August 18 - 29, 1999

American Cinematheque presents....


Series Compiled by Dennis Bartok, Chris D. and Gwen Deglise.

Program Research by Patrick Salvant.


Special Thanks To: Alison Pinsler, Rick Griffith and Jan Bilson/20TH CENTURY FOX; Michael Schlesinger/COLUMBIA PICTURES REPERTORY; John Kirk/MGM-UA; Ken Kramer; Linda Evans-Smith/WARNER BROS.  CLASSICS; Diana McKinney/PARAMOUNT PICTURES; Russ Fletcher/U.I.P.(London); Marvin Paige.

Archive Index






 From the murderous landscapes of COMPULSION and THE BOSTON STRANGLER to the glorious adventure of 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA and THE VIKINGS, director Richard Fleischer has -- like Nemo himself -- plunged us into strange and unknown worlds, filled with primal terrors wrapped in lush, velvet-lined chambers. Fleischer grew up in the movie business -- his father Max was the legendary animator of Betty Boop and Popeye --, and few directors have shown as much joy at the art and craft of filmmaking as Fleischer: witness the pure, exhilarating tension in THE NARROW MARGIN, the almost-psychedelic pleasures of FANTASTIC VOYAGE, and you find a director in love with directing.

We’re delighted to welcome Richard Fleischer to the Egyptian Theatre for the first major Los Angeles retrospective of his work.


Wednesday, August 18 - 8:00 PM

Opening Night - Richard Fleischer and Tony Curtis In-Person!!

THE BOSTON STRANGLER, 1968, 20th Century Fox, 120 min. One of Fleischer’s most uncompromising and startling films: Tony Curtis delivers an amazing performance (arguably his best) as Albert DeSalvo, the unstable blue-collar worker who terrorized Boston in the early 1960’s. Henry Fonda is the head of detectives who doggedly tracks him down. The increasingly elliptical, stream-of-consciousness narrative, especially after the captured Curtis’ mental disintegration accelerates, was extremely daring for a major Hollywood studio film. Discussion following with director Richard Fleischer, actor Tony Curtis and screenwriter Edward Anhalt.


Thursday, August 19 - 7:00 PM

Fox Fleischer Double-Bill!

THE GIRL IN THE RED VELVET SWING, 1955, 20th Century Fox, 109 min. Lovely Joan Collins stars as Gibson-girl Evelyn Nesbit, whose fatal charms led to the murder of architect Stanford White (Ray Milland), in Fleischer’s brilliant recreation of the 20th century’s most-infamous crime of passion. Farley Granger (STRANGERS ON A TRAIN) co-stars as Nesbit’s hairtrigger lover, Harry K. Thaw. Co-scripted by Billy Wilder’s longtime writing partner, Charles Brackett.

VIOLENT SATURDAY, 1955, 20th Century Fox, 91 min. Film noir gets the full mid-Fifties treatment -- lush color and CinemaScope -- in this vivid adaptation of W.B. Heath’s classic caper novel. Victor Mature and Sylvia Sidney head a terrific cast (including Lee Marvin in his thuggish prime), in this complex tale of the build-up to a small-town bank heist.


Friday, August 20 - 7:00 PM

Richard Fleischer In-Person!! Brand-New 35 mm. Print!

FANTASTIC VOYAGE, 1966, 20th Century Fox, 100 min. Stephen Boyd, Raquel Welch and Donald Pleasance lead a miniaturized mission into the surreal landscape of the human body, to dissolve a comatose scientist’s cerebral bloodcot. Slambang action and stunning, psychedelic F/X combine in Fleischer’s most purely thrilling entertainment. Discussion following with director Richard Fleischer.


Friday, August 20 - 9:30 PM

Charlton Heston, Leigh Taylor-Young and Richard Fleischer In-Person!!

Brand-New 35 mm. Print!

SOYLENT GREEN, 1972, MGM (Warner Classics), 100 min. Based on Harry Harrison’s novel Make Room! Make Room!, SOYLENT GREEN is even more frightening (and prescient) today than when it was released. Cop Charlton Heston tries to track down a minor politician’s killer -- and uncovers the ultimate horror of mankind’s new place in the food chain. With the great Edward G. Robinson in his final screen role. Director Richard Fleischer, actor Charlton Heston and actress Leigh Taylor-Young scheduled to introduce screening.


Saturday, August 21 - 6:00 PM

Richard Fleischer In-Person!

10 RILLINGTON PLACE, 1970, Columbia, 111 min. One of Fleischer’s personal favorites: a relentlessly realistic and devastatingly matter-of-fact depiction of mild-mannered sex killer John Christie (Richard Attenborough, in a shattering performance) in 1940’s London. The hanging of innocent dupe Timothy Evans (John Hurt) led to Britain’s abolition of the death penalty. Discussion following with director Richard Fleischer.


Saturday, August 21 - 8:45 PM

Ultra-Noir Double-Header:

Richard Fleischer, Marie Windsor and Stanley Rubin In-Person!!

THE NARROW MARGIN, 1952, RKO (Warner Classics), 71 min. This always receives its share of votes as one of the finest noirs ever made -- and the spiciest of its many ingredients is the unforgettable Marie Windsor. She and co-star Charles McGraw trade priceless purple putdowns as he ferries her across the rails from Chicago to L.A., where she’s scheduled to testify in a racketbusting trial. Plenty of switchbacks along the way, rendered with maximum punch and pace by the master, Richard Fleischer.

BODYGUARD, 1948, RKO (Warner Classics), 62 min. Another Fleischer crime gem: hot-tempered cop Lawrence Tierney (BORN TO KILL) gets bounced off the force for talking with his fists, then finds himself framed for murder. Gal-pal Priscilla Lane still believes in him, though, in this tough little noir -- based on an early Robert Altman story!


Director Richard Fleischer and NARROW MARGIN actress Marie Windsor and producer Stanley Rubin scheduled to introduce screening.


 Sunday, August 22 - 4:00 PM

Restored 35 mm. Print!!

BARABBAS, 1962, Columbia, 134 min. Closer in spirit to Scorsese’s LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST than to the other Biblical epics of its day, Fleischer’s visually-stunning drama (originally shot in Technirama 70) about the thief (Anthony Quinn) given amnesty in place of Jesus is a moving, gritty and harrowingly unsentimental odyssey of one lonely unfortunate’s spiritual evolution. With Silvano Mangano and Jack Palance.


Sunday, August 22 - 6:45 PM

Double Feature -- Marsha Hunt and Linda Christian In-Person!!

THE HAPPY TIME, 1952, Columbia, 94 min. Fleischer followed THE NARROW MARGIN with this lovely (and much-underrated) comedy of a young boy (SONG OF THE SOUTH’s Bobby Driscoll) who discovers the secrets of romance, with the help of Charles Boyer, Louis Jourdan, Marsha Hunt and Linda Christian. "THE HAPPY TIME was exactly the kind of film I was looking for -- a human comedy about a young boy’s coming of age. No melodrama, no murders, no evil wooden puppets ... !" - Richard Fleischer.


CHILD OF DIVORCE, 1946, RKO (Warner Classics), 62 min. Fleischer’s first feature is this surprisingly realistic, beautifully-acted story of an 8-year old girl (Shirley Moffat) who’s torn between divorcing parents Regis Toomey and Madge Meredith. A small revelation at the time for producer RKO -- and a sign of greatness to come for director Fleischer.

Actresses Marsha Hunt and Linda Christian (THE HAPPY TIME) scheduled to introduce screening.


Wednesday, August 25 - 8:00 PM

Kirk Douglas, Janet Leigh & Richard Fleischer In-Person!!

THE VIKINGS, 1958, MGM/UA, 114 min. Vengeful, one-eyed Norseman Kirk Douglas and former comrade Tony Curtis compete for the attentions of captive princess Janet Leigh, as they plunder their way across breathtakingly-authentic Scandinavian locations in Fleischer’s sprawling, action-packed saga. Actor/producer Kirk Douglas, actress Janet Leigh and director Richard Fleischer scheduled to appear for discussion.


Friday, August 27 - 7:00 PM

Richard Fleischer In-Person!

COMPULSION, 1959, 20th Century Fox, 103 min. Fleischer at his very best: gripping, nearly-inescapable b&w crime drama of two hotwired, closeted gay youths (Dean Stockwell and Bradford Dillman) who brutally murder a young boy for kicks. Orson Welles (fleeing the law himself at the time of shooting!) delivers a showstopping performance as the Clarence Darrow-like lawyer who fights for their lives. Based on the infamous Leopold and Loeb murder case. Discussion following with director Richard Fleischer and Bradford Dillman.


Friday, August 27 - 9:30 PM

Archival 35 mm. Print! SEE NO EVIL, 1971, Columbia, 89 min. Compact, claustrophobic and unbearably-tense nailbiter as blind Mia Farrow is stalked on a rural British farm by her family’s deranged killer. Based on a script by Brian Clemens (CAPTAIN KRONOS, "The Avengers" tv series), this is easily the best (and scariest) of the many blind/mute/deaf girl-menaced-by-killer scenarios -- sorry, WAIT UNTIL DARK - !

Brand-New 35 mm. Print! MR. MAJESTYK, 1974, MGM/UA, 103 min. Ultra tough Charles Bronson is a Colorado melon-grower marked for death by the Mob after he refuses to knuckle under to their ultimatums in this fast-moving, straightforward Elmore Leonard-penned thriller -- one of the great, testosterone-packed 70’s crime flicks. With Al Lettieri in a terrifying performance as a burly, depraved hitman.


Saturday, August 28 - 3:00 PM

Brand-New 35 mm. Print!!

DR. DOLITTLE, 1967, 20th Century Fox, 144 min. Based on the original Hugh Lofting stories, Fleischer’s charming musical fantasy stars the irreplaceable Rex Harrison as the Man Who Talks to Animals, with help from Samantha Eggar and the late, great Anthony Newley. Wonderfully scored and written by Leslie Bricusse. Discussion following with Samantha Eggar.


Saturday, August 28 - 6:00 PM

Richard Fleischer In-Person!

20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA, 1954, Walt Disney, 122 min. Fleischer’s most beloved film captures both the childlike sense of adventure and the more sober nature of Jules Verne’s classic novel: James Mason is the ideal Captain Nemo opposite salty dog Kirk Douglas, scientist Paul Lukas and faithful valet Peter Lorre. Academy Award-winning art direction and special effects highlight this surprisingly adult Disney fantasy. Discussion following with director Richard Fleischer.


Saturday, August 28 - 9:00 PM

Only Surviving 35 mm. Print!

MANDINGO, 1975, Paramount, 127 min. Enormously controversial (and profitable) when it was released, MANDINGO is in fact a superb, explosive study of slavery and the sexual hypocrisy that helped prop it up. James Mason is unforgettably creepy as the ruthless, ailing slave-owner, with Ken Norton, Susan George, Perry King and Brenda Sykes as the interracial couples swirling about the plantation. Rarely screened since its original release, this -- the sole surviving 35 mm. print of the film -- was brought in from the U.K. for our tribute!! Discussion following with Perry King.


Sunday, August 29 - 6:30 PM

Brand-New 35 mm. Print!!

TORA! TORA! TORA!, 1970, 20th Century Fox, 143 min. Fleischer’s thundersome, painstakingly-researched epic of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor stars Martin Balsam, E.G. Marshall, Wesley Addy and actual Pearl Harbor-vet Jason Robards on the U.S. side, facing Soh Yamamura, Tatsuya Mihashi and the entire Imperial fleet. Co-directed by action experts Kinji Fukasaku (BATTLES WITHOUT HONOR & HUMANITY) and Toshio Masuda (who replaced the temperamental Akira Kurosawa after months of pre-production), TORA! features some of the most visually-awesome battle scenes ever filmed.