Growing Up Goldwyn

It’s a tad disturbing that the latest films by two of our more interesting midcareer directors, Spike Jonze and Wes Anderson, are adaptations of children’s books (Where the Wild Things Are and Fantastic Mr. Fox). At the height (or depth) of the Great Recession, with the U.S. enmeshed in war, these filmmakers choose to devote their considerable talents and energies to pre-adolescent angst and animated escapism? Take a trip back in time to the Golden Age of American film, when Hollywood made movies for adults and “youth culture” didn’t exist. Samuel Goldwyn Presents” salutes the iron-willed independent producer whose vast catalog spans the silent era through the mid-1950s. Goldwyn’s greatest achievement, the multiple Oscar–winning The Best Years of Our Lives (screening at 2:50 and 8 p.m.), follows three war vets awkwardly and painfully constructing normal lives after their “victorious” return. William Wyler’s 1946 film is shot through with an unwavering emotional truth that remains profoundly moving. Another kind of domestic drama fuels Our Very Own (1 and 6:10 p.m.), the story of a happy postwar family rocked by a daughter’s discovery that her teenage sister is adopted. As revealed in this 16-film series, there was nothing juvenile about Sam Goldwyn’s postcards from America.
Dec. 2-10, 2009

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