Join us for the films of Charles Laughton

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By Oak Park Public Library

Join us at the Main Library for a one-of-a-kind film series this summer celebrating English stage and screen actor Charles Laughton. Over six Wednesday afternoons, from June 10 to July 15, Oak Park film historian Doug Deuchler will screen and discuss some of Laughton's most memorable films.

One of the most recognizable and talented actors of his time, Laughton (1899-1962) created a movie career out of playing monsters and misfits including Emperor Nero, Dr. Moreau, Inspector Javert, and Quasimodo.

Although not leading-man handsome, Laughton was a box office star and an Oscar winner. He co-starred in several films with his wife, Elsa Lanchester, including The Private Life of Henry VIII, which won him an Academy Award for Best Actor. Later in his career, Laughton directed the critically acclaimed Night of the Hunter in 1955. 

Oak Park resident Douglas Deuchler, a long-time educator, journalist, theater reviewer, and tour guide, teaches film history courses at several Chicago-area colleges. He has hosted many film series at the Oak Park Public Library over the past decade, blogs at, and has written a series of books for Arcadia Publications, including Legendary Locals of Oak Park.

All films will be shown in the Main Library Veterans Room, 834 Lake St., from 1:30 to 4 pm. No registration is needed, and all screenings are free.

June 10: The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1934, 110 minutes)
The true romance between Victorian poets Elizabeth Barrett (Norma Shearer) and Robert Browning (Fredric March) is opposed by her tyrannical father (played by Laughton). 

June 17: Mutiny on the Bounty (1935, 132 minutes)
Based on a historical episode, a ship's lieutenant (Clark Gable) leads a revolt against the brutal and ruthless Captain Bligh (Laughton) on the HMS Bounty in the late 1700s.

June 24: Ruggles of Red Gap (1935, 90 minutes)
A proper English manservant (Laughton) is "won" in a poker game by a crude nouveau riche American millionaire and is brought to the American West.

July 1: This Land Is Mine (1943, 110 minutes)
In this World War II drama, a cowardly schoolteacher (Laughton) in a Nazi-occupied village finds himself torn between collaboration and resistance.

July 8: The Big Clock (1948, 95 minutes)
A magazine editor (Ray Milland) finds himself on the run when he discovers his powerful boss (Laughton) is framing him for murder. 

July 15: Witness for the Prosecution (1957, 116 minutes)
An unusual murder case tempts an ailing barrister (Laughton) recovering from a heart attack back into courtroom action in this Agatha Christie story. Laughton's wife, Elsa Lanchester, plays his stern nurse.

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