Most films produced in Technicolor during the late 1930s and early '40s were musicals, historical epics or period melodramas — but that all changed with 1945's juicy psychological thriller "Leave Her to Heaven." Leon Shamroy won a cinematography Oscar for the film, which screens Friday at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Samuel Goldwyn Theater in a new print restored by 20th Century Fox and the Academy Film Archive. Based on the book by Ben Ames Williams, "Heaven" features Gene Tierney in her only Oscar-nominated performance as a rich, spoiled woman who loves too much, especially her handsome writer husband (Cornel Wilde).
In other film academy programming, the Great to Be Nominated series opens its fourth installment Monday with the 30th-anniversary screening of "Star Wars." The series highlights a film from each Academy Award year that received the most nominations without winning best picture. ("Star Wars" got 10 nods for 1977 as well as receiving a special achievement award for special effects, but lost to "Annie Hall" for the top award.)
That same year, "Julia" was nominated for 11 Oscars — and it will screen Tuesday. Fred Zinnemann directed this lovely adaptation of Lillian Hellman's memoir about reuniting with her childhood friend in Nazi-occupied Europe. Jane Fonda stars as Hellman; Vanessa Redgrave won the supporting actress Oscar as Julia, and Jason Robards picked up the supporting actor Oscar as Hellman's lover.
Next weekend, the academy starts a new screening series — Sound, Camera, Action! — highlighting achievement in motion picture sound. "Grand Prix," John Frankenheimer's 1966 auto racing spectacular, kicks it off April 28 at the Linwood Dunn Theater, with the premiere of a new 70-millimeter print. On tap the next day are "The French Connection" and "Jaws."
Noir still swingingThe American Cinematheque continues its film noir series at the Egyptian Theatre on Friday with a two-fisted bill from maverick director Sam Fuller. Glenn Corbett and James Shigeta headline 1959's wild and wooly "The Crimson Kimono" as two cops lurking through the dark streets of the City of Angels for a stripper's killer. Even better is 1953's "Pickup on South Street," starring tough guy Richard Widmark as a pickpocket who accidentally lifts stolen military microfilm from the mistress of a Communist spy.
Film historian Leonard Maltin will be on hand for Sunday's double bill. First up is 1948's seminal noir "He Walked by Night," starring Richard Basehart as a maniacal loner who uses his knowledge of electronics to commit robbery and murder. Scott Brady and Jack Webb play the cops on his tail; Webb was inspired to create "Dragnet" after making the film. Next is the 1950 rarity "The Killer That Stalked New York," about a woman smuggling jewels from Cuba to New York City who doesn't know she also has smallpox.
Scheduled for next Thursday is 1948's "Pitfall," starring musical comedy star turned noir tough guy Dick Powell as a married insurance investigator who realizes too late that he's made a big mistake when he enters into an affair with a model. Rounding out the bill is 1947's "A Double Life," starring Ronald Colman in his Oscar-winning performance as a stage actor known for becoming obsessed with his characters. But his obsessions turn to murder when he plays "Othello."
Note: At the Aero Theater on Wednesday, the Cinematheque is throwing a 90th birthday party for two-time Oscar-nominated writer-director-producer Melville Shavelson ("Houseboat," "The Seven Little Foys," "The Five Pennies," "It Started in Naples""). After a screening of his 1968 hit "Yours, Mine and Ours," Shavelson will discuss his career. (323) 466-3456.
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