The bond between mother and son isn’t always so wholesome, as demonstrated by the two films in this week’s Friday Night Double Feature, now playing on the Criterion Channel on FilmStruck. Portraying a corrupt society where everyone seems to have a price, Romanian filmmaker Călin Peter Netzer’s award-winning drama Child’s Pose (2013) follows a well-to-do woman as she races to steer her ne’er-do-well son clear of facing charges for a fatal hit-and-run. Raoul Walsh’s classic noir White Heat (1949) revolves around a psychopathic criminal (James Cagney) who learned his gangster ways from-and remains overly devoted to-his ruthless mother.
Also on this week:
Oink, oink! This porcine pair of comedies kicks off with Juho Kuosmanen’s 2018 short The Moonshiners, which sets out to remake a lost 1907 movie thought to be the first feature in Finnish film history. In Kuosmanen’s take, a couple embark on a journey to find the essentials for a good life: moonshine-making equipment and a pig. Then, in Malcolm Mowbray’s 1984 comedy A Private Function, Maggie Smith and Michael Palin star as a couple in postwar England who steal a hog fattened up for a royal wedding celebration.
With this furiously witty comedy of manners, Katharine Hepburn revitalized her career and cemented her status as the era’s most iconic leading lady-thanks in great part to her own shrewd orchestrations. While starring in the Philip Barry stage play The Philadelphia Story, Hepburn acquired the screen rights, handpicking her friend George Cukor to direct. The intoxicating screenplay by Donald Ogden Stewart pits the formidable Philadelphia socialite Tracy Lord (Hepburn, at her most luminous) against various romantic foils, chief among them her charismatic ex-husband (Cary Grant), who disrupts her imminent marriage by paying her family estate a visit, accompanied by a tabloid reporter on assignment to cover the wedding of the year (James Stewart, in his only Academy Award-winning performance). A fast-talking screwball comedy as well as a tale of regret and reconciliation, this convergence of golden-age talent is one of the greatest American films of all time. Supplemental features: an audio commentary from 2005 featuring film scholar Jeanine Basinger, a documentary about the origin of the character and her social milieu, a piece about actor Katharine Hepburn’s role in the development of the film, two full episodes of The Dick Cavett Show from 1973, and more.