The Psychotronic Film Society’s ongoing weekly series of overlooked and underappreciated films continues with a birthday tribute to the late, great British character actor (and occasional leading man) Peter Vaughan, whose face should be instantly recognizable to most any fan of British film or TV from the 1940s through the late 2010s, even if his name is not.
Vaughan may be best known here in the States for his role as Maester Aemon on several seasons of HBO’s massive hit “Game of Thrones,” on which he worked well into his 90s before passing away in December 2016. In celebration of Vaughan’s lengthy career and unique charms, the PFS will show an ultra-obscure black and white 1964 whodunit in which Vaughan carries the picture and steals the show. “Smokescreen” is a low-budget mystery that finds Vaughan playing an obsessively frugal insurance investigator who becomes convinced that the apparent suicide of a man is in fact an attempt to fake his own death in order to defraud his life insurance company. Both clever and legitimately humorous, it should appeal to fans of such beloved American TV mystery series as “Columbo” and “Monk.”
Notably, two well-respected film historians named “Smokescreen” as one of the 15 best British “B-movies” made during WWII and 1970; however, it has never been released in theaters or on home video here in the U.S.. This is a rare opportunity to see this humble — yet truly engaging — English film on the big screen. Showtime 8 p.m., with discounts on organic wine and craft beer during the show, as well as a full menu of award-winning vegetarian cuisine and Fair Trade coffees and teas.