"Hal Ashby was one of the most prolific and successful filmmakers of the 1970s, producing a string of hits beginning with the cult success Harold and Maude (1971) and lasting through Being There (1979). Despite this, Ashby is little remembered today..."
NOVEMBER 27 DOUBLE FEATURE
Tu 7p: Being There
Directed by Hal Ashby; Cast: Peter Sellers, Shirley MacLaine, Melvyn Douglas, Jack Warden, Richard Dysart; 1979, 130 min
This gentle, clever satire features Sellers’ brilliant, penultimate performance as a gardener whose perception of reality is based on his life of solitude and sole influence of television. Ashby’s take on screenwriter Jerzy Kosinski’s novel is a tour de force of sensitivity and serves as host to a treasure trove of interpretations.
9:30p: Harold and Maude
Directed by Hal Ashby; Cast: Bud Cort, Ruth Gordon, Vivian Pickles, Cyril Cusack, Charles Tyner, Ellen Geer; 1971, 91 min
Colin Higgins wrote this darkly comic love story between a suicidal 20-year-old boy and a 79-year-old woman, each sharing a fascination with death. The Ashby touch keeps the proceedings honest and he sets their adventures in gorgeous (now almost unrecognizable) locations around the San Francisco Bay. That, coupled with a wall-to-wall Cat Stevens soundtrack, makes this cult classic a sublime experience.
NOVEMBER 28 DOUBLE FEATURE
W 2:30p, 7p: Coming Home
Directed by Hal Ashby; Cast: Jane Fonda, Jon Voight, Bruce Dern, Penelope Milford, Robert Carradine, Robert Ginty; 1978, 126 min
This is a personal, impressionistic meditation on the Vietnam War and the scars it has left on the bodies, minds, and souls of many soldiers and civilians. Ashby handles the anti-war message with amazing subtlety and clarity and he guided Voight and Fonda to win Oscars for their intelligent, complex portrayals.
5p, 9:25p: The Last Detail
Directed by Hal Ashby; Cast: Jack Nicholson, Otis Young, Randy Quaid, Clifton James, Carol Kane, Michael Moriarty; 1973, 103 min
Ashby’s laid-back approach perfectly suits this bittersweet, oddly moving road movie about three Navy men and their escapades during an inevitably tragic journey. Based on the novel by Darryl Ponicsan, screenwriter Robert Towne retained the book’s salty language, spurning on Nicholson in a ferociously dazzling star turn.
NOVEMBER 29 DOUBLE FEATURE
Th 7p: Shampoo
Directed by Hal Ashby; Cast: Warren Beatty, Julie Christie, Goldie Hawn, Lee Grant, Jack Warden, Tony Bill, Carrie Fisher 1975, 109 min
An elegy to the wasted potential of America’s cultural revolution, SHAMPOO unfolds over the course of one 24-hour period in 1968 when Nixon was elected to office. Beatty is a Beverly Hills hairdresser juggling three women while pursing his dream of owning his own salon in this comedy of sexual mores sharply written by Robert Towne and Beatty. Grant won the Oscar.
9:10p: The Landlord
Directed by Hal Ashby; Cast: Beau Bridges, Lee Grant, Diana Sands, Pearl Bailey, Walter Brooke, Lou Gossett; 1970, 112 min NEW PRINT!
A devastating satire, THE LANDLORD is Ashby’s outrageous debut, a film that still feels daring, both stylistically and politically. Bridges buys a row house in a New York City ghetto, planning to remodel the home once he has evicted its tenants but finds all of his preconceptions tested once his and their lives are intertwined. NOT ON DVD!