June 29–September 19
Whether it's Mata Hari, James Bond or Jason Bourne, movies set in the shadowy world of spies and spying have used the inherent drama of undercover work — concealing one's true identity, snooping around, evading detection — and leveraged it for maximum intrigue, action and surprise. The plots twist with every deceit; duplicitous agents get turned by the other side; psychological and sexual tensions run high…it's little wonder that the movies have had so much fun with the spy game.
Some of the earliest Hollywood spy films are short on spycraft, long on sexual content; mainly a pretense to place screen sirens like Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich in perilous situations, from which to extract themselves using their feminine wiles. WWII ushered in new scenarios: allegories and propaganda pictures about the mounting Nazi threat in the 1930s, and films based on true events in the war's aftermath.
But the advent of the Cold War is where the spy game, and its pop cultural representations, took off in a big way. As the superpowers battled each other for supremacy more and more by proxy and unconventional means, their use of espionage and intelligence-gathering forces grew exponentially. Spy scandals — both real and imaginary — made headlines. Spy novels and pulp fiction proliferated. The film and television industries took notice.
The dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1989 and the beginning of the post-Cold War era meant an end to that kind of movie-making. But fascinating new angles are now being explored, including examinations of events that occurred in the Eastern bloc countries that are only recently coming in for dramatic treatment, as in Germany's THE LIVES OF OTHERS, or France's diplomatic intriguer FAREWELL, a film based on true events, long denied by all parties, where the facts have only recently been declassified.
This series presents a representative selection of some of the best spy films from more than eighty years of film history, from the silents to today (even including a couple of spy spoofs), featuring a special sidebar devoted to the James Bond franchise, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
NORTH BY NORTHWEST
#4 on AFI's 100 Years... 100 Thrills
#7 on AFI's 10 Top 10 Mystery
#55 on AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies
AFI Member passes will be accepted at all films in the Spy Cinema series.
Crackling dialogue and one memorable set piece after another — including a murder at the UN, the crop-duster attempt on Cary Grant's life and the climactic duel on Mount Rushmore — make this mistaken-identity thriller one of Alfred Hitchcock's most
enduring classics. With James Mason as the unctuous villain, Martin Landau as his creepy henchman and the luminous Eva Marie Saint as a double (maybe triple) agent.
DIR/PROD Alfred Hitchcock; SCR Ernest Lehman. US, 1959, color, 136 min. NOT RATED
MATA HARI (1931)
Fri, Jun 29, 4:20; Sat, Jun 30, 5:00; Sun, Jul 1, 4:00; Thu, Jul 5, 6:50
"A spy in love is a tool that has outlived its usefulness." The legendary WWI-era spy Mata Hari (nee Margaretha Gertrude Zelle), a Parisian exotic dancer who used her feminine wiles to extract sensitive information from her paramours, makes a juicy part for screen siren Greta Garbo. Exquisitely semi-dressed, haughty and heartless, it is only when she falls for a handsome aviator that her spy game comes fatally undone. With Lionel Barrymore, Lewis Stone and Ramon Novarro; cinematography by Garbo specialist William H. Daniels.
DIR/PROD George Fitzmaurice; SCR Benjamin Glazer, Leo Birinsky; PROD Irving Thalberg. US, 1931, b&w, 89 min. NOT RATED
Sun, Jul 1, 6:45; Mon, Jul 2, 9:00
Josef von Sternberg and Marlene Dietrich mounted their own Mata Hari-inspired melodrama for Paramount the same year as MGM's Greta Garbo vehicle, better plumbing the depths of melodrama and with more spy thrills to boot. The widowed
and bereft Dietrich turns first to prostitution to support herself, then espionage, recruited by the Austrian secret service to ply her trade for the Emperor. But a Russian agent, Kranau (Victor McLaglen), proves too tough a nut to crack. The gorgeous
photography is by the great Lee Garmes.
DIR Josef von Sternberg; SCR Daniel Nathan Rubin, Josef von Sternberg. US, 1931, b&w, 91 min. NOT RATED
THE 39 STEPS
Sun, Jul 1, 8:40; Mon, Jul 2, 7:00
At a London vaudeville show, Robert Donat meets a mysterious woman who tells him of a spy plot up in Scotland. The next morning she's dead in his apartment, leaving Donat with an impossible story to explain to the police, so he's off to Scotland to do what must be done himself. Sometimes called the NORTH BY NORTHWEST of Hitchcock's British period, this film deftly combines thrilling adventure with droll comedy, a fast-paced and fun entertainment that set the mold for many Hitchcock movies to come.
DIR Alfred Hitchcock; SCR Charles Bennett, Ian Hay, from the novel by John Buchan; PROD Michael Balcon. UK, 1935, b&w, 86 min. NOT RATED
Fri, Jul 6, 3:30; Sat, Jul 7, 11:05 a.m.; Sun, Jul 8, 11:05 a.m., 7:40; Mon, Jul 9, 3:10; Tue, Jul 10, 3:10; Wed, Jul 11, 4:00; Thu, Jul 12, 3:10, 8:45
Miami, 1946: after her Nazi-sympathizing father is sent to prison for seditious activity, Ingrid Bergman gets recruited by OSS man Cary Grant to work as an American agent and infiltrate a Nazi cell in Rio de Janeiro. Bergman must seduce Nazi industrialist Claude Rains, which means the love affair in bloom between Grant and Bergman must be nipped in the bud. Bergman does so well at her job that Rains proposes marriage — good for spying, bad for romance and increasingly dangerous to Bergman's health. Ted Tetzlaff's inventive cinematography deserves star billing alongside Grant and Bergman. "My favorite Hitchcock." — François Truffaut.
DIR/PROD Alfred Hitchcock; SCR Ben Hecht. US, 1946, b&w, 101 min. NOT RATED
I WAS A SPY
Sat, Jul 7, 5:45; Sun, Jul 8, 3:45; Tue, Jul 10, 7:00
British beauty Madeleine Carroll would go on to her greatest role in Hitchcock's THE 39 STEPS just two years after this exquisitely rendered WWI spy melodrama, based on the real-life exploits of Belgian nurse Martha Cnockhaert. In occupied Belgium, nurse Carroll is recruited by Belgian resistance fighter Herbert Marshall to spy and pass along information she gleans from the German wounded that come through her hospital. But her assignments become ever more dangerous and morally complex, including aiding in the bombing of an ammo dump and getting close to Commandant
Conrad Veidt, an honorable man but a high-value target.
DIR Victor Saville; SCR Ian Hay, W. P. Lipscomb, from the autobiography by Martha Cnockhaert McKenna; PROD Michael Balcon. UK, 1933, b&w, 89 min. NOT RATED
NIGHT TRAIN TO MUNICH
Sat, Jul 7, 1:00; Mon, Jul 9, 6:45
From the same screenwriting team behind Alfred Hitchcock's THE LADY VANISHES, Carol Reed's film plays like an unofficial sequel. Margaret Lockwood attempts to flee Czechoslovakia with her scientist father, requiring a series of daring escapes from their Nazi pursuers. Rex Harrison is the British agent in deep cover as a German officer seeking to help Lockwood and her father while escaping detection himself. Cameo appearances by Charters and Caldicott, the cricket-crazed, drolly incurious British tourists from THE LADY VANISHES.
DIR Carol Reed; SCR Sidney Gilliat, Frank Launder; PROD Edward Black. UK, 1940, b&w, 90 min. NOT RATED
THE IPCRESS FILE
Fri, Jul 13, 3:10; Sat, Jul 14, 11:00 a.m.; Tue, Jul 17, 7:00; Thu, Jul 19, 3:30
Looking for a different spin on the spy genre, Harry Saltzman, co-producer on the early James Bond films, cast Michael Caine as the bespectacled, unimposing Harry Palmer. Palmer may be a working stiff, but he's a wised-up one, subtly sarcastic and wary of the old-boy network that's made a mess of MI6 — just the man to root out a traitor in the ranks, as he's called upon to do. Director Sidney J. Furie, famously disdainful of the script (he set at least one copy on fire) goes visually pyrotechnic with trick shots, tilted angles, color filters and a travelogue's worth of London locations.
DIR Sidney J. Furie; SCR W. H. Canaway, James Doran, from the novel by Len Deighton; PROD Harry Saltzman. UK, 1965, color, 109 min. NOT RATED
Fri, Jul 13, 7:00; Sun, Jul 15, 5:30; Thu, Jul 19, 7:00
His death at the front faked for the papers, novelist-turned-soldier John Gielgud accepts a new identity and a spy mission to Switzerland, where he's teamed with high-living assassin "the General" (Peter Lorre) and the beautiful Madeleine Carroll, a fellow agent assigned cover as his wife. Seeking to disrupt a German-Ottoman military deal, the team must battle through red herrings, double crosses, self-doubt and a fatal case of mistaken identity. A connoisseur pick for Hitchcock fans, boasting dynamic set pieces and a scene-stealing performance by Lorre.
DIR Alfred Hitchcock; SCR Charles Bennett, Ian Hay, Alma Reville, Jesse Lasky, Jr., from the play by Campbell Dixon and the novel "Ashenden" by W. Somerset Maugham; PROD Michael Balcon. UK, 1936, b&w, 86 min. NOT RATED
THE BOURNE IDENTITY
Sat, Jul 14, 6:30; Sun, Jul 15, 11:00 a.m.; Mon, Jul 16, 7:00
Doug Liman's (GO, MR. AND MRS. SMITH, FAIR GAME) clever reboot of the spy genre for the post-Cold War era begins with amnesiac CIA assassin Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) being fished out of the Mediterranean, then puzzling out his identity, becoming reacquainted with his fighting skills and facility with languages, and staying one step ahead of the former colleagues sent to kill him over the frenetically paced next two hours. With Franka Potente, Chris Cooper, Clive Owen, Brian Cox and Julia Stiles. (Screenwriter Tony Gilroy directs the franchise's latest installment, THE BOURNE LEGACY, out this summer.)
DIR/PROD Doug Liman; SCR Tony Gilroy, W. Blake Herron, from the novel by Robert Ludlum; PROD Patrick Crowley, Richard N. Gladstein. US, 2002, color, 119 min. RATED PG-13
THE SPY IN BLACK aka U-BOAT 29
Fri, Jul 27, 7:20; Thu, Aug 2, 7:00
The first collaboration between famed filmmaking duo Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, who would go on to make 19 films together. During WWI, German U-boat captain Conrad Veidt is dispatched on a secret mission to the Orkney Islands, where he rendezvouses with German spy Valerie Hobson, who is undercover as the village schoolmistress. But Veidt soon discovers he's not the only one on a secret mission. Remarkable for 1939, the film is by no means a propaganda piece, but a complex, thoughtful and humane consideration of individuals acting under extraordinary circumstances.
DIR Michael Powell; SCR Emeric Pressburger; PROD Irving Asher, Alexander Korda. UK, 1939, b&w, 82 min. NOT RATED
CONTRABAND aka BLACKOUT
Powell and Pressburger's second collaboration allows German émigré actor Conrad Veidt a rare heroic role as a Danish sea captain who docks at a British control port for cargo inspection, soon after WWII has broken out. After his and first mate Hay Petrie's shore passes are purloined by passengers Valerie Hobson and Esmond Knight, the pair sneak ashore to blacked-out London in hopes of finding them, beginning a night of adventure and intrigue. "Less stylish than THE SPY IN BLACK, this espionage thriller is more fun, with its tongue-in-cheek plot reveling in Hitchcockian eccentricities." — Time Out Film Guide.
DIR Michael Powell; SCR Emeric Pressburger; PROD John Corfield. UK, 1940, b&w, 92 min. NOT RATED
FIVE GRAVES TO CAIRO
Sun, Jul 29, 5:00; Mon, Jul 30, 7:00
British corporal Franchot Tone, stranded by his army's hasty retreat from the victorious German Afrika Korps in June of 1942, holes up in a remote hotel on the border between Egypt and Libya. Rotten luck: General Rommel (Erich von Stroheim, deliciously hammy) and staff soon arrive, commandeering the hotel to serve as HQ. Tone tries to lay low, assuming the identity of the hotel's deceased waiter, but increasing intrigue — and the opportunity to deal a blow to the enemy's plans — draw him ever closer to the fearsome Rommel. An underappreciated gem from Billy Wilder. With Anne Baxter and Akim Tamiroff.
DIR/SCR Billy Wilder; SCR/PROD Charles Brackett. US, 1943, b&w, 96 min. NOT RATED
THE MAN WHO NEVER WAS
Sat, Aug 4, 11:00 a.m.; Mon, Aug 6, 5:10; Tue, Aug 7, 5:10
Based on the true story of British Intelligence's "Operation Mincemeat," an ingenious hoax where a cadaver was pressed into duty to play a drowned British naval officer, and washed ashore in Spain with forged documents on his person detailing plans for an Allied assault on Greece in 1943 — a red herring to distract from the real plans to land in Sicily. Clifton Webb (LAURA) gives a sharp performance as the head of the operation; Stephen Boyd (BEN-HUR) is the Irish spy for the Axis powers, who falls for the ploy hook, line and sinker. Gloria Grahame (IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE) co-stars.
DIR Ronald Neame; SCR Nigel Balchin, from the book by Ewen Montagu; PROD André Hakim. UK, 1956, color, 103 min. NOT RATED
PICKUP ON SOUTH STREET
Sun, Aug 5, 11:00 a.m.; Mon, Aug 6, 9:20; Tue, Aug 7, 9:20
"Are you waving the flag at me?" Small-time hood Richard Widmark picks Jean Peters' pocket on the New York subway, but scores more than he bargained for: a strip of microfilm containing classified US secrets, intended for delivery to a ring of communist spies. Now a person of interest for both the feds and the commies, Widmark intends to play both sides against the other and get paid one way or the other. Will his conscience, and duty as an American, intervene? Or do thieves have their own sense of honor? Samuel Fuller's classic noir of Cold War paranoia still packs a punch.
DIR/SCR Samuel Fuller; PROD Jules Schermer. US, 1953, b&w, 80 min. NOT RATED
13 RUE MADELEINE
Sat, Aug 11, 11:05 a.m.; Sun, Aug 12, 8:30; Tue, Aug 14, 5:10
In the run-up to D-Day, OSS man James Cagney identifies recruit Richard Conte as a German mole, but chooses to keep him in play, equipping him with disinformation to feed to the Nazis. But when the wily Conte beats Cagney at his own game, the master parachutes into occupied France to correct the pupil himself. As he did with THE HOUSE ON 92nd STREET, director Henry Hathaway employs a docu-drama approach of blending newsreel footage with location shooting (Quebec doubling for France), establishing a vogue for verisimilitude in post-WWII filmmaking.
DIR Henry Hathaway; SCR John Monks, Jr., Sy Bartlett; PROD Louis de Rochemont. US, 1947, b&w, 95 min. NOT RATED Presented in digital format.
Sun, Aug 12, 4:15; Mon, Aug 13, 5:10
Based on a true story. James Mason, valet to Britain's Ambassador to Turkey during WWII, falling prey to unruly passions and a resentful pride, hatches a scheme along with refugee Polish countess Danielle Darrieux to sell secrets to the Nazis. This too-little-seen gem from director Joseph L. Mankiewicz (ALL ABOUT EVE) features a memorable twist ending. Oscar nominations for Best Director and Screenplay.
DIR Joseph L. Mankiewicz; SCR Michael Wilson, from the book "Operation Cicero" by L. C. Moyzisch; PROD Otto Lang. US, 1952, b&w, 108 min. NOT RATED
Sun, Aug 12, 6:15; Thu, Aug 16, 5:10
After considering Richard Burton, Patrick McGoohan, James Mason, Rex Harrison, David Niven, Trevor Howard, Richard Johnson and Cary Grant, producers finally settled on Scotsman Sean Connery to play secret agent James Bond, selected the
sixth of Ian Fleming's popular spy novels to be their fledgling production outfit's first big screen adaptation, and the rest is history. Bond travels to Jamaica to investigate the disappearance of a fellow agent, quite possibly the work of the reclusive Dr. No, and is aided in his efforts by shell diver Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress — and her iconic white bikini — the prototypical "Bond Girl").
DIR Terence Young; SCR Richard Maibaum, Johanna Harwood, Berkely Mather, from the novel by Ian Fleming; PROD Albert R. Broccoli, Harry Saltzman. UK, 1962, color, 110 min. RATED PG
Fri, Jul 20, 8:00--just added!; Sat, Jul 21, 5:30; Tue, Jul 24, 7:00
Looking to re-energize the series, the producers wisely went back to the first Bond novel, taking a leaner-and-meaner approach to the material and, in Daniel Craig, going with a more muscular screen presence as Bond. The "Blonde Bond," Craig brought a new physicality to the role not only in his action prowess, but also as an on-screen sex symbol (emerging from the waves in snug swimwear, he's the beefcake version of a Bond girl). With Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen, Judi Dench, Jeffrey Wright and Giancarlo Giannini.
DIR Martin Campbell; SCR Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Paul Haggis, from the novel by Ian Fleming; PROD Barbara Broccoli, Michael G. Wilson. UK/US/Czech Republic/Germany/Bahamas, 2006, color, 144 min. RATED PG-13
FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE
Sat, Jul 21, 7:45--just added!; Sun, Jul 22, 4:10; Mon, Jul 23, 6:45
Double agent duplicity has the British, Soviets and SPECTRE all playing off one another, with a Soviet decoder as the prize and Sean Connery's Bond the target of multiple assassins, from Istanbul to Venice aboard the Orient Express. The opening,
pre-title action sequence would go on to became a series hallmark. Featuring the first appearance of beloved series mainstay Desmond Llewelyn as the equipment officer "Q" (Major Boothroyd), and the first of many Bond scores by John Barry.
DIR Terence Young; SCR Richard Maibaum, from the novel by Ian Fleming; PROD Albert R. Broccoli, Harry Saltzman. UK, 1963, color, 115 min. RATED PG
Sat, Jul 28, 7:00; Tue, Jul 31, 7:00
One of the most iconic of the Bond films, influencing future installments with its punning, wickedly sardonic dialogue; John Barry's chart-topping soundtrack, featuring Shirley Bassey's classic theme song; the first appearance of the tricked-out Aston Martin; Gert Fröbe's colorfully mad titular villain; Harold
Sakata's sharp-dressed henchman, Oddjob; and Honor Blackman, a vet of TV's THE AVENGERS, as aviatrix Pussy Galore, perhaps the most memorable name in the entire series. Sean Connery stars as Bond.
DIR Guy Hamilton; SCR Richard Maibaum, Paul Dehn, from the novel by Ian Fleming; PROD Albert R. Broccoli, Harry Saltzman. UK, 1964, color, 110 min. RATED PG
Sat, Aug 4, 3:30; Tue, Aug 7, 7:10
Armed with two stolen NATO nuclear warheads, SPECTRE holds the UK and US hostage, threatening to blow up a major city if their ransom demand for £100 million in uncut diamonds is not met. Sean Connery's Bond follows the trail to the Bahamas and SPECTRE operative Emilio Largo, an eyepatch-sporting black marketeer. Noted for its extensive underwater photography and action scenes, futuristic vehicles (jet pack! mini-submarine! hydrofoil!) and
the former Miss France Claudine Auger as the dangerously beautiful Domino, the fourth Bond film remains the franchise's biggest hit to date.
DIR Terence Young; SCR Richard Maibaum, John Hopkins, Jack Whittingham, from the novel by Ian Fleming; PROD Kevin McClory, Albert R. Broccoli, Harry
Saltzman. UK, 1965, color, 130 min. RATED PG
YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE
Sat, Aug 11, 5:55; Tue, Aug 14, 7:00
"Welcome to Japan, Mr. Bond." After US and Soviet space capsules mysteriously disappear from orbit, Sean Connery as Bond follows the trail to Japan, where he uncovers a plot by SPECTRE to start WWIII. In terms of pure visuals, this is one of
the best Bonds, boasting beautiful Japanese location shooting, cinematography by the great Freddie Young and production designer Ken Adam's celebrated volcano lair. Featuring Donald Pleasence as the pussy-stroking Blofeld — the proto Dr. Evil —
and Nancy Sinatra's theme song.
DIR Lewis Gilbert; SCR Roald Dahl, from the novel by Ian Fleming; PROD Albert R. Broccoli, Harry Saltzman. UK, 1967, color, 117 min. RATED PG
ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE
Sat, Aug 18, 4:15; Mon, Aug 20, 7:00
"This never happened to the other fellow." Australian George Lazenby's lone outing as 007 failed to equal the box office impact of its Connery predecessors, but fans of the franchise treasure the film for its start-to-finish excellence and faithfulness to
the source novel. Villainous Ernst Stavro Blofeld (this time played by KOJAK's Telly Savalas) plans to cripple the world's crop production by spreading the Virus Omega by means of the sexiest sleeper cell ever devised: the Angels of Death, twelve brainwashed beauties from around the globe. With Diana Rigg, best known as Emma Peel on TV's THE AVENGERS, as Tracy, one of the best of the Bond girls, and look for AB FAB's Joanna Lumley, in one of her earliest roles.
DIR Peter R. Hunt; SCR Richard Maibaum, from the novel by Ian Fleming; PROD Albert R. Broccoli, Harry Saltzman. UK, 1969, color, 142 min. RATED PG
DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER
Sun, Aug 19, 7:45; Tue, Aug 21, 6:45
""BOND IS BACK - Sean Connery is BOND" trumpeted the publicity, as Connery, "the man who made 007 a household number," returned after a one-film hiatus; despite a record payday for the actor, it would be his final "official" Bond film until 1983's independently produced NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN. Bond tracks a diamond-smuggling operation from Amsterdam to Los Angeles to Las Vegas, discovering that the trail leads to archenemy Blofeld (Charles Gray this time around), whose interest in
the rocks is military, not monetary.
DIR Guy Hamilton; SCR Richard Maibaum, Tom Mankiewicz, from the novel by Ian Fleming; PROD Albert R. Broccoli, Harry Saltzman. UK, 1971, color, 120 min. RATED PG
THE SPY WHO LOVED ME
Sat, Aug 25, 3:45; Tue, Aug 28, 7:00
Roger Moore's best Bond film, with perhaps the franchise's greatest opening action sequence as Bond battles Soviet assassins on the ski slopes of the Austrian Alps, finally parachuting off a precipice. Bond teams with beautiful KGB agent Anya Amasova (Barbara Bach) to investigate a missing submarine mystery that leads from the deserts of Egypt to beneath the waves in the Bahamas. Featuring the first appearance of fan-favorite Richard Kiel as Jaws, the indestructible metal-toothed
giant; the Lotus Esprit sports car-submersible; and Carly Simon's "Nobody Does It Better" theme song.
DIR Lewis Gilbert; SCR Christopher Wood, Richard Maibaum, from characters created by Ian Fleming; PROD Albert R. Broccoli. UK, 1977, color, 125 min. RATED PG
OUR MAN IN HAVANA
Sat, Sep 1, 4:15; Sun, Sep 2, 6:00
The third and final of the Carol Reed-Graham Greene collaborations, this time in spoof mode: Havana vacuum cleaner salesman Alec Guinness is surprised to find himself recruited by Caribbean spymaster Noël Coward for service in MI6. He's happy for the extra income, but when nothing much happens, Guinness spices up his reports to please his superiors. Matters are complicated when a real spy ring gets whiff of Guinness. Ralph Richardson, Burl Ives and Maureen O'Hara round out a terrific cast, with Ernie Kovacs shining as the crafty Batista
enforcer Captain Segura.
DIR/PROD Carol Reed; SCR Graham Greene, from his novel. UK, 1959, b&w, 111 min. NOT RATED
THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD
Sun, Aug 19, 5:30; Wed, Aug 22, 7:00
After a drunken binge, a stint in jail and an affair with communist Claire Bloom, British agent Richard Burton appears washed up with MI6 and perhaps defection material. But is it all a sham? And if he does go over, is he really on the mission he thinks he's on, or getting double-double crossed? A dark, gritty adaptation of John le Carré's first bestseller, finely directed by Martin Ritt and with Burton at his bellicose best.
DIR/PROD Martin Ritt; SCR Paul Dehn, Guy Trosper, from the novel by John le Carré. UK, 1965, b&w, 112 min. Digital presentation. NOT RATED
THE DEADLY AFFAIR
Sat, Aug 18, 6:45; Thu, Aug 23, 7:00
After receiving an anonymous poison pen letter alleging a British Foreign Office minister's past communist sympathies, security agent James Mason conducts a thorough investigation, clearing the man's name. The next day the minister is found dead, with a fishy-looking suicide letter that claims his career had been ruined. Was it murder? Aided by ex-cop Harry Andrews, Mason tries to find out. Sidney Lumet directs a top-notch international cast that includes Simone Signoret, Maximilian Schell and Harriett Andersson; the memorable score is by Quincy Jones.
DIR/PROD Sidney Lumet; SCR Paul Dehn, from "Call for the Dead" by John le Carré. UK, 1966, color, 115 min. NOT RATED
Wed, Aug 22, 9:20; Thu, Aug 23, 9:20
"Few films have captured so accurately the terrifying moment when a man becomes the victim of his own technology." — Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Gene Hackman is riveting as audio snoop Harry Caul, who has a crisis of conscience when he suspects a recent job may implicate him in corporate skullduggery and murder. This winner of the 1974 Palme d'Or at Cannes was nominated for three Academy Awards (it lost Best Picture to Francis Ford Coppola's other nominee that year, THE GODFATHER PART II).
DIR/SCR/PROD Francis Ford Coppola. US, 1974, color, 113 min. Digital presentation. RATED PG
THE WAR IS OVER [La guerre est finie]
Sat, Aug 25, 11:05 a.m.; Thu, Aug 30, 7:00
After a close call crossing the French border, anti-Franco operative Yves Montand begins to question the cause to which he has devoted nearly three decades of his life, his lifetime of revolution having produced little more than a now middle-aged revolutionary. Back in Paris, he merely goes through the motions of sedition-sowing, finding the charms of both Geneviève Bujold and Ingrid Thulin more intriguing. Alain Resnais' New Wave classic is both a moody, existential thriller and a thought-provoking meditation on memory, commitment and faith. 1967 Oscar nominee, Best Screenplay; NY Film Critics Circle Award winner, Best Foreign Language Film.
DIR Alain Resnais; SCR Jorge Semprún; PROD Anatole Dauman, Gisèle Rebillon, Catherine Winter. France/Sweden, 1966, b&w, 121 min. In French and Spanish with English subtitles. Digital presentation. NOT RATED
THE KREMLIN LETTER
Sun, Aug 26, 6:30; Mon, Aug 27, 7:00
A cadre of jaded American intelligence veterans recruits a brilliant young phenom possessing a photographic memory and mastery of eight languages (Patrick O'Neal) for a dangerous mission in Moscow. A communiqué between the US and Soviet intelligence services has fallen into the wrong hands. The coldest of Cold War thrillers: shabby spies, bitter intrigue, dirty dealing and grim violence. The impressive cast includes Richard Boone, Orson Welles, Max von Sydow, Bibi Andersson, George Sanders and Dean Jagger. "Powerful…possibly the clearest statement of Huston's vision of a cruel and senseless world in operation." — Time Out Film Guide.
DIR/SCR/PROD John Huston; SCR Gladys Hill, from the novel by Noel Behn; PROD Carter DeHaven, Sam Wiesenthal. US, 1970, color, 120 min. RATED PG
THE GOOD SHEPHERD
Sun, Aug 26, 9:00; Wed, Aug 29, 7:00
In 1939, Matt Damon, the Yale-educated product of a privileged background, is recruited by OSS man Robert De Niro for an exciting new project: the creation of an elite intelligence service, the precursor of today's CIA. But the job comes with high costs — endless hours, total dedication, emotional compartmentalization and moral ambiguity — all of which take a toll on Damon, wife Angelina Jolie and their family. Director Robert De Niro's sprawling, rich and engrossing drama gets under the skin of this impenetrable-by-design institution.
DIR/PROD Robert De Niro; SCR Eric Roth; PROD James G. Robinson, Jane Rosenthal. US, 2006, color, 167 min. RATED R
AN ENGLISHMAN ABROAD
Fri, Aug 31, 3:45; Tue, Sep 4, 6:40; Wed, Sep 5, 4:20
Based on a true story — actress Coral Browne traveled to Moscow in the late 1950s for a production of "Hamlet," and there met a mysterious Englishman. He was Guy Burgess, the notorious spy and defector. Alan Bennett's play re-imagines this unusual encounter between two very different expats. Browne plays herself; Alan Bates is excellent as Burgess.
DIR John Schlesinger; SCR Alan Bennett; PROD Innes Lloyd. UK, 1983, color, 60 min. Digital presentation. NOT RATED
A QUESTION OF ATTRIBUTION
James Fox is marvelously slippery as Sir Anthony Blunt — director of London's Courtauld Institute of Art, Surveyor of the King's Pictures and a Soviet spy for some 25 years. Prunella Scales, as Queen Elizabeth II, engages in a most allusive discussion with the art lover: "I was talking about art. I'm not sure that she was." "Razor-sharp psychological melodrama." — New York Times.
DIR John Schlesinger; SCR Alan Bennett, from his play; PROD Innes Lloyd. UK, 1992, color, 70 min. Digital presentation. NOT RATED
After publishing a tell-all about life working for incompetents at "the Company," disgruntled, axe-grinding CIA agent Walter Matthau finds himself targeted for real-life termination by vengeful boss Ned Beatty. Hooking up with old flame Glenda Jackson, Matthau leads his hapless pursuers (Beatty and Sam Waterston) on a globetrotting wild-goose chase in Ronald Neame's darkly comic romp.
DIR Ronald Neame; SCR Brian Garfield, Bryan Forbes; PROD Edie Landau, Ely A. Landau. US, 1980, color, 106 min. Digital presentation. RATED R
Mon, Sep 3, 11:00 a.m.; Tue, Sep 4, 4:30; Wed, Sep 5, 7:30; Thu, Sep 6, 4:30
For years, Arnold Schwarzenegger has led a double life. To his bored wife Jamie Lee Curtis, he's just an extremely muscular computer salesman. But Schwarzenegger, along with partner Tom Arnold, is actually a covert operative in the super-secret Omega Sector, working to prevent black
market nukes from falling into the hands of terrorists. Can this marriage — and the US eastern seaboard — be saved? James Cameron's amped up, stunt-heavy and special effects-laden action extravaganza delivers the blockbuster goods — a must-see on the big screen.
DIR/SCR/PROD James Cameron; SCR Claude Zidi, Simon Michaël, Didier Kaminka; PROD Stephanie Austin. US, 1994, color, 141 min. RATED R
OSS 117: CAIRO, NEST OF SPIES [OSS 117: Le Caire, nid d'espions]
Fri, Sep 7, 7:00; Mon, Sep 10, 6:45
Before the Oscar-winning THE ARTIST, writer-director Michel Hazanavicius and stars Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo teamed up on this witty spy spoof. It's 1955, and cocky, clueless French agent Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath, aka OSS
117 (Dujardin) is dispatched to Cairo to burnish France's colonial relationships and stabilize the Suez Canal situation. History tells how well that part went, but he does succeed in routing out a clandestine Nazi organization and romancing
exotic beauty Larmina El Akmar Betouche (Bejo).
DIR/SCR Michel Hazanavicius; SCR Jean-François Halin; PROD Eric Altmeyer, Nicolas Altmeyer. France, 2006, color, 99 min. In French with English subtitles. NOT RATED
THE LIVES OF OTHERS [Das Leben der Anderen]
Fri, Sep 7, 9:45; Sat, Sep 8, 8:10; Wed, Sep 12, 7:00
Best Foreign Language Film, 2007 Academy Awards; Best Film, Screenplay and Actor, European Film Awards; seven German Film Awards. East Germany, 1984: the 100,000 employees of the Stasi and its larger network of informers control the population through intimidation and pervasive surveillance. Company man Ulrich Mühe accepts an assignment to spy on playwright Sebastian Koch, who is loyal to the socialist ideals of the state but is thought to be "too clean" by Mühe's superiors. Mühe finds nothing on Koch, but slowly becomes absorbed by the domestic drama playing out between Koch and actress girlfriend Martina Gedeck. When his bosses' ulterior motives come to light and the assignment becomes more complex, Mühe finds his loyalties
DIR/SCR Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck; PROD Quirin Berg, Max Wiedemann. Germany, 2006, color, 137 min. In German with English subtitles. RATED R
FAREWELL [L'affaire Farewell]
Sun, Sep 16, 8:20; Wed, Sep 19, 7:00
Based on true events. 1981: After a decade of détente, US-Soviet relations hit a new low under Brezhnev's faltering leadership and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Moscow-based French businessman Pierre Froment (Guillaume Canet) gets chatted up by KGB man Gregoriev (Emir Kusturica); soon the disenchanted Gregoriev is passing sensitive documents on the Soviet's American spy network to Froment, urging him to get the info to the West. Christian Carion's intelligent, human-scale thriller brings new light to a fascinating chapter in the later stages of the Cold War. With Alexandra Maria Lara, Willem Dafoe, Fred Ward, Dina Korzun and Diane Kruger.
DIR/SCR Christian Carion; SCR Eric Raynaud, from the book "Bonjour Farewell: La vérité sur la taupe française du KGB" by Serguei Kostine; PROD Philippe Boeffard, Bertrand Faivre, Christophe Rossignon. France, 2009, color, 113 min. In English, French and Russian with English subtitles. NOT RATED
TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY
Fri, Sep 14, 7:00; Tue, Sep 18, 6:45
Forcibly retired from the Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, George Smiley (Gary Oldman, bringing a watchful intensity to the role) is unexpectedly summoned back and briefed on the presence of a mole among MI6's leadership. The suspects are narrowed to striving Percy Alleline (Toby Jones), suave Bill Haydon (Colin Firth), bullish Roy Bland (Ciarán Hinds), shifty Toby Esterhase (David Dencik) and Smiley himself. Tom Hardy, Benedict Cumberbatch, Kathy Burke, Stephen Graham, John Hurt, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Simon McBurney and Mark Strong round out the stellar cast.
DIR Tomas Alfredson; SCR Bridget O'Connor, Peter Straughan, from the novel by John le Carré PROD Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Robyn Slovo. UK/France/Germany, 2011, color, 128 min. RATED R
SPIES [Spione] (1928)
Live musical accompaniment by Ben Model
Fri, Sep 14, 4:30; Sat, Sep 15, 8:45; Mon, Sep 17, 4:30; Wed, Sep 19, 4:30
Undercover agent Willy Fritsch must infiltrate an international crime syndicate led by mastermind Rudolf Klein-Rogge (who also starred for director Fritz Lang as Rotwang in METROPOLIS and in three films as the nefarious Dr. Mabuse). Lang's lavish and visionary UFA production plays like a silent-era James Bond film, full of action, sexy intrigue and humorous gadgetry.
DIR/SCR Fritz Lang; SCR Thea von Harbou, from her story; PROD Erich Pommer. Germany, 1928, b&w, 178 min. Silent with live accompaniment. NOT RATED