Jiminy Cricket!

When Bette Davis agreed to play the second-fiddle role of Maggie Cutler in The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942), she was at the height of her career. But she’d been playing “a pile of mean, nasty characters and wanted some good press,” says Chris Loffelmacher, director of cultural programming for the Denver Public Library. “She was quoted as saying, ‘I need this part. I’ve been playing too many bitches.’ And she’s the total sweetheart in this film. She took the secondary part, but of course she ran away with the film. It’s a prime example of a secondary character being the Jiminy Cricket.”

Such a role typifies what the Fresh City Life folks had in mind when designing the Sidekicks: Cinema’s Brilliant B-String film series, which continues through September 15 with The Royal Tenenbaums. “The idea,” says Loffelmacher, “grew out of years and years of doing the film series and always seeing those great little secondary parts in movies and occasionally saying, ‘I wish there was a way of celebrating those people who often run away with the film.’”

See films at 6 p.m. in the Level B2 Conference Center at the Central Library, 10 West 14th Avenue Parkway. Screenings are free and followed by a discussion-meets-debate hosted by Film Freak Central’s Walter Chaw. Get more information at www.denverlibrary.org/programs/fresh or by calling 720-865-1111.
Tuesdays, 6-9 p.m. Starts: Aug. 18. Continues through Sept. 15, 2009

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Drew Bixby

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