In By Myself, Lauren Bacall’s first memoir, the actress wrote, “No one has ever written a romance better than [Humphrey Bogart and I] lived it.” Even if their film characters’ liaisons paled in comparison to their real-life affair, the repartee in Bogie/Bacall classics like Howard Hawks’s To Have and Have Not isn’t too shabby. Which is why all eight of UCSB’s Arts & Lectures summer films at the Courthouse are Bogie and Bacall films that include both solo and costarring works.
Now in its seventh season, the Free Summer Cinema series at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse Sunken Garden has solidified itself as a wildly popular tradition. Each year, the roster highlights different flavors of classic films, but this is the first time the content has been centered on who stars in the movie. “We look back at classic films, but we haven’t done a series that was focused on actors, per se,” said Roman Baratiak, whose UCSB Arts & Lectures team — in a joint-collaboration with the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission, Santa Barbara County Park Foundation, and the Community Services Department of Santa Barbara County — puts on the event. “So instead of [focusing on] a male or female actor, we chose [Bogie and Bacall], who were married and did four films together.”
Along with Casablanca — which features only Bogart — this series offers several time-honored Bogie/Bacall collaborations. Howard Hawks’s To Have and Have Not — the couple’s first pairing, and the one in which smoky-voiced Lauren Bacall utters one of her most famous lines: “You know how to whistle … just put your lips together and blow” — plays on Wednesday, July 20, and Friday, July 22. Viewers can catch another sultry Bogie/Bacall vehicle, The Big Sleep, on Wednesday, July 27, and Friday, July 29.
Music also plays a role in the festivities. “KCRW is a local radio sponsor, and two of their deejays will come out to do a live sound mix,” said Baratiak. KCRW deejays Anthony Valadez and Raul Campos will appear before the Courthouse screenings of The Maltese Falcon and The Big Sleep, respectively. Darla Bea, from KCSB, provides a mix before the other screenings in the series. Before the Friday, August 26, showing of How to Marry a Millionaire, which features Bacall and fellow bombshells Betty Grable and Marilyn Monroe, filmgoers can catch a performance by the United States Navy Band Cruisers, an active-duty music ensemble. According to Bartatick, their appearance in the festival was fortuitous. “They happened to be doing a California tour, and they happened to stop by Santa Barbara on August 26.”
The outdoor series begins with a screening of The Maltese Falcon on Friday, July 8, at 8:30 p.m.; however, filmgoers can start setting up as early as noon on Fridays. “When we first started, we said that [attendees] can come out at 5 p.m.,” said Bartatick, “but for the Hitchcock series, there was a land rush, so we moved it up for safety.” Attendees can also catch indoor screenings on Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. at UCSB Campbell Hall. —Natalia Cohen
UCSB Arts & Lecture’s Free Summer Cinema series begins Wednesday, July 6, at UCSB’s Campbell Hall and Friday, July 8, at the S.B. County Courthouse Sunken Gardens. Admission is free. For more information and the complete lineup, see artsandlectures.sa.ucsb.edu.