Crime runs rampant at movie nights!

In the Audience

Crime runs rampant at movie nights!By NICK ROGERS

Just three more who-dunnits are waiting to be solved at the Historical Society of the Upper Mojave Desert’s latest Classic Movie Night series, “Crime Scene.” Still left standing in the notorious lineup are Joan Crawford, James Cagney and Bette Davis. The series continues through May 2 on flex Wednesdays at 7 p.m. at the Historic USO Building.

On Wednesday, April 4, we find Joan Crawford burdened with an unemployed husband, his lecherous former business partner and a spoiled daughter. Deciding to strike out on her own, she lands a job as a restaurant waitress. She quickly learns the business, and in time, opens her first cafe. Hard-working and business-savvy, “Mildred” makes her establishment(s) wildly popular, bringing in lots of money … to support a parasitic lover and her increasingly greedy daughter. Then one evening, at her beach house, a dead body appears, and there is no lack of suspects! Director Michael Curtiz’ classic film noir thriller nabbed Crawford the 1945 Best Actress Oscar® for her efforts ... and believe me, she worked hard for it!

James Cagney’s portrayal of hardened criminal, Cody Jarrett, earned him a much-deserved Oscar® nomination. Possessing a bizarre mother fixation, a violent brain malady and a well-developed trigger finger, he keeps his “moll,” Virginia Mayo, in constant terror and FBI Agent Edmund O’Brien in constant pursuit. This 1949 crime classic, skillfully directed by Raoul Walsh, is one of Cagney’s most intense and memorable film portrayals. It will be screened on Wednesday, April 18, at 7 p.m.

This series winds up on Wednesday, May 2, with the grand dame of the cinema, Bette Davis, starring as twins who are less than sisterly. In their youth, they were rivals for the love of the same man, with one sister deceiving the poor guy into a hasty marriage and incurring the everlasting resentment of her twin. Peter Lawford joins the chaos as a nasty, scheming tennis pro with an eye for jewels and pricey sports cars. Detective Karl Malden, carrying a torch for the spurned sister, is trying to figure out who committed the foul play that inevitably ensues. Davis’ former “Now, Voyager” leading man, Paul Henreid, directs this 1964 entry that will lead us into the Sixth Annual “Summer of Movie Magic,” beginning Wednesday, May 16, at 7 p.m. (For film titles, call 760-375-8456, or pick up a schedule in the lobby.)

This summer season, we will be alternating family-friendly films with Universal Studios horror classics every week (except for Wednesday, July 4) through the summer, up to Wednesday, Aug. 8.

And with that we say ... case(s) closed!

Story First Published: 2018-03-30