Film Series: Meeting Death: Conversations with Mortality

Death arrives in various ways. In the Museum's latest film series, explore four different encounters with death, from the physical to the metaphorical.

Doors open at 5:00 p.m. All films are free with museum admission. 

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The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941), NR
Directed by William Dieterle
Friday, October 20, 5:30–7:15 p.m.

Jabez Stone (James Craig) is a hard-working farmer trying to make an honest living, but a streak of bad luck tempts him to do the unthinkable: bargain with the Devil himself. For seven years of good fortune, Stone promises "Mr. Scratch" (Walter Huston) his soul when the contract ends. When the troubled farmer begins to realize the error of his choice, he enlists the aid of the one man who might save him: the legendary orator and politician Daniel Webster (Edward Arnold).

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Ikiru (1952), NR
Directed by Akira Kurosawa
Friday, October 27, 5:30–7:55 p.m.

After learning that his stomach cancer has left him with less than a year to live, a Tokyo bureaucrat (Takashi Shimura) struggles to reconcile with his impending death and begins looking for ways to make his remaining days meaningful.

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Heaven Can Wait (1943), NR
Directed by Ernst Lubitsch
Friday, November 3, 5:30–7:20 p.m.

Deceased playboy Henry Van Cleve (Don Ameche) presents himself to the outer offices of Hades, where he asks a bemused Satan, His Excellency (Laird Cregar), for permission to enter the gates of hell. Henry proceeds to recount a lifetime of wooing and pursuing women, his long, happy marriage to Martha (Gene Tierney) notwithstanding.

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The Seventh Seal (1957), NR
Directed by Ingmar Bergman
Friday, November 10, 5:30–7:00 p.m.

Disillusioned and exhausted after a decade of battling in the Crusades, a knight (Max von Sydow) encounters Death (Bengt Ekerot) on a desolate beach and challenges him to a fateful game of chess. Much studied, imitated, even parodied, but never outdone, this is a stunning allegory of humankind’s search for meaning.



Photo credits:The Devil and Daniel Webster, RKO Radio Pictures Inc./Photofest, © RKO Radio Pictures Inc.; Ikiru© Janus Films; Heaven Can Wait, 20th Century Fox/Photofest, © 20th Century Fox; The Seventh Seal© Janus Films.