Triversity plans Winter Classic Film Series hosted by John DiLeo

Wednesday evening screenings, free admission

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  • Greta Garbo and Melvyn Douglas in "Ninotchka," to be screened on Jan. 9.

  • John DiLeo

— The TriVersity Center for Gender & Sexual Diversity is planning its Winter Classic Film Series hosted by John DiLeo.

The movies will be shown at 7 p.m. on Wednesdays at the TriVersity Center, 201 West Harford St., Milford.

Admission to all screenings is free. The schedule is as follows:

'Ninotchka' (1939) January 9: Luminous Greta Garbo surprised audiences with her first comedy, a charming tale of a severe Soviet envoy who succumbs to the splendors of Paris (with the help of dapper Melvyn Douglas). This Ernst Lubitsch-directed gem, one of the prizes of Hollywood’s greatest year, was remade as the Fred Astaire musical "Silk Stockings" (1957).

'Rebecca' (1940) January 16: Alfred Hitchcock’s first American film, and his only Best Picture Oscar winner, was producer David O. Selznick’s first movie after "Gone with the Wind." A love story and a psychological thriller, "Rebecca" made a star of Joan Fontaine as a naïve young woman who marries a wealthy man of mystery (Laurence Olivier), a situation made more overwhelming by Fontaine’s interactions with a memorably intimidating housekeeper (Judith Anderson).

'The Swan' (1956) January 23: Before leaving Hollywood to become a real-life princess, Grace Kelly played a fictional princess in this enchanting piece of Cinderella whimsy, a gorgeous and colorful wide-screen MGM production. Kelly must choose between a prince (Alec Guinness) and a commoner (Louis Jourdan) and, in the process, she gives the best performance of her brief but impressive film career.

'Born Yesterday' (1950) January 30 – Repeating her Broadway triumph, Judy Holliday won the Best Actress Oscar (beating Bette Davis in "All About Eve" and Gloria Swanson in "Sunset Boulevard") for her hilarious performance as the seemingly dimwitted mistress of crooked Broderick Crawford. When brainy William Holden is hired to educate Holliday, well, things won’t ever be the same. Directed by the peerless George Cukor, and based on Garson Kanin’s smash-hit play, it’s laugh-out-loud funny.

The Old Maid (1939) February 6: In the same hallowed movie year in which she starred in "Dark Victory" and "The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex," Bette Davis had a third triumph in this irresistible soap opera set in the 19th century, a story of romantic rivalry between cousins (Davis and Miriam Hopkins) and the ensuing secrets they must protect as the years go by. Bring tissues!

It Happened One Night (1934) February 13: Another Best Picture Oscar winner and the granddaddy of every romantic comedy of the last 85 years, this Depression-era mega-classic (from director Frank Capra) has a runaway-bride heiress (Claudette Colbert) and a newspaperman (Clark Gable) trying not to fall in love. Both stars won Oscars for their light-comic perfection.

February 20 will be the make-up date for any movie cancelled because of bad weather. If there are no cancellations, there will be a surprise seventh movie on Feb. 20.

About John DiLeoHost John DiLeo has written six books on classic films. His first, "And You Thought You Knew Classic Movies" (St. Martin’s, 1999) was hailed by Pauline Kael as “the smartest movie quiz book I’ve ever seen.” The Washington Post has said of his second book, "100 Great Film Performances You Should Remember — But Probably Don’t (Limelight Editions, 2002), “Not only is this helpful criticism, but...can serve as balm for anyone who has ever been disgruntled by the Academy’s choices on Oscar night.”

His latest book, published in 2017, is "Ten Movies at a Time: A 350-Film Journey Through Hollywood and America 1930-1970."

DiLeo, a Milford resident, has been a contributing book reviewer for The Washington Post and frequently hosts classic-film series, appears on assorted radio programs, conducts film-history seminars, and has been an annual participant in Milford's Black Bear Film Festival.

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