Dir. Josef von Sternberg (1932) 93 min.
Credited with making a star out of Marlene Dietrich, Josef von Sternberg's Blonde Venus is one of seven filmic collaborations between Sternberg and Dietrich. With his signature use of lighting and soft lens, Sternberg manages to glamorize Dietrich-his muse-and Cary Grant in this trip across Depression America. Notable is a scene of Dietrich singing "Hot Voodoo" in a gorilla suit.
Imitation of Life
Dir. John M. Stahl (1934) 111 min.
Based on Fannie Hurst's 1933 novel of the same name, John Stahl's film version casts Claudette Colbert as the widowed Bea Pullman, who becomes businesswoman extraordinaire with the assistance of her black friend Delilah (Louise Beavers). From The New York Times, which called it "the most shameless tearjerker of the Fall," and wrote, "The stentorian sobbing of the ladies in the Roxy mezzanine yesterday seemed to suggest that it held a vast appeal for the matinee trade as well as for Miss Hurst's large and commercially attractive public. On the whole the audience seemed to find it a gripping and powerful if slightly diffuse drama which discussed the mother love question, the race question, the business woman question, the mother and daughter question and the love renunciation question." Warren Williams and Rochelle Hudson also star in the film.
Dir. Robert Drew (1960) 60 min.
Shot by Richard Leacock and Albert Maysles and edited by D.A. Pennebaker, Primary is considered a milestone in the direct cinema movement in America and a harbinger of the contemporary video reporting that would come. With their use of mobile cameras and light equipment, Leacock and Maysleswere able to achieve a level of intimacy with the film's subjects unseen in earlier documentaries, often burdened by the big apparatus of film. The film covers the 1960 Wisconsin Primary election between John F. Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey for the Democratic Party nomination for President, with stunning black and white close-ups of both candidates on the road while campaigning, which speak for themselves.
Followed by a discussion with Filmmaker Albert Maysles