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June 15-June 28
The first woman ever to join the Directors Guild of America, Dorothy Arzner made her first feature in 1927. After driving an ambulance in World War I, she was hired as a Famous Players stenographer in 1919, made her reputation as an editor and screenwriter, and made her directorial debut with the silent Fashions for Women. The five 1929-1931 films in this retrospective were all restored from prints or positivesnone of the original negatives surviveby the UCLA Film and Television Archive. They include the first talkie for both Arzner and star Clara Bow, The Wild Party (pictured; 2:30 p.m. Saturday, June 21), in which a party girl at a woman’s college finally accepts responsibility to help her best friend and thus wins the love of the anthropology professor she adores. Similar in theme but more sophisticated in craft, Working Girls (5 p.m. Sunday, June 22) is set in a New York City women’s residence instead of on campus; it follows two Midwestern sisters, sensible June and over-romantic May, who navigate love, work, and the East Coast class system on their way to the altar. The other movies are Sarah and Son (4 p.m. Sunday, June 15), in which an immigrant woman fights for custody of her child; Anybody’s Woman (shown with The Wild Party), the tale of a chorus girl’s marriage to a lawyer; and Honor Among Lovers, in which a secretary weds the wrong one of her co-workers (1 p.m. Saturday, June 28). The series runs to Saturday, June 28, at the National Gallery of Art’s East Building Auditorium, 4th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW. Free. (202) 842-6799. (Mark Jenkins)