Past Season:

Hollywood on Hollywood

Sun 13 Nov — Thu 22 Dec 2022

Whilst Hollywood has often garlanded particularly slick and soft depictions of the movies with Oscars galore, our selection of Hollywood on Hollywood films spotlights the most bitingly satirical, truly interesting, or blissfully entertaining examples from the industry’s undying focus on itself.

Hollywood has documented, celebrated, and satirised itself since its foundation in the mid-1910s. A frustrated film director repeatedly pushes Chaplin’s Little Tramp out of his shot in Kid Auto Races at Venice (1914). Paramount advertised the new California dream factory in an early documentary, A Trip to Paramountown (1922), and the success stories of those drawn West seeking stardom were celebrated in silent comedies from major studios such as MGM and Paramount itself.

The impulse to stage the filmmaking process, the glitz of stardom, and the cutthroat nature of the industry, has prevailed over the last century. Our season begins in the 1950s and 60s, where celebrations of Hollywood history and movie-magic such as Singin’ in the Rain and A Star is Born sit side-by-side with savage depictions of stars discarded by the system in Sunset Boulevard and What Ever Happened to Baby Jane. In the New Hollywood period and beyond, the studios’ collusion with McCarthy’s communist witch hunts is condemned in The Front, David Mamet skewers the on-set experience with razor sharp wit in State and Main, and Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman provided perhaps the best image of Hollywood in the metafictional Adaptation: a snake eating its own tail. Finally we present the most unclassifiable vision of Hollywood, David Lynch’s nightmarish and seductive Mulholland Drive.

Past Screenings

Mulholland Drive 15

A love story in the city of dreams . . . Blonde Betty Elms (Naomi Watts) has only just arrived in… Read More
David Lynch, USA, 2001, 147m.
This screening has now passed.

A Star is Born (1954) U

A musical remake of the classic 1937 film of the same name, A Star is Born was designed as Judy Garland's comeback… Read More
George Cukor, USA, 1954, 181m.
This screening has now passed.

Singin' in the Rain U

"This sublime 1952 musical puts the artistry of Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds on full, joyful display." Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian.… Read More
Stanley Donen, USA, 1952, 110m.
This screening has now passed.

Sunset Boulevard PG

Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond, an aging silent film queen, and William Holden as the struggling writer who is held in… Read More
Billy Wilder, USA, 1950, 110m.
This screening has now passed.

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? 12A

The Screening on Tuesday 13 December will be introduced by Lucy Bolton (QMUL), and will be followed by a post-film discussion… Read More
Robert Aldrich, USA, 1962, 132m.
This screening has now passed.

The Front 12A

In the 1950s, restaurant cashier Howard Prince (Woody Allen) is apathetic toward the politics around him. When a blacklisted screenwriter (Michael… Read More
Martin Ritt, USA, 1976, 95m.
This screening has now passed.

State and Main 15

When a big-budget film crew takes over a small town, they shoot first ... and ask questions later. Director Walt Price… Read More
David Mamet, USA, 2000, 106m.
This screening has now passed.

Adaptation 15

Nicolas Cage is Charlie Kaufman, a confused L.A. screenwriter overwhelmed by feelings of inadequacy, sexual frustration, self-loathing, and by the screenwriting… Read More
Spike Jonze, USA, 2002, 114m.
This screening has now passed.