AFI Life Achievement Award Retrospective: Shirley MacLaine
April 22-June 11

"Shirley MacLaine is a powerhouse of personality that has illuminated screens large and small across six decades. From ingénue to screen legend, Shirley has entertained a global audience through song, dance, laughter and tears, and her career as writer, director and producer is even further evidence of her passion for the art form and her seemingly boundless talents. There is only one Shirley MacLaine, and it is AFI's honor to present her with its 40th Life Achievement Award." – Sir Howard Stringer, Chair of AFI's Board of Trustees

Shirley MacLaine's illustrious career comprises more than 50 feature films highlighted by an Academy Award win and six nominations, as well as six Emmy Award nominations recognizing her work in television. She made her screen debut in Alfred Hitchcock's THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY, and went on to work with a number of celebrated filmmakers, including Billy Wilder, William Wyler, Vincente Minnelli, Robert Wise, Don Siegel, Bob Fosse and Hal Ashby. She will next be seen on screen in Richard Linklater's BERNIE and will join the cast of TV's international sensation DOWNTON ABBEY for its third season.

AFI's 40th Life Achievement Award will be presented to MacLaine at a gala tribute on June 7, 2012, in Los Angeles, and broadcast later that month on TV Land.

 AFI Member passes will be accepted at all films in the Shirley MacLaine series.


The first Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis film to be directed by animator-turned-director Frank Tashlin, whose dynamic visual flair, pop cultural smarts and spoofy sensibility made him by far the duo’s best collaborator. Down on their luck, artist Martin and writer Lewis try their hand in the comic book industry, inspired by their new neighbor Dorothy Malone’s success with "The Bat Lady" comic –fanboy Lewis’ favorite– a character Malone’s best friend Shirley MacLaine models for her. Martin falls for Malone and MacLaine falls for Lewis, but the delusional Lewis is really in love with The Bat Lady.

DIR/SCR Frank Tashlin; SCR Herbert Baker, Hal Kanter, Don McGuire; PROD Hal B. Wallis. US, 1955, color, 109 min. NOT RATED


Sun, Apr 22, 7:00; Wed, Apr 25, 6:45


Dissolute ex-GI Frank Sinatra, once a promising novelist but now a bitter alcoholic, returns to his hometown with floozy Shirley MacLaine in tow. There, Sinatra meets and falls hard for art teacher Martha Hyer, but he just can’t quit the allure of the seedier side of life, drinking and gambling with Dean Martin, and in MacLaine’s stubborn devotion, he sees the possibility of redemption. Vincente Minnelli’s complex, critical-minded drama of postwar America was based on the novel by James Jones ("From Here to Eternity," "The Thin Red Line"); William Daniels’ CinemaScope photography and Elmer Bernstein’s pounding score lend great atmosphere.

DIR Vincente Minnelli; SCR John Patrick, Arthur Sheekman, after the novel by James Jones; PROD Sol C. Siegel. US, 1958, color, 137 min. NOT RATED


Sat, Apr 28, 4:20; Sun, Apr 29, 7:30


"She found the lie with the ounce of truth." Shirley MacLaine and Audrey Hepburn, two headmistresses at a private girls’ school, are plagued by allegations of an "unnatural" relationship made by a malicious youngster, the daughter of a prominent family in the town. Director William Wyler previously filmed Lillian Hellman’s play in 1936 as THESE THREE with Miriam Hopkins, Merle Oberon and Joel McCrea, revised into a heterosexual love triangle by scripter Hellman herself, but returned to the source material to make this 1961 adaptation, now from a script by Hitchcock collaborator John Michael Hayes (REAR WINDOW, TO CATCH A THIEF).

DIR/PROD William Wyler; SCR John Michael Hayes, after the play by Lillian Hellman. US, 1961, b&w, 107 min. NOT RATED


Mon, May 14, 7:00; Wed, May 16, 7:15


Cockney cat burglar Michael Caine enlists the aid of Hong Kong hoofer Shirley MacLaine to distract wealthy art collector Herbert Lom long enough for Caine to swipe a priceless objet d’art. Director Ronald Neame’s frothy caper earned three Oscar nominations for its exquisite art direction, costumes and sound. A remake comes out later this year starring Colin Firth, Cameron Diaz and Alan Rickman, from a script by the Coen brothers.

DIR Ronald Neame; SCR Jack Davies, Alvin Sargent; PROD Léo L. Fuchs. US, 1966, color, 109 min. NOT RATED


Tue, May 15, 7:00; Wed, May 16, 9:30


Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine, in career-making performances, lead an outstanding cast in one of the screen’s most poignant comedies, a workplace romance of uncommon sophistication. Motivated by vague promises of promotion, lowly insurance clerk Lemmon lets his bosses use his apartment for their late-night assignations. When he falls for elevator operator MacLaine, ex(-ish)-girlfriend of boss Fred MacMurray, the moral dilemmas begin to mount. Ten Oscar nominations and five wins, including Best Picture, Director and Screenplay for writer/director/producer Billy Wilder.

DIR/SCR/PROD Billy Wilder; SCR I. A. L. Diamond. US, 1960, b&w, 125 min. NOT RATED


Thu, May 17, 7:30; Fri, May 18, 5:15; Sat, May 19, 11:00 a.m.;
Sun, May 20, 1:30; Wed, May 23, 11:00 a.m.--FREE screening, following the USPS Great Film Directors Stamp unveiling ceremony

#26 on AFI’s 100 Years…100 Laughs

"I like to watch." Peter Sellers is a simple-minded gardener who has lived his entire life on an estate in an isolated corner of Washington, DC. When the estate owner dies, Sellers is forced out into the world for the first time. A chance meeting with society doyenne Shirley MacLaine (he is hit by her car) introduces Sellers to a crowd of Washington movers and shakers, people who, though rich and powerful, are hungry for wisdom, and take his simplicity and homespun pronouncements for profound philosophy. Sellers earned an Oscar nomination for Best Actor, and Melvyn Douglas won Best Supporting Actor for his turn as MacLaine’s powerbroker husband.

DIR Hal Ashby; SCR Jerzy Kosinski, after his novel; PROD Andrew Braunsberg. US, 1979, color, 130 min. RATED PG


Fri, May 25, 7:00; Sat, May 26, 7:25; Sun, May 27, 4:30;Thu, May 31, 9:00


The trouble with Harry is that he’s turned up dead in the woods, and there’s no shortage of kindly, eccentric residents of the nearby village willing to confess to accidentally killing him. Shirley MacLaine is spritely and delightful in her screen debut, her casting a last-minute snap decision by director Alfred Hitchcock. The wonderfully wry cast includes Edmund Gwenn as a retired sea captain, Mildred Natwick as the spinster who is sweet on him, John Forsythe as a boho painter and LEAVE IT TO BEAVER’s Jerry Mathers as MacLaine’s young son.

DIR/PROD Alfred Hitchcock; SCR John Michael Hayes, based on the novel by Jack Trevor Story. US, 1955, color, 99 min. NOT RATED


Mon, May 28, 4:30; Wed, May 30, 4:30; Thu, May 31, 6:45

35th Anniversary!

The road not taken gets a going over when Shirley MacLaine, who left a promising ballet career to get married and start a family, meets her former colleague Anne Bancroft, who sacrificed everything to become the company’s prima ballerina. But Bancroft’s star is now fading, just as MacLaine’s talented daughter Leslie Browne joins the company. Eleven Oscar nominations – including Best Picture, Director and Screenplay, plus nods for MacLaine and Bancroft in the Best Actress category, and Browne and Mikhail Baryshnikov for supporting roles – but no wins, tying THE COLOR PURPLE as Oscar’s most unrewarded honoree.

DIR/PROD Herbert Ross; SCR/PROD Arthur Laurents. US, 1977, color, 119 min. RATED PG


Tue, May 29, 4:00; Wed, May 30, 6:45; Thu, May 31, 4:00


Bob Fosse’s clever transposition of Fellini’s NIGHTS OF CABIRIA to New York City featured wife Gwen Verdon in the Broadway original, big shoes ably filled by Shirley MacLaine in the screen version. Unfortunately, while the stage version was a hit, the film – though excellent – was a box-office disaster, one of several during the late 1960s that put Hollywood studios off musicals for decades. Fosse’s inventive choreography and showmanship shine in the numbers "Big Spender" and "Rich Man’s Frug." Despite its commercial plight, the film earned three Oscar nominations: Best Art Direction, Costume Design and Score by Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields.

DIR Bob Fosse; SCR Peter Stone, based on the musical by Neil Simon and NIGHTS OF CABIRIA by Federico Fellini, Ennio Flaiano, Tullio Pinelli; PROD Robert Arthur. US, 1969, color, 149 min. RATED G


Fri, Jun 1, 4:30; Sun, Jun 3, 3:30; Tue, Jun 5, 4:20; Wed, Jun 6, 4:20


In 1860s Mexico, during the Juarista resistance to the forces of Emperor Maximilian, mercenary Clint Eastwood rescues nun Shirley MacLaine from a spot of bother involving three ill-intentioned thugs, only to then be persuaded into helping her get revenge on the Mexican Army. Eastwood mentor and frequent collaborator Don Siegel directs a script by former blacklistee Albert Maltz, from a story by Western great Budd Boetticher that recalls the made-for-each-other bickering of THE AFRICAN QUEEN and the sexual tension of HEAVEN KNOWS, MR. ALLISON, with cinematography by the great Gabriel Figueroa and a score by Ennio Morricone.

DIR Don Siegel; SCR Albert Maltz; PROD Carroll Case, Martin Rackin. US/Mexico, 1970, color, 116 min. RATED PG


Sat, Jun 2, 12:30; Mon, Jun 4, 4:20; Thu, Jun 7, 4:20


James L. Brooks’ adaptation of Larry McMurtry’s humorous and heartbreaking novel exults in the ups and down of life and love as experienced by Shirley MacLaine and her daughter Debra Winger. Winger marries Jeff Daniels, a likable English professor who has a wandering eye; MacLaine hasn’t dated since her husband died, but despite strong misgivings, begins a relationship with neighbor Jack Nicholson, a retired astronaut and inveterate womanizer. This film established the template for Brooks’ blend of high-styled comedy and dramatic pathos. Eleven Oscar nominations, with wins for Best Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actress ("I really deserve this." – MacLaine) and Supporting Actor (Nicholson).

DIR/SCR/PROD James L. Brooks; SCR based on the novel by Larry McMurtry. US, 1983, color, 132 min. RATED PG Digital Presentation


Sun, Jun 10, 3:00; Mon, Jun 11, 6:30

(Also part of the Jack Nicholson Retrospective)