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Gregory Peck: An Agreeable Gentleman

June 13, 2012 - June 29, 2012


If this were 1938 and you were on campus at UC Berkeley, you might come across a rather stately student, one Eldred Peck, holding forth on stage. The soft-spoken English major had gently carven features, stood 6’3”, and was hard to miss even in supporting roles in Cal’s student-sponsored Little Theater. Few outside of his prescient theater coach would have predicted that Eldred, soon to be Gregory, would surface a few years later as the lead in Jacques Tourneur’s Days of Glory and continue with a career that spanned over fifty films. Gregory Peck became a signature actor of the forties and fifties and beyond, an iconic figure like Cary Grant and Gary Cooper. His style was reserved—he seemed stalwart and enduring, his distinctive voice, a rich, honeyed baritone. But within Peck’s reserve was an appealing versatility. He could be Lewt, the lusty sibling in Duel in the Sun, or Lt. Joe Clemons, the dogged company commander in Pork Chop Hill. He could be the steadfast Atticus Finch of To Kill a Mockingbird, or Joe Bradley, the reluctant romantic of Roman Holiday. Yet beneath each character ran the deep-flowing integrity of both the actor and the man and his staunch concern for principled filmmaking. Peck was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning once, and was the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his commitment to social causes. Join us for eight films with a most agreeable gentleman.

Steve Seid, Video Curator

Wednesday, June 13, 2012
7:00 p.m. The Keys of the Kingdom
John M. Stahl (U.S., 1944). A Scottish priest spurns careerism for a life’s work in rural China in this grand Hollywood spectacle, which offered a breakthrough role (and an Oscar nomination) for a young Gregory Peck. (137 mins)

Friday, June 15, 2012
8:50 p.m. The Snows of Kilimanjaro
Henry King (U.S., 1952). This flavorful Hemingway adaptation spans the globe from 1950s Africa to 1920s Paris and 1930s Spain, and back again, as it follows the recollections of a hard-drinking writer (Peck). Susan Hayward and Ava Gardner provide the glamour, while Bernard Herrmann supplies the film’s powerful score. (113 mins)

Saturday, June 16, 2012
6:30 p.m. Pork Chop Hill
Lewis Milestone (U.S., 1959) New Print! Peck stars as an American lieutenant forced to lead his men on an impossible mission during the Korean War. Costarring Rip Torn, Woody Strode, Harry Dean Stanton, Martin Landau, Robert Blake, and George Peppard. (97 mins)

Saturday, June 16, 2012
8:30 p.m. Roman Holiday
William Wyler (U.S., 1953). Young princess Audrey Hepburn decides to go incognito in Rome, until an American reporter (Gregory Peck) arrives in hopes of a scoop. This modern Cinderella tale created the “Audrey Hepburn” image, and influenced the fashions of a generation. (118 mins)

Thursday, June 21, 2012
7:00 p.m. The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit
Nunnally Johnson (U.S., 1956). Veronique Peck in conversation with Nancy Hult Ganis and Sid Ganis. A former GI turned Madison Ave. adman finally gets a chance at the big time, but at the possible expense of his family life, in this finely tuned Gregory Peck drama on white-collar ennui. One of the key influences on AMC’s Mad Men. (152 mins)

Sunday, June 24, 2012
4:45 p.m. To Kill a Mockingbird
Robert Mulligan (U.S., 1962) New Print! Student Pick! Introduced by Michael Butler. Gregory Peck won an Oscar for his portrayal of a committed small-town lawyer with two small children defending an African American man against a rape charge. Based on the classic story by Harper Lee. (125 mins)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012
7:00 p.m. Duel in the Sun
King Vidor (U.S., 1946) Restored Print! Starring Gregory Peck and Jennifer Jones as a passionate young "half-breed," this audacious Technicolor spectacular—famously dubbed "Lust in the Dust"—passes through the ridiculous into the sublime. (144 mins)

Friday, June 29, 2012
7:00 p.m. Arabesque
Stanley Donen (U.S., 1966). Stanley Donen’s follow-up to Charade replaces that film’s Cary Grant-and-Audrey Hepburn pairing with an even more glamorous pair—Gregory Peck and Sophia Loren, as a hieroglyphics expert and the femme fatale he’s involved with—all while amping up the globe-trotting intrigue, Dior fashions, and big-budget spectacle. A midsixties Pop Art spectacle. (105 mins)