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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Specht

Getty Museum Presents Free Classic Films

The Getty Research Institute proudly presents their latest film series, Fred Zinnemann: The Cinema of Resistance. The film series is curated by Getty scholar Jennifer Smyth, and is part of the Getty Research Institute's 2011–12 scholar year theme Artistic Practice. And it’s FREE!

Known as a maverick in his day, legendary director Zinnemann (From Here To Eternity, Oklahoma!) worked within and outside of the studio system to make some of the most compelling and socially conscious films of his era, while maintaining a high level of entertainment. Besides being a fine craftsman of the art of filmmaking, Zinnemann was particularly good at telling traditional tales (like the western) from alternative perspectives, often from the point of view of the loner or exiled individual. Thus the program’s tag “Cinema of Resistance”.

The four films selected for screening include Zinnemann’s first major film The Seventh Cross with Spencer Tracy (4/3), The Search with Montgomery Clift (4/10), High Noon with Gary Cooper (4/17), and the filmmaker’s second to last film, Julia with Jane Fonda (4/24). All screenings are to be followed with a discussion between Getty scholar Jennifer Smyth and a variety of special guests including Zinnemann scholar Jan-Christopher Horak of UCLA, the director’s son,Tim Zinnemann, Gary Cooper's daughter, Maria Cooper Janis, Academy Award-winning sound designer and film editor Walter Murch, and Academy Award-winning screenwriter Alvin Sargent (Ordinary People).

As wonderful as it will be to see all of these films back up on the big screen, I suspect the big draw will be Gary Cooper and High Noon. After all, who could possibly pass up the chance to see Coop in full frame, bravely strut down a lonely western street to face an unknown destiny. However, I urge people not to miss out on the April 10 screening of The Search. Shot in the film’s setting of postwar Germany, the touching tale is about a young Czechoslovakian boy who has survived the Holocaust and is befriended by an American soldier played by Montgomery Clift in one of his first roles. Clift goes through the arduous process of arranging to take the boy home with him to the states while all the time the boy’s long lost mother is struggling to find him. A complete unknown and discovered by Zinnemann through a long casting search, the young actor will steal your heart much in the same way as the kid did in The Bicycle Thieves. Because when it comes to child actors there’s just no replacement for honest realism.

Of course, it doesn’t really matter which of these fine films you ended up seeing, your sure to have an experience in the theater that will remind you why so many people say, “They just don’t make them like that anymore, do they”. And for the price of parking your car there’s no excuse not to see the whole series. After all, the more people you bring with you the less it will cost per person.

All films will be presented in 35mm, and are scheduled to screen at 7 p.m. in the Harold M. Williams Auditorium at The Getty Center. Admission is FREE, but separate reservations are required for each screening, and you’ll have to reserve parking as well which costs just $10 after 5PM, $15 for all day. To secure your reservation use the Getty Center image above as link to the website.

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