Movie double features — two flicks for the price of one — are twice the fun, if not more when cinema superstar Martin Scorsese cooks up the combos.
And he has.
Launching Friday and running through Sept. 5, Film Forum’s fourth annual festival of summer double features screens twofers programmed by “The Departed” Oscar-winning director and screenwriter Jay Cocks, who collaborated with Scorsese on screenplays for “The Age of Innocence” and “Gangs of New York.”
For Queens-born Scorsese, 76, the two-for-one concept strikes a nostalgic feeling.
“When I was growing up, I almost always saw movies paired as double features,” he said in a statement. “Sometimes the pairings made sense, sometimes you’d wonder why they were being shown together, but it was a great way to experience cinema — two films back-to-back start a dialogue, and they illuminate each other.”
The cinematic conversation begins Friday with “Pickpocket” — Robert Bresson’s 1959 film about petty crooks — and Alfred Hitchcock’s 1956 drama “The Wrong Man” — starring Henry Fonda as an innocent man arrested for armed robbery.
The apparent link: law and disorder. But there may be more common threads, says Bruce Goldstein, director of repertory programming at Film Forum. Both movies, he tells amNewYork, make clever use of close-ups, dissolves and location shoots.
Which isn’t to say that is what’s behind this installment of Marty and Jay’s Double Features, as the series is called. “They came up with the combos and had a list for me over a year ago. We found the prints,” Goldstein says. “I’m not sure what the connections are. Very few of them are obvious.”
If there are any to begin with.
Cocks, a former film critic for Time, Newsweek and Rolling Stone, in a statement acknowledges: “There was no method at all in choosing these double features, but maybe just a touch of madness.
“Marty and I grab time, whenever we can, to recharge by watching — often re-watching — movies for which we have a glancing affection or interest,” he adds. “Sometimes they reflect one another. Sometimes they rebound. We make no distinctions between classics and indulgences. School is out for these. Have fun. We do.”
Nearly 30 twofers are on the festival schedule, available at filmforum.org. “There’s a lot of beautiful doubles here,” says Goldstein. Here are a few he’s looking forward to seeing.
Aug. 17 “Richard III” and “The Tomb of Ligeia” Director and star Laurence Olivier brushes up his Shakespeare, while schlock king Richard Corman guides Vincent Price as husband whose dead wife may be haunting his current one. High/how, anyone?
Aug. 18 and 19 “Barry Lyndon” and “The Case of the Mukkinese Battle-Horn” Stanley Kubrick’s 185-minute period saga stars Ryan O’Neal, while Peter Sellers goes sleuth in a goofy 29-minute comedy. “I appreciate that they put an epic with a short,” says Goldstein.
Aug. 28 “Ashes and Diamonds” and “Station-Six Sahara” Communist Poland sets the scene for the former, while a desert oil station, where a woman played by Carroll Baker shakes things up, is the setting for the second. Baker will be at the 6:30 p.m. screening, Goldstein tells amNewYork.
Sept. 2 “Voyage to Italy” and “The Long, Long Trailer” Up first is a Roberto Rossellini and Ingrid Bergman meditation on marriage. Next up, a Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz vehicle. “Who would ever put these two together?” asks Goldstein.
Marty and Jay. That’s who.
If you go: Marty and Jay’s Double Features runs Aug. 16-Sept. 5 at Film Forum. 209 W. Houston St., $15; $9, members. For a full schedule of films, go to filmforum.org.