The King of Comedy

Throughout this summer schedule are special presentations that we can't wait to share with you on the big screen. These specials range from a silent-era masterwork to a 40s Abbott & Costello gem to a great early Takeshi Kitano thriller and more!

  • Thu., Jun. 23 | 7:00 PM
    4070 Vilas Hall

Outside Las Vegas, truck driver, milkman and aspiring songwriter Melvin Dummar (Le Mat) gives a ride to a desert drifter (Jason Robards) who claims to be billionaire Howard Hughes. Several years later, Melvin produces a will that names him as an heir to the Hughes fortune! Demme’s sweet comedy pays lovingly detailed tribute to the work, family life and dreams of an unlikely American hero. Screenwriter Bo Goldman and Steenburgen (unforgettable as Melvin’s wife, Linda) won Oscars for their work.

  • Fri., Jun. 24 | 7:00 PM
    4070 Vilas Hall

Often considered the last film of the Nouvelle Vague, Eustache’s intellectual epic follows young Alexandre (Leaud) who spends his days hanging out in cafes talking and ultimately drifts into affairs with the older Marie (Bernadette Lafont) and the younger Veronika (Françoise Lebrun). Print courtesy of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy.


  • Thu., Jun. 30 | 7:00 PM
    4070 Vilas Hall

Japan’s answer to Dirty Harry, Violent Cop delivers on its title with the hard-hitting saga of a loose cannon detective taking on both the yakuza and the corrupt police force with fists flying and guns blazing.  Kitano’s first outing as a director already establishes his trademark juxtaposition of deadpan comedy and shocking brutality, executed with ultra-cool precision. (MK)

  • Fri., Jul. 1 | 7:00 PM
    4070 Vilas Hall

Get in the 4th of July spirit with this Abbott and Costello gem. Lou plays Revolutionary War-era tinker Horatio Prim, and Bud has dual roles as Prim's rival, Cuthbert Greenway and Cuthbert's descendent, psychiatrist Ralph Greenway. When Prim is mistaken for a turncoat and executed, he is cursed to spend his afterlife at the bottom of a well unless he can clear his name. Filled with genuine pathos as well as trademark humor, this sweet and melancholy entry in the A&C canon will be screened via a rare 35mm print. (BR)

  • Fri., Jul. 8 | 7:00 PM
    4070 Vilas Hall

At a small village inn, a traveling engaged couple stop to rest. When the man disappears, his fiancee (Dagover) is confronted by Death (Goetzke) who tells her three stories of women trying to save their men from tragic fate. An inspiration to Hitchcock and many other important filmmakers, Destiny is one of director Lang’s earliest triumphs. The elaborate special effects are still impressive today, particularly in this new restoration that preserves the original tinting and color schemes and adds a wonderful new score by Cornelius Schwehr. “When I saw Destiny, I suddenly knew that I wanted to make movies. Something about this film spoke to something deep in me; it clarified my life and my vision of the world.” (Luis Buñuel)

  • Fri., Jul. 15 | 7:00 PM
    4070 Vilas Hall

An engrossing study of an unraveling marriage, this early triumph from Asghar Farhadi lays the groundwork for his subsequent masterpieces About Elly and A Separation.  While working for a wealthy couple, a young maid learns of their infidelity, and begins to reconsider her own upcoming wedding.  Unfolding over a single night, Farhadi’s characteristically deft examination of Iranian society is set against the celebratory explosions of the Persian New Year. (MK)

  • Fri., Jul. 22 | 7:00 PM
    4070 Vilas Hall

Lonesome Rhodes (Griffith’s big screen debut) is a talented street busker with hobo-ish charm who transforms himself into a television demagogue almost overnight. This sad, brilliant and timely study by director Kazan and writer Budd Schulberg, re-teamed after On the Waterfront, takes on the inevitable unraveling of celebrity within popular culture.

  • Fri., Jul. 29 | 7:00 PM
    4070 Vilas Hall

In his fifth collaboration with director Scorsese, DeNiro plays Rupert Pupkin, a would-be stand-up comedian who believes success will come with an appearance on the late night television talk show hosted by Jerry Langford (Lewis). Rebuffed by Langford, Rupert hatches a plan with the demented stalker Masha (Bernhard) to kidnap the TV host and ransom him off for a shot at glory. The most overlooked of the DeNiro/Scorsese pairings, The King of Comedy is a devastatingly funny dark comedy with observations on fame that make the movie way ahead of its time.