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Saturday, December 10

12:30   4:25   8:20

2:20   6:15   10:10

DOUBLE FEATURE: Two films for one admission. Tickets purchased entitle patrons to stay and see the following film at no additional charge.


(1933, Lloyd Bacon) Running-on-nerves director Warner Baxter gives the pep talk to understudy Ruby Keeler after temperamental star Bebe Daniels breaks that ankle. With three of Berkeley’s most iconic numbers. 35mm print preserved by Library of Congress. Approx. 90 mins.
12:30, 4:25, 8:20

“Invariably entertaining! An excellent example of stagecraft! The liveliest and one of the most tuneful screen musical comedies that has come out of Hollywood […], a film which reveals the forward strides made in this particular medium since the first screen musical features came to Broadway.”
– M.H., The New York Times

“The artistry of Berkeley remains one of the wonders of the cinema. Few filmmakers have such an instantly recognizable style. […] It’s worth celebrating his work today for its manifestly ecstatic surfaces as well as for its secretly pithy substance.”
– Richard Brody, The New Yorker

“Reviving the musical's fortunes in one fell swoop, Bacon and Busby Berkeley's backstage saga set the benchmark for the putting-on-a-show subgenre not by means of plot […] but through sassy songs and dialogue and dazzling mise-en-scène….Berkeley choreographs chorines and camera with mischievous dexterity.”
– Geoff Andrew, Time Out (London)

“A GRAND AND GLORIOUS MOVIE! Berkeley also conceived the storylines that gave his numbers coherence and momentum […] shooting the numbers that would cement his reputation as an innovator. Moviegoers had never seen anything like it before.”
– Leonard Maltin, Indiewire

“The primary source of the backstage musical clichés!”
– Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader


(1943, Busby Berkeley) The most outrageously Technicolored Technicolor movie ever, as “Lady in the Tutti-Frutti Hat” Carmen Miranda wearing history’s most enormous fruit basket, sashays between a line of sixty chorines wielding humongous bananas; Alice Faye caresses her lover’s pipe; Benny Goodman swings. Plot? Who cares! DCP. Approx. 105 mins.
2:20, 6:15, 10:10

“[A] FRUITY MASTERPIECE… coyly un-censorable.”
- Farran Smith Nehme, The Village Voice 

“Berkeley’s own special brand of kaleidoscopic fantasy, turned into psychedelic surrealism by the electric red and greens of 20th Century Fox’s color processing. Those who consider Berkeley a master consider this his masterpiece. It is his maddest film: chorus girls dissolve into artichokes; there’s a banana xylophone; and Carmen Miranda appears in platform wedges on an avenue of giant strawberries.”
– Pauline Kael

“The gaudy palette of Busby Berkeley’s vertiginous Technicolor musical, from 1943, inspired the director’s most extravagant visual inventions […] Berkeley’s virtuosity is more than ornamental. He is, in effect, a sociobiologist, whose production numbers connect social behavior to instinctual drives—sometimes gloriously blatantly, as in a famous scene with giant bananas. In the finale, the characters kaleidoscopically dissolve into an erotic whirl of color, presenting personality as merely the human face of inhuman forces. The blend of patriotic sentiment and ecstatic frenzy suggests that the freedom for which Sergeant Mason and his cohorts fight is, above all, sexual.”
– Richard Brody, The New Yorker

“Busby Berkeley’s most audacious film (1943)—an exploration of the possibilities of movement and color that moves into the realm of pure abstraction. The sexual symbolism is at its most blatant (what can you say about a film that features 60 girls waving gigantic bananas?), and Berkeley’s tendency to disembody reaches its apotheosis when the heads of all the principals float about on a field of amber and gold.”
– Don Druker, Chicago Reader

“For Berkeley, one of the oddest and most original talents to work in Hollywood, every movie is about the creation of a universe – his own…A free-floating dream world, where space can expand and contract at will; human figures arrange themselves into complex geometric patterns; and a constantly moving camera finds ever more bizarre and vertiginous angles on the action…He defied the audience to suspend disbelief and enter into a dream world of his own mad devising.”
– Dave Kehr, The New York Times

“Mainly made up of Busby Berkeley’s paroxysmic production numbers, which amuse me a good deal. There is one routine with giant papier-mache bananas, cutting to thighs, then feet, then rows of toes, which deserves to survive in every case-book of blatant film surreptition for the next century.”
– James Agee (1943)

“Like a male hairdresser’s acid trip.”
– The Movie Guide

“Some sort of apotheosis in vulgarity.”
– Time Out, London

“So blindingly opulent it defies description.”
– San Francisco Examiner

“A THRILLINGLY CRAZED CONCOCTION! No jaw left undropped, eh, Busb?
– Keith Uhlich

Film Forum