Summertime film fun
By Jim Bucher
With the theatre season winding down at the Victoria and Schuster Center, it’s now time to heat things up for the summer with some cool films back up on the big screen where they belong.
Yes, the Cool Films Series is back at the Victoria with some of Hollywood’s biggest and best motion pictures.
“The Victoria Theatre Association feels it’s important to remember what the theatre was from the beginning,” so said the Victoria’s Public Relations and Promotions Manager Diane Schoeffler-Warren. “From a vaudeville playhouse in the late 1800’s to when the Victoria was called the ‘Victory’ movie house, thousands of Daytonians remember experiencing a movie here.”
Even yours truly remembers seeing the premier of Walt Disney’s “Mary Poppins” from 1964, which is virtually impossible since I wasn’t born until ten years later. (I say with tongue firmly planted in cheek.)
I also remember later when the Victory fell into disrepair and the only thing keeping the doors open was running midnight movies to generate income.
I do recall laughing a lot, too. (Not sure if that was a contact high from people smoking funny looking cigarettes or not.)
The film series has become quite popular, especially in the dog days of summer when outdoor activities are out of the question because of the Ohio heat. So, why not cool off with some cool films?
This year’s line-up is a mix of Hollywood classics and modern-day classics to-be.
“We’re always striving for a balance between golden age of Hollywood titles (1935-1955) and newer ones that deserve a big screen revival or just would be fun for new audiences,” said Ken Neufield, VTA President and CEO. “We added a few titles that younger patrons consider their favorites as classics, too.”
The film series begins with the Billy Wilder classic “The Apartment” July 5-7. Then, July 12-14 it’s “The Princess Bride.” The master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” unspools July 19-21, followed on July 26-28 with “The Gang’s All Here.” And this will be fun for those that remember late, late, LATE shows at the Victory – sans the funny cigarettes – they’ll offer 10:30 p.m. showings of “The Birds” July 20; “Goldfinger” on August 3 and “Night of the Living Dead” August 10.
And speaking of Bond – James Bond – The Victoria presents a James Bond 50th Anniversary weekend: “From Russia with Love” August 2; “Goldfinger” August 3 and “Live and Let Die,” with the title song by Paul McCartney and Wings. (Yes kids, Paul was in a band before Wings.)
By the way, Diane’s favorite Bond, “Few actors have the charisma and finesse (Thought she was talking about me for a second, sorry) of Sean Connery – he is the original and the greatest, but Daniel Craig comes in a close second,” is Diane’s take. “He allows the character to be a bit more human than the others and he is pretty darn handsome.” (Again, just for a second, thought it was me she was speaking of.)
Then we move on to the aforementioned soon-to-be classics.
August 9-11 brings “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” (A little known fact, this movie was based on the life of Dayton City Paper Editor Kyle Melton.)
One of the all time greats, “The Magnificent Seven” and that wonderful catchy score is on the Victoria’s silver screen August 16-18. “Beach Blanket Bingo” starring Annette Funicello, whom we recently lost, and Frankie Avalon runs on August 23-25. (Did you know this was directed by “I Love Lucy” director and “Bewitched” star Elizabeth Montgomery’s one time husband, William Asher? Now you know.)
The series concludes with the edge-of-your-seat cop drama “The French Connection,” starring Gene Hackman, on August 30-September 1.
Also, keeping with the tradition of recreating the experience of enjoying a movie in this grand old palace, the “Vic” shows actual films complete with the clicking sound of a projector, an occasional film glitch and the “reel change mark” at the top right of the screen which cues the projectionist to “change reels.” (Hence the name “reel change mark.” Am I good or what?)
In today’s digital age, this is becoming a thing of the past.
“Finding good quality prints for the Victoria’s 35mm projector can be challenging,” Schoeffler-Warren said. “But it does give you that authentic pre-digital experience that is so unique.”
This is a perfect way to spend some cool time this summer with some cool films. All a part of the theatre-going experience that the Victoria knows how to do best.
“When it comes to the film series, we want our patrons to relive days gone by or rekindle memories when they enjoyed a movie here and for newer movie goers, to experience maybe for the first time, what it was like for their parents or grandparents to enjoy a film at the beautiful Victoria Theatre,” said Schoeffler-Warren.
For me it brings back fun times as a kid, checking out a first run at the “Victory.” But this time, leaving without the funny cigarette smell on your clothes.
Tickets for all shows, which include free popcorn and soft drinks before the show, are $5 each or $28 for a ten ticket passbook, plus a free organ concert. Show times are Friday, Saturday 7 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. For more go to victoriatheatre.com/series/films.
For more than 25 years, “Buch” has been a local television icon. Known and loved by thousands in the Miami Valley, his followers describe him as trust-worthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and a role model. When it comes to promoting your business, Buch has the ability to grab your customer’s attention. Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com.