1933, Warner Bros., 115 min, USA, Dir: George Cukor

Katharine Hepburn stars in this Academy Award-winning adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel set in 1860s New England. As four sisters grow from girls to young adults during the hard times of the Civil War, the difficulties, tragedies and joys they experience tear at - but cannot break - the deep bonds of sisterhood and family in this timeless and heartwarming tale of growth and self-discovery.

1990, Sony Repertory, 101 min, USA, Dir: Charles Burnett

Charles Burnett’s beautiful, poetic masterpiece is novelistic in its narrative density and richness of characterization. Harry Mention (Danny Glover), an enigmatic drifter from the South, comes to visit an old acquaintance named Gideon (Paul Butler), who now lives in South-Central Los Angeles. Harry’s charming, down-home manner hides a malicious penchant for stirring up trouble, and he exerts a strange and powerful effect on Gideon and his thoroughly assimilated black, middle-class family. The household was already rife with conflict when the devilish guest arrived, and Harry’s grab-bag of folktales, lucky charms and foul magic only deepens the family rift. Sickness and insanity gradually descend upon Gideon’s home, and it soon becomes evident that something will have to give.

1913, Universal, 88 min, USA, Dir: George Loane Tucker

Released more than a year before full-length films became the norm, this 6-reel crime drama about forced prostitution (“white slavery”) stars Jane Gail, Ethel Grandin and Matt Moore. A blockbuster hit and the top-grossing American film of 1913, it was also the first Universal feature, and its success was responsible for turning Universal into a major studio. Structured as a suspenseful police procedural with a touch of romance, TRAFFIC IN SOULS was based on a story drawn from newspaper headlines by its director, George Loane Tucker, at a time when America was undergoing a national social crisis over the issue of prostitution. In addition to its daring subject matter and ahead-of-its time narrative style, TRAFFIC includes fascinating footage filmed “guerrilla style” on location on the streets of Manhattan and at Ellis Island. In 2006, the film was added to the National Film Registry for preservation in the Library of Congress because it "presaged the Hollywood narrative film" and for its depiction of the ways immigrants and other young women were trapped into prostitution.

Syndicate content