Winter 2013 Series:
Women in Danger
February 4, 2013 - April 8, 2013
Don't Forget to Breathe, Ladies
There's a vague sense of unease in the air. Then, a casual but ultimately disquieting remark is floated. Before long, a mosaic of suspense starts taking shape, one where the fine hairs at the back of the neck stand at attention, saliva is at a premium and limbs are rendered rubbery. As the women of Women in Danger amply demonstrate, life on the razor's edge is harrowing.
Heads must be kept on a swivel and pulse rates commanded to slow when under duress caused by predatory men, enemy forces (two of the films in the series are set in wartime), hostile environments and, by no means least, their own emotions that the gravity of their predicaments plays hob with.
The women don't smile at danger, but neither do they run away from it. They have smarts, looks, and allure. But their greatest attribute in a malevolent world is a mega-supply of intestinal fortitude.
All films are shown on Monday evenings 8:00 pm at the Royal Alberta Museum
(1963, 113 min., colour, PG)
Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn
A slick comedy-thriller, ingeniously scripted. It's a great audience teaser with a small cast of characters, bursting with multiple identities, caught up in a hunt for a fortune in gold hidden by Hepburn's murdered husband. Grant imparts his charm, while Audrey is elegantly fraught.
Director: Stanley Donen
(1952, 110 min., PG)
Joan Crawford, Jack Palance
Crawford as a wealthy playwright fires hatchet-faced Palance, then falls for him when they later meet on a train. Cue a deadly cat-and-mouse game as the new husband sets out to kill Joan for her money. The suspense is screwed on tight and Crawford's in nerve-janglingly extravagant form.
Director: David Miller
(1970, 102 min., colour, PG)
Walter Matthau, Elaine May
One of our favourite black comedies. Playboy Matthau, suddenly broke, must down-size. No way! The only solution: marry a wealthy woman, then quickly arrange an "accident" for her. Settling on a clumsy, socially awkward botanist, he puts his plan into action.
Director: Elaine May
(1955, 122 min., colour, PG)
Doris Day, James Cagney
The biography of '20s torch singer Ruth Etting and her involvement with a racketeer who uses his muscle to launch her career. As his demands increase, she starts to resent his domination and bullying, and seeks to free herself from his control. Day's singing is a treat.
Director: Charles Vidor.
(l950, 98 min., PG)
Barbara Stanwyck, John Lund
Long unavailable for screening, this is a superb adaptation of Cornell Woolrich's I Married a Dead Man. After a train wreck, Stanwyck is misidentified as a widow travelling to meet her in-laws for the first time. Alone and pregnant, Barb decides to play along with the deception. But her past comes calling.
Director: Mitchell Leisen
(1951, 118 min., PG)
Robert Taylor, Denise Darcel
An unusual western depicting the arduous wagon train passage of a group of women from Chicago to California. When the male guides desert, the ladies insist on continuing, learning to ride, shoot, and drive mules. The tough journey is matched by determined and, eventually, tough women.
Director: William Wellman
(1942, 91 min., PG)
Michele Morgan, Paul Henreid
Under the brutal martial law of Nazi-occupied France, a simple barmaid sacrifices her safety to help five fugitive British airmen. As the Nazis close in, Joan devises a means of escape. Taut suspense holds you to the harrowing conclusion. French star Morgan's first movie in Hollywood.
Director: Robert Stevenson
(1946, 103 min., PG)
Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman
In this, one of Hitchcock's most stylish works, a party girl is recruited by an American agent to infiltrate a Nazi spy ring in Rio. So successful is she that the Nazi kingpin proposes marriage. Since she and the agent are falling in love, can she make the sacrifice for the sake of the mission?
Director: Alfred Hitchcock