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A man standing outside the LAX Theme Building.
April 7, 2024 - 8:30 pm
Introduction by Luca Celada and Francesca Santovetti, professor of Italian Studies, New England Conservatory of Music.

Admission is free. No advance reservations. Seats are available on a first come, first served basis. Hammer Museum members will have reserved seating available at the box office. The box office opens one hour before the first program of the day.

Attendees will receive a free poster!

The Lighter Side of Hearst Newsreels #6: “Grab Bag”

We conclude this wonderful collection of human creativity and imagination with a real grab bag of inventions. Highlights include a French inventor electrifying violins, a new design for a beer glass, and the premiere of the latest glamor boy, the robot Elektro.—Jeffrey Bickel


Italy, 1962

Los Angeles restoration premiere 

In the postwar era, as American movie producers flocked to Europe for its cheaper costs and dramatic locales, Italian director Franco Rossi took his crew to Los Angeles. In Smog, an Italian attorney (Enrico Maria Salerno) has time to kill on a layover in L.A. and happens upon a community of expatriate Italians who provide him an impromptu tour of the city. To capture mid-century Los Angeles, Rossi shot at 80 different locations, filming in and around some of the city’s most iconic architectural landmarks. Though it never received a U.S. theatrical release, Smog has achieved cult status over the decades for its images of the then newly dedicated Theme Building at LAX; the Pierre Koenig-designed Stahl Residence, a Case Study house in the Hollywood Hills; and the Carolina Pines Jr. restaurant at Sunset and La Brea, along with the anonymous car lots, oil fields and diners in between. Far from a celebration of local style, however, Rossi set out to create a cautionary tale for his fellow Europeans. As the attorney drifts around town, he grows dismayed at his compatriots’ embrace of the local mores and customs, victims of what Rossi described as a “spiritual smog.” Evoking the image of America sold to the world by Hollywood, Rossi said, “I wanted to show the type of life that has become the dream of the peasants of the world. The richness, the well-to-do, the swimming pool and the big car.” Intended to address the identity crisis facing postwar Italians and Europeans generally, Smog has become a key touchstone for contemporary Angelenos to connect with the past of their ever-evolving city.

The Archive’s new restoration runs 12 minutes longer than the print previously screened at the Billy Wilder Theater thanks to additional footage from a fine grain master positive of the film discovered at Warner Bros.—Paul Malcolm

DCP, b&w, in Italian with English subtitles, 100 min. Director: Franco Rossi. Screenwriters: Franco Rossi, Pasquale Festa Campanile, Massimo Franciosa, Ugo Guerra. With: Enrico Maria Salerno, Annie Girardot, Renato Salvatori, Max Showalter, Susan Mueller.

Restoration funded by the Golden Globe Foundation. Restored by Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna and the UCLA Film & Television Archive in collaboration with Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc. from the 35mm original picture negative, a 35mm composite fine grain master positive and a 35mm optical track negative. Laboratory services by L’Immagine Ritrovata Group, Warner Bros. Post Production Creative Services - Picture. Special thanks to Daphne Dentz, George Feltenstein, Craig Johnson.

Special thanks to our community partners: Italian Cultural Institute in Los Angeles, L.A. Forum for Architecture and Urban Design, Los Angeles City Historical Society, Los Angeles Conservancy, UCLA International Institute, UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture.