On the surface, life in America during the 1950s was a time of bright optimism and unparalleled technological advancement. Employment was up and prosperity was still within the grasp of the average working family. President Eisenhower seemed to have the situation well in hand. But with the recently ended World War, and the dangerous war now being fought in Korea, America had officially entered the Nuclear Age. This new era of heightened scientific curiosity, combined with growing concerns about the future contributed to a period of considerable anxiety--one that spawned a dark cinematic vision in the form of low-budget speculative science fiction films.
Hollywood suddenly found itself catering to this exciting trend, producing an onslaught of films that exploited everyday fears in cinematically inventive ways, offering audiences a wide variety of paranoid scenarios, all predicated on our wildest nuclear nightmares: hostile visitors from alien worlds, radioactively mutated insects, and the creeping realization that science had finally gone mad. Audiences embraced these strangely exciting pictures with enthusiastic passion, making them among the highest grossing films of the decade.
Each of the six films, all enduring examples of a largely misunderstood and maligned genre, will be viewed in their entirety in luxurious comfort at Portland's Cinema 21 and discussed with respect to their meanings and subtexts--without losing sight of the purely fascinating entertainment value they provide. From the poetic musings of Ray Bradbury to the amazing special effects of Ray Harryhausen--and beyond, COLD WAR SHIVERS promises to be an eye and mind-opening experience!
The six films will be:
THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD (1951) July 14
IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE (1953) July 21
THEM! (1954) July 28
EARTH VS. THE FLYING SAUCERS (1956) Aug 4
INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1956) Aug 11
THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN (1957) Aug 18
INSTRUCTOR ELLIOT LAVINE
Elliot Lavine has been a film programmer of national repute since 1990, both in the San Francisco Bay Area and now here in Portland. In 2010, he received the Marlon Riggs Award from the San Francisco Film Critics Circle for his revival of rare archival titles and his role in the renewed popularity of film noir. He has taught film studies courses for Stanford's Continuing Studies Program since 2006.