Perhaps the most famous fictional figure in all of English literature, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective has spawned dozens of cinematic and televisual interpretations stretching all the way back to 1900. Everyone is familiar with the Holmes series starring Basil Rathbone, Peter Cushing, and Robert Downey Jr., but a number of smart, witty, and irreverent films also take a revisionist (and frequently, much more rewarding) approach to the character. This June, we’ll investigate a batch of these unlikely suspects, including Billy Wilder’s late masterpiece The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes; the oddball, only-in-the-70s The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, in which Holmes is treated by Alan Arkin’s Sigmund Freud; the George C. Scott favorite They Might Be Giants; and 1998’s Zero Effect, starring Bill Pullman as an eccentric contemporary version of the detective.
Thursday, June 6, 8 p.m.
The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes
(Billy Wilder, US 1970, 125 min.)
Thursday, June 13, 8 p.m.
They Might Be Giants
(Anthony Harvey, US 1971, 86 min.)
Thursday, June 20, 8 p.m.
The Seven-Per-Cent Solution
(Herbert Ross, US 1976, 113 min.)
Thursday, June 27, 8 p.m.
(Jake Kasdan, US 1998, 116 min.)
The weather is getting warmer and the summer skies are getting clearer, and with the stars as our guide, we’ll be taking a cue from the most clichéd rhyme in the book: We’re heading to the Moon—or, at least, the stars—on Wednesdays in June. Join us for a varied batch of sci-fi films dedicated to interstellar travel, from the glorious camp of Flash Gordon to the metaphysical wonder of Tarkovsky’s Solaris. We’ll also take side trips with the crew of the Enterprise with Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, celebrate Earth Day off-planet in the environmentalist masterpiece Silent Running, go on a Galaxy Quest, and find out who has The Right Stuff in a special Saturday screening of Philip Kaufman’s docudrama classic. To infinity… and beyond!
Wednesday, June 5, 8 p.m.
(Douglas Trumbull, US 1972, 89 min.)
Saturday, June 8, 8 p.m.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
(Nicholas Meyer, US 1982, 113 min.)
Wednesday, June 12, 8 p.m.
(Mike Hodges, US/UK 1980, 111 min.)
Wednesday, June 19, 8 p.m.
(Solyaris, Andrei Tarkovsky, USSR 1972, 167 min., Russian w/ subtitles)
Saturday, June 22, 8 p.m.
The Right Stuff
(Philip Kaufman, US 1983, 193 min.)
Wednesday, June 26, 8 p.m.
(Dean Parisot, US 1999, 102 min.)
After leaving Germany in 1937 and working erratically throughout Europe, theater and film director Detlef Sierck landed in Hollywood in 1942 and changed his name to the fittingly American-sounding Douglas Sirk. Directing more than 30 films before his retirement in 1960, he developed a characteristic style all his own, focusing on love, death, social constraints, and the strictures of upper-middle class families. The body of work he left behind peaked in the 1950s with a series of films that portrayed the dark realities of American society, using popular melodrama to offer veiled, moving critiques that never once stopped being entertaining and went on to influence filmmakers as diverse as Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Todd Haynes. Highlighting the deliberate style of filmmaking Sirk embodied, these four films demonstrate his ability to create sympathetic characters and powerful stories through carefully manipulated performances from such icons as Rock Hudson, Jane Wyman, Lauren Bacall, and Lana Turner.
Tuesday, June 4, 8 p.m.
(Douglas Sirk, US 1954, 108 min.)
Tuesday, June 11, 8 p.m.
All That Heaven Allows
(Douglas Sirk, US 1954, 108 min.)
Tuesday, June 18, 8 p.m.
Written on the Wind
(Douglas Sirk, US 1956, 99 min.)
Tuesday, June 25, 8 p.m.
Imitation of Life
(Douglas Sirk, US 1959, 125 min.)
Four films, four master directors, and one genius actor: Jean-Louis Trintignant. Recognized as one of the greatest actors of his generation, Trintignant remains somewhat overshadowed by his contemporaries. That’s changed thanks to his recent role in Michael Haneke’s Amour, and with this series, we call attention to his art. In The Conformist, Trintignant plays a malleable proto-fascist given the task of assassinating his former professor. He plays another kind of assassin in Jacques Deray’s The Outside Man, a hit man on the run from his own killers in the underworld of Los Angeles. In Dino Risi’s Il sorpasso, Trintignant charms as a shy young law student being shown the highs and lows of “the easy life” on a road trip through Italy. Confidentially Yours rounds out our quartet with his delightful performance alongside Fanny Ardant in François Truffaut’s final film, a comic spin on the classic “wrong man” plots of Hitchcock.
Tuesday, May 7, 8 p.m.
(Il conformista, Bernardo Bertolucci, Italy/France 1970, 111 min., Italian w/ subtitles)
Tuesday, May 14, 8 p.m.
The Outside Man
(Un homme est mort, Jacques Deray, Italy/France/US 1972, 102 min.)
Tuesday, May 21, 8 p.m.
(Vivement dimanche!, François Truffaut, France 1983, 110 min., French w/ subtitles)
Tuesday, May 28, 8 p.m.
(The Easy Life, Dino Risi, Italy 1962, 105 min., Italian, Latin, and German w/ subtitles)
Though his talent is often taken for granted, Steve Martin has proven himself to be perhaps our best and most varied comic actor. Every Friday in May, we’ll be showing five of his funniest films, beginning with The Jerk, his first starring role and the culmination of the gut-busting absurdity of his stand-up act. Roxanne is Martin’s update of the Cyrano de Bergerac legend that shows off his ability to be simultaneously silly, subtle, and sweet. Director Frank Oz paired Martin with Michael Caine as a couple of charming con men in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and then starred Martin as a failed Hollywood wannabe in the very funny and underrated Bowfinger. Finally, in Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, Martin and The Jerk director Carl Reiner team up again to create a collage comedy in which Martin’s private investigator Rigby Reardon seamlessly interacts with characters from 18 classic films noir.
Friday, May 3, 8 p.m.
Sunday, May 5, 2 p.m.
(Carl Reiner, US 1979, 94 min.)
Friday, May 10, 8 p.m.
(Fred Schepisi, US 1987, 107 min.)
Friday, May 17, 8 p.m.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
(Frank Oz, US 1988, 110 min.)
Friday, May 24, 8 p.m.
(Frank Oz, US 1999, 97 min.)
Friday, May 31, 8 p.m.
Sunday, June 2, 2 p.m.
Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid
(Carl Reiner, US 1982, 88 min.)
To coincide with our exclusive Rochester screenings of his
newest film, To the Wonder, we will explore the career path of
Terrence Malick, whose work pursues grand statements about
man, nature, and our role in the cosmos. Malick’s debut film,
Badlands, finds a dark humor in its spree killers and a strange
beauty in the barren landscapes they travel. The voiceover, a
key component of Badlands, became a hallmark of Malick’s
work in the breathtaking Days of Heaven. Then silence—until
The Thin Red Line, a WWII tale that took Malick’s interest in
nature and man’s place in it to a new level. The New World,
another period piece, centers on the Pocahontas legend. In
the semi-autobiographical The Tree of Life, Malick mixes the
Big Bang, the creation of life, and one man’s memories of a
Texas childhood. All of Malick’s films are must-sees on the big
Thursday, May 2, 8 p.m.
(Terrence Malick, US 1973, 94 min.)
Thursday, May 9, 8 p.m.
Days of Heaven
(Terrence Malick, US 1978, 94 min.)
Thursday, May 16, 8 p.m.
The Thin Red Line
(Terrence Malick, US 1998, 170 min.)
Saturday, May 18, 7 p.m.
Saturday May 18, 9:30 p.m.
Sunday, May 19, 2 p.m.
Sunday, May 19, 5 p.m.
To the Wonder
(Terrence Malick, US 2012, 112 min.)
Thursday, May 23, 8 p.m.
The New World
(Terrence Malick, US 2005, 135 min.)
Thursday, May 30, 8 p.m.
The Tree of Life
(Terrence Malick, US 2011, 139 min.)
A good number of films have found humor, drama, satire, and poignancy in the relationship between masters and servants—not all of them British, mind you!—and we’ll be taking a quick survey of some of these Upstairs/Downstairs classics on Wednesdays in May. From one of cinema’s true masters, Jean Renoir, comes what is perhaps the ultimate master/servant movie: The Rules of the Game, in which a country estate is the setting for a roundelay of romances, jealousies, and assaults between a group of bourgeois and their maids, poachers, and gamekeepers. Renoir was known as one of the most humanist directors in film, and so his comment that Leo McCarey, director of Ruggles of Red Gap, “understands people” shouldn’t be taken lightly. Or perhaps it should—McCarey’s comedy is sheer joy, a look at how an unexpected detour to small-town U.S.A. prompts a staid British butler (the great Charles Laughton) to rethink his position on subservience. The American capacity for reinvention (and deception) is also explored in If You Could Only Cook, a delightful Depression-era screwball comedy that stars Herbert Marshall and Jean Arthur as a depressed auto executive and job seeker who pose as husband and wife to take jobs as a butler and cook. The Third Man director Carol Reed delivers another masterpiece with The Fallen Idol, If You Could Only Cook (1935) based on Graham Greene’s tale of a young boy’s idealization of his father’s butler (Ralph Richardson) and its dramatic and unexpected impact on them both.
Wednesday, May 8, 8 p.m.
The Fallen Idol
(Carol Reed, UK 1948, 95 min.)
Wednesday, May 15, 8 p.m.
Ruggles of Red Gap
(Leo McCarey, US 1935, 90 min.)
Wednesday, May 22, 8 p.m.
If You Could Only Cook
(William A. Seiter, US 1935, 72 min.)
Wednesday, May 29, 8 p.m.
The Rules of the Game
(La règle du jeu, Jean Renoir, France 1939, 106 min., French w/ subtitles)