Friday Night Film Talks


Let’s go to the movies! New-York Historical is digging into the archives of the Bernard and Irene Schwartz Classic Film Series to highlight talks you may have missed. Rewatch the films, which are available to rent or purchase online, and enjoy these free, engaging discussions from the comfort of your home. Having trouble finding a film online? Contact public.programs@nyhistory.org for assistance. 

Bookmark this page and come back every Friday for a new movie recommendation and related talk.


The Wiz (1978)
Friday, February 26

This cult classic musical extravaganza is a reimagining of L. Frank Baum’s beloved book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz featuring a star-studded all-Black cast. Directed by Sidney Lumet. Starring Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Lena Horne. Recorded Friday, February 28, 2020

Available on: Showtime | Hulu | Amazon Prime

Listen to the talk:

Shelton Becton is a music director, conductor, and arranger, whose Broadway credits include The Wiz, Ain’t Misbehavin', The Color Purple, Memphis, Baby It’s You!, Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill, and Shuffle Along. He has worked with artists such as Judy Collins, Phylicia Rashad, and Bette Midler, and presently serves as music director for Roberta Flack. He has performed with Marvin Hamlisch, the Alvin Ailey Dance Company, the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington, D.C., and his compositions and vocal work have been featured in radio, television, and film. Dale Gregory is vice president for public programs at the New-York Historical Society.


American Madness (1932)
Friday, February 19

Released 14 years before It’s a Wonderful Life, Frank Capra hints at the darker side of the American dream in this Depression-era film about an idealistic bank president who faces disaster after his institution is robbed. Directed by Frank Capra. Starring Walter Huston. Recorded Friday, February 14, 2014

Available on: Amazon Prime | Google Play | Vudu

Listen to the talk:

Adam Gopnik has been a writer for the New Yorker since 1986. He is the award-winning author of many books, including Paris to the Moon, a series of essays written while he lived in Paris, and A Thousand Small Sanities: The Moral Adventure of Liberalism. Richard Brody began writing for the New Yorker in 1999. He is the author of Everything Is Cinema: The Working Life of Jean-Luc Godard.


Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1940)
Friday, February 12

As the World War II raged in Europe, Americans found solace and inspiration in this film, chronicling one of the nation’s greatest presidents and his electrifying rise to national prominence. Directed by John Cromwell. Starring Raymond Massey, Gene Lockhart, Ruth Gordon. Recorded Friday, March 8, 2013

Available on: Amazon Prime | YouTube | iTunes

Listen to the talk:

Harold Holzer is the author, co-author, or editor of more than 50 books on Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War era. Ron Simon is curator of television and radio at the Paley Center for Media.


Flower Drum Song (1961)
Friday, February 12

Old World tradition and American romanticism collide in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s lighthearted musical comedy. Set in San Francisco’s Chinatown, this film features one of the first largely Asian American casts in Hollywood cinema. Directed by Henry Koster. Starring Nancy Kwan, Jack Soo, Miyoshi Umeki. Recorded Friday, October 17, 2014

Available on: Amazon Prime | Vudu | Google Play

Listen to the talk:

Denny Chin is United States Circuit Judge for the Second Circuit. David Henry Hwang is a renowned playwright and screenwriter and is America’s most-produced living opera librettist. He is a Tony Award winner and three-time nominee, a three-time OBIE Award winner, and a three-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. One of his Tony nominations was for Best Book of a Musical for the 2002 Broadway revival of Flower Drum Song.


I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932)
Friday, February 5

Based on the autobiography of Robert Elliot Burns, Sherrilyn Ifill and Khalil Gibran Muhammad explore the film about a World War I veteran that is falsely convicted of robbery and forced to endure the brutal realities of the chain-gang system in the South. Directed by Mervyn LeRoy. Starring Paul Muni, Glenda Farrell. Recorded Friday, January 30, 2015

Available on: Amazon Prime TCM | YouTube

Listen to the talk:

Sherrilyn Ifill is the president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. and the critically-acclaimed author of On the Courthouse Lawn: Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the 21st Century. Khalil Gibran Muhammad is professor of history, race and public policy at Harvard Kennedy School and the Suzanne Young Murray Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. He is a trustee of the New-York Historical Society.


Paths of Glory (1957)
Friday, January 29

In one of his first major films, Stanley Kubrick teams up with Kirk Douglas to provide an unapologetic look at the futile and dehumanizing nature of war. Directed by Stanley Kubrick. Starring Kirk Douglas, Ralph Meeker, Adolphe Menjou. Recorded Friday, November 22, 2013

Available on: Amazon Prime | Tubi | YouTube

Listen to the talk:

Michael Korda is a best-selling author and editor in chief emeritus of Simon & Schuster. As an editor, he worked with an incredible array of authors, including Presidents Carter, Reagan, and Nixon, as well as Kirk Douglas, Larry King, and David McCullough.


All the President’s Men (1976)
Friday, January 22

Akhil Reed Amar and Philip Bobbitt explore Alan J. Pakula’s intense political thriller that follows reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein in their pursuit of truth during the Watergate scandal. Directed by Alan J. Pakula. Starring Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford. Recorded Friday, May 29, 2015

Available on: HBO Max | Amazon Prime | Google Play

Listen to the talk:

Philip Bobbitt, a leading constitutional theorist, is Herbert Wechsler Professor of Jurisprudence at Columbia Law School. Akhil Reed Amar is Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale University and a trustee of the New-York Historical Society.


The Thin Man (1934)
Friday, January 15

Constitutional theorist Philip Bobbitt discusses a classic murder mystery in which a former detective reluctantly investigating the disappearance of a wealthy inventor invites all the suspects to a dinner party. Directed by W.S. Van Dyke. Starring William Powell, Myrna Loy. Recorded Friday, March 20, 2015

Available on: HBO Max | iTunes | Google Play

Listen to the talk:

Philip Bobbitt, a leading constitutional theorist, is Herbert Wechsler Professor of Jurisprudence at Columbia Law School.


Things to Come (1936)
Friday, January 8

In an intriguing vision of alternative history from the mind of science fiction master H.G. Wells, a blighted Britain attempts to survive a new Dark Age after decades of fighting for a forgotten cause. Directed by William Cameron Menzies. Starring Raymond Massey, Ralph Richardson, Cedric Hardwicke. Recorded Friday, December 1, 2017

Available on: Amazon Prime | iTunes | Google Play

Listen to the talk:

Annette Gordon-Reed, a trustee of the New-York Historical Society, is Carl M. Loeb University Professor at Harvard Law School and a professor of history in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University. Michael Korda, nephew of Things to Come producer Alexander Korda and son of the film’s set designer, Vincent Korda, is editor in chief emeritus of Simon & Schuster. Ron Simon is curator of television and radio at the Paley Center for Media. Dale Gregory is vice president for public programs at the New-York Historical Society.


Stormy Weather (1943)
Friday, December 18

Loosely based on the life of its star, dancer and actor Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, this musical showcases some of the greatest Black talents of the early-to-mid 20th century. Remarks by cultural critic and biographer Stanley Crouch and journalist Bob Herbert. Directed by Andrew L. Stone. Starring Lena Horne, Bill Robinson, Cab Calloway and His Cotton Club Orchestra. Recorded Friday, June 6, 2014

Available on: Amazon Prime | iTunes | Google Play

Listen to the talk:

Stanley Crouch (1945–2020) was an award-winning journalist, cultural critic, and author of numerous essays and books, including Considering Genius: Writings on Jazz. Bob Herbert is an award-winning journalist and the producer and director of the PBS documentary film Against All Odds: The Fight for a Black Middle Class.


Roman Holiday (1953)
Friday, December 11

Melanie Wyler and Bob Herbert explore this romantic jewel about a sheltered princess in Rome who sneaks out for a night on the town and meets a charming American reporter. Directed by William Wyler. Starring Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn, Eddie Albert. Recorded Friday, June 13, 2014

Available on: Amazon Prime | YouTube | iTunes

Listen to the talk:

Melanie Wyler is a public relations professional and the daughter of William Wyler, the film’s director. Bob Herbert is an award-winning journalist and the producer and director of the PBS documentary film Against All Odds: The Fight for a Black Middle Class.


All the King’s Men (1949)
Friday, December 4

A trio of acclaimed law scholars discuss the film noir that follows the rise of ambitious politician Willie Stark, allegedly modeled after the real 1930s Louisiana governor Huey Long. Directed by Robert Rossen. Starring Broderick Crawford, John Ireland. Recorded Friday, February 16, 2018

Available on: Amazon Prime | Google Play | iTunes

Listen to the talk:

Linda Greenhouse, a senior research scholar in law at Yale Law School, covered the Supreme Court for the New York Times between 1978 and 2008 and writes a biweekly op-ed column on law as a contributing columnist. Robert Post is Sterling Professor of Law and former Dean of Yale Law School. Kenji Yoshino is Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Constitutional Law at NYU School of Law. 


Young Mr. Lincoln (1939)
Friday, November 27

Produced as the world braced for war, this film depicts a young Abe Lincoln bracing for the biggest case of his career. Directed by John Ford. Starring Henry Fonda. 100 min. Recorded Friday, March 1, 2013

Available on: Amazon Prime iTunes | YouTube

Listen to the talk:

Harold Holzer is the author, co-author, or editor of more than 50 books on Lincoln and the Civil War era. His latest book is The Presidents vs. the Press: The Endless Battle between the White House and the Media—from the Founding Fathers to Fake News. Ron Simon is curator of television and radio at the Paley Center for Media.


The Third Man (1949)
Friday, November 20

Kati Marton and David Denby discuss the film noir masterpiece set in postwar Vienna. Directed by Carol Reed. Starring Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, Orson Welles, and Trevor Howard. Recorded Friday, February 15, 2013

Available on: Amazon Prime | iTunes | YouTube

Listen to the talk:

Kati Marton is an award-winning journalist, human rights activist, and author of several books. David Denby has been a staff writer and film critic at the New Yorker since 1998. Prior to joining the magazine he was the film critic for New York magazine and was the recipient of a National Magazine Award.


Double Victory: The Tuskegee Airmen at War (2012)
Friday, November 13, 7 pm 

Legendary filmmaker George Lucas joins Brent Staples and former Tuskegee Airman Roscoe Brown to discuss this documentary, produced by Lucasfilm Ltd., spotlighting America’s first all-black aerial unit who broke racial barriers and challenged stereotypes by serving their country in World War II. This documentary was made in conjunction with Lucasfilm’s historical drama Red Tails (also available free on YouTube.) Recorded Friday, October 26, 2012

Available on: YouTube

Listen to the talk:

George Lucas is a renowned producer, writer, director, and the founder of Lucasfilm Ltd. He is a co-founder of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art and was the executive producer of the 2012 Lucasfilm production Red Tails. Roscoe Brown (1922–2016) was the director of the Center for Urban Education Policy at the Graduate School and University Center of CUNY and a former Tuskegee Airman. During World War II, he flew 68 long-range missions from August of 1944 to March of 1945 and received the Distinguished Flying Cross for his service. Brent Staples (moderator) writes on a wide range of topics for the New York Times editorial board and was awarded the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for his essays on race and racism in the United States.


The Search (1948)
Friday, November 6, 7 pm 

Actress Lee Grant is joined by Susan Lacy to discuss Montgomery Clift and his groundbreaking and profoundly moving portrayal of a U.S. Army engineer in postwar Europe, as he forms a bond with a young boy who was torn away from his mother during World War II. Directed by Fred Zinnemann. Starring Montgomery Clift, Jarmila Novotna, Aline MacMahon, and Ivan Jandl. Recorded Friday, January 11, 2013

Available on: Amazon Prime | iTunes | YouTube

Listen to the talk:

Lee Grant established herself as a formidable Broadway actress when still in her teens, winning the Critics Circle Award for her performance as the shoplifter in Detective Story. She recreated this portrayal on film, earning the Cannes Film Festival award as Best Actress and her first of four Academy Award nominations. Her stunning film and television career has included an Emmy Award for Peyton Place and an Academy Award for Shampoo. Susan Lacy, a renowned filmmaker and director, is the creator and former executive producer of the award-winning PBS biography series American Masters. In 2013, she made the move from public television to independent filmmaking with the formation of her own company, Pentimento Productions.


I Was A Male War Bride (1949)
Friday, October 30

New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik, in conversation with Richard Brody, presents one of his favorite films, a zany comedy set in postwar Germany about a French officer who soon discovers that moving to America with his new wife won’t be as simple as they thought. Directed by Howard Hawks. Starring Cary Grant, Ann Sheridan and Marion Marshall. Recorded Friday, January 25, 2013

Available on: Amazon Prime | YouTube | iTunes

Listen to the talk:

Adam Gopnik has been a writer for the New Yorker since 1986. He is the award-winning author of many books, including Paris to the Moon, a series of essays written while he lived in Paris, and A Thousand Small Sanities: The Moral Adventure of Liberalism. Richard Brody began writing for the New Yorker in 1999. He is the author of Everything Is Cinema: The Working Life of Jean-Luc Godard.


Twelve O’Clock High (1949)
Friday, October 23

Acclaimed historian Gordon S. Wood introduces one of his favorite films from his youth, in which Gregory Peck stars as a bomber pilot in a unit that carried out daylight raids over Germany and occupied France. Directed by Henry King. Starring Gregory Peck, Hugh Marlowe, Gary Merrill, Millard Mitchell, and Dean Jagger. Recorded Friday, December 14, 2012

Available on: Amazon Prime | iTunes | Vudu

Listen to the talk:

Gordon S. Wood is Alva O. Way University Professor Emeritus at Brown University and one of the nation’s most distinguished historians. He is the author of many works, including The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787, which won the Bancroft Prize, and The Radicalism of the American Revolution, which won the Pulitzer Prize for History and the Ralph Waldo Emerson Prize.


One of Our Aircraft Is Missing (1942)
Friday, October 16

Michael Korda introduces the film, produced by Alexander Korda, about six British airmen downed over the German-occupied Netherlands and the brave Dutch citizens who risk their lives to protect them. Directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. Starring Godfrey Tearle, Eric Portman, Hugh Williams, and Bernard Miles. Recorded Friday, November 9, 2012

Available on: Amazon Prime | iTunes

Listen to the talk:

Michael Korda, a bestselling author, is the nephew of the film’s producer, Alexander Korda. His latest book is Passing: A Memoir of Love and Death.

 


The Clock (1945)
Friday, October 9

New Yorker writers Adam Gopnik and Richard Brody set the scene for this film about a young soldier on 48-hour leave in New York City who finds an unlikely romance amid the turbulence and upheaval of the time. Directed by Vincente Minnelli. Starring Judy Garland, Robert Walker, and James Gleason. Recorded Friday, November 2, 2012

Available on: Amazon Prime | iTunes | Google Play

Listen to the talk:

Adam Gopnik has been a writer for the New Yorker since 1986. He is the award-winning author of many books, including Paris to the Moon, a series of essays written while he lived in Paris, and A Thousand Small Sanities: The Moral Adventure of Liberalism. Richard Brody began writing for the New Yorker in 1999. He is the author of Everything is Cinema: The Working Life of Jean-Luc Godard.

 


Casablanca (1942)
Friday, October 2 

Author Kati Marton and the New Yorker's David Denby team up to present one of the landmarks of American cinema: Casablanca, a romantic and political drama amid the dread of World War II. Winner of three Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Directed by Michael Curtiz. Starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, and Conrad Veidt. Recorded Friday, February 1, 2013

Available on: Amazon Prime | iTunes | Google Play | HBO Max

Listen to the talk:

Kati Marton is an award-winning journalist, human rights activist, and author of several books. David Denby has been a staff writer and film critic at The New Yorker since 1998. Prior to joining the magazine he was the film critic for New York magazine and was the recipient of a National Magazine Award.

 


Mrs. Miniver (1942)
Friday, September 25

Catherine Wyler discusses her father’s award-winning tale of strength and resilience on the British home front, with Lesley Stahl. Winner of six Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Directed by William Wyler. Starring Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon, Teresa Wright, and Dame Mae Whitty. Recorded Friday, October 19, 2012

Available on: Amazon Prime | iTunes | Google Play

Listen to the talk:

Catherine Wyler is a producer and former studio executive that has also held leadership roles at an array of cultural institutions throughout her career. She is the daughter of William Wyler, director of Mrs. Miniver. Lesley Stahl is a correspondent for 60 Minutes and a former CBS News White House correspondent.

 


 

 

Image: Entrance and marquee of the Strand Theatre, 1579 Broadway, New York City, undated [ca. August-September 1918]. Hassler, William Davis, 1877-1921; Tuskegee airman Marcellus G. Smith, Louisville, Kentucky, and Roscoe C. Brown Ramitelli, Italy, March 1945. (Source: Tuskegee Airmen 332nd Fighter Group pilots, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division)

 

 

 

Creative: Tronvig Group