An audience favorite at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival, "Shall We Dance?" is both a comedy and a love story about a group of ordinary Japanese people and the ballroom dance lessons that bring them to life. The film was written and directed by Masayuki Suo, whose previous film, "Sumo Do, Sumo Don't", won the Japanese Academy Award for Best Film in 1992.
1934. Director Frank Capra created an enduring classic with this romantic comedy film that helped make Gable and Colbert big stars. The familiar story, a prototype for many screwball comedies to follow, opens with headstrong heiress Ellie Andrews (Colbert) fleeing her father. Trying to make it to her washout fiance on her own, she soon encounters errant reporter Peter Warne (Gable). He agrees to help her make it from Florida to New York in exchange for her story, which will square him with his disgruntled boss. Over the course of several nights, the inevitable happens. IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT was the first film to win all five of the major Oscars: Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, and Screenplay, a feat only duplicated twice since.
1938, dir. Frank Capra. Any family has a right to be crazy, collectively or as individuals. In the case of this particular family, the lunacy seems to be distinctly collective, with Mama Spring Byington leading the pack. Guests arrive and stay for years. Individuality is cultivated and prized beyond all else. What Capra has here is his own family of highly talented actors following direction as if it were Holy Writ, with funny, spontaneous comic geniuses like Jean Arthur, Byington, the fabulously androgynous Misha Auer, and a very young Ann Miller. When impressionable rich boy Jimmy Stewart stumbles into all of the Grand Guignol nonsense, how can he not be dazzled? Also with Lionel Barrymore and Edward Arnold.
1997, dir. Curtis Hanson. Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey) is a celebrity cop. He serves as technical advisor to a weekly TV drama and participates in vice busts of show-business personalities. Vincennes becomes involved in a murder investigation which will link him inextricably to fellow detectives Ed Exley (Guy Pearce) and Bud White (Russell Crowe) and lead all three into a dangerously tightening spiral of murder, corruption and intrigue. Exley and White have only one thing in common: their attraction to a mysterious and beautiful woman named Lynn Bracken (Kim Basinger). Exley and White become increasingly isolated from those they thought they could trust, until finally they discover a most unlikely bond that threatens life itself.
1959, dir. Samuel Fuller, starring James Shigeta and Victoria Shaw. Racial tensions between Asian and American cultures are explored in this racy film noir filmed in the Little Tokyo section of Los Angeles. Two detectives, Charlie Bancroft and Joe Kojaku, are investigating the murder of a stripper, Sugar Torch. They meet and fall in love with a beautiful artist, Christine. Christine prefers Joe, a Nisei, over Charlie, a Caucasian. The unusual love triangle plays out with sensitivity and gentleness, well-integrated into the central narrative which is the vulgar and violent pursuit of a killer. THE CRIMSON KIMONO challenges the view that Fuller is abrasive and unsubtle.
1948, dir. Edgar E. Ulmer (DETOUR), with Zachary Scott, Diana Lynn and Sydney Greenstreet. Scott plays the ultimate backstabber in this dark tale of a corrupt businessman who destroys everything around him.
1997, dir. Nick Cassavetes. Eddie (Sean Penn) and Maureen (Robin Wright Penn) are young, married and crazy about each other. They live day to day, fight to fight, dance to dance and drink to drink. No two people ever lived so hard or loved so much. When a neighbor attacks Maureen, Eddie snaps - an outburst that ends up costing him ten years of his life. When he finally returns, he discovers that, in his absence, his wife has gotten re-married to Joey (John Travolta), a man who loves Maureen as much as Eddie does. Now Maureen is caught in the middle, between the past and the present, between an inexplicable passion and an abiding love, between two men who are absolutely sure of one thing... SHE'S SO LOVELY.
WHITE LIGHTA Color Performance each Saturday at 7:00