Southern (Dis)comfort: The American South in Cinema

11/11/11 to 12/11/11

The Southern Gothic genre, originally penned by the literary likes of William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, Flannery O'Connor, and Erskine Caldwell, then agilely adapted by such directors as Fritz Lang, Sidney Lumet, Elia Kazan, John Huston, and others, plows deep into a region that just can't shake its past.

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Past Films

  • Wise Blood

    • Sunday, December 11 5:15 pm

    John Huston (U.S., 1979) Archival Print! Flannery O'Connor's 1952 novel gets the big-screen treatment from legendary director John Huston (The Maltese Falcon). The son of a preacher invents his own religion, “the Church of Truth Without Christ,” in this satire of a faithless milieu where evangelical hucksters peddle “prophets” to those just achin' for salvation. (108 mins)

  • God's Little Acre

    • Friday, December 9 7 pm

    Anthony Mann (U.S., 1958) Restored Print! A white-trash family, led by patriarch Robert Ryan, looks for gold and deals with desirous daughters in this adaptation of Erskine Caldwell's novel. One of Anthony Mann's least-seen films-and one of his most fascinating. (110 mins)

  • The Intruder

    • Friday, December 9 9:10 pm

    Roger Corman (U.S., 1962) Archival Print! Pro provocateur Adam Cramer (William Shatner) arrives in a small Missouri town, but it's not goodwill he's spreading, but racist ideology. A change of topic (but not pace) for B-movie king Roger Corman. (80 mins)

  • Baby Doll

    • Saturday, December 3 9:00 pm

    Elia Kazan (U.S., 1956) Preservation Print! A dilapidated antebellum manor is the fitting site for Tennessee Williams's menagerie à trois between a bigoted cotton gin operator (Karl Madden), his vampy teenage bride (Carroll Baker), and the Sicilian immigrant (Eli Wallach) who gets in the way. (114 mins)

  • Hurry Sundown

    • Sunday, November 27 3 pm

    Otto Preminger (U.S., 1967) Archival Print! It's not quite as off-the-wall as his later Skidoo, but Preminger's overripe rural Georgia drama comes close, in no small part due to its eyebrow-raising, stars-gone-wild casting of Michael Caine, Jane Fonda, Faye Dunaway, and Burgess Meredith. (146 mins)

  • The Beguiled

    • Saturday, November 26 6 pm

    Donald Siegel (U.S., 1971). Clint Eastwood plays a wounded Union soldier nursed back to health at a remote all-girls school in Louisiana in this thriller from Don Siegel, part plantation melodrama, part gothic horror, and part salacious romp. (109 mins)

  • Suddenly, Last Summer

    • Saturday, November 19 8:15 pm

    Joseph L. Mankiewicz (U.S., 1960). Juggling family secrets and whispered desires, the Big Hollywood trio of Katherine Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, and Montgomery Clift make the South a shade more searing in this screen version of Tennessee Williams' Garden District plays, adapted by Gore Vidal and Williams himself. (112 mins)

  • The Story of Temple Drake

    • Friday, November 18 9:10 pm

    Stephen Roberts (U.S., 1933) Preservation Print! Miriam Hopkins plays tempestuous tease Temple Drake in this decidedly uneasy (and censored) melodrama with an aftertaste of noir, moodily shot with Depression-era realism and expressionist sleaziness by Karl Struss. (71 mins)

  • House by the River

    • Friday, November 11 7 pm

    Fritz Lang (U.S., 1950) Archival Print! The Southern Gothic fiction tradition fittingly informs this tale of a writer, played to smarmy perfection by Louis Hayward, whose move on the hired help ends in her unfortunate demise, and a grisly cover-up attempt. (88 mins)

  • The Fugitive Kind

    • Friday, November 11 8:50 pm

    Sidney Lumet (U.S., 1960). Sidney Lumet's overgrown adaptation of Tennessee Williams' play places four consummate actors-Marlon Brando, Maureen Stapleton, Joanne Woodward, and Anna Magnani-in a backwoods bastion of stifling meanness. There's enough heat to set the town on fire. (119 mins)