Director by George Cukor
Judy Holliday won a Best Actress Oscar playing Billie Dawn, the lovely but dim mistress of millionaire junk dealer Harry Brock (Broderick Crawford). The film takes place in Washington, D.C., where Brock seeks to corner the market in scrap metal through bribery. When Billie's unsophisticated ways become a social liability for Brock, he hires reporter Paul Verrell (William Holden) to be her tutor. Paul's lesson's extend from etiquette to the foundations of democracy, and Billie takes to them in ways that Brock never intended. Soon he realizes that Alexander Pope was right: "A little learning is a dangerous thing."
Holliday's performance is a triumph of sly comic timing, and she has memorable chemistry with both Holden and Crawford. Playwright Garson Kanin's sparkling comedy was recently remade with Melanie Griffith - and amusingly parodied by Frank Tashlin in The Girl Can't Help It - but the original version is still the funniest.
1950, 35mm, B&W, 103 Minutes
Producer: Sylvan Simon
Directed by Ida Lupino
In the 1950's, Lupino was the only woman who directed a number of films. With the help of the American Museum of the Moving Image and the British Film Institute, the H.I.F.F., is happy to present Ida Lupino's fifth directorial outing. The Hitch-Hiker, the only classic film noir directed by a woman.
Based on a true story, The Hitch-Hiker focuses on a psychotic killer with a facial deformity, Emmett Meyers, who hitches rides and then murders the drivers. The police are after him, so when he is picked up by two men headed to Mexico, he kidnaps them at gunpoint, forcing them to take him with them. As the trip proceeds, a psychological game of cat-and-mouse takes place between Emmett and his prisoners, resulting in a devastating and gritty climax.
Like much of Lupino's work, The Hitch-Hiker, is concerned with alienation, anxiety, and victimization. Even though the film has no female characters. The Hitch-Hiker is an excellent example of Lupino's feminist, pioneering directorial spirit.
1953, 35mm, B&W, 71 Min.
Producer: Collier Young
The Siren of the Tropics
Directed by Henri Etievant and Mario Nalpas
Jean Claude-Baker, one of Joseph Baker's adopted "Rainbow Tribe" of children, and a long-time Hamptons' resident, introduces the completely restored silent classic, The Siren of the Tropic.
This film was Josephine Baker's first attempt at film stardom and was fraught difficulties, due in part to La Baker. Luis Bunuel, the assistant director, allegedly quit in protest over the star's behavior.
Set in the exotic "tropics" a forest ten miles from Paris - Baker plays a vivacious Antillean beauty who rescues the clueless European from the machinations of the Marquis. Smitten, she pursues him to Paris, there winning over the city with a triumphal music hall performance (an actual reprise performance in this film: her exuberance, her uninhibited sexuality, and her indescribable dancing will be permanently etched in any viewer's memory.
This is only the fifth showing of this film since its 1929 American release. Accompanied by a piano piece written specifically for the film, The Siren of the Tropics, is an event that shouldn't be missed.
1927, 35mm, B&W, 110 Minutes
Assistant Director: Luis Bunuel