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UCLA Film & Television Archive and the Hugh M. Hefner Classic American Film Program present

"The Two Faces of Jean"

Jean Arthur
August 10, 2012 -
September 28, 2012
In-person: 
author Marilyn Ann Moss, "Giant: George Stevens, A Life on Film" (9/28)

"No actress had a voice like Jean Arthur.... that acting talent is on full display." —Los Angeles Times

Though revered as the definitive comedienne of screwball comedy, Jean Arthur came to prominence in both comedic and dramatic material, which she imbued with remarkable depth and complexity.

Her exceptional gift for creating nuanced characters may have had to do with her ambivalence about working in Hollywood at all. She had turned to the legitimate stage following a few years in silent and early sound pictures at various studios, and reportedly found the theater a more rewarding environment for discovering and expressing personality. Hollywood was the beneficiary of this experience, as Arthur returned to the screen (this time beginning a long run at Columbia Pictures) gracing a series of delightful films in which her versatility came to the fore.

This series celebrates the flowering of Arthur’s talent, in comedic characterizations that often display a shadow side, and dramatic roles that sparkle with inner warmth. Arthur has been the focus of a concerted restoration program at Sony Pictures Entertainment and this series features a number of recently restored Columbia titles, as well as other select landmarks tracing the rise of Arthur’s star in Hollywood.

Note: Frank Capra’s Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), starring Arthur and James Stewart will screen on Sunday, September 23 at 11:00 a.m., as part of our “Family Flicks” series.

Special thanks: Rita Belda, Grover Crisp—Sony Pictures Entertainment.

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