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Guest Programmers and their Films


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  • 6 months later...

Guest Programmer: Frank Langella

The Oscar-nominated star of Frost/Nixon (2008), who recently won a Screen Actors Guild Award as part of the ensemble cast of The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020), takes over as TCM programmer Thursday, May 27, to present three of his all-time favorite films. In a career spanning almost 60 years, Langella has played everything from Dracula (on Broadway and in the 1979 film version) to King Lear (at the UK’s Chichester Festival Theatre and the Brooklyn Academy of Music). He made his Broadway debut in Yerma at Lincoln Center, starring Gloria Foster, and he went on to win four Tony Awards. He made his film debut in 1970’s Diary of a Mad Housewife and has appeared in such notable features as The Twelve Chairs (1970), Those Lips, Those Eyes (1980), Masters of the Universe (1987), Eddie (1996) and Good Night and Good Luck (2005). His released his memoir, Dropped Names: Famous Men and Women As I Knew Them, in 2012.

Langella’s three programming picks, released during his formative years in New Jersey, are:

Our Vines Have Tender Grapes (1945) — This adaptation of George Victor Martin’s novel stars Edward G. Robinson as a Norwegian-born farmer raising daughter Margaret O’Brien on a Wisconsin farm during World War II. The film is fondly remembered by fans of both stars and notable for its sensitive screenplay by Dalton Trumbo, penned a few years before he was blacklisted.

Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) — Joseph Kesselring’s uproarious stage farce focuses on two sweet old ladies given to poisoning lonely old men to end their suffering. Josephine Hull and Jean Adair reprised their performances as the murderous maidens from the original Broadway production, though the show’s producers would not release Boris Karloff to film his most famous stage role. Raymond Massey took his place in a film also starring Cary Grant and Peter Lorre.

The Stranger (1946) — Orson Welles had a rare box-office success directing and starring as an escaped Nazi war criminal living under an assumed name in a small Connecticut town. Loretta Young co-stars as his unsuspecting fiancée, with Edward G. Robinson (in a role originally planned for Agnes Moorehead) as the Nazi hunter on his trail. Langella met Young twice and wrote of her in his memoirs, “Miss Young wore [her beauty] like a halo: radiant and definitive….”

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