August 22, 2019

Jack Skirball Film Screenings

Twelve years after Jack Skirball’s death, at age 89, his legacyappears, at times, omnipresent.

There is, of course, the thriving Skirball Cultural Center in theSepulveda Pass. And the American Jewish Committee’s SkirballInstitute on American Values. And the Skirball ArchaeologicalBuilding and Skirball Museum on the Hebrew Union College campus inJerusalem. And the Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine at NewYork University.

There is also the Skirball Film Archive Fund at UCLA.

On Aug. 27, UCLA will present its second annual tribute to JackSkirball and his widow, Audrey Skirball-Kenis, who has continued andexpanded his legacy, particularly in the theatrical world.

Appropriately, the evening’s screening will be drawn from amongthe films produced by Skirball in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. Theyinclude “Miracle on Main Street,” “It’s in the Bag,” “Payment onDemand,” and, most notably, Alfred Hitchcock’s “Shadow of a Doubt”and “Saboteur.”

Jack Skirball was, at one time or another, and sometimesconcurrently, a congregational rabbi, a motion picture pioneer whosold one- and two-reelers in the late 1910s as a college student, andan astute real estate developer.

He built the Vacation Village family resort in San Diego and soldit at a handsome profit. He became one of Hollywood’s firstindependent producers and won three Oscars for his short subjects.

He took a fling at Broadway, producing “Jacobowsky and theColonel” in 1944. It took such a long time to pull the play togetherthat one wag suggested retitling it “Jacobowsky and the General.”

The Aug. 27 presentation will be “Saboteur,” filmed in 1942, and,according to The Movie Guide encyclopedia, “as polished andsuspenseful as any the great director would make.” It stars RobertCummings, Priscilla Lane, Otto Kruger and Alan Baxter. Screenwritersinclude Peter Viertel and Dorothy Parker.

Admission is free, but seating will be on a first-come,first-serve basis. Doors open one hour before the screening.

“Saboteur” starts at 7:30 p.m. at the James Bridges Theater(formerly the Melnitz Theater) on the UCLA campus. For information,call (310) 206-FILM or (310) 206-8013.

Go to The Jewish Journal’s 7 Days in theArts