Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Taking The Um Out Of Summer

I now know what to do with all those long, hot hours when the SPF toxicity level in my skin is peaking and I need a break. Thank you, Stanford Theatre Foundation.

I just received the summer film festival schedule for Palo Alto's sumptuous art deco monument to the golden era of Hollywood film-making, and I’ve had to spend half an hour creating iCal reminders for all the upcoming celluloid greatness.

Bette Davis, who introduced strength and depth to glamor in the era of the starlet, figures prominently. Eleven films made during the peak of her illustrious career are featured in the line-up, including her most famous, “All About Eve.” A dozen Jimmy Stewart films pay tribute to his centennial. Plus, there are classics featuring Audrey Hepburn (“Breakfast At Tiffany’s,” “Charade,” “How To Steal A Million,” “Roman Holiday”) and Elizabeth Taylor ("Father Of The Bride"), a handful of Marx Brothers comedies and Charlie Chaplin silent films, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby in “Road To Morocco,” a couple musicals for those so inclined, and a bunch of other great stuff that is the antidote to the summer blockbuster action flick. (Not that I'm against all that. But sometimes I like a little art with my sex and violence.)

I didn’t know I was such a fan of old movies until I saw “Citizen Kane” in this voluptuous setting, complete with a guy playing a Wurlitzer organ, which rises from beneath the stage, then slowly descends again as the red velvet curtains part the film begins in all its grainy, black and white glory. It’s truly a time machine. And the fact that you can get a large popcorn, three sodas, two boxes of Whoppers, and a box of Raisinettes all for under ten bucks means even if you don’t like old movies, it’s worth it just for the snacks.

You can see the complete summer schedule here.

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