Loretta Young Centennial
March 8–April 18
One of Hollywood's most stunningly beautiful leading ladies, Loretta Young (born January 6, 1913) became a top-billed star at just 17 and worked furiously through the first half of the 1930s—starring in nine features in 1933 alone! Young enjoyed a long career in films as well as nearly a decade on television as the star of THE LORETTA YOUNG SHOW in the 1950s and 60s. But her best and boldest works are her early 1930s pre-Code films, made mainly for Warner Bros.’ First National division, where her roles ran the gamut of Depression era types: flappers, molls, hard luck orphans, working girls and beautiful dreamers, paired memorably opposite James Cagney, Spencer Tracy and Cary Grant. In recognition of Young’s centennial, AFI Silver presents a wide-ranging retrospective of this under-appreciated star’s best films, including many forgotten gems.
AFI Member passes will be accepted at all screenings in the Loretta Young series.
THE BISHOP'S WIFE
Praying for divine intervention during the Christmas season to help him realize his dream of building a new cathedral, Bishop David Niven has his prayers answered in the person of angelic Cary Grant. But Grant's message isn't exactly what Niven wanted to hear: rather than a single-minded focus on collecting money to erect a bigger building, Niven ought to help needy people in his community and look after the resources he already has, not the least of which is his lovely but neglected wife, Loretta Young. Niven's a hardheaded sort, so Grant must show him how it's done—mounting a charm offensive on the parishioners and squiring Young around town.
DIR Henry Koster; SCR Robert E. Sherwood, Leonardo Bercovici, from the novel by Robert Nathan; PROD Samuel Goldwyn. US, 1947, b&w, 109 min. NOT RATED
Fri, Mar 8, 3:00; Sat, Mar 9, 11:00 a.m.; Sun, Mar 10, 11:00 a.m.; Thu, Mar 14, 4:45
New York department store manager Warren William runs a tyrannical but highly profitable operation, giving no quarter to competitors, suppliers or unproductive employees. But he is a man, after all, and steps out one evening to enjoy some female companionship with the lovely Loretta Young, who’s hoping to land a job. Hired as a store model, Young wants to put the tawdry affair behind her, especially after she falls in love and marries plucky sales exec Wallace Ford. But the boss has other ideas, and he's devilishly good at getting his way. Racy and unrepentant pre-Code entertainment!
DIR Roy Del Ruth; SCR Robert Presnell, from the play by David Boehm; PROD Lucien Hubbard. US, 1933, b&w, 75 min. NOT RATED
35mm print preserved by the Library of Congress.
Wed, Mar 13, 6:30 (Montgomery College Show); Sun, Mar 17, 1:20;
Wed, Mar 20, 7:10 Canceled due to shipping error; SUEZ screens in its place.
Re-titled to cash in on Jean Harlow’s notoriety, PLATINUM BLONDE makes a lot more sense under its working title of “GALLAGHER,” the name of Loretta Young’s character, best pal and fellow reporter to ex-journalist Stew Smith (Robert Williams), who recently married rich to the debutante (Harlow) whose family’s dirty laundry he previously aired. With high society life getting the old newshound down, Smith re-discovers what really makes him happy—including Gallagher, with whom he truly belongs. The first collaboration between director Frank Capra and screenwriter Robert Riskin, who would become a steady pairing throughout the 1930s.
DIR Frank Capra; SCR Robert Riskin, Jo Swerling, from a story by Harry Chandlee and Douglas W. Churchill. US, 1931, b&w, 90 min. NOT RATED
Fri, Mar 15, 3:00; Mon, Mar 18, 5:15; Tue, Mar 19, 5:15; Wed, Mar 20, 8:45
Serious-minded Paul Lukas waits tables in a Russian restaurant to pay the bills until he can finish his novel. With the craze
for contract bridge in full swing, wife Loretta Young forces the unenthusiastic Lukas to play cards with her. Turns out he’s quite good, and when he’s recruited from waiter to partner at a table against bridge expert Ferdinand Gottschalk, whom he defeats, Lukas becomes an overnight sensation and a reluctant bridge pro. But can the happy couple be happy bridge partners? Not known for comedies, director William Dieterle displays a surprisingly deft hand for fast-paced antics in this early example of screwball comedy.
DIR William Dieterle; SCR Erwin Gelsey, David Boehm, from the novel by B. Russell Herts; PROD Hal B. Wallis. US, 1933, b&w, 67 min. NOT RATED
Sun, Mar 17, 3:00;
Mon,Mar 18, 7:20 Canceled due to shipping error. MAN'S CASTLE will screen in its place. We regret the inconvenience.
“Come out and take it, you dirty yellow-bellied rat!” Feisty New York cabbie James Cagney knows it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there on the streets, especially with a crooked cab syndicate trying to stick it to independent hacks like him. But can he learn to tame his temper in order to woo the lovely Loretta Young?
DIR Roy Del Ruth; SCR Kubec Glasmon, John Bright, from the play by Kenyon Nicholson; PROD Robert Lord. US, 1932, b&w, 69 min. NOT RATED
35mm print preserved by the Library of Congress.
Sat, Mar 23, 11:30 a.m.; Mon, Mar 25, 5:15; Tue, Mar 26, 7:30
French diplomat Ferdinand de Lesseps (Tyrone Power) loses the hand of his beloved Countess Eugenie de Montijo (Loretta Young) to Napoleon III (Leon Ames). Unlucky in love, he instead discovers a great cause in undertaking the construction of the Suez Canal between the Mediterranean and Red Seas, courting allies in Egypt and the UK while enjoying the ardent support of army brat-turned-personal secretary Toni Pellerin (Annabella). Allan Dwan’s rousing historical adventure boasts landmark special effects, using matte paintings and process shots to imperil de Lesseps’ precarious project with an impressive rock slide and a celebrated cyclone sequence.
DIR Allan Dwan; SCR Philip Dunne, Julien Josephson. US, 1938, b&w, 98 min. NOT RATED
80th Anniversary! New 35mm Print!
Wed, Mar 20, 7:10--just added!; Sun, Mar 24, 11:00 a.m.; Thu, Mar 28, 7:30
Down-on-her-luck Loretta Young gets a lift from footloose Spencer Tracy in this romantic Depression-era delight. Tracy lives by his wits, but not by conventional codes of behavior, as he romances showgirl Glenda Farrell while shacking up with Young (literally shacking, in a Hooverville on the shores of the Hudson River). There’s plenty of pre-Code naughtiness—the carefree attitude toward sex and violence is remarkable even by pre-Code standards—but director Frank Borzage goes to such extremes for exploration, not exploitation, lending “an aura to his characters, not merely through soft focus and a fluid camera, but through a genuine concern with the wondrous inner life of lovers in the midst of adversity.” – Andrew Sarris.
DIR Frank Borzage; SCR Jo Swerling, from the play by Lawrence Hazard. US, 1933, b&w, 75 min. NOT RATED
ZOO IN BUDAPEST
Mon, Mar 18, 7:20--just added!; Sat, Mar 30, 5:45; Mon, Apr 1, 7:00
Growing up entirely within the confines of the Budapest city
zoo, oddball Gene Raymond is a sensitive type who prefers the company of animals to people. Hiding out after liberating a rich woman’s fur coat, he discovers fellow fugitive Loretta Young, an orphan who’s run away days before her 18th birthday to avoid becoming an indentured servant. At night among the animals, the two fall in love. Rowland V. Lee’s romantic fantasy takes place on a backlot version of Budapest conjured by ace art director William S. Darling (born Wilmos Bela Sandorhaji in Sándorhaz, Austria- Hungary), sumptuously shot by Lee Garmes.
DIR/SCR Rowland V. Lee; SCR Dan Totheroh, Louise Long; from the story by Melville Baker, Jack Kirkland; PROD Jesse L. Lasky. US, 1933, b&w, 83 min. NOT RATED
BORN TO BE BAD
Sun, Mar 31, 3:20; Mon, Apr 1, 8:45
An unwed mother at 15, Letty Strong (Loretta Young) has made ends meet on her own ever since, modeling and entertaining wealthy paramours, while allowing her spunky 7-year-old son Mickey (Jackie Kelk) to run wild on the streets. After Mickey is injured in a traffic accident involving a milk truck, Letty sues the wealthy dairy owner, Malcolm Trevor (Cary Grant), but gets declared an unfit mother instead. Amazingly, Trevor and his wife offer to take in young Mickey, allowing mother and son another shot at grifting the Connecticut couple.
DIR Lowell Sherman; SCR Ralph Graves; PROD Darryl F. Zanuck. US, 1934, b&w, 62 min. NOT RATED Digital presentation
THE CALL OF THE WILD
Fri, Apr 5, 5:15; Sat, Apr 6, 6:00
William “Wild Bill” Wellman adapts the big screen version of Jack London’s famous novella. Luckless Klondike prospector Clark Gable throws in with Jack Oakie, who’s got a map and a hot tip on an unclaimed gold mine. While equipping their sleds, the partners rescue a half-wolf sled dog named Buck from a cruel Englishman, Reginald Owen. Out on the trail, they rescue greenhorn Loretta Young from a pack of wolves, and the motley crew now seeks their fortunes together, fending off the elements, claim jumpers, skullduggery and various animal instincts.
DIR William Wellman; SCR Gene Fowler, Leonard Praskins, from the story by Jack London; PROD Darryl F. Zanuck. US, 1935, b&w, 95 min. NOT RATED
Sun, Apr 7, 1:40; Thu, Apr 11, 7:00
While awaiting the jury’s verdict in her murder trial, Mary Martin (Loretta Young) revisits in flashback the events that brought her there: a rough upbringing in an orphanage,
jail time after a false conviction for theft, then falling in with dangerous gangster Leo (Ricardo Cortez). Despite all this, Mary went straight for a time, and enjoyed the love of a good man, lawyer Tom Mannering, Jr. (Franchot Tone), until her past caught up with her. Is this the end of Mary, or will love save the day? A stylish star turn by Young, here glammed up by MGM and directed with verve by William A. Wellman.
DIR William Wellman; SCR Gene Markey, Kathryn Scola, from the story by Anita Loos; PROD Lucien Hubbard. US, 1933, b&w, 74 min. NOT RATED Digital presentation
Sun, Apr 7, 5:45; Tue, Apr 9, 5:15; Thu, Apr 11, 5:15
More fittingly, “I MARRIED A NAZI,” as Loretta Young discovers too late that her new husband, émigré professor Orson Welles, is not the man she thinks he is, but is in fact a wanted war criminal who has escaped to small town America and is living under an assumed name. Welles delivers the goods in this well-constructed noir thriller, featuring memorable performances by Young and Edward G. Robinson as a dogged Nazi hunter, cinematography by Russell Metty, and a justly famous climax atop the town clock tower.
DIR Orson Welles; SCR Anthony Veiller; PROD Sam Spiegel. US, 1946, b&w, 95 min. NOT RATED
THE FARMER’S DAUGHTER
Fri, Apr 12, 5:30; Sat, Apr 13, 3:30; Sun, Apr 14, 11:00 a.m.; Wed, Apr 17, 9:00
Loretta Young hopes to be the first in her Minnesota farming family to attend college, but after losing her savings to a no-good con man, settles for employment as a maid for a well- to-do politically influential family. There she ingratiates herself with formidable matriarch Ethel Barrymore, her Congressman son Joseph Cotten, and crusty butler Charles Bickford. Working her way through night school and inspired by her employers, Young runs for office herself—on the other party’s ticket! Young won the Best Actress Oscar for her Swedish-accented performance in this warm-hearted, farcical and fun political fable.
DIR H. C. Potter; SCR Allen Rivkin, Laura Kerr, from the play “Juurakon Hulda” by Hella Wuolijoki; PROD Dore Schary. US, 1947, b&w, 97 min. NOT RATED
35mm print preserved by the Library of Congress.
RACHEL AND THE STRANGER
Sat, Apr 13, 11:05 a.m.; Mon, Apr 15, 5:00; Tue, Apr 16, 5:15; Wed, Apr 17, 7:00
In the Ohio backwoods, frontier homesteader William Holden, distraught after the death of his wife, and unable to raise his son Gary Gray on his own, purchases the bond of indentured servant Loretta Young, whom he then marries for the sake of propriety. Back at their cabin, days and weeks pass uncomfortably, with no romance blooming between Holden and Young, and Gray unwilling to accept her as a stepmother or take to his schooling. But when roving woodsman Robert Mitchum comes calling, the household comes to life with his songs and stories, and passions are stirred.
DIR Norman Foster; SCR Waldo Salt, from the story “Rachel” by Howard Fast; PROD Richard H. Berger. US, 1948, b&w, 80 min. NOT RATED
Tue, Apr 16, 7:30; Wed, Apr 17, 5:15; Thu, Apr 18, 5:15