Telluride Film Fest Cinematheque wraps up for season Monday, 4/4

Telluride Film Fest Cinematheque wraps up for season Monday, 4/4

[click “Play” to hear Brandt Garber’s conversation with Susan]



Cinematheque poster “It’s A Gift” to Telluride. And there are lots of folks to thank.

Cinematheque, a free film club, is an ongoing collaboration between the Telluride Film Festival and the Wilkinson Public Library. The series is programmed by Telluride Film Festival co-director/historian Gary Meyer.

The current series, covering films from the Great Depression, explored the ways in which cinema served as a valuable medium for social commentary, as well as an emotional release during an extremely trying (and historically relevant) chapter in U.S. history. The fourth and final installment of Films of the Great Depression for Winter 2011 is a double feature: “It’s A Gift” (1934,68 min.) and “Duck Soup” (1933, 68 min.) The event takes place in the Program Room of the Library on Monday, April 4, starting at 5:30 p.m. for the pre-SHOW reception. Telluride Film Festival Production Manager and film buff Brandt Garber is Ringmaster.

“It’s A Gift” stars W.C.Fields and is considered by film historians one of the iconic actor’s best and funniest efforts. “It’s A Gift” concerns the trials and tribulations of the owner of a grocery store, Harold Bissonette, determined to move to California to grow oranges, forced to battle a shrewish wife, an incompetent assistant, and a gaggle of annoying kids, customers and salesmen.

“It’s A Gift” lives on through time through one of its famous, often misquoted lines. Harold’s response to a developer who claims Harold is drunk:

“Yeah, and you’re crazy; and I’ll be sober tomorrow and … you’ll be crazy for the rest of your life!”

The classic comedy “Duck Soup” is a satire of blundering dictatorial leaders, Fascism and authoritarian government, starring Groucho, Harpo and Chico Marx in their fifth film of a five-picture contract deal with Paramount Studios, before the trio decamped to MGM. “Duck Soup” was a critical and commercial failure because audiences were shocked by the disrespect and cynicism shown towards major institutions at a time of political and economic crisis. (Roosevelt was struggling against the Great Depression and Hitler was coming on strong in Germany.)

The plot of “Duck Soup” concerns a small state of Freedonia in financial turmoil. Freedonia must borrow money from a wealthy widow, Mrs. Teasdale. Her terms are the replacement of the current president with dictator Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho Marx) and utter chaos ensues. The neighboring state of Sylvania creates even more mayhem when they send spies Chicolini (Chico Marx) and Pinky (Harpo Marx) to uncover top secret information.

“Duck Soup” also has a quotable quote, this one spoken by Groucho:

“And remember while you’re out there risking life and limb through shot and shell, we’ll be in here thinking what a sucker you are.”

Appetizers and refreshments are served before the first film at the pre-SHOW reception and there is a special wrap-up celebration between films featuring Chef Bud’s (Tastebud’s Catering) duck soup.

To learn more, click the “play” button and listen to Brandt’s interview.

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