Each Meeting a Complete Program

On the second Saturday of each month the Moderator presents an evening's program consisting of a cartoon and/or short subject, Coming Attractions, and the feature film, along with relevant clips from other films and from documentaries on the genre, the director, the actors, film techniques, and related popular culture. Regular participants assist with various aspects of the program.  Time is set aside for thoughtful discussion after the movie.

The majority of the films are recognized classics, many from 1930s and 40s Hollywood, some from other eras or other countries. We also show newer or more eclectic films which may not be classics but which are of interest to film buffs.  There is broad exposure to key directors, actors, and genres, and efforts are made to show films that Regulars haven't already seen.

To illustrate, in addition to the film, the program for the John Ford Western classic My Darling Clementine (1946) included:

  • The Warner Bros. cartoon Drip-Along Daffy (1951);
  • An introduction to the Western genre from the PBS series American Cinema;
  • Clips illustrating the director's style, themes, and motifs from the documentary Directed By John Ford;
  • A comparison of scenes between the director's original cut and the studio-edited final release version;
  • Background on Ford; the stars: Henry Fonda, Victor Mature, Linda Darnell, and Walter Brennan; the studio: Twentieth Century-Fox; the    making (and re-making) of the film; and the meaning of the inside jokes in the cartoon;
  • Group discussion centering on the film's themes, characters, and cinematography; and
  • A final video tribute to Ford by actress Maureen O'Hara.

Books and films are awarded as prizes in the monthly trivia contests. 

All Life is Too Short... programs are similarly full-featured, but never pedantic.  The emphasis is on enjoying the film as it was meant to be enjoyed.


Some Examples of Life is Too Short... Movies

Many of the movies we screen are mainstream classics, though we do try to avoid ones – like Casablanca or Gone With the Wind – that are so popular that everyone has seen them.  And we occasionally show less well-known films of interest to film buffs.  Some examples:

Title (Year, Country)
  The Awful Truth (1937)
  Screwball Comedy
  Leo McCarey
  Cary Grant, Irene Dunne
  Black Narcissus (1947, UK)
  Michael Powell
  Deborah Kerr
  Blancanieves (2011, France/Spain)
  Pablo Berger
  Macarena García
  Camille (1937)
  George Cukor
  Greta Garbo, Robert Taylor
  City Lights (1931)
  Silent Comedy
  Charles Chaplin
  Charles Chaplin
  Grand Illusion (1937, France)
  European Realism
  Jean Renoir
  Jean Gabin
  A Hard Day's Night (1964, UK)
  Richard Lester
  The Beatles
  M*A*S*H (1970)
  Black Comedy
  Robert Altman
  Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould
  Metropolis (1927, Germany)
  Science Fiction
  Fritz Lang
  Brigitte Helm
  Murder, My Sweet (1944)
  Film Noir
  Edward Dmytryk
  Dick Powell, Claire Trevor
  A Night at the Opera (1935)
  Anarchic Comedy
  Sam Wood
  The Marx Brothers
  Russian Ark (2002, Russia)
  Alexander Sokurov
  The State Hermitage Museum
  The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958)
  Nathan Juran
  (Special effects: Ray Harryhausen)
  Swing Time (1936)
  1930s Musical
  George Stevens
  Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers
  Tokyo Story (1953, Japan)
  Yasujiro Ozu
  Chishu Ryu
  The Tree of Life (2011)
  Terrence Malick
  Brad Pitt, Sean Penn

Each year's films are chosen after polling the Regulars on their interests and preferences.  The supplementary materials come from the Moderator's extensive collection of films, shorts, cartoons, and clips  and the internet.