Dietrich. Lubitsch. Marshall. What’s Not to Like?

Angel This Wednesday at the Portage in 35mm

The Portage Theater – 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave – 7:30 – $5.00 per ticket
For the full schedule of classic film screenings at the Portage, please click here.

April 11
Directed by Ernst Lubitsch • 1937
“You really let all Europe wait just to find out if a woman is a brunette?” Marlene Dietrich, in the final film on her Paramount contract, stars as the continent-hopping wife of statesman Herbert Marshall. Their marriage is contented and unquarrelsome until she spends an afternoon in the Paris salon of a celebrated Russian émigré and falls for Englishman Melvyn Douglas, who knows her only as “Angel.” Torn between an affair with a man she hardly knows and the frustrating status quo with a husband more attentive to Yugoslavia’s problems than her own, Dietrich must improvise a tidy end to an untidy love triangle. Mysteriously neglected, despite Lubitsch, Dietrich, Marshall, and screenwriter Samson Raphaelson all in top form, Angel is a wise and observant film about bedroom diplomacy and the negotiation at the heart of all marriages. (KW)
91 min • Paramount Pictures • 35mm from Universal
Cartoon: Popeye in “For Better or for Worser” (Dave Fleischer, 1935) – 16mm


Take note: a truly Titanic screening is coming to the Portage this Sunday!

Titanic Centennial
Sunday, April 15 @ 7:30
Directed by Roy Ward Baker • 1958
No film record exists of the Titanic’s launch or, needless to say, of its sinking. The 1912 tragedy was instantly, insistently commemorated in popular culture—the ultimate topical subject, with folk songs like “When That Great Ship Went Down” establishing the facts and moral lessons for decades to come. The culture itself recognized a void—a scientific death sentence beyond imagination—and strove to claim it. The 1955 publication of advertising copywriter Walter Lord’s book A Night to Remember set a new standard in popular history, with accounts from over sixty survivors and reams of original research brought to bear upon meticulous documentary reportage. The same factual aesthetic is imported to cinema with notable seriousness-of-purpose in the 1958 version, which plays like a feature-length remembrance. (Might we suggest Paul Greengrass’s United 93 as a modern parallel?) Producer William MacQuitty had witnessed the Titanic’s launch as a boy of six, and A Night to Remember indeed assumes that the audience has considerable personal feelings wrapped up in the event. Though it includes a few composite characters, A Night to Remember recreates the tragedy with uncommon accuracy and vigor; the narrative focus is diffuse and democratic, though quick and moving portraits of second mate Charles Lightoller (Kenneth More) and Titanic designer Thomas Andrews (Michael Goodliffe) emerge. Obviously studied by James Cameron in preparation for his canonical 1997 version, A Night to Remember remains a fitting and moving commemoration of the now century-old event. (RH)
123 min • The Rank Organisation • 35mm from MGM
Short: Original 35mm trailer for Titanic (1997, James Cameron)

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