Irving Thalberg Films at Egyptian

HOLLYWOOD EVENTS

 A day of Irving Thalberg at the Egyptian

 

egyptian1

  

In collaboration with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences exhibit “Irving Thalberg: Creating the Hollywood Studio System, 1920 – 1936

 

Co-Presented with the Art Deco Society of Los Angeles

 

AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE

Grauman’s Egyptian Theater

Sunday, November 22, 2009

2 pm

presents

 

Author and Thalberg expert Mark Vieira will present a 40 minute illustrated lecture on Irving G. Thalberg prior to the double feature of pre-code features. Ben-Hur, Flesh and the Devil, Tarzan the Ape Man, Grand Hotel, Mutiny on the Bounty, A Night at the Opera, The Good Earth—most filmgoers even today have heard of these Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer classics from the 1920s and 1930s, not to mention the remakes they spawned. Yet few know the name of the young genius behind these masterworks, Irving G. Thalberg. Nicknamed the “Boy Wonder,” Thalberg was running Universal Pictures at the age of twenty and M-G-M at twenty-three. Thirteen years later, he was dead. During that brief span, from 1924 to 1936, he supervised more than four hundred M-G-M films; made stars of, among others, Norma Shearer (whom he married), Jean Harlow, Clark Gable, Joan Crawford, Lon Chaney, and Greta Garbo; gave Hollywood careers to stage legends from Helen Hayes to the Barrymores; and elevated film to the level of fine art. This groundbreaking new book tells the story of Thalberg’s short but productive life and confirms his role as the prime architect of the Hollywood studio system.

 

That Thalberg was a cinematic genius is undisputed. It was he who pioneered many of today’s filmmaking practices, including story conferences, sneak previews, and the resulting retakes. Indeed, it is not every year that the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award is presented by the Academy, but only when the Academy’s Board of Directors wishes to honor a special producer, one whose work reflects “a consistently high quality of motion picture production.”

 

Thalberg Pre-Code Double Feature – Not on DVD:

 

SKYSCRAPER SOULS, 1932, Warner Bros., 99 min. Dir. Edgar Selwyn. This pre-code gem is a surprisingly modern treatise on sex and money: Warren William plays a married skyscraper magnate who sleeps with his secretary (Maureen O’Sullivan), while another suitor (Norman Foster) tries to win her heart. Look for future gossip columnist Hedda Hopper as William’s wife! With Art Deco sets by Art Director Cedric Gibbons.

 

FAITHLESS, 1932, Warner Bros., 88 min. Dir. Harry Beaumont. Tallulah Bankhead plays Carol Morgan, a spoiled young woman whose father’s fortune is wiped out by the depression. She refuses to accept reality, however, and refuses to accept the love of middle-class suitor Robert Montgomery, who’s baffled by the way she prioritizes money over romance.

 

Hosted by Mark A. Vieira, author of Hollywood Dreams Made Real and Irving Thalberg. Book signing with both Vieira’s Thalberg books at 4:30 PM in the lobby (between films). Reception before the program from 12:30 – 1:30 PM at Larry Edmund’s Book Store just east of the Egyptian at 6644 Hollywood Boulevard.

 

The major gallery exhibit at the Academy features photographs, documents, poster art, props and costumes from many of the famed motion pictures overseen by Hollywood’s original “Boy Wonder.” Exhibit curated by Mark Vieira is open through December 13th. Free admission. www.oscars.org

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