Megan McGurk introduces four stellar woman’s pictures from the 1940s each Thursday in January 2024.
Tickets are available from Eventbrite.
The Feminine Touch (1941)
Screens 4 January at 7.00
Woody Van Dyke’s screwball comedy lampoons polite marital norms. College professor Don Ameche writes a dull book arguing that jealousy is nothing but a holdover from the cave man. Rosalind Russell, as his wife, believes it’s the spice of life. If her husband really loved her, he’d knock out any man who got fresh. Their theories are put to the test with the arrival of Kay Francis, a lusty publisher, and Van Heflin, a horny devil with a goatee and a satin make-out couch.
Phantom Lady (1944)
Screens 11 January at 7.00
Joan Harrison, former screenwriter for Hitchcock, steps into the role of executive producer in a stylish mystery directed by master of noir Robert Siodmak. Ella Raines tries to prove her boss is innocent of a murder charge. During her search for a woman in a standout hat, Ella bargains for answers by egging on a musician who uses a drum kit to perform a frantic masturbatory jazz solo. It’s all in a night’s work for a razor-sharp investigator.
Down to Earth (1947)
Screens 18 January at 7.00
Terpsichore, goddess of dance, played by Rita Hayworth, is outraged by a Broadway show using her likeness. The divine Rita descends on the ‘Big Street’ to mount a highbrow production replacing the formerly glitzy portrayal of the Muses. But Olympian art clashes with American taste and the show flops. Will the goddess ditch the boards for the heavens, or will she be a trouper?
The Fountainhead (1949)
Screens 25 January at 7.00
Forget about the cartoonish polemic of Ayn Rand’s novel. The real draw of this sly adaptation from Warner Brothers studio is the relationship between its stars. Director King Vidor trades ham-fisted politics for the volcanic heat between Patricia Neal and Gary Cooper. Vidor skirts the Production Code censors with scenes staged with a drill, a whip, and a fireplace poker to underscore the explosive chemistry of stars embroiled in a real-life affair. Patricia risked it all for Coop, just like her character on the big screen.