In the 1930s and '40s Kansas City was torn between its international reputation as a wide-open, corrupt town and the growing movement to clean up local government.
That era comes to life in Going to Kansas City, a film series at the Kansas City Public Library keyed to the new exhibit of vintage post cards, Greetings from Kansas City, on display January through May 2013 at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.
The films are presented at 6:30 p.m. Mondays in the Stanley H. Durwood Film Vault at the Central Library.
Mr. and Mrs. Bridge(USA: 1990) on January 7, 2013
Based on the novels Mrs. Bridge and Mr. Bridge by KC native Evan S. Connell, this film from Merchant-Ivory chronicles the affluent but emotionally muted lives of a conservative lawyer and his unassertive, clueless wife (played by the real-life husband-and-wife team of Paul Newman and Joann Woodward) in the 1930s and '40s. Shot in Kansas City ... look for scenes set at Liberty Memorial, the Midland Theatre, and the Country Club Plaza. With Kyra Sedgwick, Robert Sean Leonard, Blythe Danner. (126 minutes; PG-13)
Kansas City Confidential (USA; 1952) on January 14, 2013
A prime example of low-budget Hollywood noir, this crime drama features John Payne as a Kansas City working stiff whose life falls apart when he is wrongly accused of involvement in a fatal armored car robbery. Determined to at least claim some of the haul for himself, he follows the clues to a quaint Mexican fishing village and a gathering of underworld types. With Preston Foster, Jack Elam, Neville Brand, and Colleen Gray. Noir specialist Phil Karlson directs. (99 minutes; NR)
Kansas City(USA; 1996) on January 28, 2013
Robert Altman returned to his childhood haunts to film this tale of individuals from different levels of Kansas City society colliding during a violent city election in the early 1930s. The film stars Jennifer Jason Leigh as a dim-bulb blonde who patterns herself on Jean Harlow, Miranda Richardson as the laudanum-addicted wife of a political bigwig, and Harry Belafonte as the black gangster Seldom Seen. The film is noteworthy for its recreation of the '30s KC jazz scene. (116 minute; R)
Admission is free for all screenings. RSVP at kclibrary.org or call 816.701.3407.