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February 28, 2014 – March 30, 2014

Burt Lancaster cut his teeth in the circus and vaudeville but achieved everlasting fame in the motion pictures. Iconic star of such classic films as THE KILLERS (1946), SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS (1957), and BIRDMAN OF ALCATRAZ (1962), he acted with charm and wit, starring alongside some of Hollywood’s most glamorous and respected stars. Lancaster daringly performed his own stunts throughout his career, often making public appearances recreating noteworthy stunts as proof. Finally, with partners Harold Hecht and James Hill, Lancaster cannily produced films under their HHL banner—including many of Lancaster’s films and critical and commercial successes like MARTY (winner of the 1955 Academy Award for Best Picture). Lancaster’s film career spanned countless genres over five decades, during which the popularization of color in film, the Hollywood blacklist, and the move to widescreen all transformed the industry. This 12-film retrospective (on 35mm prints!) features some of Lancaster’s most esteemed roles and reveals that while changes to the industry are visible in the films, one constant remains: Lancaster and his trademark grin.

Atlantic City

Directed by Louis Malle

“As if his 1940s noir hoodlum had lived to see the 1980s, Lancaster’s Lou Pasco catches only faint echoes of

Birdman of Alcatraz

Directed by John Frankenheimer, Charles Crichton

“In this film based on a true story, Lancaster stars as convicted murderer and lifelong prisoner Robert Stroud. Forever isolated

Brute Force

Directed by Jules Dassin

“Soon-to-be-blacklisted director Jules Dassin’s excoriating and angry prison drama uses the ‘big cage’ as a metaphor for the lost innocence

Criss Cross

Directed by Robert Siodmak

Arguably the prototypical Los Angeles noir and featuring extensive location photography in the Bunker Hill neighborhood shortly before it was

Elmer Gantry

Directed by Richard Brooks

“Burt Lancaster won his only Academy Award (out of four nominations) for his devilishly seductive performance as a down-and-out scoundrel

Gunfight at the O.K. Corral

Directed by John Sturges

Lancaster takes on a legend of the West in his role as lawman Wyatt Earp opposite Kirk Douglas’s gunslinger Doc

Sweet Smell of Success

Directed by Alexander Mackendrick

The New York media ecosystem in the 1950s, seen here through famed cinematographer James Wong Howe’s expressive lens and left-wing

The Crimson Pirate

Directed by Robert Siodmak

The most successful of Lancaster’s many action-packed swashbucklers made for his Hecht-Hill-Lancaster production company, THE CRIMSON PIRATE features Lancaster as

The Killers

Directed by Robert Siodmak

A critical and commercial smash featuring Lancaster’s screen debut as Swede, a man running from his past who’s too tired

The Swimmer

Directed by Frank Perry, Sydney Pollack

Based on the famous John Cheever story of the same name, THE SWIMMER interrogates the American Dream, illuminating the ways


Directed by Carol Reed

In TRAPEZE, a “picture that soars high, high, high above them all,” Lancaster returns to his first love, the circus,

Vera Cruz

Directed by Robert Aldrich

A detailed study in contrasts, VERA CRUZ pairs Lancaster’s smarmy, conniving rancher with Gary Cooper’s upstanding, old-guard Southern gentleman in

The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.