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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
Classic Film: Cool Hand Luke (1967, 126 min)
January 06, 2015
7:00 pm
Paul Newman was nominated for an Oscar and George Kennedy received one for his work in this allegorical prison drama. Luke Jackson (Paul Newman) is sentenced to a stretch on a southern chain gang after he's arrested for drunkenly decapitating parking meters. While the avowed ambition of the captain is for each prisoner to "get their mind right," it soon becomes obvious that Luke is not about to kowtow to anybody. When challenged to a fistfight by a fellow, Luke simply refuses to give up, even though he's brutally beaten. Soon, Luke becomes a symbol of hope and resilience to the other men in the prison camp-and a symbol of rebelliousness that must be stamped out to the guards and the captain.—All Movie
International Film: Ilo Ilo (Singapore, 2013, 99 minutes)
January 12, 2015
2:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m.
A troubled Singaporean family strives to adapt to life with their new maid, whose presence unexpectedly plunges the household into disarray during the onset of the 1997 Asian financial crisis. Middle class parents Heck and Leng are preparing to welcome their second child when they hire Filipino immigrant Teresa to manage their household and look after their unruly son Jiale. Surprisingly, after something of a rocky start to their relationship, Teresa and Jiale manage to find a common ground. Just as Teresa and her young charge begin to bond, however, the looming financial meltdown threatens to change everything.—All Movie
Classic Film: Rear Window (1954, 112 min)
January 13, 2015
7:00 pm
Laid up with a broken leg, photojournalist L.B. Jeffries (James Stewart) is confined to his tiny, sweltering courtyard apartment. To pass the time between visits from his nurse and his fashion model girlfriend Lisa, the binocular-wielding Jeffries stares through the rear window of his apartment at the goings-on in the other apartments around his courtyard. As he watches his neighbors, he assigns them such roles and character names. Of particular interest is seemingly mild-mannered traveling salesman Lars Thorwald, who is saddled with a nagging, invalid wife. One afternoon, Thorwald pulls down his window shade, and his wife's incessant bray comes to a sudden halt. Out of boredom, Jeffries casually concocts a scenario in which Thorwald has murdered his wife and disposed of the body in gruesome fashion. Trouble is, Jeffries' musings just might happen to be the truth.—All Movie
Classic Film: Mutiny on the Bounty (1935, 132 min)
January 20, 2015
7:00 pm
Clark Gable stars as Fletcher Christian, first mate of the infamous HMS Bounty, skippered by Captain William Bligh (Charles Laughton), the cruelest taskmaster on the Seven Seas. Bligh's villainy knows no bounds; Christian despises Bligh and is sailing on the Bounty under protest. During the journey back to England, Bligh's cruelties become more than Christian can bear; and after the captain indirectly causes the death of the ship's doctor, the crew stages a mutiny, with Christian in charge. The movie struck gold at the box office, won the Academy Award for Best Picture Oscar, and was nominated for seven more.—All Movie
Classic Film: Citizen Kane (1941, 119 min)
January 27, 2015
7:00 pm
Orson Welles’ first feature film proved to be his most important and influential work, a ground-breaking drama loosely based on the life of William Randolph Hearst which is frequently cited as the finest American film ever made. Aging newspaper magnate Charles Foster Kane (Orson Welles) dies in his sprawling Florida estate after uttering a single, enigmatic final word -- "Rosebud" -- and reporter Jerry Thompson is sent out with the assignment of uncovering the meaning behind the great man's dying thought. As Thompson interviews Kane's friends, family, and associates, we learn the facts of Kane's eventful and ultimately tragic life. Citizen Kane is a film full of distinguished debuts -- along with Welles, it was the first feature for Joseph Cotten, Everett Sloane, Ray Collins, Agnes Moorehead, and Ruth Warrick.—All Movie
Documentary: Hands on a Hard Body (1997, 95 minutes)
February 02, 2015
2:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m.
This humorous documentary captures contestants in a 1995 competition held annually in a Longview, Texas, car dealership parking lot. A brand new Nissan pickup truck is the prize won by the person who can keep a gloved hand held against the truck for the longest period of time (with a 15-minute break every six hours and a five-minute break every hour). Six contestants drop out during the first 24 hours, with only two contestants still standing by the 70th hour.—All Movie
Classic Film: The Gold Rush (1925, 85 min)
February 03, 2015
7:00 pm
Called "The Lone Prospector" in The Gold Rush, Charlie Chaplin is a most unlikely participant in the 1898 Yukon gold rush. Charlie finds himself sharing a remote cabin with two much larger and more menacing-looking prospectors: Big Jim McKay and Black Larsen. Big Jim isn't really a bad sort, but Larsen is a murderer and thief. When the food supply runs out, Larsen heads out in the snowy wastes to hunt, leaving Charlie to prepare a delicious Thanksgiving dinner for Big Jim, consisting of roasted shoe. The days pass: in a delirium, Big Jim imagines that Charlie is a huge chicken, and voraciously takes after him with an axe; Charlie saves himself by inadvertently shooting a bear, thereby providing enough food for ten men. When the winds subside, Charlie and Big Jim part company. Heading off to seek his fortune, Charlie falls in love, from afar, with self-reliant saloon girl Georgia, who doesn't know that he exists, with much misadventures to follow. The film he said he wanted to be remembered by, Chaplin's masterwork seamlessly combines humor and tragedy as his refined and compassionate little tramp struggles to strike gold.—All Movie
International Film: Ida (Poland, 2013, 80 minutes)
February 09, 2015
2:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m.
In this drama set in 1960s Poland, an orphaned teenager planning to become a nun visits her aunt. When she learns that her birth parents were Jews who were killed during the Holocaust, she sets off on a journey of self-discovery.—All Movie
Classic Film: The Asphalt Jungle (1950, 112 min)
February 10, 2015
7:00 pm
The Asphalt Jungle is a brilliantly conceived and executed anatomy of a crime -- or, as director John Huston and scripter Ben Maddow put it, "a left-handed form of human endeavor." Recently paroled master criminal Erwin "Doc" Riedenschneider, with funding from a crooked attorney, gathers several crooks together in Cincinnati for a Big Caper. After a while, the meticulously planned crime falls apart with the inevitability of a Greek tragedy. The Asphalt Jungle was one of the first caper films to show a crime and its consequences from the criminals' point of view. The Asphalt Jungle was based on a novel by the prolific W.R. Burnett.—All Movie
Classic Film: Grand Hotel (1932, 112 min)
February 17, 2015
7:00 pm
Based on Vicki Baum's novel and produced by Irving Thalberg, this film is about the lavish Grand Hotel in Berlin, a place where "nothing ever happens." That statement proves to be false, however, as the story follows an intertwining cast of characters over the course of one tumultuous day. Greta Garbo is Grusinskaya, a ballerina whose jewels are coveted by Baron von Geigern (John Barrymore), a thief who fancies Flaemmchen (Joan Crawford), a stenographer and the mistress of Preysing (Wallace Beery), businessman boss of Kringelein (Lionel Barrymore), a terminally ill bookkeeper who is under the care of alcoholic physician Dr. Otternschlag (Lewis Stone). Grand Hotel won Best Picture at the 1932 Academy Awards.–All Movie
Classic Film: The Big Trail (1930, 110 min)
February 24, 2015
7:00 pm
The first major sound Western, The Big Trail is also one of the greatest of the early talkies. The Big Trail is motivated by a hero's search for the murderer of his father. John Wayne, hitherto limited to bit parts, was thrust into the difficult leading role, a young mountaineer put in charge of a huge California-bound wagon train. Over the next several months, Wayne and his fellow pioneers face every imaginable hazard and disaster, from blistering desert heat to blinding snowstorms, negotiating steep cliffs, treacherous rivers, uncharted forests and other such natural obstacles. Meanwhile, Wayne's tentative romance with heroine Ruth Cameron is continually thwarted by a charming but duplicitous gambler, while all-around villain Red Flack and his henchman Lopez ceaselessly plot to double-cross the other wagon-trainers for their own financial gain.—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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