Cinematic Passages: Ocean Liners on Screen

August 26-30

Paying homage to the heyday of Ocean Liner travel and the films that celebrated those journeys across the seas, utilizing that setting for high drama, smart comedy and some of the most famous Fred Astaire dance numbers, The Film Society of Lincoln Center provides New York audiences with a summertime treat by presenting Cinematic Passages: Ocean Liners on Screen August 26-30 at the Walter Reade Theater (165 West 65th Street).

Sponsored by Cunard Line, the series will be highlighted by the Marilyn Monroe/Jane Russell starrer GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES, Preston Sturges’ classic screwball comedy THE LADY EVE, the Fred Astaire musicals SHALL WE DANCE and ROYAL WEDDING, the disaster epic THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE, and a rare 70mm presentation of James Cameron’s box office record breaker TITANIC.

Another highlight will be the presentation of Ocean Liners in Fact, Fiction and On Screen: An Illustrated Lecture by Bill Miller on Friday, August 26 at 7:00PM. An international authority on the subject of ocean liners & cruise ships, including the great “floating palaces” of the past, as well as the current generation of cruise ships, the “floating resorts,” Miller is known as “Mr. Ocean Liner.” He has written more than 75 books and over 100 articles on the subject, lectured on more than 50 liners and sailed nearly 350 voyages to date. Ocean Liners in Fact, Fiction and On Screen: An Illustrated Lecture by Bill Miller will be offered free with the purchase of a three-film pass to the film series.

Continuing FSLC’s effort to offer free-to-the-public programming, Robert Neal Marshall’s documentary on Bill Miller, MR. OCEAN LINER, as well as his documentary THREE QUEENS-AN INTERNATIONAL RENDEVOUS (2008), about the final voyage of the QE2 will be screened at the FSLC’s Film Center Amphitheater throughout the run of Cinematic Passages. MR. OCEAN LINER will be making its New York City debut as part of the presentation.

Tickets go on sale both at the box office and on-line Thursday, August 11. 

Single Screening Tickets*

$13 General Public
$9 Students, Seniors & Children
$8 Film Society Members

Three-Film Package (with bonus Bill Miller presentation)

$30 General Public
$24 Students & Seniors
$21 Film Society Members

*Special price for Movies for Kids

$6 for All [GP. Senior, Student, Child, Member]

Read more about The Film Society of Lincoln Center.



Director: Howard Hawks

Lorelei (Marilyn Monroe) and Dorothy (Jane Russell) are just “Two Little Girls from Little Rock”—lounge singers on a transatlantic cruise, working their way to Paris while enjoying the company of any eligible men they might meet along the way. Russell’s flat sarcasm and Monroe’s social-climber put-on make them a delightful team (and Monroe’s performance underlines her brilliant control as a comic performer). The famous musical numbers dazzle with rich colors and wink-wink lyrics, but underneath there’s also a touching tale of friendship tested and Hawks’s clever look at gender politics.

GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES screens at the Walter Reade Theater on Friday, August 26 at 9:00PM and Sunday, August 28 at 4:15PM.

<strong>THE LADY EVE (1941) 94min

Director: Preston Sturges

One of the very greatest American sound comedies uses the shipboard passage from the Amazonian jungle to the green hills of Connecticut to stage the romantic collision of Henry Fonda and Barbara Stanwyck. Whipsmart Stanwyck is the fiery daughter of a con man trying to play Henry Fonda’s naïve brewing heir for a sucker — only to fall for the sap herself. Filled from beginning to end with writer-director Preston Sturges’s inimitable energy and joie de chaos, THE LADY EVE is a must-see classic, lovably screwy and sweet.

THE LADY EVE screens Saturday, August 27 at 5:00PM.

LOVE AFFAIR (1939) 88min

Director: Leo McCarey

Co-stars Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer each claimed Leo McCarey’s classic was their favorite movie, and no wonder: the wonderful chemistry between them as they pursue their shipboard romance makes this one of Hollywood’s best-loved films. Elegantly playing out the classic plot (shoreside engagements forgotten whilst at sea), Boyer is the gallivanting French playboy opposite a warm and quick-witted Dunne, “beautiful and bubbling like pink champagne.” Preserved by The Museum of Modern Art with support from The Film Foundation.

LOVE AFFAIR screens Sunday, August 28 at 12:30PM.

A NIGHT AT THE OPERA (1935) 96min

Director: Sam Wood

The classic “state room scene” is but one of the hilarious highlights in this tale of the Marx Brothers sailing to New York with a group of Metropolitan Opera hopefuls. Their most successful film melds their anarchic humor with more of a story (relatively speaking, of course) that involves what might be called the premeditated murder of a Verdi opera. Featuring tireless straight woman Margaret Dumont as ‘Mrs. Claypool,’ and writing by George S. Kaufman, Morrie Ryskind, and Jack Benny’s gag man Al Boasberg.

A NIGHT AT THE OPERA screens Friday, August 26 at 5:00PM and Saturday, August 27 at 10:30AM in a special Movies for Kids screening.

A NIGHT TO REMEMBER (1958) 123min

Director: Roy Ward Baker

A powerful, impressively mounted re-creation of the Titanic disaster, told from the point of view of Second Officer Charles Lightoller, the most senior crew member to survive. With its tilting, groaning sets, and a cast movingly evoking the full range from grace under fire to character-testing fraying of nerves, the film brings alive the tragically familiar saga as if it is unfolding anew before our eyes. The best-known achievement of director Roy Ward Baker, a consummate studio stalwart.

A NIGHT TO REMEMBER screens Saturday, August 27 at 2:30PM and Monday, August 29 at 1:00PM.

Ocean Liners in Fact, Fiction and On Screen: An Illustrated Lecture by Bill Miller

Revisit the glory days of the grand transatlantic ocean liners with maritime historian and lecturer, Bill Miller (“Mr. Ocean Liner”), as he recounts seaworthy anecdotes and tales of life aboard these floating palaces. Includes dozens of fabulous photographs and fascinating behind-the-scenes stories.

Ocean Liners in Fact, Fiction and On Screen: An Illustrated Lecture by Bill Miller will be presented Friday, August 26 at 7:00PM.


Director: Ronald Neame

Part religious parable, part disaster movie, all superior entertainment: an all-star cast tries to lead a band of survivors to safety after their luxury liner has been overturned by a tsunami. Gene Hackman plays a doubting reverend who leads the desperate group through a maze-like wreckage of flooded corridors. Starring Shelley Winters, Ernest Borgnine, Red Buttons and Roddy McDowall.

THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE screens Sunday, August 28 at 9:00PM.


Director: William K. Howard

Seamlessly blending mistaken-identity romance with a high-seas whodunit, this charming caper from William K. Howard has it all. Hoping to land a movie contract, Brooklyn girl Wanda Nash (the ever-game Carole Lombard) dons her best Garbo accent and pretends to be Swedish Princess Olga while crossing the Atlantic. Unbeknownst to her, she’s picked a boat full of blackmailers, thieves and con men—not to mention Fred MacMurray as the cool concertina-playing bandleader King Mantell.

THE PRINCESS COMES ACROSS screens Friday, August 26 at 1:00PM and Sunday, August 28 at 2:30PM.

ROYAL WEDDING (1951) 93min

Director: Stanley Donen

Donen’s second feature stars Fred Astaire and Jane Powell as a brother-sister dance act who set sail for England after their show closes in New York. En route, Astaire dances up a storm in the ocean-liner’s onboard gymnasium and spins Powell around a rocking, tilting ballroom—before eventually dancing up the walls and ceiling of his London hotel room, in a still-dazzling sequence. Accompanied by Alan Jay Lerner and Burton Lane’s enchanting song score (including the Oscar-nominated “Too Late Now”), ROYAL WEDDING is an effervescent musical treat.

ROYAL WEDDING screens Saturday, August 27 at 12:30PM and Monday, August 29 at 3:30PM.

SHALL WE DANCE (1937) 109min

Director: Mark Sandrich

A hoofer named Pete (Fred Astaire) pretends to be the ballet dancer Petrov in order to attract musical-revue star Linda Keene (Ginger Rogers). Astaire and Rogers reteamed for their transatlantic RKO outing with the delightful swinging tunes of George and Ira Gershwin (fresh off Porgy and Bess). Featuring the boiler room dance number “Slap That Bass,” as well as “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” (on roller skates!), “They All Laughed,” “They Can’t Take That Away From Me,” and the unjustly forgotten “Dogwalk Promenade.”

SHALL WE DANCE screens Friday, August 26 at 2:40PM.

TITANIC (1997) 194min

Director: James Cameron

Showered with Oscars — 11 out of a record-tying 14 nominations — Cameron’s epic account of the early demise of the most famous ship of them all is a feast for the eyes and ears. Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet star as the radiant young lovers on the bustling, multi-level vessel, their class-crossed romance playing out against the historical detail of a notoriously outsized production. The result was a bigger-than-life film that tapped an age-old formula of great romance and fateful tragedy.

TITANIC screens in 70mm on Saturday, August 27 at 8:00PM and Tuesday, August 30 at 1:30PM.



Screening Venue:

The Film Society of Lincoln Center – Walter Reade Theater

165 West 65 Street, between Broadway & Amsterdam (upper level)

Friday, August 26

1:00PM          THE PRINCESS COMES ACROSS (76min)

2:40PM          SHALL WE DANCE (109min)

5:00PM          A NIGHT AT THE OPERA (96min)

7:00PM          Ocean Liners in Fact, Fiction and On Screen: An Illustrated Lecture by Bill Miller

9:00PM          GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES (91min)

Saturday, August 27

10:30AM        A NIGHT AT THE OPERA (96min) **Movies for Kids

12:30PM        ROYAL WEDDING (93min)

2:30PM          A NIGHT TO REMEMBER (123min)

5:00PM          THE LADY EVE (94min)

8:00PM          TITANIC (194min) **70mm print

Sunday, August 28

12:30PM        LOVE AFFAIR (88min)

2:30PM          THE PRINCESS COMES ACROSS (76min)

4:15PM          GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES (91min)

9:00PM          THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE (117min)

Monday, August 29

1:00PM          A NIGHT TO REMEMBER (123min)

3:30PM          ROYAL WEDDING (93min)

Tuesday, August 30

1:30PM          TITANIC (194min) **70mm print

Film Society of Lincoln Center

Under the leadership of Rose Kuo, Executive Director, and Richard Peña, Program Director, the Film Society of Lincoln Center offers the best in international, classic and cutting-edge independent cinema. The Film Society presents two film festivals that attract global attention: the New York Film Festival, currently planning its 49th edition, and New Directors/New Films which, since its founding in 1972, has been produced in collaboration with MoMA. The Film Society also publishes the award-winning Film Comment Magazine, and for over three decades has given an annual award—now named “The Chaplin Award”—to a major figure in world cinema. Past recipients of this award include Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorsese, Meryl Streep, and Tom Hanks. The Film Society presents a year-round calendar of programming, panels, lectures, educational programs and specialty film releases at its Walter Reade Theater and the new state-of-the-art Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center.

The Film Society receives generous, year-round support from Royal Bank of Canada, 42BELOW, American Airlines, The New York Times, Stella Artois, the National Endowment for the Arts, WNET New York Public Media, the National Endowment for the Arts and New York State Council on the Arts.For more information, visit

About Cunard Line

Cunard Line, operator of the luxury ocean liners Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth, has long been synonymous with the quest for new discoveries and the epitome of British refinement since the company's first paddle-wheeled steamer, Britannia, crossed the Atlantic in 1840. Cunard voyages bring together like-minded travellers who seek a civilised adventure and relish the Cunard hallmarks of impeccable White Star Service, gourmet dining and world-class entertainment. Today, Cunard offers the only regularly scheduled Transatlantic liner service and continues the legacy of world cruising which it began in 1922.