Telluride Film Festival Cinematheque at Wilkinson Public Library: A Summer of Screwball Comedy

The Wilkinson Public Library and the Telluride Film Festival invite all community members to experience Cinematheque, a free local film club for film lovers and aficionados who crave cinematic exploration, lively discussion and culinary delights.

Monday, August 6, is the last chance for filmgoers to participate in the 2012 summer series, an exploration of Screwball Comedies from the 1930s and 1940s. Telluride Film Festival Director Gary Meyer, who programs all Cinematheque evenings, explains participants should “prepare for the three funniest nights of your lives.”

Meyer designed the Screwball Comedy series as double-features. Monday’s program, which begins with a pre-SHOW reception at 5:30 p.m., showcases Howard Hawks’ “Ball of Fire” (1941, 111 min) with screenplay by Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett.

The four-time Oscar-nominated film features Barbara Stanwyk as Sugarpuss O’Shea, a burlesque dancer on the run from the law and Gary Cooper as Professor Bertram Potts. An obvious riff on “My Fair Lady,” professor of language Potts meets the beautiful O’Shea because he wants to hear how “real people” talk, then finds himself falling madly in love with his subject.  As he attempts to help her avoid police and escape from the mob, he realizes that before meeting her “the only thing I could care for deeply…was a well-constructed sentence.”

“Ball of Fire” is followed by “The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek,” (1944, 98 min).

Director Preston Sturges’ Oscar-nominated film tells the tale of small-town girl, Trudy Kockenlocker (Betty Hutton), who wakes up to find herself married and pregnant, but with no memory of her husband’s identity after an all-night party with a group of soldiers headed overseas. With regard to his film challenging the Hays Production Code of the era – the brunt of many jabs in the film –  Sturges says in his memoir:

“I wanted to show what happens to young girls who disregard their parents’ advice and who confuse patriotism with promiscuity. As I do not work in a church, I tried to adorn my sermon with laughter so that people would go to see the picture instead of staying away from it.”

Cinematheque welcomes special guest host Jeff Price, screenwriter of “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” “Shrek the Third,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

Patrons  are invited to enjoy food and drink at the pre-SHOW reception, as well as between the films.

For a preview of “Ball of Fire,” watch the trailer below:

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