First Monday Films

with Irv Slifkin, film expert and author

Mondays at 7:00 pm in the library meeting room

January 9: Best in show (2000)
Directed by Christopher Guest. With Christopher Guest, Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Fred Willard, Jane Lynch. 100 min. (PG)
A high laugh-quotient “mockumentary” on dog lovers and their best friends courtesy of
director Christopher Guest (“Waiting for Guffman”) and his amazing cast of the world’s
greatest improvisational talents. The setting is Philly’s annual Mayflower Dog Show where
an array of eccentric canine lovers congregate for heated competition.

February 6: To Sir With Love (1967)
Director: James Clavell; With Sidney Poitier, Judy Geeson, Suzy Kendell, Lulu. 105 min. (Not Rated)
Sidney Poitier commands the screen as an unemployed engineer who takes a teaching
position at a tough London East End school where his patience and abilities are put to the test on a daily basis. A poignant, funny and powerful film from novelist/filmmaker James Clavell (Tai-Pan”) featuring a hit song by co-star Lulu.

March 6: Cold Turkey (1971)
Director: Norman Lear; With Dick Van Dyke, Bob Newhart, Pippa Scott, Tom Poston, Jean Stapleton. 99 min. (PG-13)
The impoverished city of Eagle Rock, Iowa could get a $25 million shot in the arm if the
citizens agree not to smoke any tobacco for a month there. Dick Van Dyke is the local
reverend leading his flock, Bob Newhart the Madison Avenue flack who came up with the contest and Norman Lear snags his only movie directing credit with this stinging satire.

April 3: Night and the City (1950)
Director: Jules Dassin; With: Richard Widmark, Gene Tierney, Googie Withers, Francis L. Sullivan, Herbert Lom. 96 min. (Not Rated)
First-rate “Brit Noir” from American expatriate Jules Dassin (“Topkapi”). The dark and seedy alleyways of London provide the perfect setting for this intense suspense saga starring Richard Widmark as a hyperactive American con artist who goes head-on against a powerful thug with his plans to control the city’s wrestling business.

May 1: Mother (1996)
Director: Albert Brooks; With Albert Brooks, Debbie Reynolds, John C. McGinley, Lisa Kudrow 103 min. (PG-13)
A salute to mothers everywhere—and their sons, no matter how lost in America they appear to be. Albert Brooks is the twice-divorced science fiction writer who finds himself back home with mother Debbie Reynolds so he can resolve some conflicts that may have led to his problems with women.

June 5: Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
Director: Sergio Leone. With: Charles Bronson, Henry Fonda, Claudia Cardinale, Jason Robards, Jr.
165 min. (PG-13) 
An epic sagebrush saga from Italy’s Sergio Leone (the Clint Eastwood “Dollars” trilogy) offers Henry Fonda as a sadistic gunman employed by a ruthless railroad tycoon to gain control of valuable land near a future train stop. Fonda faces off against a former prostitute (Claudia Cardinale), a harmonica-playing gunman (Charles Bronson) and an ornery outlaw (Jason Robards, Jr.). 
PLEASE NOTE: This film runs two hours and 45 minutes. 

July 10: The mouse that roared (1958)
Director: Jack Arnold. With: Peter Sellers, Jean Seberg, William Hartnell, Leo McKern. 83 min. (PG)
Years before Dr. Strangelove, Peter Sellers takes on three different roles in this whip-smart satire of global politics. He’s the Grand Duchess of Fenwick, the world’s smallest country, which is on the verge of economic disaster. In order to save her country, the Duchess decides to declare war on America and reap the financial benefits later.

August 7: Arabesque (1966)
Director: Stanley Donen. With: Gregory Peck, Sophia Loren, Alan Badel, Kieron Moore. 105 min. (Not Rated)
Diving back into Hitchcock territory after his hit “Charade,” director Stanley Donen delivered this unappreciated stylish thriller. Gregory Peck is American language expert working in London where he finds himself involved in international espionage after called on by a Middle Eastern prime minister to decipher ancient hieroglyphics. The ever-fashionable Sophia Loren plays the gorgeous but deceptive romantic interest.

September 11: Slither (1973)
Director: Howard Zieff. With: James Caan, Peter Boyle, Sally Kellerman, Louise Lasser. 96 min. (PG)
A wacked-out comedy directed by former advertising ace Howard Zieff (“Private Benjamin”) and written by W.D. Richter (“The adventures of Buckaroo Banzai”), James Caan is an ex-con joined by a cast of kooky characters while on a search for money hidden by his recently deceased criminal pal.

October 2: The burglar (1957)
Director: Paul Wendkos. With: Dan Duryea, Jayne Mansfield, Martha Vickers, Mickey Shaughnessy. 90 min. Not Rated.
Shot entirely on location in the Philadelphia area and the Jersey Shore, this noirish heist film from the pen of local pulp maestro David Goodis (“Dark Passage”) focuses on a group of crooks led by tough guy Duryea out to rob a spiritualist of a diamond necklace she inherited. Friction among the thieves ratchets up the tension in this stylish, rarely seen gem boasting Bryn Mawr-born Mansfield in one of her first performances.

November 6: To sir with love (1967)
Director: James Clavell. With: Sidney Poitier, Christian Roberts, Judy Geeson, Suzy Kendall, Lulu. 105 min. Not rated.
Sidney Poitier plays an aspiring engineer who takes a job teaching at an East London school populated by problem students. Poitier decides to use unorthodox methods to reach his disaffected pupils in this powerful and poignant drama.

December 4: A matter of life and death (1946)
Directors: Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. With: David Niven, Kim Hunter, Richard Attenborough, Roger Livesey.
British World War II pilot Niven disembarks from a plane during a bombing mission where he meets American radio operator Hunter. He falls in love with her, but before the romance can go any further he is put on a heavenly trial attended by important figures where he has to defend his right to survive. A gloriously offbeat fantasy from “the Archers” – aka the team of Powell and Pressburger (“The red shoes”) – that is magical and thought provoking at the same time.