Here are some Don’t Miss Events
1936 at the movies
Last night the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute celebrated its 75th anniversary with a gala fundraiser. Heartfelt thanks to all who have contributed so much to this remarkable organization.
If the Institute opened to the public in 1936, what else was going on that year?
Did you happen to see the movie The King’s Speech? It depicts the tumultuous year of 1936 within Britain’s royal family. After King George V died, his oldest child ascended to the throne as Edward VIII but that Mrs. Simpson – so inconveniently twice divorced (!) – captured his imagination as the story goes (but really because the charming couple were Nazi sympathizers), so he abdicated, leaving crown and country to his younger brother, King George VI.
Speaking of the movies, in Hollywood Mutiny on the Bounty, released in 1935, starring Charles Laughton as Captain Bligh and Clark Gable as Fletcher Christian, won the 1936 Academy Award for Best Picture.
The 1930s could be my favorite decade for movies. These are just a handful of other great titles from 1936:
Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times
My Man Godfrey, starring the lovely Carole Lombard and the suave William Powell.
Camille, directed by George Cukor and starring Greta Garbo, Robert Taylor and Lionel Barrymore. If memory serves, Garbo utters the line “I . . . think . . . I’m . . . going . . . to . . . live,” just before she keels over dead from tuberculosis.
Petrified Forest, from the Robert Sherwood play, in which Bogie gets third billing after Leslie Howard and Bette Davis
Shirley Temple’s Poor Little Rich Girl, wherein Shirley sings about the evils of spinach, avoids a kidnapping, warms cold hearts, and generally triumphs, as always. For me, it’s still a guilty pleasure because Jack Haley and Alice Faye are so great in their supporting roles as Jimmy “Puddin’ Head” Dolan and his long-suffering wife.
The charming Desire, Hollywood glamour at its best, with Gary Cooper as an auto worker on his first vacation abroad who is enchanted by Marlene Dietrich, a captivating jewel thief.
Swing Time, one of the great Astaire and Rogers pictures.
And the scoundrelly dreamboat Errol Flynn with his best leading lady Olivia de Havilland in Charge of the Light Brigade.
At this week’s Film Series: Jane Eyre, which is described in tweet-speak as “A mousy governess who softens the heart of her employer soon discovers that he’s hiding a terrible secret.” Terrible indeed! It’s of course based on Charlotte Brontë’s 1847 story that is the quintessential Gothic novel.
It’s a natural for Hollywood treatment. There is a 1971 version with George C. Scott and Susannah York; another from 1985 with William Hurt and Charlotte Gainsbourg; and a BBC production with Timothy Dalton.
One of my favorites is I Walked with a Zombie, Jacques Tourneur’s voodoo interpretation from 1943.
The following year Joan Fontaine played the title role opposite Orson Welles. Speaking of Joan Fontaine, this novel surely was the inspiration for Daphne DuMaurier’s Rebecca, the film version in which Miss Fontaine appeared. Probably there are English Literature dissertations galore on the topic.
Anyhow, this 2011 Jane Eyre has received great reviews. The Minneapolis Star-Tribute praises it: “There is not a drab image or a middling performance in the piece” and A.O. Scott of the New York Times writes that it is a “smart and vigorous adaptation—the latest and one of the best.” It stars Mia Wasikowska (The Kids Are All Right, Alice in Wonderland) as Jane and Michael Fassender (Inglorious Basterds, Hunger and one-time altar boy) as Mr. Rochester. You can see the lovely young couple wearing not too many clothes in the April 2011 W magazine (a rag I only read to keep in touch, with stuff. You know).
AND let’s not forget that the wonderful production includes the inestimable Judi Dench as Mrs. Fairfax.
It’s a busy time of year at PrattMWP. Students are completing their semester projects, such as these members of illustration class:
Communications Design student Hannah Barley received a full scholarship to Pratt for her junior and senior years. Way to go, Hannah!
Congratulations, too, to Art Education major Leah Clark, who also received a full scholarship from Pratt, and to Dan Schroeder, who received a full scholarship to attend Cooper Union (which has just a 3% acceptance rate for transfer students).
Celebrate with the graduates on Friday, May 13. You are cordially invited to the sophomore exhibition which opens to the public at 7 p.m. in the Museum of Art. Congratuations to all the sophomores, for all your hard work thus far, and best wishes for the future.
And looking forward, this autumn it looks like we’ll have a large freshman class, several of whom are international students. On Saturday, April 30, PrattMWP welcomed accepted students with a reception. We are all looking forward to their creative achievements.
Diamond Anniversary and Baseball Diamonds
Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute opened to the public in 1936. What was happening elsewhere that year?
In Major League Baseball, the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY, inducted its very first class of honorees: Ty Cobb, Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson, Babe Ruth, and Honus Wagner. (This, of course, means that they are celebrating their 75th anniversary, too! Gee, 1936 was a very good year for Central New York!). Visit the Hall of Fame website.
Also, on the diamond in 1936, there were two notable debuts of talented future hall-of-famers. On May 3, 1936 Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio played in his first Major League game and got, count ‘em, three hits! On July 19, 1936, a 17-year-old Bob Feller made his debut pitching in relief for the Cleveland Indians.
Next installment: 1936 at the movies . . .