Just in time for the General Election next Tuesday, Film Forum is starting a very timely, weeklong film series tomorrow: films about demagogues.
While I would highly recommend against watching all of the films in the series, simply because it would be too emotionally and spiritually draining to see all these exercises in mass persuasion over and over again, there are some really great titles in the series you really should see. And a good number of them are packaged as double features.
- Gabriel over the White House (1933) and Meet John Doe (1941), Friday, November 4.
- The Dead Zone (1983), Friday, November 4 and Saturday November 5.
- Citizen Kane (1941), Saturday, November 5. Yes, you’ve seen it, but have you thought about it in the context of Donald Trump?
- A Face in the Crowd (1957), Saturday, November 5 and Monday, November 7. I highly recommend this film if you’ve never seen it, especially because it has the most Trump-like portrayal of all the films in the series.
- The Great Dictator (1940), Sunday, November 6
- All the King’s Men (1949) and Born Yesterday (1950), Sunday, November 6 and Monday, November 7
- Saboteur (1942) and Duck Soup (1933), Tuesday, November 8
- The Manchurian Candidate (1962) and Good Night and Good Luck (2005), Wednesday, November 9
- Dr. Strangelove (1964) and Seven Days in May (1964), Thursday, November 10
My favorite aspect of this series—other than the timing—is the range of causes for the demagogue’s rise. Newspapers empower them in Meet John Doe and Citizen Kane, while the then-nascent medium of TV is to blame for Lonesome Rhodes, played by Andy Griffith in his first film role, in A Face in the Crowd. The plots get a little more dark in films like The Manchurian Candidate and Seven Days in May with full-on conspiracies at work.
Update: I just noticed that TCM aired a lot of the same movies on Friday, November 4.
- November 4 – November 10
- Film Forum, 209 W. Houston St, NYC
- $14.00 General, $8 Members
- Buy Tickets