Oldcastle Theatre to Bring Back the Downtown Movie
Oldcastle Theatre is bringing movies back to Main Street in Bennington for the first time in decades, beginning in January with a series of classic comedies, thanks to a grant from the Citizens for a Greater Bennington. “One of our goals when we moved to Main Street was to keep the theatre as busy as possible,” according to Oldcastle’s producing artistic director Eric Peterson. “We want to bring people downtown to stimulate nightlife so the streets will be filled folks shopping, dining in our many restaurants, enjoying the parks. Our series of music performances will continue during our theatre off-season and the addition of movies will be one more fun reason to visit downtown Bennington.”
There will be two series: Independent films on Tuesday nights and classic movies on Thursday evenings, showing at 7 p.m.
The classic films will kick off with Billy Wilder’s hilarious ‘Some Like it Hot’ starring Jack Lemmon, Marilyn Monroe and Tony Curtis. The film is considered one of the greatest film comedies of all time, and was voted the top comedy film by the American Film Institute on their list AFI’s 100 Years. The movie follows two musicians desperately trying to get away from gangsters. They disguise themselves as women and join and all-girl band and hilarity ensues. The movie was nominated for six Academy Awards. That will be followed the next week by ‘It Happened One Night,’ Frank Capra’s classic, the first to win all five of the top Acadmey Awards when it was voted Best Film, Best Director (Capra), Best Actor (Clark Gable), Best Actress (Claudette Colbert) and Best Screenplay (Robert Riskin). It tells the story of a pampered socialite trying to get out from under her father’s thumb and who falls in love with a roguish reporter. Depression era audiences loved the movie despite the fact that neither Gable nor Colbert liked the script. Colbert had done a movie with Capra in 1927 that had been such a disaster that she vowed never to work with him again. Several other actresses turned down the role, and she finally agreed to make the movie only when her salary was doubled to $50,000. Other films in the first series will include Charles Chaplin’s masterpiece ‘Modern Times,’ two Howard Hawks films, ‘Bringing Up Baby’ with Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn, and ‘His Girl Friday,’ with Grant teamed with Rosalind Russell in the movie version of the classic stage hit, ‘The Front Page,’ currently being revived on Broadway.
The comedy series will be followed by films directed by Robert Altman, who threw away the stiff conventions of glossy Hollywood filmmaking, to thrust audiences into an immersive universe that was radical at the time and hugely influential. Altman began directing serial television programs such as ‘The Roaring Twenties’ and ‘Combat’ and eventually made several of the most important films of the 1970s, the golden age of American movies. The Altman series will include ‘McCabe and Mrs. Miller’ with Julie Christie and Warren Beatty, ‘MASH’ with Donald Sutherland and Elliot Gould, and ‘Nashville,’ considered by many critics to one of the greatest films of the last 50 years. Dates for all the films will be announced soon.
Oldcastle Theatre is located at 331 Main Street in Bennington.For additional information, call 802-447-0564 or visit the website at oldcastletheatre.org.