick Cravat add a bounding physicality to this tongue-in-cheek tribute to the swashbucklers of old, as the Crimson Pirate gets involved with rebels and beauties while evading the King's Navy. “A slam-bang, action-filled Technicolor lampoon.”-NY Times (104 mins)

  • Sweet Smell of Success

    • Saturday, December 4 8:40 PM

    Alexander Mackendrick (U.S., 1957).
    Burt Lancaster plays a ruthless New York City gossip columnist and Tony Curtis is a groveling press agent in this “pungent exploration of ambition and evil in the New York newspaper world. . . . A chilling and powerful picture.”-Village Voice (96 mins)

  • Trapeze

    • Saturday, November 27 6:30 PM

    Carol Reed (U.S., 1956). The first Hollywood film from the director of British classics The Third Man and Fallen Idol, this circus drama finds Lancaster (a former acrobat in real life) in a high-wire love triangle with Gina Lollabrigida and Tony Curtis. (105 mins)

  • Brute Force

    • Saturday, November 27 8:40 PM

    Jules Dassin (U.S., 1947). Famed blacklisted director Dassin (Night and the City) teamed with Lancaster for this hard-hitting noir about life inside prison walls. “Part antifascist tract, part existential allegory.”-NY Times (94 mins)

  • The Killers

    • Friday, November 26 8:00 PM

    Robert Siodmak (U.S., 1946). Two big-city toughs invade a small-town diner looking for “The Swede,” in this blood-pulsing noir, based on a story by Hemingway and costarring Ava Gardner and Edmond O'Brien. Lancaster's first screen role. (103 mins)