I’ve begun a second season of introducing films scored by the late Elmer Bernstein at the magnificently restored Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara, Calif. We began last night with a screening of National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978), which ushered in a decade of comedy scores by the Oscar-winning composer. Members of the Bernstein family attended, and the gales of laughter in the theater were demonstrable proof that the movie is still wildly funny 38 years later. Coming up in the 2016-17 season are seven more classics: The Man With the Golden Arm (1955) on Sept. 26, Summer and Smoke (1961) on Dec. 5, The Shootist (1976) on Jan. 9, Far From Heaven (2002) on March 13, The Ten Commandments (1956) on April 10, Birdman of Alcatraz (1962) on May 8, and Trading Places (1983) on June 19. Come join us if you’re in Southern California!
With the support of Elmer Bernstein’s family, I have been asked to curate a five-film festival of classic movies scored by the great American composer. We launched the season Monday night at Santa Barbara’s beautiful Granada Theatre with a screening of Sweet Smell of Success (1957), among the most powerful of all of Bernstein’s jazz scores. The film, of course, overflows with brilliant dialogue (courtesy of Clifford Odets and Ernest Lehman), much of it spoken in tense, confrontational moments involving powerful newspaper columnist Burt Lancaster and desperate press agent Tony Curtis. Still to come in the series: True Grit (Nov. 16), Hawaii (Dec. 7), Airplane! (March 7) and The Age of Innocence (May 9). Join us!
Oscar-winning songwriter Paul Williams asked me to join him on stage for a screening of The Great Escape as part of The Elmer Bernstein Memorial Film Series at the stunning, restored Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara, Calif. It was great fun talking about the composer as well as director John Sturges’ 1963 POW film with its now classic theme (a smart-aleck march suggested by Steve McQueen’s character). After the film, we did an informal Q&A for an invited audience that included Elmer’s widow Eve and three of his children.