Dryden Theatre celebrates Carole Lombard in April

Film series features Twentieth Century, Nothing Sacred, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, and To Be or Not to Be

For Release 2012-03-19

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The Dryden Theatre at George Eastman House celebrates the film career of actress Carole Lombard, with a four-film series in April.

Before Carole Lombard was Carole Lombard, she was Jane Peters, a bit player struggling away in forgettable B pictures until the legendary Mack Sennett cast her as one of his madcap players and helped her develop a keen sense of comic timing. Lombard’s star continued to rise through the early 1930s, but her first big break came in 1934 when Howard Hawks, charmed by her verve at a party, invited her to test for his latest film, Twentieth Century. More than holding her own opposite John Barrymore, the film was a critical and box office smash, and Carole Lombard suddenly, and surprisingly found herself as Hollywood’s new “it” girl.

Luckily for Lombard, her rise to the upper echelon of Hollywood coincided with the development of screwball comedy. Defined by wit, sexiness, and accessibility, this new genre prove to be a perfect fit for Lombard’s talents and screen presence: she was the strikingly pretty, but in a roughhousing, girl-next-door sort of way; she was elegant, but could sling double entendres with the best of them (her real-life nickname was “the profane angel”); and her coming timing was impeccable. She charmed not only all of America, but also a who’s who of Hollywood’s leading men including William Powell and Clark Gable.

Unfortunately, her reign was short-lived: when the United States entered Word War II, Lombard, at the request of new husband Clark Gable, undertook to help him in his new role as chairman of the Hollywood Victory Committee. She toured the country selling war bonds and eager to return home to Gable, she fatefully chartered a plane that crashed in Las Vegas. Her life was cut tragically short at the age of 33, and her final film, To Be or Not to Be, was released posthumously in tribute to her brief but brilliant career.

 

8 p.m. Thursday, April 5            Twentieth Century (Howard Hawks, US 1934, 91 min.)

8 p.m. Thursday, April 12            Nothing Sacred (William A. Wellman, US 1937, 77 min.)

2 p.m. Sunday, April 22            Mr. & Mrs. Smith (Alfred Hitchcock, US 1941, 95 min.)

8 p.m. Thursday, April 26            To Be or Not to Be (Ernst Lubitsch, US 1942, 99 min.)

Admission to each screening is $8 general admission/$6 students. For more information, please visit dryden.eastmanhouse.org or call (585) 271-3361.



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