Programmed by Antonia Glaser
Few directors have inspired as deafening a chorus of both acclaim and criticism as Elia Kazan. Despite a career polarized by his controversial testimony before HUAC in 1952, it was indebted to the brazen steps of his artistry that such celebrated talents as Marlon Brando, James Dean, Eva Marie Saint, Karl Malden, Julie Harris, Warren Beatty, and many others were thrust into the awe-inspiring spotlight of American cinema. Known as an "actor's director," Kazan notably co-founded the famed Actors Studio in 1947, where soon-to-be-iconic actors were provided a basis and formal training in method acting - techniques developed from Stanislavski's famous systematic approach that sought to cultivate an "art of experiencing" in contrast to the "art of representation," as defined by the seminal Russian theatre practitioner Konstantin Stanislavski himself. With the intent being to encourage emotionally expressive and sincere performances, method acting would take to the fore in Kazan's Actors Studio and find its success through the iconic characters memorialized in his cinema. Moreover, Kazan's work served to provide a ministry for interpretative distinction, serving as a medium for the stories of respected novelists and playwrights such as Tennessee Williams, John Steinbeck, William Inge, Budd Schulberg, and Harold Pinter. Called "without question, the best director we have in America" by Stanley Kubrick, Kazan is considered by many filmmakers and critics to have been one of the most prolific and influential directors of his time. This series is comprised of many of the works that would come to define American cinema.
(Elia Kazan, 1945) · Based on the novel by Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn centers on a turn-of-the-century Brooklyn tenement family. Francis Nolan is the daughter of a likable but irresponsible alcoholic (James Dunn) whose dreams of improving his family's lot never come to fruition, and a headstrong matriarch (Dorothy McGuire) who holds the family together. This debut displays the immense promise that Kazan would go on to realize in the rest of his career.
runtime: 129m format: DCP
(Elia Kazan, 1947) · Gentleman's Agreement was received as a courageously scathing assault on anti-Semitism. Gregory Peck plays a journalist posing as a Jewish man to experience and expose discrimination. Dorothy McGuire plays his fiancée, who dislikes the difficulty this brings but lacks the courage to stand up to prejudice. Nominated for eight Oscars, and winning Best Picture, Director, and Supporting Actress, the film's success marked Kazan as one of Hollywood's leading directors.
runtime: 118m format: DCP
(Elia Kazan, 1951) · Best known for her turn as Scarlett O'Hara, Vivien Leigh shines just as brightly here as the fading and delusional Southern belle Blache DuBois, in the definitive adaptation of Tennesee Wiliiams' iconic play. Informed by her own struggles with bipolar disorder, Leigh's rendition of Blanche is bracing in its realism. Opposite her is Marlon Brando as the brutish Stanley Kowalski, in a portrayal that earned him the first of four consecutive Best Actor nominations.
runtime: 122m format: 35mm
(Elia Kazan, 1954) · Marlon Brando delivers perhaps the greatest film performance of all time as the tender-hearted, pigeon-loving dock worker Terry Malloy, whose lawyer brother Charlie (Rod Steiger) is the mouthpiece for a crooked waterfront union. In the film's most famous scene, as Terry pours out his anguish to his conflicted brother - "You don't understand! I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody." - Brando achieves the pinnacle of the movie actor's art.
runtime: 108m format: 35mm
(Elia Kazan, 1955) · East of Eden reimagines the story of Cain and Abel in a California mining town during the Great War. James Dean stars as Cal, a dreamy young man tormented by inadequacy: his devoutly religious father adores his brother Aron, but treats Cal with only disdain. When Cal falls in love with Aron's girlfriend Abra, the family is stretched to a breaking point. Kazan breathes new life into this ancient story, brimming with angst and longing, in this masterful Technicolor melodrama.
runtime: 118m format: 35mm
(Elia Kazan, 1956) · In Elia Kazan's throbbing Tennessee Williams adaptation, carnal desires boil over in sun-baked rural Mississippi. Carroll Baker's callow child-bride is at the center of a psychosexual cyclone that pits her cotton farmer husband (Karl Malden) against a smooth-talking Sicilian (Eli Wallach). The story's explosive eroticism set off a storm of protest from moral watchdogs, with Time declaring it "possibly the dirtiest American picture ever legally exhibited."
runtime: 114m format: 35mm
(Elia Kazan, 1957) · Andy Griffith stars in this rags-to-riches tale of Lonesome Rhodes, a charming entertainer-turned-political advisor. He starts off as a hopeless drunk, strumming his guitar in the local jail, when he's suddenly discovered by a public radio producer (Patricia Neal) searching for "the voice of the people." But as his popularity grows, Lonesome discovers his real talent as a savvy capitalist intelligence, displaying the (topical) dangers of mixing showbiz with politics.
runtime: 126m format: 35mm
(Elia Kazan, 1960) · One of the crowning achievements of both Kazan and actor Montgomery Clift, Wild River charted new territory for cinema with its combination of psychology, eroticism, realism, and exquisite pictorial beauty within the CinemaScope frame. A young federal administrator (Clift) arrives in the small town of Garthville to convince an elderly landowner to sell her land to the government. Soon after, he's embroiled in conflicts, both personal and societal.
runtime: 110m format: 35mm
(Elia Kazan, 1950) · Elia Kazan's first film of the 1950s, Panic in the Streets is the tension-filled story of a manhunt for a gang of criminals who are unaware that they are carriers of an infectious plague. Set on the docks of New Orleans, this fast-paced, on-the-streets thriller draws from the storied lineages of post-war German Expressionism and Italian Neorealism, and features powerful performances by the likes of Richard Widmark, Jack Palance, and Zero Mostel.
runtime: 96m format: 35mm
(Elia Kazan, 1976) · Kazan and writer Harold Pinter resurrect F. Scott Fitzgerald's final, unfinished novel. Robert De Niro plays a workaholic 1930s movie producer who has the power to create wonderful love stories, yet when it comes to his own seems trapped by the past, falling for a young actress who resembles his dead wife. With tragedy virtually guaranteed, Kazan assembles a star-studded cast, including Jack Nicholson, Anjelica Huston, Jeanne Moreau, Robert Mitchum, Dana Andrews, Tony Curtis, and Ray Milland.
runtime: 123m format: DCP