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The Great Man's Lady  /  Roxie Hart

June 25, 2015 - 7:30 pm
Wyatt McCrea; William Wellman Jr. He will sign copies of his book, "Wild Bill Wellman: Hollywood Rebel" beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The Great Man's Lady  (1942)

Barbara Stanwyck plays effectively against type as Hannah Hoyt, a woman ever receding into the background of the epic life story of her husband (Joel McCrea) whose legend as an American pioneer and political giant are built on her sacrifices.  Director William A. Wellman’s last film for Paramount unfolds as an extended flashback and finds the director breaking with convention in fascinating ways, not only in the narrative’s subtle jabs at the myth of American individualism, but also visually, as in a crucial middle sequence where Wellman films his stars almost entirely in the dark or silhouette.

Paramount Pictures, Inc.  Director: William A. Wellman.  Screenwriter: W.L. River.  Based on a short story by Viña Delmar.  Cinematography: William C. Mellor.  Editor: Thomas Scott.  Cast: Barbara Stanwyck, Joel McCrea, Brian Donlevy, Katherine Stevens, Thurston Hall.  35mm, b/w, 90 min.

Roxie Hart  (1942)

Another unlikely publicity-hound stands at the center of this roaring '20s satire.  Ginger Rogers plays a showgirl who confesses to a murder she did not commit.  The resulting press coverage should, of course, help her career.  But like Carole Lombard's designing small-town girl, she finds that the system can only be played so far before best-laid plans cave under their own weight.  Britain's National Film Theatre, in their recent retrospective of the director, called Roxie Hart, "a masterpiece of form, of ensemble acting, of powerhouse comedy and scripting."

Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.  Producer: Nunnally Johnson.  Director: William A. Wellman.  Screenwriter: Nunnally Johnson.  Based on a play by Maurine Watkins.  Cinematography: Leon Shamroy.  Editor: James B. Clark.  Cast: Ginger Rogers, Adolphe Menjou, George Montgomery, Lynne Overman, Nigel Bruce.  35mm, b/w, 75 min.