This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of revered actor Burt Lancaster. From his early roles as brooding tough guys to the nuanced performances of his twilight years, Lancaster was one of Hollywood’s most versatile leading men. Made famous by his “all-American” good looks, Lancaster quickly grew into a performer always eager to challenge both himself and his audience.
A native of East Harlem, the former high school basketball star moved into motion pictures following a series of odd jobs, with stints as a circus acrobat, a department store salesman, a singing waiter, and a USO performer. After landing his first big screen role at the age of 33 in Robert Siodmak’s dark, claustrophobic noir The Killers, Lancaster entered a prolific period, largely acting in thrillers and military films.
In the late 1950s, Lancaster began taking on more unconventional characters, one of his most memorable being that of Elmer Gantry, a frenzied con man–turned–preacher that garnered Lancaster his only Academy Award® for Best Actor. Following that role, Lancaster starred as the emotionally unhinged Robert Stroud in John Frankenheimer’s Birdman of Alcatraz, a role that allowed him to balance the aggression and vulnerability that he had become known for.
As his career progressed, Lancaster became more selective and adventurous with his projects. In Frank Perry’s The Swimmer, he plays an aging ad agent whose journey from swimming pool to swimming pool develops into a remorseful, existential journey. Late into his career, Lancaster continued to produce acclaimed work, including one of his most heartbreaking performances in Louis Malle’s Atlantic City.
Join us in celebrating the distinguished career of Burt Lancaster, spanning nearly forty years of American cinema.
Wednesday, October 2, 8 p.m.
(Robert Siodmak, US 1946, 103 min., 35mm)
Sunday, October 6, 2 p.m.
Birdman of Alcatraz
(John Frankenheimer, US 1962, 147 min., 35mm)
Wednesday, October 9, 8 p.m.
(Richard Brooks, US 1960, 146 min., 35mm)
Wednesday, October 23, 8 p.m.
(Frank Perry, US 1968, 95 min., 35mm)
Wednesday, October 30, 8 p.m.
(Louis Malle, Canada/France 1980, 104 min., 35mm)