Alec Guinness and Sessue Hayakawa star in “The Bridge on the River Kwai.”

The Secret Movie Club will present “The Bridge on the River Kwai” (1957, 161 minutes) in 35mm on Saturday, April 22, from 7:30 to 11 p.m. at the Million Dollar Theater, 307 S. Broadway, Los Angeles.

Former silent film idol Sessue Hayakawa (1886-1973) received Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for best supporting actor for his portrayal of Col. Saito. He called the role the highlight of his career.

“This year, we’re committed to screening some of the greatest movies of all time in the spaces they were meant to be seen: big movie palaces on big screens,” said Craig Hammill, Secret Movie Club founder and programmer. “Tonight, we screen the movie that launched David Lean on his path towards character-driven, idiosyncratic epic movies that were expertly crafted and edited: ‘The Bridge on the River Kwai.’

“This movie, an out-and-out masterpiece in its own right, tight and focused, tension filled, set all the foundational pieces for Lean’s next movie, ‘Lawrence of Arabia.’

“We follow captured World War II prisoners of war in a Japanese internment camp forced to work to build railroads and other infrastructure for the Japanese war effort in Burma/Cambodia. However, the movie dynamically splits onto two tracks (if you will) as one contingent of soldiers escape (led by an always dynamic William Holden) and the others who stay are led by a determined but increasingly delusional commanding officer played by Alec Guinness.

“When the escaped POWs are instructed to return to blow up the bridge the other still-captured soldiers are building, a tension-filled date with destiny is set up that leads to an unbelievably pulse-pounding third act.

“Lean took everything he had developed across two-plus decades of intimate moviemaking, Charles Dickens adaptations, and editing to create a series of epic movies (‘Kwai,’ ‘Lawrence,’ ‘Zhivago,’ ‘Ryan’s Daughter,’ ‘A Passage to India’) that have never been equaled and have no rivals.

“Join us tonight for the rare chance to see ‘The Bridge on the River Kwai’ on 35mm on the big screen in a movie palace.”

Tickets are $14 in advance, $16 on the day of the event, and can be purchased online for a small fee by going to

Parking is available at the Grand Central Market Parking Structure at the corner of 3rd and Hill Street (entrance on Hill) and at various lots. A limited number of $6 all-day parking passes are available for purchase via add-ons.

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