An adventurous mix of new releases, classics, documentaries and rarely seen subversive comedies, which speak in a variety of ways and styles to our present political and cultural time. Each screening is followed by a conversation with a featured filmmaker or writer.
Gabriel Over The White House
3pm | Sun, Mar 17, 2019 | Pierson High School
Discussion to follow with Bruce Goldstein of Film Forum
MGM released this most bizarre and fascinating pre-code title during the heyday of the Great Depression. Based on a novel by T.F. Tweed, directed by Gregory La Cava and financially backed by William Randolph Hearst (who also contributed with creative input), Gabriel Over The White House tells the story of Judson Hammond (Walter Huston), a recently elected American president and a hack, who responds to the unemployment, hunger, racketeering and foreign debt plaguing the nation with nothing but optimistic banalities. After getting involved in a violent car crash, he awakens from the coma a determined man of action. When he dissolves his entire cabinet as made of “big-business lackeys”, Congress starts impeachment proceedings. To which he reacts with a string of less than democratic measures. After attending a pre-screening of the film, an infuriated Louis B. Mayer intimated to his assistant to “put that picture back in it’s can, take it back to the studio, and lock it up!”. Nevertheless, the film was released a few weeks after Franklin Roosevelt’s inauguration. According to the Library of Congress: “The good news: Hammond reduces unemployment, lifts the country out of Depression, battles gangsters and Congress, and brings about world peace. The bad news: he’s Mussolini.”