The Reel McCoy Film Group

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Screening world cinema and forgotten gems since 1990

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 like to see timeless classics and overlooked gems at low cost.

Membership is $50 per annum, $35 for 6 months, or $20 for 3 months. Membership runs from the date of joining.

With grateful support from



Canberra Museum and Gallery
Members of CMAG are welcome to join the Reel McCoy at a substantial discount:
membership for a year for only $20.


Screenings are held in the Theatre of Canberra Museum and Art Gallery, usually on the second and last Sundays of each month at 1:00 pm.

Next screening:

Sunday, 30 July 2017 at 1:00 pm

GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER
USA · 1967 · 104 min.
Director Stanley Kramer
Cast Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn, Sidney Poitier, Katherine Houghton

When Joanna Drayton (Houghton), a free-thinking white woman, and black doctor John Prentice (Poitier) become engaged, they travel to San Francisco to meet her parents. Matt Drayton (Tracy) and his wife Christina (Hepburn) are wealthy liberals who must confront the latent racism the coming marriage arouses. In the same year this film was released (1967) the US Supreme Court invalidated State laws prohibiting interracial marriage. Guess Who's Coming to Dinner is remembered today for two significant reasons: it was the first Hollywood film to portray an interracial romance that had an optimistic ending, and the film featured a dream cast that included Spencer Tracy in his final screen performance.


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


Programme for 2017:

Sunday 12 February

THE BOOT CAKE
Australia · 2008 · 74 min.
Director Kathryn Millard

Guest speaker Andrew Pike introduces The Boot Cake from Ronin Films.
A small desert town on the edge of western India’s famous salt plains is the unlikely home of the world’s largest population of Charlie Chaplin impersonators. They are members of the Charlie Circle of Adipur, a cross between a local Rotary Club and a film society. The members are dedicated both to Charlie Chaplin and the philosophy of life depicted in his films. Award-winning Australian film-maker Kathryn Millard explores how one community, reeling from the tragedy of the Gujarat earthquake that killed 200,000 people, finds hope and inspiration in the comic genius of Charlie Chaplin, one of the global icons of the past century.

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MODERN TIMES
USA · 1936 · 87 min.
Director Charlie Chaplin
Cast Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Henry Bergman

Charlie Chaplin’s last outing as the Little Tramp follows his struggles to live in modern industrial society with the help of a young homeless woman (Goddard). This was Chaplin's first overtly political-themed film, and its unflattering portrayal of industrial society and of the Great Depression generated controversy in some quarters. Modern Times is usually considered the last commercially-produced silent film in the USA, and the fact that it is one of Chaplin’s great masterpieces is testament to both his artistic resilience in the face of industry change and the enduring power of great silent comedy.


Sunday 26 February

GOODBYE MR. CHIPS
UK · 1939 · 115 min.
Director Sam Wood
Cast Robert Donat, Greer Garson, Paul Henreid, John Mills

Donat won the Best Actor Academy Award® for his moving portrayal of the English school master, Mr Chipping. This much-loved film, based on the novel by James Hilton, follows his long career from beginning to end. It is as much about the changing history and social mores of England as it is about a teacher in a prestigious school. A central part of the film focuses on the school’s experiences during the First World War, as teachers and students head off to France. Of course, only some return.

DVD courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia

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THE BROWNING VERSION
UK · 1951 · 90 min.
Director Anthony Asquith
Cast Michael Redgrave, Jean Kent, Nigel Patrick

This film, in common with Goodbye Mr. Chips, is about an old Classics teacher, but is much darker, as is to be expected given it is adapted from a play by Terence Rattigan. The master, Andrew Croker-Harris, has not had such a warm relationship with his pupils nor a loving wife. Can the gift by one of his pupils assuage some of his bitterness? The gift is the version by Robert Browning of the play Agamemnon by the Greek writer of tragedies, Aeschylus. The pupil has inscribed the volume with "God from afar looks graciously upon a gentle master."


Sunday 19 March

LES BAS-FONDS [UNDERWORLD]
France · 1936 · 89 min.
Director Jean Renoir
Cast Jean Gabin, Louis Jouvet

The first of our two screenings of films based on Maxim Gorky's play The Lower Depths, Les Bas-Fonds tells of the friendship between a charming thief and a former wealthy baron who has bankrupted himself through gambling. Renoir turned the play into a vehicle for two fine French actors, Gabin and Jouvet. Winner of the Louis Delluc Prize as the most outstanding French photo-play of 1936 (as selected by the Young Independent Critics of France), as well as a Top Foreign Film finalist for the National Board of Review, USA.

Print courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia


Sunday 26 March

DONZOKO [THE LOWER DEPTHS]
Japan · 1957 · 137 min.
Director Akira Kurosawa
Cast Toshirô Mifune, Isuzu Yamada, Kôji Mitsui

Now we have a look at Kurosawa's take on Gorky's play, made when he was at the height of his powers. This is more of an ensemble piece than Renoir's version, and shows the power that can be achieved in cinema when sticking close to the source material. It also makes use of Kurosawa's trademark cinematography and editing, both within the confined indoor set and outside the dilapidated tenement house. In both films, life in the lower depths is shown as not so grim, as long as its residents can drink, joke, sing, and dance.

Print courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia


Sunday 14 May

RIFIFI
France · 1955 · 115 min.
Director Jules Dassin
Cast Jean Servais, Robert Hossein, Carl Möhner, Robert Manuel, Jules Dassin

After making such American noir classics as Brute Force and The Naked City, the blacklisted director Jules Dassin went to Paris and embarked on his masterpiece, the blueprint for all modern heist films. Tony "le Stéphanois" (Servais) is just out of prison and down on his luck. Approached by old friends Jo "le Suédois (Möhner) and Mario Farrati (Manuel) Tony is offered the chance to commit an almost impossible theft: the burglary of an exclusive jewellery shop on the rue de Rivoli. They are soon joined by César, a safecracker played by Jules Dassin himself under the pseudonym of Perlo Vita.


Sunday 28 May

HARVEY
USA · 1950 · 104 min.
Director Henry Koster
Cast James Stewart, Josephine Hull, Peggy Dow

Elwood P. Dowd (Stewart) has a best friend in an invisible 6' 3½" [1·92 m] tall rabbit named Harvey. Elwood is an eccentric middle-aged man who lives with his sister and niece and embarrasses them by introducing everyone he meets to Harvey. Is Harvey a product of his propensity to drink or perhaps mental illness? Is there method to his apparent madness? Is it better to be happy or "normal"? The film gives Stewart a chance to shine as the disingenuous lovable character and also showcases the talents of Josephine Hull as his sister Veta who attempts to have him committed to a sanatorium.

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ROPE
USA · 1948 · 80 min.
Director Alfred Hitchcock
Cast James Stewart, John Dall, Farley Granger

In this movie version of a play that was inspired by the Leopold-Loeb murder case, two young men strangle their "inferior" classmate, hide his body in their apartment, and invite his friends and family to a dinner party as a means to challenge the "perfection" of their crime. James Stewart plays a very different role here as a suspicious friend who wonders where the murdered man is. A psychological thriller presented in real time and shot to appear as a single long take, Rope remains one of the most interesting experiments ever attempted by a major director working with big box-office names.


Sunday 18 June

THE DEVIL TO PAY
Australia · 1962 · 36 min.
Director Bruce Beresford
Cast John Bell, Rosaleen Smythe, Tania Verstak

This is an early film of Bruce Beresford, made at the University of Sydney. A youthful John Bell plays a dying advertising executive, recounting his life to the devil. There are colourful shots of 1960s Sydney.

Print courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia

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THREE IN ONE
Australia · 1957 · 89 min.
Director Cecil Holmes
Cast Reg Lye, Jerome Levy, Leonard Teale (as Leonard Thiele), Joan Landor, Betty Lucas;
narrated by John McCallum

In this rare Australian film of the 1950s there are three separate stories:
Joe Wilson's Mates, based on a tale by Henry Lawson, about Union men who get together to bury an unknown man who has only a Union card in his pocket;
The Load of Wood, from a story by Frank Hardy set in the depression of the 1930s, of two men who break into a timber paddock in the Snowy Mountains to steal wood for poor families desperately short of wood in the freezing winter; and
The City, by Ralph Peterson, about love lost and found in Sydney at night. We see Sydney's Luna Park in the 1950s.

Print courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia


Sunday 25 June

BLOOD ON THE MOON
USA · 1948 · 128 min.
Director Robert Wise
Cast Robert Mitchum, Barbara Bel Geddes, Robert Preston, Tom Tully

Jim Garry (Mitchum) is duped by his old friend Tate Riling (Preston) into riding with his men duffing cattle from the ranch of John Lufton (Tully). Tate, loathe to share the details, offers Jim a partnership and much more money than he'd ever seen to get Lufton's herd. Jim had already had an altercation with Lufton and had been shot at by his daughter Amy (Bel Geddes) as he rode across the Indian reservation to meet up with Tate. With no other option he becomes embroiled in a bitter feud between Lufton, the crooked Riling, and a government agent supposedly representing the Indians. The moonlit climax is thrilling.

DVD courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia


Sunday 9 July

MEDIUM COOL
USA · 1969 · 110 min.
Director Haskell Wexler
Cast Robert Forster, Verna Bloom, Peter Bonerz, Marianna Hill

A daring blend of documentary and drama, Medium Cool shows the interaction between real life and the media in the summer of 1968 as Chicago readies itself for the Democratic National Convention. Directed by legendary documentary maker Haskell Wexler, we see the developing relationship between worldly TV journalist John (Forster) and a young war widow from West Virginia, Eileen (Bloom). John learns that he is implicated in the mix of political opposition, violence, and state repression. An extraordinarily important cultural landmark of the 1960s, Medium Cool retains both its relevance and its aesthetic and political force.


Sunday 30 July

GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER
USA · 1967 · 104 min.
Director Stanley Kramer
Cast Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn, Sidney Poitier, Katherine Houghton

When Joanna Drayton (Houghton), a free-thinking white woman, and black doctor John Prentice (Poitier) become engaged, they travel to San Francisco to meet her parents. Matt Drayton (Tracy) and his wife Christina (Hepburn) are wealthy liberals who must confront the latent racism the coming marriage arouses. In the same year this film was released (1967) the US Supreme Court invalidated State laws prohibiting interracial marriage. Guess Who's Coming to Dinner is remembered today for two significant reasons: it was the first Hollywood film to portray an interracial romance that had an optimistic ending, and the film featured a dream cast that included Spencer Tracy in his final screen performance.


Sunday 13 August

BLOW-UP
UK · 1966 · 111 min.
Director Michelangelo Antonioni
Cast David Hemmings, Vanessa Redgrave, Sarah Miles

This elliptical, many-layered film looks at fashionable life in 1960s swinging London. It follows a successful fashion photographer (Hemmings) who seems to have it all: success, money, and influence. However, as the camera focuses on him over a couple of days, it becomes apparent he is a jaded, lonely man suffering a crisis of meaning. He is jolted out of his ennui when he begins to realise that he has accidentally photo­graphed what could be a murder. Certainly there is a young woman (Redgrave) who is desperately keen to retrieve the photographs. As he struggles to understand what is happening, the film switches tantalisingly between the reality of his life and his obsessive artistic imagination.

DVD courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia


Sunday 27 August

THE APARTMENT
USA · 1960 · 125 min.
Director Billy Wilder
Cast Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, Fred MacMurray

In order to secure promotion, CC Baxter (Lemmon) allows his married superiors to use his apartment for trysts with their girlfriends. However, problems arise when his boss Mr Sheldrake (MacMurray) starts going to Baxter's apartment with Baxter's dream girl, elevator operator Fran Kubelik (MacLaine). Re-teaming actor Jack Lemmon, scriptwriter I.A.L. Diamond, and director Billy Wilder a year after Some Like It Hot, this comedy-drama is sharper in tone and more satirical but has a romantic heart of gold. The Apartment received 10 Academy Award® nominations and won 5 Oscars® including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Writing.


Sunday 10 September

THE COMMITTEE

Director
Cast

DVD courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia

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PERFORMANCE
UK · 1957 · mm min.
Director Nicholas Roeg
Cast


Sunday 17 September

THE TALE OF RUBY ROSE

Director
Cast

DVD courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia


Sunday 15 October

THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI

Director
Cast


Sunday 29 October

CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS
USA · 19yy · mm min.
Director Woody Allen
Cast Woody Allen, Mia Farrow, Martin Landau


Sunday 12 November

OCCURRENCE AT OWL CREEK

Director
Cast

Print courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia

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THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE

Director
Cast


Sunday 26 November

GIRL WITH A HATBOX

Director
Cast

Print courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia

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BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN
USSR · 193y · mm min.
Director Sergei Eisenstein
Cast

DVD courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia


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