For getting past the midweek slump, as an alternative to retail therapy or television talk shows with too many hosts speaking at once, during October, we can catch a classic film at the Montclair Library. Every Wednesday afternoon, at no charge, drop in for a screening in the Library’s auditorium.
The line-up includes classic dramas and comedies — and one light scary movie — featuring memorable stars of a bygone era. The series culminates with a Halloween night showing of a 1961 ghost story starring Deborah Kerr.
Though I’ve seen them all, the one that sticks most in my memory is the 1941 Here Comes Mr. Jordan, about a boxer in his prime accidentally taken to heaven too soon and then returned to earth in the body of a sinister millionaire. If that sounds familiar it’s because the film was remade in 1978 as Heaven Can Wait, with Julie Christie and Warren Beatty as a Los Angeles Ram quarterback.
Here’s the schedule. Pick one, two or more.
October 3: Kings Row. 1942. Starring Ann Sheridan, Robert Cummings and Ronald Reagan. Five children in a provincial American small town find their lives changing near the turn of the century in 1900. As they become adults, the revelations of local secrets threaten to ruin their hopes and dreams.
October 10: Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison. 1957. Starring Deborah Kerr and Robert Mitchum. In 1944, Marine Corps Cpl. Allison is washed ashore on a small island in the Pacific with Sister Angela, a Catholic nun.
October 17: Here Comes Mr. Jordan. 1941. Starring Robert Montgomery and Claude Rains. Boxer Joe Pendleton dies in a plane crash on his way to his biggest fight yet, but head angel Mr. Jordan discovers Joe was taken too early and really has 50 years left to live. A world-wide search ensues for a suitable “specimen” for Joe to inhabit.
October 24: The Devil and Daniel Webster. 1941. Starring Edward Arnold, Walter Huston, and Jane Darwell. A down-on-his-luck farmer makes a deal with the devil for seven years of prosperity. When Mr. Scratch comes to collect, orator and hero of the common man Daniel Webster comes to the rescue. Based on the short story by Stephen Vincent Benet. Also known as “All That Money Can Buy.”
October 31: HALLOWEEN SPECIAL: The Innocents. 1961. Starring Deborah Kerr. In Victorian England, the uncle of an orphaned niece and nephew hires a governess and soon after her arrival, she believes spirits of the former governess and valet Peter Quint are possessing the children.