July: Classic Comedies for Midsummer Nights
The month features four critically acclaimed comedies dating back as far as the 1960s.
All films are free and are shown Fridays at 7 PM in the Abbott Room of the Belfast Free Library.
Shampoo (1975) It’s election eve, 1968. Richard Nixon is about to become President. But a different kind of politics is being played out in Beverly Hills – sexual politics. Warren Beatty and Julie Christie star in this film about a hairdresser who beds down as many clients as he can. But Beatty is unhappy with the direction of his life. So he and one of his “clients” scheme to have her husband bankroll Beatty’s dream of owning his own salon. But will Beatty pay the bigger price? The all-star cast also includes Goldie Hawn, Jack Warden and Lee Grant.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) Holly Golightly… Just the name alone is worth the price of admission. Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard star in this story of an aspiring socialite and a struggling writer – two lost souls who are forced to confront their failed dreams, even as the attraction builds. Some movies defy stereotypes. Is this a romantic comedy or a heartbreaking drama? Regardless, it just gets better with age. See it again – if only for the opening scene where Holly stands alone outside Tiffany’s at dawn in an elegant evening gown, holding a pastry and a takeout coffee… with Moon River in the background. What else do you need?
Love and Death (1975) Who else but Woody Allen could pull off a split-your-sides parody of serious Russian novels like War and Peace and Crime and Punishment? Woody Allen and Diane Keaton team up to portray unlikely lovers (Boris and Sonja) in Czarist Russia. As with many of Allen’s early films, the plot of Boris becoming an accidental war hero, marrying Sonja and plotting to assassinate Napoleon takes a backseat to the rollicking slapstick humor – which harkens back to Chaplin and The Marx Brothers. Oh, and the dialogue ain’t too shabby.
Harold and Maude (1971) Talk about an odd couple. Harold is 20, rich and obsessed with death. Maude is poor, 79 and obsessed with life. Where do they meet? At a funeral, of course - of a total stranger! And thus begins one of the most unlikely and beguiling love affairs ever put on film. This eccentric cult classic stars Ruth Gordon and Bud Cort. Is there dark humor? Sure. But it’s no match for the joy and hope the story ultimately delivers. Its offbeat nature was perfectly timed to reflect the rebellion and chaos of the 1960s. Throw in an unforgettable soundtrack by Cat Stevens - and you get something akin to the perfect movie-going experience