The exciting partnership between the Miami Jewish Film Festival and Miami Beach Cinematheque continues, with the Masters of Jewish Cinema series hitting its fourth year. After covering Billy Wilder, Sidney Lumet, Louis Malle, Charlie Chaplin, and François Truffaut, the pair will bring a retrospective of classic Hollywood musicals to Miami.
What does that include? It’s a series that honors the heads of the three pioneering studios, European Jewish immigrants who shaped the dominant narrative and visual styles of classic Hollywood: Jack Warner of Warner Bros. Studio, Joseph Schenck of 20th Century Fox, and Louis B. Mayer and Irving Thalberg of MGM.
For the next three Thursdays, today through November 17, a different classic musical will be shown in its newly restored digital presentation for a one-night-only screening, each hosted by a different guest.
“This extraordinary retrospective serves to remind us that movies are magical and have the power to illuminate the magic in the world around us,” festival director Igor Shteyrenberg says. “These are timeless classics that will have your eyes glued, feet tapping, and heart pounding with anticipation of just what wonder they’ll produce next.”
The series kicks off tonight with Lloyd Bacon’s wonderful Footlight Parade, choreographed by the incomparable Busby Berkeley. It’s a Warner Bros. film that displays some of his most mesmerizing, impressive routines. The screening will be hosted by Andrew Strycharski, director of the Film Studies department at Florida International University.
A Night at the Opera
On November 10, the series continues with a presentation of A Night at the Opera, the popular MGM Marx Brothers feature about a sly business manager and friends of opera singers who try to help them achieve success while humiliating their enemies. This feature will be hosted by Kai Sacco, member of the Florida Film Critics Circle and author of the forthcoming film magazine The Covington Addendum.
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Closing the series is 20th Century Fox’s Moon Over Miami, a musical comedy starring Betty Grable as Kay Latimer, who, along with her sister Susan (Carole Landis), heads to Florida in search of a rich husband. The November 17 screening will be hosted by Michelle Solomon, editor of Miami Art Zine and a syndicated film critic for Local10.com.
“Hollywood Golden Age history was shaped by the distinct styles and trajectories of the major studios, led in many cases by Jewish immigrants who made each organization flourish in its own way," Miami Beach Cinematheque director Dana Keith says. "Jack Warner at Warner Bros., Joseph Schenck at 20th Century Fox, and Louis B. Mayer and Irving Thalberg at MGM were four such people who made invaluable contributions to the industry. This retrospective celebrates those contributions with examples of some of their best productions.”
Masters of Jewish Cinema
Thursday, November 3; Thursday, November 10; and Thursday, November 17, at Miami Beach Cinematheque, 1130 Washington Ave, Miami Beach. Tickets cost $10 for general admission, $9 for seniors and students, and $7 for members via mbcinema.com. Visit miamijewishfilmfestival.org or call 305-573-7304.