Kick off 2018 w/ Curtiz, Casablanca & Alan K. Rode at the Billy Wilder Theater!

HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone!

FRIDAY & SATURDAY-January 5th & 6th-6:30/movies 7:30 pm-Billy Wilder Theater (Hammer Museum) 10899 Wilshire Blvd.

Here at the L.E.B. we are ready to kick off 2018 (our 80th Anniversary) at the Billy Wilder Theater w/ the launch of the “Michael Curtiz: A Life In Film” series.  The LARE will once again join film scholar Alan K. Rode (who held his book launch here in November) who will sign copies of Michael Curtiz: A Life in Film at 6:30 p.m on both Friday, the 5th & Saturday, the 6th. Join us for an all time classic on the big screen & some pre-code rarely shown gems as well!



Casablanca (1942) The film that became America’s symbol of what it meant to be on the right side in a world at war. Three quarters of a century later, this most virtuous product of the studio system at its zenith continues to occupy a rarefied firmament of popular culture. Humphrey Bogart’s Rick Blaine and Ingrid Bergman’s Ilsa Lund remain one of cinema’s unforgettable star pairings. A perfect cast includes: Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Sydney Greenstreet, S.Z. Zakall and Peter Lorre. Nominated for five Academy Awards, the film won for the Epstein brothers and Howard Koch’s screenplay and Michael Curtiz’s direction. 35mm, b/w, 102 min.

Kid Galahad (1937) A trio of legendary Warner Bros. stars elevates one of the emblematic examples of the studio’s singular Depression era cinematic style. Edward G. Robinson portrays a tough-as-nails boxing promoter with a heart-of-gold girlfriend (Bette Davis) who vies with a crooked rival (Humphrey Bogart) for control of the heavyweight title using a naive ex-bellhop turned boxer (Wayne Morris). There is plenty of slam-bang action with top-notch support from Harry Carey as a trainer and Jane Bryan as Robinson’s cloistered kid sister. 35mm, b/w, 102 min.


Female (1933) Ruth Chatterton stars as the high-powered and sexually liberated CEO of an automobile company who is romantically waylaid by straight-arrow George Brent. One of the more explicit of the pre-Code films was assigned to three different directors (William Dieterle, William Wellman and Curtiz) and would be denied a reissue certificate by the MPAA due to its lurid content. This seldom-seen gem co-stars Lois Wilson, Johnny Mack Brown and Ruth Donnelly. 35mm, b/w, 60 min. Cast: Ruth Chatterton, George Brent, Lois Wilson, Johnny Mack Brown, Ruth Donnelly.


The Strange Love of Molly Louvain (1932) Pre-Code siren Ann Dvorak owns the title role in this quintessential period parable about a woman being forced into bad choices. A pregnant Molly is jilted by her upper-class boyfriend and hits the road with a low-life grifter (Leslie Fenton). It all goes downhill from there. Based on the play Tinsel Girl by Maurine Watkins (Libeled Lady, Chicago), Curtiz instills a rapid-fire tempo that is complemented by saucy dialogue between Dvorak and avian-voiced newspaper reporter Lee Tracy. Co-starring Richard Cromwell, Guy Kibbee, Frank McHugh and Charles Middleton. 35mm, b/w, 73 min.

About the book : Michael Curtiz: A Life in Film by Alan K. Rode

Academy Award–winning director Michael Curtiz (1886–1962)—whose best-known films include Casablanca (1942), Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942), Mildred Pierce (1945) and White Christmas (1954)—was in many ways the anti-auteur. During his unprecedented twenty-seven year tenure at Warner Bros., he directed swashbuckling adventures, westerns, musicals, war epics, romances, historical dramas, horror films, tearjerkers, melodramas, comedies, and film noir masterpieces. The director’s staggering output of 180 films surpasses that of the legendary John Ford and exceeds the combined total of films directed by George Cukor, Victor Fleming, and Howard Hawks. In the first biography of this colorful, instinctual artist, Alan K. Rode illuminates the life and work of one of the film industry’s most complex figures. He begins by exploring the director’s early life and career in his native Hungary, revealing how Curtiz shaped the earliest days of silent cinema in Europe as he acted in, produced, and directed scores of films before immigrating to the United States in 1926. In Hollywood, Curtiz earned a reputation for his explosive tantrums, his difficulty communicating in English, and his disregard for the well-being of others. However, few directors elicited more memorable portrayals from their casts, and ten different actors delivered Oscar-nominated performances under his direction. In addition to his study of the director’s remarkable legacy, Rode investigates Curtiz’s dramatic personal life, discussing his enduring creative partnership with his wife, screenwriter Bess Meredyth, as well as his numerous affairs and children born of his extramarital relationships. This meticulously researched biography provides a nuanced understanding of one of the most talented filmmakers of Hollywood’s golden age.

Writer and film scholar Alan K. Rode is the author of Charles McGraw: Film Noir Tough Guy. He is the host and producer of the Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival in Palm Springs, California, and director-treasurer of the Film Noir Foundation.

A superbly researched, highly compelling account of one of cinema’s most gifted and underrated directors, Rode provides a vivid description of Curtiz’s personality and working methods. It is difficult if not impossible to imagine a more complete account of his life. — Steven C. Smith, author of A Heart at Fire’s Center: The Life and Music of Bernard Herrmann

Alan K. Rode’s intensely personal biography provides the reader with a complete, well-researched, comprehensive, and critical career study of a brilliant yet complicated artist. A wonderful read and an accurate source for future reference, Michael Curtiz: A Life in Film is thoroughly satisfying, highly intelligent, and a delicious, rich dessert for any serious lover of film and film history. Indulge. — Stephen Michael Shearer, author of Patricia Neal: An Unquiet Life

In Alan K. Rode’s deeply researched and compelling biography, Michael Curtiz gets long overdue recognition as one of the cinema’s greatest storytellers. Casablanca is merely the most renowned of the man’s many masterpieces, and Rode does the director justice by leaving no stone unturned in his examination of Curtiz’s life and career. This book is a significant addition, and at times a valuable corrective, to existing scholarship on Hollywood, the studio system, and the auteur theory. Bravo! — Eddie Muller, author and Turner Classic Movies host


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