Guest Programmer: Winona Ryder - 12/21
Minnesota-born Ryder tells host Robert Osborne that her love of movies came from her mother, who would sometimes keep young Winona home from school so that they could watch a special film together. Among her early favorites were two comedies with sparkling performances from their lead actresses. In Howard Hawks' Ball of Fire (1941) Barbara Stanwyck, who "could do anything, and was tremendously sexy," plays a nightclub singer who beguiles language professor Gary Cooper. Oscar® winner Judy Holliday, beloved by Ryder because of her "complete uniqueness," stars in George Cukor's Born Yesterday (1950) as a "ditsy blonde" who learns that "knowledge is power."
Ryder's remaining choices offer strong social and political themes. She was "blown away" by Elia Kazan's A Face in the Crowd (1957), with its "dark and iconic" performance from Andy Griffith as a folksy entertainer whose rise in politics demonstrates "how power and money can corrupt." Martin Ritt's The Front (1976) is a little-seen study of "a very dark and shameful time in our history," the McCarthy era of the 1950s, with Woody Allen playing a "front" for blacklisted screenwriters. The latter film, Ryder says, offers a reminder of what can "potentially happen in certain political climates."