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"These Wilder Years" (1956) starring James Cagney and Barbara Stanwyck
"TEEN-AGER IN TROUBLE!" Indeed! Don't go by that ridiculous movie poster. In 1956 Hollywood would have been happy to have every movie claim to be about "teenagers in trouble". This movie has James Cagney as you've never seen him—not a gangster or a song-and-dance man but a middle-aged, high-powered businessman trying to find the son he abandoned years ago. It's a humane film about love, fatherhood and responsibility. Steve Bradford (Cagney) is a very high powered, self made business man used to getting his way in all matters. Twenty years ago he got a girl pregnant and denied he was the father, leaving her to deal with the fallout. But as he's entered middle age feels pangs of responsibility so he goes back to the town where he lived to find the child that he denied so cruelly. But the child's adoption records are closed by the director of the foundling hospital ("foundling" - now there's a word you never hear anymore), Ann Dempster (Barbara Stanwyck) and she is as tough as he is, so for the first time in his life Bradford finds himself out of his depth and up against someone - a woman, no less - who stands up to him. If this sounds like it might an overly sentimental Hollywood tear jerker, well, in many ways it is. In fact, the New York Time's chief movie critic Bosley Crowther wrote that, "The scent of radio soap opera" hovers over the movie! And you if you look at the film's original trailer you'll see why he said that! But the truth is that this film works and both Cagney and Stanwyck will grab your heart. There's real humanity in this film and while having children out of wedlock doesn't shock us the way it did people in 1956, the emotions that all parties go through still move us in the same way. What's more, from the vantage point of 2018, it seems astonishing that Hollywood would even make a movie about "illegitimate" births in the 1950s. As the trailer says this is a "Drama that faces the facts of life"! Free! As always, a discussion will follow. Snacks provided

Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County

687 Larch Ave · Teaneck, NJ

What we're about

The Bergen County Film Festival moved to a monthly format starting October, 2017. We show films on the first Friday of the month (mostly) from October through May or June. Every film is followed by an informal discussion, but this isn't a classroom and the discussions aren't academic endeavors, they're just your opportunity to share your reaction with others informally.

Our First Friday of The Month series is on hiatus until October 5, 2018 when we'll start up again with another great series leading off with James Cagney's "These Wilder Years" from 1956.

We show all kinds of films including Indies, Lost Classics and even some mainstream Hollywood productions. All will be interesting with a mind towards provoking discussion. Some are pure fluff - but really good fluff! Unfortunately, due to the shape of the room and seating arrangements we can't show foreign films because the sub-titles would be impossible to see once more than about 20 people attend.

If you're looking for fast action, super-heroes or phenomenal special effects - look elsewhere! We're not for you. If you're looking for character driven films with real plots and interesting themes, you've come to the right place.

Past topics included:

Fall 2013:

Varieties of Religious Experience (Arranged, The Apostle, Marjoe, The Ninth Day)

Spring 2014:

Battle of the Sexes (Baby Face, Adam's Rib, The Blue Angel, How to Murder Your Wife)

Fall 2014:

Sidney Poitier films (No Way Out, Lilies of the Field, In the Heat of the Night, Let's Do It Again)

Spring 2015:

Work and Family I (Diamond Men, Mafioso, Lives of Others)

Fall 2015:

Work and Family II (Real Women Have Curves, Save the Tiger, Crooklyn)

Spring 2016: Some Classic Black Films (Lost Boundaries, Black Orpheus, Do the Right Thing, Cabin in the Sky)

Fall 2017:

Four Small, Beautiful Films: The Soloist, The Fits, The Station Agent, You Can Count On Me

2018 Monthly Series:

The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, I Am Not Your Negro, The Gold Diggers of 1933, My Son John, more ...

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