A Week at The Movie House

Gold Diggers of 1933 in 35mm

Mervyn LeRoy, Busby Berkeley · 1933
97min · 35mm
Playing Jan 7

Saturday, Jan 7: 5:30 pm

Your dream of perfect beauty comes true! In this charming and delightfully racy backstage musical, Polly, Carol and Trixie (Ruby Keeler, Joan Blondell & Aline McMahon) suddenly find themselves sitting outside on a New York City curb when their show closes. It is the darkest year of the Great Depression, and their prospects of finding another job look slim… until they meet songwriter Brad Roberts (Dick Powell), who has music for a set of fabulous new stage numbers—and the money to back a show. But Roberts' wealthy family disapproves of the entertainment business, so it's up to the girls to use their talents to keep Roberts' older brother distracted until the show opens in this pre-Hayes Code musical comedy. Ginger Rogers leads the opening dance line in "We're in the Money," the first of many classic Busby Berkeley production numbers. Based on the play by Avery Hopwood.

“Classic, surrealistic numbers… All the Berkeley sequences demonstrate this unique auteur’s astonishing powers to transform straightforward performative set-ups into abstract micro-worlds of consistently evolving experimental art, shooting and virtually editing in one camera with almost Hitchcockian foresight and precision.” Peter H. Kemp, Senses of Cinema

Part of A Week at The Movie House, a tribute to the late film archivist and historian Dennis Nyback.

Yojimbo in 35mm

Akira Kurosawa · 1961
110min · 35mm
Playing Jan 11

Wednesday, Jan 11: 7:30 pm

The incomparable Toshiro Mifune stars in Akira Kurosawa's visually stunning and darkly comic Yojimbo. To rid a terror-stricken village of corruption, wily masterless samurai Sanjuro turns a range war between two evil clans to his own advantage. Remade twice, by Sergio Leone and Walter Hill, this exhilarating genre-twister remains one of the most influential and entertaining films of all time.

“Kurosawa has made the first great shaggy-man movie. Yojimbo is a glorious comedy-satire of force: the story of a bodyguard who kills the bodies he is hired to guard.” Pauline Kael

Part of A Week at The Movie House, a tribute to the late film archivist and historian Dennis Nyback.

The Exterminating Angel

Luis Buñuel · 1962
94min · DCP
Playing Jan 12

Thursday, Jan 12: 7:30 pm

A group of high-society friends are invited to a mansion for dinner and inexplicably find themselves unable to leave in Luis Buñuel’s daring masterpiece The Exterminating Angel (El ángel exterminador). Made just one year after his international sensation Viridiana, this film, full of eerie, comic absurdity, furthers Buñuel’s wicked takedown of the rituals and dependencies of the frivolous upper classes.

“FOUR STARS. A macabre comedy, a mordant view of human nature that suggests we harbor savage instincts and unspeakable secrets.” Roger Ebert

Part of A Week at The Movie House, a tribute to the late film archivist and historian Dennis Nyback.

Scopitone A Go Go

80min · DVD
Playing Jan 8

Sunday, Jan 8: 7:30 pm

Dennis Nyback was world-renowned for his collection of Scopitones, essentially MTV for folks living in the 60s. You'd pop some coins into a machine and watch a mind-blowing 16mm film of a song like Joi Lansing's "Caught in the Web of Love" or "High Boots" by Mr. Eraserhead (the machines were not stocked full of Beatles tunes!). He sold a DVD of this program on his website and we tracked down a copy to show in his memory. From Dennis's website: "When I showed this in New York in 1997 MTV put me on the world wide news. A wonderful program of music shorts from the early 1960’s in garish color and magnetic sound. If you have never seen a Scopitone on the big screen you have not lived." All proceeds from this screening will be donated to the American Cancer Society in Dennis's name.

Part of A Week at The Movie House, a tribute to the late film archivist and historian Dennis Nyback.

Through the Porthole: A Cinematic Cavalcade for Dennis Nyback

1895-1988
150min · 16mm
Playing Jan 10

Tuesday, Jan 10: 7:30 pm

A film tribute with shorts of all sorts, humbly presented in honor of the late great collector, programmer and inspiration, Dennis Nyback. Drawing from their own secret archives, The Sprocket Society will assemble a two-part evening of films, all on 16mm, celebrating the spirit of Dennis’ legendarily far-flung programming. This memorial double header will include animation, surrealism, jazz, comedy, strange curios, rarities, some of Dennis’ favorites — and subversive and naughty stuff, too, of course. Almost anything goes! We hope Dennis would like it, and we hope you do, too. All proceeds from this screening will be donated to the American Cancer Society in Dennis’ name.

Part of A Week at The Movie House, a tribute to the late film archivist and historian Dennis Nyback.

“In October 2022, film archivist & historian Dennis Nyback passed away after a long battle with cancer. Besides showing his one-of-a-kind film programs around the world, he operated the Rosebud Movie Palace in Pioneer Square, The Pike St. Cinema in Capitol Hill, The Lighthouse Cinema in NYC, and renovated and saved Portland’s Clinton St. Theater in 1999. Up until around 2014 he would show his films at the Grand Illusion nearly every year. Some of my fondest memories in my 20-year volunteer career at the Grand Illusion were when Dennis would visit.

Shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to close, Dennis sent me an email to check in on how we were doing. He mentioned a film series idea he was toying around with called A Week at The Movie House. From 1973-1976, Dennis worked as a projectionist at The Grand Illusion, known then as The Movie House. For his series he would show a mishmash of films he projected here from that era. He mentioned “samurai films, Busby Berkeley, and quirky stuff”. I selected a couple of all-timers to show and asked The Sprocket Society put together a special 16mm program. We also found a DVD of Dennis’s famous program Scopitone A Go Go to make this tribute more distinctly Dennis. And finally, Dennis’s friend Kevin Shannon selected Luis Buñuel’s classic The Exterminating Angel as it was one of Dennis’s favorite films, if not his very favorite.”
Brian Alter, Volunteer (2003-2023), Manager (2010-2022) and Lead Programmer (2012-2016)