If you’re looking to stay far, far from the madding crowd that invades our fair city during the St. Patrick’s Day festivities, one way to do just that while simultaneously receiving a massive dose of heartwarming Irish culture would be to make the 20-minute drive out to the beach. There, on March 15 at the Tybee Post Theater, young and old alike can enjoy the classic, Ireland-set motion picture “The Quiet Man” in solitude (and air-conditioned comfort).
This 1952 romantic dramedy stars John Wayne as a former professional boxer from the U.S. who heads to the Green Isle (where he lived briefly as a child) in hopes of restoring his family’s old home and property. There, in the tiny, rural village of his birth, he meets a bold Irish lass (played by the highly memorable Maureen O’Hara), and the two take a liking to one another. However, her overly protective and hot-tempered brother is none too pleased with her choice of suitor and sets about to thwart their budding romance.
Esteemed filmmaker John Ford won the Best Director Oscar for his work on this beloved gem of a family-oriented film, which also happens to contain some truly stunning views of the Irish landscape (it was shot on location). It’s also a treat to see The Duke cast somewhat against type as a former championship athlete as opposed to a cowboy or military man. Admission to this 7 p.m. show includes your choice of beverage (beer, wine, soft drinks, water) and a small piece of chocolate. Ticket prices to all Film Scene events are in the sidebar listing accompanying this column.
More at the Post
Keep an eye out for a few more notable cinematic engagements coming up over the next couple of months at this charming, 200-seat venue. This includes the 2003 romantic drama “Under the Tuscan Sun,” the mesmerizing sci-fi fantasy “The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro's Oscar-winning Best Picture of 2018, and, in April, a special Friday the 13th screening of the original 1975 feature film version of Richard O’Brien’s gender-bending cult classic “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
Murder mystery ‘Vertigo’
A few days later on March 18, the Regal Stadium 10 multiplex behind the Savannah Mall plays host to Turner Classic Movies’ latest high-def revival of a monumental Hollywood smash. This time out, it’s a special 60th anniversary celebration of Alfred Hitchcock’s stunning psychological murder mystery “Vertigo.” It stars Jimmy Stewart (“Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”), Kim Novak (“The Man with the Golden Arm”) and Barbara Bel Geddes (TV’s original “Dallas” series).
Though “Vertigo” received less than unanimous praise from critics upon its initial 1958 theatrical release, over the past six decades its reputation has done nothing but grow to the point where it is named routinely by critics and audiences alike as one of the top 20 feature films ever made. In fact, six years ago, the influential British magazine Sight & Sound — which is published by the British Film Institute — awarded it the enviable title of “the Best Film Ever Made.”
Take that, “Pootie Tang.”
It’s the story of a talented police detective (Stewart) who has to take early retirement after developing a crippling fear of heights, which prevents him from doing his job properly. He winds up taking on a private investigation case that leads him into some seriously twisted emotional and psychological situations. One of the most stylized film noirs you’ll find (and one of the rare noirs to be made in sumptuous full color), it practically demands to be seen on the big screen with a quiet and attentive crowd.
As with most all of these TCM-sponsored digital-streaming events of restored prints from their amazing motion picture archives, in addition to the film itself, there will be a 10-minute bonus feature. This time, it’s a brief historical commentary from Eddie Mueller, one of the popular cable channel’s onscreen hosts. If you can’t make the March 18 date, “Vertigo” will be shown again at the same venue on March 21. Showtimes are 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. both days.
‘Julius Caesar' one night only
March 22 finds the same venue offering a one-night-only presentation of the British National Theatre Co.’s new stage production of Shakespeare’s politically themed dramatic tragedy “Julius Caesar.” It stars David Morrissey (The Governor on TV’s “The Walking Dead”), Ben Wishaw (“Q” in the last two James Bond films) and Michelle Fairley (Catelyn Stark on HBO’s “Game of Thrones”).
Produced by Nicholas Hytner (perhaps best known for directing the original British and Broadway productions of “Miss Saigon”), this tale of corruption, avarice and civil war is a timely effort that will surely (and sadly) remind many of our own news of the day.
As with all other National Theatre Live streaming events, you can expect top-notch image and sound that takes you right onstage with the actors in a way that simply attending such a play never could. It should be noted that anyone for whom bright flashing images and lights (i.e., strobes) can trigger disorientation (and possibly seizures) should avoid this presentation, as such things are included onscreen and could be unpleasant or dangerous.
I will also note that while tickets to this event cost $23.54, the exact same program will be shown a few days later on March 27 at downtown’s beautiful Lucas Theatre, and tickets for that screening cost as little as $5 for students and kids under 15, $10 for military and seniors, and $15 for the general public. I humbly suggest you wait and support the Lucas, as they are going out of their way to make world-class theater productions on the big screen within reach of even those on fixed incomes.
Acclaimed leading man
And finally, on March 21, the Psychotronic Film Society’s long-running weekly series of acclaimed and/or underappreciated world cinema continues in the intimate, screening room-style environment of The Sentient Bean on the southern end of Forsyth Park. That night, they’ll show Swiss director Alain Tanner’s highly touted 1983 drama “In the White City,” starring the internationally acclaimed leading man and character actor Bruno Ganz (whom many U.S. viewers know for his searing portrayal of Adolph Hitler in the 2004 WWII drama “Downfall.”
Not familiar with “Downfall?” Sure you are.
That’s the film that has repeatedly served as the basis for innumerable unauthorized video clip memes circulated on the internet, in which Ganz’s German language Hitler-in-a-bunker meltdown has been cleverly given new, incorrect English subtitles. So it appears that the Fuhrer is railing, um, furiously, against everything from lackluster Bob Dylan concert setlists to Sean Spicer’s morally bankrupt presidential press conferences to the quality of Starbucks coffee.
Yet there’s so much more to Ganz than those admittedly humorous mashups would suggest. A favorite of German arthouse director Wim Wenders, who cast the Swiss-born actor in three of Wenders’ best films (including “The American Friend” and “Wings of Desire”), a wide dramatic range and the ability to subtly convey great depth of emotion and contemplation are Ganz’s calling cards.
“In the White City” is a rumination on loneliness and self-discovery that finds him portraying a sailor who tires of his grueling job and jumps ship in the “white city” of Lisbon, Portugal. There he moves into a small hotel, keeps to himself and eventually begins an affair with a strong-willed female bartender.
The film won Best French Language Film at France’s equivalent of the Academy Awards, and was also nominated for the prestigious Golden Bear Award at the Berlin Film Fest. Currently, Ganz holds the “Iffland-Ring,” an award given to the “most significant and most worthy actor of the German-speaking theatre.” The PFS will screen this most impressive film in its original spoken French, with English subtitles, the night before Ganz’s 77th birthday. Showtime is 8 p.m., with discounts on craft beer and organic wine during the show.
Until next week, see you at the movies, be kind to those around you and don't forget to turn off that cell phone.
Jim Reed directs the Psychotronic Film Society of Savannah.