Event: “A Warm and Literary Christmas” Guest curator Pete Gowdy and Oddball Films present Frank Capra’s all time classic
“It’s A Wonderful Life” with a rare screening of the 1962 film “A Child’s Christmas in Wales”, read by Dylan Thomas. In addition,
a selection of vintage 1950’s toy commercials will have you longing for the pre-Wii days.
Date: Thursday, December 18th , 2008 at 8:00PM
Venue: Oddball Films, 275 Capp Street, San Francisco 94110
Admission: $10.00 RSVP Only to: 415-558-8117 or [email protected]
On Thursday, December 18th Guest Curator Pete Gowdy and Oddball Films present “It’s A Wonderful Life” and “A Child’s Christmas in Wales”. We’ve all seen the Frank Capra/Jimmy Stewart classic on the telly, but now’s your chance to see a nice print on the screen with friends you haven’t met yet. The Dylan Thomas read “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” will similarly warm the frostiest heart. Eggnog and cookies will be provided. Showtime is 8:00PM and admission is $10.00. Seating is limited so RSVP is preferred to: [email protected] or 415-558-8117.
“It’s A Wonderful Life” (1946) “I wish I had a million dollars. Hot dog!!”,
“A toast! A toast to Papa Dollar and to Mama Dollar, and if you want the old Building and Loan to stay in business, you better have a family real quick.”-George Baily (James Stewart) Dir. Frank Capra, starring Jimmy Stewart Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore and Henry Travers.
An angel-in-training gives a despondent man a look at what the world would be like if he had never been born. A unabashedly sentimental film that portrays family, friendship and virtue as the true definitions of wealth.
In 1947, however, the FBI considered this anti-consumerist message as subversive Communist propaganda.
According to Professor John Noakes of Franklin and Marshall College, the FBI thought Life smeared American values such as wealth and free enterprise while glorifying anti-American values such as the triumph of the common man.
The FBI specifically detested the way Mr. Potter was portrayed:
“The casting of Lionel Barrymore as a "scrooge-type" resulted in the loathsome Mr. Potter becoming the most hated person in the film. According to the official FBI report, "this was a common trick used by the communists."
"What's interesting in the FBI critique is that the Baileys were also bankers," said Noakes. " and what is really going on is a struggle between the big-city banker (Potter) and the small banker (the Baileys). Capra was clearly on side of small capitalism and the FBI was on the side of big capitalism.”
The FBI obviously misinterpreted this classic struggle as communist propaganda. Will Chen of Wisebread.com argues that 'It's a Wonderful Life' is a poignant movie about the transition in the U.S. between small and big capitalism, with Jimmy Stewart personifying the last hope for a small town"
Whatever your interpretation it’s certainly cinema to see at Christmas time should you choose to partake in the holiday season.
Communist or capitalist the film has been recognized by the staunchly film establishment the American Film Institute as one of the 100 best American films ever made, and placed number one on their list of the most inspirational American films of all time. So there!
“A Child’s Christmas in Wales” (1962) Dir. Marvin Lichtner, Music by Don Heckman and read by Dylan Thomas. This is a wonderful film of b&w still photos of Wales and it’s people set to the recording of Dylan Thomas, reading his reminiscences about Christmas in Wales. Barbara Holdridge, who made the recording with her friend Marianne Roney in 1952, describes it as a "momentous" experience. "We had no idea of the power and beauty of this voice. We just expected a poet with a poet's voice, but this was a full orchestral voice." A wonderful NPR Morning Edition interview with Holdridge regarding this and other literary recordings can be heard here:
Also! 1950’s toy commercials, toys now seen only on Antiques Roadshow.
Note: Watch this 30 second animated version reenacted by bunnies!
Pete Gowdy (aka DJ Chas Gaudi) is host of San Francisco’s Shellac Shack, a weekly 78 rpm listening party and a DJ specializing in vintage soul, punk and new wave. A graduate of the Vassar College Film Program, he is an associate producer of Marc Huestis Presents, the long-running movie legend tributes at the Castro Theatre.
Official Website: http://oddballfilm.com/resources/events_parent.html
Added by chasgaudi on December 15, 2008