MAINE IN THE MOVIES
A state-wide film festival celebrating Maine’s bicentennial.
March 5-15, 2020
Director: John M. Stahl
Screenplay: Jo Swerling, based on the novel by Ben Ames Williams
Cast: Gene Tierney, Cornel Wilde, Jeanne Crain
“Novelist Richard Harland (Cornel Wilde) seems to have found the perfect woman in Ellen (Gene Tierney), a beautiful socialite who initiates a whirlwind romance and steers him into marriage before he can think twice. Yet the glassy surface of Ellen’s devotion soon reveals monstrous depths, as Richard comes to realize that his wife is shockingly possessive and may be capable of destroying anyone who comes between them. A singular Hollywood masterpiece that draws freely from the women’s picture and film noir alike, Leave Her to Heaven boasts elegant direction by melodrama specialist John M. Stahl, blazing Technicolor cinematography by Leon Shamroy, and a chilling performance by Tierney, whose Ellen is a femme fatale unlike any other: a woman whose love is as pure as it is poisonous.” –Criterion Collection
Director: Brad Bird
Screenplay: Tim McCanlies, Brad Bird, based on the book by Ted Hughes
Cast: Eli Marienthal, Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Aniston
“Based upon the 1968 story, ‘Iron Man,’ by the British poet laureate Ted Hughes, the film is about a giant metal machine that drops from the sky and frightens a small town in Maine in 1958, only to find a friend named, Hogarth, that ultimately finds its humanity and saving the towns people of their fears and prejudices.” –Rotten Tomatoes
Director: Brad Silberling
Screenplay: Joseph Oriolo, Sherri Stoner
Cast: Bill Pullman, Christina Ricci, Cathy Moriarty
“A rich man’s daughter named Carrigan learns that her father has left her nothing in his will, except for crumbling Whipstaff Manor in Maine. She’s enraged, until her assistant discovers a secret message suggesting that a vast treasure may be hidden there. They leave immediately for Maine – where, of course, it turns out that Whipstaff Manor is haunted.
She determines to get rid of the ghosts, and the movie has a lot of fun with scenes involving an exorcist (Don Novello as Father Guido Sarducci) and a ghostbuster (Dan Aykroyd). Nothing works. Meanwhile, Casper, the resident ghost, pulls himself away from watching “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” long enough to learn, on the news, about a ghost psychiatrist who specializes in helping spirits come to peace with themselves, so they won’t need to haunt any longer.”” –Roger Ebert”
Director: George Miller
Screenplay: Dana Baratta, based on A Seal Called Andre by Harry Goodridge & Lew Dietz
Cast: Keith Carradine, Tina Majorino, Keith Szarabajka, Chelsea Field, Annette O’Toole
In a coastal Maine town, Harry Whitney (Keith Carradine) and his family of animal enthusiasts nurse an ailing seal back to health. All of the Whitneys care deeply for Andre, the abandoned seal, but Harry’s young daughter Toni (Tina Majorino) grows particularly close to the animal. Unfortunately, as Andre grows healthy again, his playful antics begin to infuriate the fishermen of the town, and the Whitneys became a target of ridicule. However, Toni and her family stand by their friend.
Director: Frederick Wiseman
BELFAST, MAINE is a film about ordinary experience in a beautiful old New England port city. It is a portrait of daily life with particular emphasis on the work and the cultural life of the community. Among the activities shown in the film are the work of lobstermen, tug-boat operators, factory workers, shop owners, city counselors, doctors, judges, policemen, teachers, social workers, nurses and ministers. Cultural activities include choir rehearsal, dance class, music lessons and theatre production. “It is an immensely rich and immeasurably valuable microcosm of American life at the end of the twentieth century. Second, and most unexpected, it is a microcosm of Wiseman’s art… It reminds us, movingly, of the persistent strength and beauty of the natural world, which is made to serve the economy; and it pays tribute to the courage and good will of people who go out, day after day, to ease what suffering they can. A fitting summary of Fred Wiseman’s work, and of his life as well.” –Stuart Klawans, The Nation
Director: Lisa Cholodenko
Screenplay: Jane Anderson and Elizabeth Strout, based on her novel
Cast: Frances McDormand, Richard Jenkins, Ken Cheeseman
This mini-series follows Maine schoolteacher Olive Kitteridge (Frances McDormand) and her relationships with her husband, Henry (Richard Jenkins); son, Chris (John Gallagher Jr.); and other members of their New England community. Directed by Lisa Cholodenko, the four-episode HBO miniseries was adapted by Jane Anderson from a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by [Bates College alumna] Elizabeth Strout, and also stars Bill Murray and Zoe Kazan. “With this full-bodied, honestly sympathetic portrait of the difficult, demanding, and ultimately admirable Olive, she reaffirms her status as one of the great actors of our age — one who can lift your spirits, break your heart, and keep you riveted through all four hours of the best movie or miniseries HBO has produced.” –Robert Bianco, USA Today.
Screenplay: Anthony Paul Kelly, from the play by Lottie Blair Parker
Cast: Lillian Gish, Richard Barthelmess, Mrs. David Landau
“Based on a popular 19th century play [by Lottie Blair Parker], Way Down East is a poignant melodrama about a poor country girl who is tricked into a fake marriage and has an illegitimate child who dies. After starting a new life [on a puritanical Maine farm], her past is exposed and she is evicted into a raging blizzard, pursued by the young man who secretly loves her” –Amazon. “Griffith captured the appeal of Parker’s original, while embossing it with devices borrowed from other popular melodramas, such as a climactic chase across an ice floe” –Kino Lorber.
Director: Kristjan Thor
Producers: Scotty Crowe, Jessica Cummings, Ashlin Halfnight, Kristjan Thor
Screenplay: Ashlin Halfnight
Cast: Nerea Duhart, Scotty Crowe, Jessica Cummings, Dan O’Brien
When an epidemic nearly wipes out the human race, a telepathic teenage girl named Astraea has visions of survivors living in New Brunswick. Sheleads her doubting brother on a 5000-mile journey through a silent and abandoned America into the snowbound wilderness, hoping to rebuild life as she knew it. As they head north, her clairvoyance intensifies and they encounter a wary young couple, homesteading on a remote lake in Western Maine. The grief and complexity–as well as the excitement and comfort–of encountering other normal humans pits itself against Astraea’s desire to keep moving and find her family. This post-apocalyptic film, spectacularly shot in wintry Maine landscapes, uses sensitivity and intellect rather than special effects to show not what humanity is running from, but what we’re running towards.
Director: Bridget Savage Cole, Danielle Krudy
Screenplay: Bridget Savage Cole, Danielle Krudy
Cast: Morgan Saylor, Sophie Lowe, Margo Martindale, June Squibb, Annette O’Toole, Marceline Hugot, Will Brittain
This is not your ordinary everyday Made-in-Maine movie, if there is such a thing. Blow the Man Down was shot in late winter, not midsummer. Co-directors and screenwriters Bridget Savage Cole and Danielle Krudy storm like a nor’easter with their film’s amazing combination of dark humor, suspense, saltiness (in all the meanings of the word) and originality. It all starts with a chorus of sea shanty singers and moves on to Priscilla and Mary Beth Connolly, whom we join on the day of their mother’s funeral after a long illness. They need a break—but they won’t get one. A dead body, three seriously busybody friends of their mom’s (Annette O’Toole, June Squibb, and Marceline Hugot), and a friendly but inquisitive young local cop (Will Brittain) combine with towering local inn-keeper—okay, it’s actually a brothel—Enid (the unforgettable Margo Martindale) to make the Connolly sisters’ lives complicated.
Director: Mel Gibson
Screenplay: Malcolm MacRury, based on the novel by Isabelle Holland
Cast: Mel Gibson, Nick Stahl, Margaret Whitton
Young Chuck Norstadt (Nick Stahl) wants nothing more than to join a prestigious military academy like his late father, but he is wary of the school’s lofty academic standards. With only a single summer in which to study for the entrance exam, Chuck finds an unlikely tutor in the form of Justin McLeod (Mel Gibson), a disfigured recluse who was once a teacher. McLeod agrees to teach Chuck, and the two form a deep friendship – until Chuck learns of the secret behind McLeod’s terrible scars.
Director: Sean Mewshaw
Screenplay: Sean Mewshaw, Desi van Til
Cast: Rebecca Hall, Jason Sudeikis, Blythe Danner
A young woman struggles to move on with her life after the death of her husband, an acclaimed folk singer, when a brash New York writer forces her to confront her loss and the ambiguous circumstances of his death.
Director: James Algar, Samuel Armstrong, David Hand, Graham Heid, Bill Roberts, Paul Satterfield, Norman Wright
Producer: Walt Disney
Screenplay: Felix Salten, Perce Pearce, Larry Morey, Vernon Stallings, Mel Shaw, Carl Fallberg, Chuck Couch, Ralph Wright
Cast: Hardie Albright, Stan Alexander, Bobette Audrey
“The Disney classic that made the woodlands feel like home to generations of young children has connections throughout Maine: Maurice Day photographed Katahdin and the North Woods for the film’s visual development; the two live fawns who served as animation models were sent to California by the Maine Development Commission; and the film’s musical composer, Frank Churchill, was a Rumford native. If not literally set in Maine, Bambi could well have been.” –Ken Eisen, MIFF 2017
Director: Richard Quine
Screenplay: Norman Katkov
Cast: Doris Day, Jack Lemmon, Ernie Kovacs, Steve Forrest
After a shipment of fresh lobsters isn’t delivered on time to Jane Osgood (Doris Day), a widowed mother of two running a failing restaurant supply business in Maine, she hires her lawyer friend George Denham (Jack Lemmon) to sue the railroad company she believes is responsible for the damages. The court case generates lots of publicity and Osgood is famous. A charismatic news reporter (Steve Forrest) takes to Osgood, but that doesn’t sit well with Denham, who also has eyes for her.
Director: Robert Eggers
Screenplay: Robert Eggers, Max Eggers
Cast: Robert Pattinson, Willem Dafoe, Valeriia Karaman
“By turns funny, sinister, haunting, historically fascinating and mythical, The Lighthouse is one of the best films of the year”—Sara Stewart, New York Post. “The ferociously entertaining new film from Robert Eggers fixates on two of the best in the business, Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe. They are the star attractions in this storm-battered maritime horror, set on a remote lighthouse station in the 1890s and shot in severe black and white. You would struggle to describe either man as conventionally handsome here – even before the wind, brine, seagulls, blunt force trauma, flying excreta and unspecified Lovecraftian sludge take their toll. But both have a kind of sublime ugliness that is wholly in keeping with a film that feels less made than hoisted up like treasure from the belly of some rust-bitten shipwreck. Pattinson plays Ephraim Winslow, the taciturn new apprentice to Dafoe’s lighthouse keeper Thomas Wake, who comes across like Captain Haddock crossed with Gollum. As the film begins, both men arrive at their posts through a cloak of fog, braced for a four-week shift… Both Pattinson and Dafoe have their secrets, and these slowly emerge as a tempest closes in and prolongs their stay indefinitely, while tempers fray, rations moulder, identities crumble, and a small, scrimshaw mermaid Pattinson finds tucked in his mattress exerts an unearthly pull. The Shining-on-Sea? Sort of… It’s cinema to make your head and soul ring.” — Rob Collin, The Telegraph
Director: James Wan
Screenplay: David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, Will Beall
Cast: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe
“Once home to the most advanced civilization on Earth, the city of Atlantis is now an underwater kingdom ruled by the power-hungry King Orm. With a vast army at his disposal, Orm plans to conquer the remaining oceanic people — and then the surface world. Standing in his way is Aquaman, Orm’s half-human, half-Atlantean brother and true heir to the throne. With help from royal counselor Vulko, Aquaman must retrieve the legendary Trident of Atlan and embrace his destiny as protector of the deep. “”Aquaman, the son of a human father and a superhuman Atlantean mother, was born and grew up in Maine. At least, the version of Aquaman that’s shown in the movie and in most versions of the character from 1960 onward.
The current version of Aquaman’s origin story is that Atlanna (Nicole Kidman, in the movie), the outcast queen of Atlantis, washes ashore on the lighthouse kept by Tom Curry (Temuera Morrison), a rugged Mainer in the fictional town of Amnesty Bay. The two fall in love, of course, and Atlanna gives birth to a boy. Atlanna eventually has to abandon her Maine family and return to Atlantis, where her son is trained to be the Atlantean warrior who eventually becomes Aquaman.” – Emily Burnham, Bangor Daily News.”
Director: Brian De Palma
Screenplay: Lawrence D. Cohen, based on the novel by Stephen King
Cast: Sissy Spacek, John Travolta, Piper Laurie, Amy Irving
In this chilling adaptation of Stephen King’s horror novel, withdrawn and sensitive teen Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) faces taunting from classmates at school and abuse from her fanatically pious mother (Piper Laurie) at home. When strange occurrences start happening around Carrie, she begins to suspect that she has supernatural powers. Invited to the prom by the empathetic Tommy Ross (William Katt), Carrie tries to let her guard down, but things eventually take a dark and violent turn.
Director: Edgar G. Ulmer
Screenplay: Herb Meadow, based on the novel by Ben Ames Williams
Cast: Hedy Lamarr, George Sanders, Louis Hayward
Isaiah (Gene Lockhart), a 19th-century businessman, has his eye on the beautiful and very young Jenny (Hedy Lamarr). Finally of age, she accepts his marriage proposal, but their love affair quickly turns sour. Ephraim (Louis Hayward), Isaiah’s college-age son, comes for a visit, immediately striking up a chemistry with Jenny. She promises marriage — if he murders his father first. But Jenny also swoons for John (George Sanders), the fiancé of her best friend, Meg (Hillary Brooke).
Director: Curtis Bernhardt
Screenplay: Catherine Turney, Margaret Buell Wilder, based on the novel by Karel J. Benes
Cast: Bette Davis, Glenn Ford, Dane Clark
Reserved Kate Bosworth (Bette Davis) returns home to work on her painting, and meets and falls in love with young engineer Bill Emerson (Glenn Ford), who is working at the lighthouse for the summer. When Bill meets Kate’s twin, Pat, he mistakes her for Kate and is confused by and drawn to her charged sensuality. Heartbroken when Bill marries Pat, Kate buries herself in her work and the coaching of angry artist Karnock (Dane Clark), until an improbable situation arises involving Bill.
Director: Jean Negulesco
Screenplay: Nunnally Johnson, Zoe Akins, Dale Eunson, Katherine Albert
Cast: Betty Grable, Marilyn Monroe, Lauren Bacall
“It is one of those movies which any age group can’t help but be charmed by–even as you wince at the signposted slapstick and archaic female sensibilities. The story is simple: three young women, Loco (Grable), Pola (Monroe), and Schatze (Bacall) plot to marry each other off to a millionaire husband. They rent an expensive apartment, put their heads together, and snare their prey. Loco discovers Waldo, who is married and owns a lodge in Maine. Not great news to find, but her reaction to the news of his lodge delights him so much that he invites her to accompany him there. Those fascinated by old Hollywood will get a tremendous kick out of seeing three legends playing to their strengths–not to mention a delightfully understated, elegant turn from William Powell–in the splendor of CinemaScope.” –The Times UK
Director: Frank Darabont
Screenplay: Frank Darabont, based on the novel by Stephen King
Cast: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton
“Arguably the greatest film adaptation of Maine author Stephen King’s career, The Shawshank Redemption follows the story of a Portland banker named Andy Dufresne, who’s convicted in a double-murder and ordered to serve back-to-back life sentences at Shawshank State Penitentiary. Despite its fictionality, that prison was modeled after a real-life facility in Thomaston: the former Maine State Prison, demolished in April 2002 after nearly two centuries and relocated to Warren. Fast-forward 25 years, and “Shawshank” is considered one of the most popular films ever made, a feat the Washington Post attributes to its coming of age in the Internet Era and rich themes of hope, faith and perseverance of good.” –Liam Nee, NewsCenter Maine”
Director: Dan Curtis
Screenplay: Sam Hall, Gordon Russell
Cast: Jonathan Frid, Grayson Hall, Kathryn Leigh Scott
The Collinwood Mansion, a house built in 1795 in fictional coastal Collinsport, Maine, has been home to the Collins family—and other sometimes unwelcome supernatural visitors—since its inception. Almost every resident of the town is too scared to even drive by the house due to rumors and legends. Based on the “Dark Shadows” television series, the film expansion follows vampire Barnabas Collins (Jonathan Frid), who searches for a cure for vampirism so he can marry a woman who resembles his long-lost fiancée Josette (Kathryn Leigh Scott).
Director: David Wain
Screenplay: Michael Showalter, David Wain
Cast: Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, Michael Showalter, Paul Rudd, Michael Ian Black, Amy Poehler, Bradley Cooper, Elizabeth Banks
“The title of this inventive absurdist comedy is meant to mislead—it’s not a sex movie but a parody, and the loose feel is part of its genius. On the final day of summer camp in Maine in 1981 the counselors and the campers—adolescents all—are desperate to make the most of the attachments they’ve formed or to form some at the last minute. The camp director nervously pursues a local astrophysicist with whom she has nothing in common, a distraught art teacher becomes a class project for some precocious campers, and a lovesick counselor spends a not entirely platonic day with someone else’s girlfriend.” –Lisa Alspector, Chicago Reader”
Director: Lindsay Anderson
Screenplay: David Barry, based on his play
Cast: Bette Davis, Lillian Gish, Vincent Price, Ann Sothern
“Sarah and Libby have lived together for 60 years. Their husbands are long gone, and the whales that used to appear at summer’s end are also things of the past. All they have is each other. Sarah (Gish), a generous woman devoted to her cranky (and blind) sister (Davis), wants to build a window with an ocean view. She also receives visits from the recently bereaved–hence available–Mr. Maranov (Price). Libby doesn’t like the window idea or Mr. Maranov. Both women have decisions to make. –Ken Eisen, MIFF 2017
Director: Henry King
Screenplay: Phoebe Ephron, Henry Ephron, from the musical play based on “Liliom” by Ferenc Molinár
Cast: Gordon MacRae, Shirley Jones, Cameron Mitchell
Fifteen years after his death, a carousel barker is granted permission to return to Earth for one day to make amends to his widow and their daughter. Filmed in Boothbay Harbor, Camden, Newcastle, and Augusta, Maine, the premiere of this Rodgers and Hammerstein musical adaptation was attended by then-governor Edmund Muskie.
Director: Taylor Hackford
Screenplay: Tony Gilroy
Cast: Kathy Bates, Judy Parfitt, Jennifer Jason Leigh
In a small Maine town, Dolores Claiborne (Kathy Bates) works as a housekeeper for the rich but heartless Vera Donovan (Judy Parfitt). When Vera turns up dead, Dolores is accused of killing her elderly employer — so her estranged daughter, Selena (Jennifer Jason Leigh), a well-respected New York City journalist, decides to visit her mother and investigate the matter for herself. As Selena digs deeper into the case, she uncovers shocking truths about the murder and her own childhood.
Director: Charles A. Nichols, Iwao Takamoto
Screenplay: Earl Hamner Jr., based on the book by E.B. White
Cast: Debbie Reynolds, Henry Gibson, Paul Lynde
E.B. White’s beloved children’s tale is brought to life in this animated film, which finds the young farm pig Wilbur (Henry Gibson) attempting to avoid a dire fate. Of all the barnyard creatures, Wilbur’s staunchest ally is Charlotte (Debbie Reynolds), a thoughtful spider who devises an intriguing plan to keep the gentle little swine out of the slaughterhouse. Although Charlotte’s efforts, which involve words written in her delicate web, seem far-fetched, they may just work.
Director: John David Coles
Screenplay: Mark Malone
Cast: Beau Bridges, Vincent D’Onofrio, Arthur Kennedy
A touching story of life in rural Maine, and the changes brought about by the closing of a town’s small boat-building company upon which many of the residents depended to earn a living.
Director: Henry King
Screenplay: Richard Murphy, based on the novel by Ruth Moore
Cast: Dana Andrews, Jean Peters, Cesar Romero
“A Maine lobster fisherman, trained as an architect, prefers to be a fisherman over the objections of his fiancée. The latter, a welfare worker for the state, finds a home for a 12-year-old orphan who loves the sea. He and the fisherman become friends but the fiancée, fearful of the dangers of sea life, forces the fisherman to restrict the boy from his boat. Denied the life he loves, the boy, in retribution, steals a camera and is sent to reform school. The couple marries and succeeds in getting a judge to grant a petition allowing them to adopt the boy.” –Les Adams
Director: Todd Field
Screenplay: Robert Festinger, Todd Field, based on the story “Killings” by Andre Dubus
Cast: Tom Wilkinson, Sissy Spacek, Nick Stahl
Summertime on the coast of Maine, the film centers on the inner dynamics of a family in transition. Matt Fowler (Tom Wilkinson) is a doctor practicing in his native Maine and is married to New York born Ruth Fowler (Sissy Spacek), a music teacher. He is involved in a love affair with a local single mother (Marisa Tomei). As the beauty of Maine’s brief and fleeting summer comes to an end, these characters find themselves in the midst of unimaginable tragedy.
Director: Frank Schepisi
Screenplay: Teleplay and novel by Richard Russo
Cast: Ed Harris, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Helen Hunt, Paul Newman, Robert Wright Penn, Aidan Quinn, Joanne Woodward
“Hollywood does not always hunt for grim reality, but that’s what it found here. Waterville [was] the perfect backdrop for the filming of Empire Falls, based on Richard Russo’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel with the same title about a rundown, blue-collar Maine community where the economy never recovered after its shirt factory shut down. So Paul Newman moved to town, as did his wife, actress Joanne Woodward. And Ed Harris. And Helen Hunt, Robin Wright Penn and Aidan Quinn. Lynn Kippax, the location manager and a Maine resident, spent months driving around the state. When he started zeroing in on Waterville, he found that his habit of wearing Hathaway shirts endeared him to its residents and smoothed the way for filming. ‘In the end, the town and its characters have a real redemption, and the book’s ending is one of hope,’ he said. ‘I hope Waterville has that.'”
Director: David Butler
Screenplay: Sam Hellman, Gladys Lehman, Harry Tugend, based on a story by Laura E. Richards
Cast: Shirley Temple, Guy Kibbee, Slim Summerville
Star (Shirley Temple) is a shipwrecked orphan girl growing up with a gentle lighthouse-keeper named Captain January (Guy Kibbee), who rescued her from the waves when she was just a baby. While she loves her life of dancing and spitting with sailors, a bitter truant officer believes that Star belongs in a boarding school. When the authorities insist that Star must leave her only guardian, Captain January fears that he may lose his lovable companion for good.
Director: Gary Winick
Screenplay: Susannah Grant, Karel Kirkpatrick, based on the book by E.B. White
Cast: Dakota Fanning, Julia Roberts, Oprah Winfrey
During springtime on a farm in Somerset County, Maine, Fern Arable finds her father John about to kill a runt of a litter of newborn pigs. After learning that a young pig’s days are numbered, a literate spider (Julia Roberts) weaves an elaborate plan to save her friend from the butcher’s block.
Director: Mark Robson
Screenplay: John Michael Hayes, from the novel by Grace Metalious
Cast: Lana Turner, Lee Philips, Lloyd Nolan
Shot on location in in Camden, Belfast, Rockland, Lincolnville, Rockport, and Thomaston, Maine, Peyton Place was nominated for no less than nine Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, five Best Acting or Supporting Acting nominations and—perhaps in part thanks to Camden’s great beauty—Best Cinematography. In this adaptation of Grace Metalious’ popular novel, steamy goings-on abound in the small, prim New England community of Peyton Place. Newcomer Michael Rossi arrives in town on the eve of World War II and is soon involved with gorgeous but prudish shop owner Constance MacKenzie (Lana Turner), who keeps some secrets from her daughter, Allison. Amidst engagements and school graduations, Michael discovers seething, dark undercurrents that include assault, suicide—and murder.