Two by Lee Grant: The Stronger with Tell Me a Riddle

Two by Lee Grant: The Stronger with Tell Me a Riddle

Restoration World Premieres

A case study in resilience, Lee Grant earned her first Oscar nomination in 1951 and tragically found herself blacklisted the following year. After more than a decade of being unable to work in film, Grant was removed from the blacklist in 1964 and began to rebuild her career as an actor, director, and documentarian. She took part in the American Film Institute’s first Directing Workshop for Women, which culminated with her short film The Stronger, an adaptation of August Strindberg’s play. Featuring Susan Strasberg and Dolores Dorn as the wife and the mistress, the short poses the question, “Who is the stronger of the two?” Grant later directed her feature-length debut Tell Me a Riddle, revolutionary in 1980 as the first American feature film to be written, produced, and directed by women. Based on Tillie Olsen’s novella of the same name, the film follows the lives of elderly couple Eva and David, their shared past as revolutionaries, and their journey together when illness strikes Eva and her husband decides to keep it a secret. Academy Award-winners Melvyn Douglas and Lila Kedrova star as David and Eva, with Brooke Adams rounding out the cast as their free-spirited granddaughter Jeannie. Both films have been digitally restored in 4K from the original 35mm negatives.  

Note by Academy Film Archive Film Preservationist Cassie Blake.  
 
The Stronger | Restoration World Premiere
DIRECTED BY: Lee Grant. WRITTEN BY: Lee Grant. WITH: Susan Strasberg, Dolores Dorn, Edward Ashley, Katharine Bard. 1976. 26 min. USA. Color. English. DCP. Restored in 2022 by the Academy Film Archive and The Film Foundation. Restoration funding provided by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation.  

Tell Me a Riddle | Restoration World Premiere
DIRECTED BY: Lee Grant. WRITTEN BY: Joyce Eliason, Alev Lytle. WITH: Melvyn Douglas, Lila Kedrova, Brooke Adams. 1980. 90 min. USA. Color. English. Rated PG. DCP. Restored in 2022 by the Academy Film Archive and The Film Foundation. Restoration funding provided by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation. Special thanks to Mindy Affrime, Rachel Lyon, and Susan O'Connell.
Academy Museum film programming generously funded by the Richard Roth Foundation.

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