“I'm not very keen on Hollywood. I'd rather have a nice cup of cocoa, really,” Noël Coward (1899-1973) wrote in a 1930 letter to his mother. At the time, his verdict was not surprising. Several of his early plays had been filmed by British studios. The plays relied on their witty dialogue; the movies were still silent. In the 1930s, Hollywood did rather better, but Coward’s golden age came in the ‘40s, when he wrote the script and musical score,starred in and co-directed (with David Lean) one of the finest war films ever made, In Which We Serve, and one of the most moving love stories, Brief Encounter, which outranked Casablanca and Gone with the Wind in a recent Guardian newspaper poll. In the ‘50s and ‘60s, he profitably played character parts in other people's films. Told that he invariably “stole” them, Coward replied, “Yes,but it was only petty larceny.”
Film was only one of the arrows in Coward’s creative quiver, yet what he achieved on the silver screen would amount to an enviable career for anyone else. As part of this year's citywide Coward Festival, we are pleased to raise a convivial cup of cocoa to Coward On Film. For information about additional Coward festival programs, visit noelcowardinnewyork.com. Series programmed by Richard Peña and Barry Day, editor of The Noël Coward Reader and The Letters of Noël Coward.
Create your own double feature!
Select any two films in the series for just $15 Members, Students & Seniors / $20 General Public. Please note: “Coward the Actor + Our Man in Havana” program on May 13 is not included in the double feature package. Maximum of one ticket per film. Minimum purchase of two films required.
Free Guided Tours:
During the Coward on Film series, curator Brad Rosenstein will offer two guided tours of the concurrent New York Public Library exhibition “Star Quality: The World of Noël Coward,” featuring an extensive selection of manuscripts, paintings, set and costumes designs, costumes, and personal memorabilia from the Coward archive. The tours will be offered on Friday, May 11 at 12:45pm and Saturday, May 12 at 12:30pm at the Donald and Mary Oenslager Gallery of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, 40 Lincoln Center Plaza (next to the Met Opera).