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  • Carrie Specht

LACMA Screens Olivia de Havilland Films


In celebration of Olivia de Havilland’s 90th birthday a retrospective film series will be presented at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art from Friday, June 16 through Saturday, July 1.

If you miss out on seeing Ms. de Havilland in person at the Academy’s tribute to her on the 14th, you’ll have a second chance to see her later in the week when she is scheduled to appear in person before the screening of The Heiress on Sunday, June 18th. The last screening in the special series, Gone with the Wind, will take place on Ms. de Havilland’s 90th birthday, Saturday July 1st.

Friday, June 16 at 7:30 p.m. The tribute kicks off in a big way with the colorful classic The Adventures of Robin Hood. Errol Flynn is in top form as the dashing outlaw, romancing the young, radiant Olivia de Havilland while dueling against villainous Basil Rathbone (no one does a better onscreen death than Rathbone) and the always-engaging Claude Rains. The ever-affable Alan Hale and the cantankerous Eugene Pallette are delightful as Robin’s trusty companions. This must see action adventure is followed by the often overlooked, but engaging little drama, Hold Back the Dawn. Charles Boyer is a Romanian gigolo who marries a naive American schoolteacher (depicted with elegant simplicity by de Havilland who was nominated for an Oscar) in Mexico so he can legally enter the United States. Complications arise as he discovers he is falling in love with her. Paulette Goddard co-stars in this light drama.

Saturday, June 17 at 7:30 p.m. To Each His Own. In this superlative movie depicting mother love, Olivia de Havilland took home the Oscar for playing a small town girl, who during World War I has an illegitimate son by an itinerant pilot. After a scheme to adopt him ends up giving him to another family, she devotes her life to loving him from afar. Bring your hankies for this one! Following this tearjerker is director Raoul Walsh’s The Strawberry Blonde. James Cagney plays a guy crazy about Rita Hayworth, but his pal (played by Jack Carson) marries her and makes Cagney the fall guy for his shady dealings. De Havilland gives depth to the role of the loving and understanding woman who helps Cagney learn that having what one wants and wanting what one has can be two very different things.

Sunday, June 18 at 8 p.m. The Heiress. In this romantic period piece de Havilland once again received the Oscar for her portrayal of a plain looking and naive young woman with a considerable inheritance. When she falls for the outrageously handsome, but penniless Montgomery Clift, her emotionally abusive father (the flawlessly distant Ralph Richardson) suspects him as a fortune hunter. The heartache de Havilland expresses on screen reaches out and grabs you by the throat. Be ready to stand up and cheer when she achieves her triumphant victory over the forces that have controlled her all her life. This screening features a conversation with Ms. de Havilland in person.

Tuesday, June 20 at 1 p.m. Princess O’Rourke. $2 Tuesday Matinee! $1.00 for seniors. This is a delightful wartime comedy staring Olivia de Havilland as a princess who finds love with regular American Joe, Robert Cummings in this patriotic romance. With Jane Wyman in an early supporting role and the always-entertaining Jack Carson playing the ubiquitous best friend (a role he often performed to wry perfection). This is the perfect light fare for a Tuesday afternoon.

Friday, June 23 at 7:30 p.m. My Cousin Rachel. When Richard Burton’s much-loved (and rich) cousin Ambrose dies, he is convinced that he was murdered by his new wife Rachel (de Havilland) to inherit his wealth. But when he meets Rachel he falls in love with her, convinced his suspicions must have been unfounded. But were they? Is Rachel now trying to use Philip to get at the estate left him. Will she murder him next? Henry Koster directed this unusual mix of suspense and costume drama. The second feature is Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte, a film about a wealthy southern spinster, shunned by her community for the grisly murder of her intended some 40 years prior. De Havilland plays her Cousin Miriam, a perfectly lovely southern bell dripping with charm, who intends to have Charlotte committed for her strange and reclusive behavior. But, is Charlotte insane? Or is someone eager to help Charlotte across the threshold of insanity? This macabre suspense drama features an impressive supporting cast including Bette Davis, Joseph Cotton, Cecil Kellaway, Agnes Moorehead, Mary Astor and Bruce Dern.

Saturday, June 24 at 7:30 p.m. the LACMA presents two films with different aspects to mental illness. First up is The Snake Pit. This film follows the devastating descent of a woman as she falls deep into the world of mental illness. Olivia de Havilland (in another Oscar nominated performance) is a disturbed young woman whose husband places her in a mental institution where she witnesses the horrid treatment of other patients, while receiving help from an understanding psychiatrist. The second film, Light in the Piazza, follows de Havilland as a sympathetic mother who hides a family secret as she watches the budding romance between her daughter and a local Florentine. When the father believes their daughter must be committed to a mental institution, the mother chooses to pursue any chance to give their daughter the opportunity for a full and happy life.

Tuesday, June 27 at 1 p.m. They Died with Their Boots On. $2 Tuesday Matinee! $1.00 for seniors. While lacking in historical accuracy, Raoul Walsh’s 1941 depiction of Custer’s Last Stand makes for a rousing adventure. Errol Flynn shines as the dashing, headstrong general, shown from his West Point and Civil War days to the fateful battle of Little Big Horn. Olivia de Havilland is his supportive and loving wife. Anthony Quinn also stars as Native American Crazy Horse.

Saturday, July 1 at 7:30 p.m. Gone with the Wind. If you don’t already know about this film then you’ve been hiding under a rock. This recipient of 10 Academy Awards stars Vivien Leigh as the coquettish Southern belle Scarlett O’Hara, and Clark Gable as the gambler-rogue Rhett Butler. Undoubtedly one of the best-loved films of all time, Olivia de Havilland was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her genuine portrayal of the admirable Melanie. Leslie Howard and Oscar Winner Hattie McDaniel co-star in this epic of love and loyalty in the Civil War South.

For tickets and parking information, please call (323) 857-6010 or visit www.lacma.org.

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