It’s always nice to begin the new year on a repertorial note, even one as safe as the Leading Ladies series that begins tonight at the Angelika Film Center. While it’s not a bad list — the only dud in the bunch is Richard Brooks’ stage-bound Cat on a Hot Tin Roof — all of the selections are the stuff that AFI Top 100 lists are made of.
Observations from an inveterate film programmer: Since when is King Kong a lady? Another shot at seeing the Eighth Wonder of the World projected on a theater screen is always a welcome event, but it’s doubtful that anyone has ever looked upon Fay Wray as a leading lady of cinema. And unless it was booked to showcase the work of Piper Laurie, in this company Sissy Spacek’s Academy Award–winning performance in Coal Miner’s Daughter would have been the more logical selection than Carrie.
One more gripe. It’s hard enough to pull audiences in for repertory screenings, but Monday at 7 p.m? Series like these are geared for the silver-haired set, most of whom either don’t like driving after dark or are in bed at 7 p.m. There is also traffic to consider. As much as I would love another visit to Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, it would take over 90 minutes from my house during rush-hour. Wouldn’t Sunday mornings at 11 be a better screening time?
John Sittig, director of projection and sound for Reading Cinemas, will be on hand to introduce each film. All shows are at 7 p.m. on the second Monday of every month. Seating is reserved. Tickets run $12 and are available at the box office or online. Below is the complete list of titles.
January 8: Katharine Hepburn in The Philadelphia Story (1940)
February 12: Liza Minnelli in Cabaret (1972)
March 12: Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, and Marilyn Monroe in All About Eve (1950)
April 9: Debbie Reynolds in Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
May 14: Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina (1954)
June 11: Marilyn Monroe & Jane Russell in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
July 9: Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell, etc. in The Women (1939)
August 13: Elizabeth Taylor in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)
September 10: Fay Wray in King Kong (1933)
October 8: Piper Laurie and Sissy Spacek in Carrie (1976)
November 12: Grace Kelly in High Society (1956)
December 10: Maureen O’Hara and Natalie Wood in Miracle on 34th Street (1947)