The Reel McCoy Film Group

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The Reel McCoy Film Group is a not-for-profit film society that since 1990 has been catering for people interested in cinema, particularly those who would like to see timeless classics and overlooked gems at low cost.

Membership is: $45 per annum, or $30 for 6 months, or $15 for 3 months. Membership runs from the date of joining.

Friends of the National Library of Australia are welcome to all screenings free of charge.


Screenings are at 6:00 p.m. every second Wednesday, from February to December.

They take place in the Theatre of the National Library of Australia, Parkes Place, Parkes, ACT. Please enter by the front doors and go down to the theatre on level LG1 by the stairs on the right-hand side or use the lift in the foyer.

Next screening:

Wednesday, 30 April 2014, at 6:00 p.m.

RED RIVER

(USA 1948) 133 min. DVD
Director Howard Hawks
Cast John Wayne, Montgomery Clift, Walter Brennan

This is one of the great Westerns of all time and a crowning achievement of its director, Howard Hawks. Texan cattleman, Thomas Dunson (Wayne) needs to move nearly 10,000 head of cattle to Kansas, over 1000 miles away through border gangs and Indians. To get them there he needs to be tough on his men, really tough, shooting anyone who defies his authority. When Dunson finally goes too far, his adopted son Matt (Clift in his first film role) is forced to mutiny and take control of the herd and the men. Now Matt has two problems: getting the herd to Kansas, and Dunson, who is coming after Matt to kill him.

DVD courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia


For more information, e-mail us or come along to a screening.


2014 first half-year programme:

February 5
TO BE OR NOT TO BE
(USA 1942) 100 min. 16 mm
Director Ernst Lubitsch
Cast Carole Lombard, Jack Benny, Robert Stack

This was the best film role of famous comedian Jack Benny. Benny's persona of a vain, cheap, self-absorbed comic translates beautifully into "that great great actor" Joseph Tura, whose Shakespearean troupe is closed down by World War 2. He and his entire troupe are drawn into the resistance, espionage, and new levels of acting when his wife, Maria Tura (Lombard) is visited by a young Polish lieutenant (Stack), who is on a desperate mission to save the Polish resistance from a Nazi traitor. The director, Ernst Lubitsch blends black comedy, farce, and propaganda with 'the Lubitsch touch' that he was famous for.

Print courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia

February 19
MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY
(USA 1935) 132 min. DVD
Director Frank Lloyd
Cast Charles Laughton, Clark Gable, Franchot Tone

A special Mapping Our World screening

Captain Bligh (Laughton) sets sail for South America on a mission to collect breadfruit trees. His crew includes first mate Fletcher Christian (Gable) and ensign Bayam (Tone). The following journey mixes high adventure on a british man-o'-war in the 18th century with Captain Bligh's inhuman treatment of his crew which eventually leads to mutiny. However, the drama really begins when Bligh is set adrift and the film follows his amazing 4,000 mile open boat voyage to safety and the subsequent court martial where he gets his revenge. Variety magazine called this film "Hollywood at its very best". It won an Oscar® for best picture and Laughton, Gable (without his moustache), and Tone were all nominated for best actor Oscars®.

DVD courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia

March 5
RUN LOLA RUN
(Germany 1998) 81 min. DVD
Director Tom Tykwer
Cast Franka Potente, Moritz Bleibtreu, Herbert Knaup

A young woman in Germany has twenty minutes to find and bring 100,000 Deutschmarks to her boyfriend before he robs a supermarket. Run Lola Run is a stylish look at modern Germany through the eyes of a couple of outsiders. It is notable for including three possible endings and so underlining the gap between dreams and reality in today's world, as well as the role chance plays in everyone's life.

DVD courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia

March 19
GREY GARDENS
(USA 1975) 100 min. 16 mm
Directors Ellen Hovde, Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Muffie Meyer
Cast Edith Bouvier Beale, "Little Edie" Bouvier Beale

This is the unbelievable but true story of Mrs. Edith Bouvier Beale and her daughter Edie, the aunt and first cousin respectively of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Mother and daughter live in a world of their own, in a decaying 28-room East Hampton mansion known as "Grey Gardens". Together they lived/descended into a strange life of dependency and eccentricity that no one had ever shared until the Maysles brothers arrived with their camera and tape recorder and captured one of the most bizarre and influential documentaries of all time.

Print courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia

April 2
DESIGN FOR LIVING
(USA 1933) 91 min. 16 mm
Director Ernst Lubitsch
Cast Gary Cooper, Miriam Hopkins, Fredric March, Edward Everett Horton

Writer Noel Coward and director Ernst Lubitsch (Ninotchka, To Be Or Not To Be) ensure a surefire comedy hit. Painter George (Cooper) and playwright Thomas (March) are two Americans sharing a Paris apartment. They are also rivals for the affection of commercial artist Gilda (Hopkins). When Gilda moves in with them, with the express understanding that there will be no funny business, there is lots of funny business! Plot tangles ensue, as each suitor tries to outdo the other. A resolution is in sight when Thomas gets called to London for a production of one of his plays, but it's not that simple.

Print courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia

April 15  N.B.: Tuesday
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. MATTHEW
(Italy 1964) 137 min. 16 mm
Director Pier Paolo Pasolini
Cast Enrique Irazoqui, Alfonso Gatto

Just in time for Easter! This alternative take on the life of Jesus Christ, depicting him as a revolutionary of Mediterranean descent – Cecil B. Demille this ain't! – is widely regarded by film enthusiasts as Pasolini's greatest film and the best cinematic depiction of the Gospel story to date. Filmed with non-professional actors, and with roughly 99% of its dialogue and 90% of its images coming from the eponymous text, this is a film that both Christians and atheists will find moving. It was nominated for three Oscars®: for its cinematography, costumes, and wonderful music.

Print courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia

April 30
RED RIVER
(USA 1948) 133 min. DVD
Director Howard Hawks
Cast John Wayne, Montgomery Clift, Walter Brennan

This is one of the great Westerns of all time and a crowning achievement of its director, Howard Hawks. Texan cattleman, Thomas Dunson (Wayne) needs to move nearly 10,000 head of cattle to Kansas, over 1000 miles away through border gangs and Indians. To get them there he needs to be tough on his men, really tough, shooting anyone who defies his authority. When Dunson finally goes too far, his adopted son Matt (Clift in his first film role) is forced to mutiny and take control of the herd and the men. Now Matt has two problems: getting the herd to Kansas, and Dunson, who is coming after Matt to kill him.

DVD courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia

May 14
JAPANESE STORY
(Australia 2003) 106 min. 16 mm
Director Sue Brooks
Cast Toni Collette, Gotaro Tsunashima, Lynnette Curran

A sensitive human story set in the dramatic landscape of northern Western Australia. Sandy (Collette), an Australian geologist meets Japanese businessman Hiromitsu (Tsunashima). She is asked to show him around the Pilbara. He seems to be searching for something in the rugged landscape. At one point they become lost in the bush and as they travel through the wilderness a friendship develops between them. The story has a dramatic plot twist which leaves everyone shattered. It is hard to categorise this film - perhaps as a romantic tragedy?

Print courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia

May 28
ON THE TOWN
(USA 1949) 97 min. DVD
Directors Gene Kelly, Stanley Donen
Cast Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Jules Munshin, Ann Miller, Betty Garrett, Vera-Ellen

Based on a 1944 stage show, this was one of MGM's most popular movie musicals of the 1940s. Three sailors on a 24-hour leave pass in New York make the most of it, filling every moment with dancing, music, and romance. Produced by Arthur Freed, with Academy Award-winning music by Leonard Bernstein, Roger Edens, Adolph Green, Betty Comden, and Conrad Salinger, this infectiously happy film reprised the let's-have-a-good-time feeling of the war years and was a much-deserved hit.

DVD courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia

June 11
THREE COMRADES
(USA 1938) 98 min. 16 mm
Director Frank Borzage
Cast Robert Taylor, Margaret Sullavan, Franchot Tone, Robert Young

Three German soldiers vow to stick together through thick and thin after their service in World War 1. As well as a close bond of friendship, the three soldiers all love a woman who is slowly dying of tuberculosis. Despite having won two Oscars® for best director, Borzage is not one of the most well-known directors in history. But this film will steal (and maybe even break) your heart. This is also regarded as the only direct-to-screen credit of the great F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Print courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia

June 25
THE BODY SNATCHER
(USA 1945) 77 min. DVD
Director Robert Wise
Cast Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Henry Daniell, Edith Atwater

Despite appearances, The Body Snatcher is not so much a horror film as a character study. Boris Karloff shakes off his wooden "Frankenstein" persona to give a marvellously subtle and chilling picture of a 19th century grave robber in Edinburgh. Henry Daniell plays a 'respectable' doctor, but one who is not above accepting bodies of dubious provenance. The wonderful contrasty black-and-white photography gives sinister undertones to the conflict between the two. The film ends with a marvellously over-the-top gothic moment of true terror. The story is based on the real-life story of grave robbers Burke and Hare, who are mentioned in the film. Bela Lugosi has a brief appearance: it was to be the last film to feature Karloff and Lugosi together.

DVD courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia


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