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Classic Film: A Thousand Acres (1997, 105 min)
October 28, 2014
7:00 pm

A modernized version of Shakespeare's King Lear, this film is based on Jane Smiley's novel about an aging farmer and his three daughters. The Lear-like farmer, Larry Cook (Jason Robards), decides to divide up his thousand-acre farm among his three daughters, but he disinherits his youngest, Caroline (Jennifer Jason Leigh) when she expresses hesitancy. The other sisters, Ginny (Jessica Lange) and Rose (Michelle Pfeiffer), take up the offer, even though they were mistreated by their father as children. They also take up romantically with the hippie son of a neighboring farmer, Jess Clark (Colin Firth). A widely acclaimed film about silence and betrayal ... rivalry and revenge. The film is being shown as part of the Friends of the Cranford Public Library's celebration of the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare's birth. The celebration will also feature a lecture on October 16. For more information about the lecture, click on the Website link to the left and then click on "Spoken Word."
Classic Film: Cat Ballou (1965, 97 min)
November 04, 2014
7:00 pm
Cat Ballou is a marvelous spoof of Westerns, a precursor to the likes of Blazing Saddles, Wild Wild West and other send-ups of the genre. Lee Marvin won an Academy Award -- a rare nod for a comedy performance -- for his roles as a drunken gunman and his evil twin. Jane Fonda plays the 1900s-era prim schoolmarm Catherine Ballou who is returning to her hometown of Wolf City, Wyoming, after receiving an Eastern education. She portrays her character with sass and vinegar - it's among her best work. What also sets the film apart is the hilarious running ballad which ties together the narrative, using Nat King Cole and Stubby Kaye as a cowpoke Greek chorus. This is a one-of-a-kind comic classic, thanks to the sure hand of director Eliot Silverstein.—All Movie
November 11, 2014
Classic Film: Mystery Street (1950, 93 min)
November 18, 2014
7:00 pm
Blonde good-time girl Vivian, who lives in a cheap rooming house in a working-class section of Boston, run by a nosy and neurotic landlady, goes out one night after a phone conversation with her boyfriend, proclaiming that she's got big plans and might even move to a nicer place. After putting in her shift as a waitress at a cheap dive, she latches onto an innocently drunk patron, who's trying to wash away his sadness. She uses Henry's car with him in tow to drive out to Cape Cod, then strands him on foot and meets her boyfriend – and the mystery begins. Six months later, enter Lt. Peter Morales – his investigation is the basis for the first Hollywood film to use forensic pathology as the basis for a crime story set in postwar America.—All Movie.
Classic Film: Rebecca (1940, 130 min)
November 25, 2014
7:00 pm
Joan Fontaine plays the unnamed narrator, a young woman who works as a companion to the well-to-do Mrs. Van Hopper. She meets the wealthy widower Maxim de Winter (Laurence Olivier) in Monte Carlo, where they fall in love and get married. Maxim takes his new bride to Manderlay, a large country estate in Cornwall. However, the mansion's many servants refuse to accept her as the new lady of the house. They seem to be loyal to Maxim's first wife, Rebecca, who died under mysterious circumstances. Particularly cruel to her is the prim housekeeper Mrs. Danvers, who is obsessed with Rebecca. The new Mrs. de Winter is nearly driven to madness as she begins to doubt her relationship with her husband and the presence of Rebecca starts to haunt her.—All Movie
Classic Film: The Grapes of Wrath (1940, 129 min)
December 02, 2014
7:00 pm
The adaptation of Nobel Prize-winner John Steinbeck's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of dirt-poor Dust Bowl migrants stars Henry Fonda as Tom Joad, who opens the movie returning to his Oklahoma home after serving jail time. En route, Tom meets family friend Casey, a former preacher who warns Tom that dust storms, crop failures, and new agricultural methods have financially decimated the once prosperous Oklahoma farmland. Upon arriving home, Tom is greeted by his mother, who tells him that the family is packing up for the "promised land" of California. Warned that they shouldn't expect a warm welcome in California, the Joads push on all the same – and meet with the great hardships of the times.
Classic Film: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981, 115 min)
December 09, 2014
7:00 pm
In this classic good vs evil story, renowned archeologist and expert in the occult, Dr. Indiana Jones, is hired by the U.S. Government to find the Ark of the Covenant, which is believed to still hold the Ten Commandments. Unfortunately, agents of Hitler are also after the Ark. Indy, and his ex-flame Marion, escape from various close scrapes in a quest that takes them from Nepal to Cairo. An homage to the glory days of Saturday matinee adventure serials and back-lot B-movies, Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of the most unabashedly enjoyable cinematic events of the 1980s. The original film sparked waves of interest in old 1930s style cliffhanger serials, leading to two sequel films, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1985) and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989).--AllMovie
Classic Film: Some Like It Hot (1959, 120 min)
December 16, 2014
7:00 pm
In this classic comedy, musicians Joe (Tony Curtis) and Jerry (Jack Lemmon) lose their jobs when a speakeasy owned by mob boss Spats is raided by a prohibition agent. Several weeks later, on February 14th, Joe and Jerry get a job but end up witnessing a gangland massacre in a parking garage. Fearing that they will be next on the mobsters' hit lists, Joe devises an ingenious plan for disguising their identities. Soon they are all dolled up and performing as Josephine and Daphne in Sweet Sue's all-girl orchestra. En route to Florida with the band, they meet Sue's lead singer Sugar Kane (Marilyn Monroe, in what may be her best performance). Joe and Jerry immediately fall in love, though of course their new feminine identities prevent them from acting on their desires. Still, they are determined to woo her, and they enact an elaborate series of gender-bending ruses complicated by the fact that a flirtatious millionaire has fallen in love with one of the boys/girls.—All Movie
Classic Film: A Christmas Carol (1951, 86 min)
December 23, 2014
7:00 pm
Widely considered to be the definitive of the many film versions of Charles Dickens' classic novel is this British adaptation, starring Alastair Sim. Sim plays Ebenezer Scrooge, a London miser who, despite his wealth, refuses to make charitable contributions and treats his sole employee, Bob Cratchit, as an indentured servant. On Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his late business partner, Jacob Marley, who was as selfish as Scrooge in life and has been condemned to an eternity of wandering the Earth in shackles. Marley informs Scrooge that he's to receive a trio of spirits that night who will take him on a journey through Christmases Past, Present, and Yet to Come. –All Movie
Classic Film: Sweet Smell of Success (1957, 96 min)
December 30, 2014
7:00 pm
Burt Lancaster stars as ruthless columnist J. J. Hunsecker, a thinly disguised characterization of real life columnist Walter Winchell, who wields his power like a club, steamrolling friends and enemies alike. Tony Curtis co-stars as Sidney Falco, an obsequious press agent who would sell his grandmother to get an item into Hunsecker's popular newspaper column, sucking in the sweet smell of success. Hunsecker enlists Falco's aid in ruining the reputation of jazz guitarist Steve Dallas, who has had the temerity to court Hunsecker's sister Susan. The real Walter Winchell, no longer as powerful as he'd been in the 1940s but still a man to be reckoned with, went after Ernest Lehman with both barrels upon the release of Sweet Smell of Success.--All Movie

For more information about these films, visit the Rovi Movie Guide ( or the Internet Movie Database (

Above Films will be shown in the Audio-Visual Room at the Cranford Community Center (220 Walnut Avenue). Free admission. All are welcome. Wheel-chair accessible. Sponsored by the Friends of the Cranford Public Library.

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