From Ava Gardner to Reese Witherspoon to King Kong, a Classic Week at The Movies


Eva Gardner in Pandora and the Flying Dutchman
  • Eva Gardner in Pandora and the Flying Dutchman
It's a week of classics on the big screen in Memphis. First up, tonight, March 10th, a new regular film series begins at Black Lodge. Steve Ross, who recently retired as Professor Emeritus of the University of Memphis' Communications and Film Department, was approached by his former film students Chad Allen Barton and Stephen Hildreth and Lodge owner Matt Martin to share some of his favorites with audiences.

“I immediately thought of Black Lodge as the perfect venue for a series of American films from the 1950’s—specifically, glossy melodramas by directors like Vincent Minnelli and Douglas Sirk," says Ross. "These were enormously popular films that were too overwrought, too excessive, and too flamboyant to be taken seriously by critics at the time of their release. Black Lodge has never shied away from films that some might condemn as disreputable. And Written On The Wind is one of the most disreputable examples of high-gloss melodramas with sly undercurrents of satire running through them."

The screening is free, and the show starts at 7 p.m. tonight. Check out the wild opening credit sequence of Written On The Wind to get a taste of delicious disreputability, 1956-style.

Tomorrow, Wednesday March 11th, Indie Memphis' weekly film series presents another melodrama from the 1950s. Pandora and the Flying Dutchman was Ava Gardner's first bona fide star vehicle. It's a weird supernatural thriller from director Albert Lewin that has Gardner cast as a femme fatale named for the demi-goddess of chaos and James Mason as the possible incarnation of the Flying Dutchman. Also, there are racecars. The 4K restoration of the film screens at Malco Ridgeway at 7 p.m.

On Thursday night at Crosstown Theater, the Arthouse series presents a doozy. Reese Witherspoon got an Oscar for playing June Carter Cash, but 10 years earlier she was a crazed Little Red Riding Hood taking preemptive revenge on big bad Kiefer Southerland in one of the weirder post-Pulp Fiction sordid crime pictures. Behold the sleazy glory of Freeway, playing at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday night.

On Sunday, March 15th at 1 p.m., Turner Classic Movies is bringing King Kong to the Malco Paradiso. Is it just me, or did it always seem like a really bad idea to bring the big ape to Broadway? This is not a hindsight thing. Just seems like common sense. But what do I know about showbiz?

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