(William A. Wellman, US 1937, 115 min., 35mm)
Nitrate Picture Show Preview Event! A fresh-faced farm girl goes to Hollywood and becomes a star, but her rise to the top is accompanied by heartbreak and tragedy. The second of four versions of this Tinseltown myth is arguably the best, featuring brilliant dramatic work by Janet Gaynor as the rising young star and Fredric March as her alcoholic has-been actor husband. This original Technicolor nitrate print will dazzle your eyes!
“More than casting and character, what keeps the picture firmly grounded is the use of early color. It has the same effect as early sound, especially in a picture like Wellman’s Chinatown Nights (1929), and brings with it an almost awkward starkness. There are continual bursts of rough color surrounded by an almost enveloping darkness. It’s a darkness that surrounds not only the image but also the story and when it literally and figuratively envelops Fredric March’s Norman Maine, aTaxi Driver–esque scenario emerges: is what happened real or is it a fantasy, wherein a woman actually gets to keep her successful career without being forced to choose between it and her less successful husband?” – Gina Telaroli, Il Cinema Ritrovato
Screening will be introduced by William Wellman Jr., author of Wild Bill Wellman: Hollywood Rebel, a brand new and highly researched biography of the legendary Hollywood director known in his day as “Wild Bill.”