A Century of Movies at the Alamo

Submitted by abertin

Hi Everyone. We want to announce our really exciting upcoming film series, A Century of Movies at the Alamo.

Every third Sunday of the month at 6pm from March through November, we are going to be screening a different movie from a different decade of the Alamo’s existence. Here’s the schedule:

March 20: Sherlock Holmes (1916) with live accompaniment by Jeff Rapsis
April 17: Wings (1927) with live accompaniment by Paul Sullivan
May 15: The Wizard of Oz (1939)
June 19: Leave Her to Heaven (1945)
July 17: Hitchcock Double Feature: Vertigo (1958) and Rear Window (1954)
August 21: The Sound of Music (1965)
September 18: Young Frankenstein (1974)
October 16: Big (1988)
November 20: Fargo (1996)

We are going to do a special blog post to introduce you to each title, why we chose it, and why we think you should come see it as we get closer to their individual screening dates, so watch this space. In the meantime, here’s some introductory information to get you excited about the series as a whole:

We start with Sherlock Holmes because it, like the Alamo, came to us in 1916. It also happens to be a great film with an even more exciting story behind it. Until a few years ago, this film, which contains the only footage of William Gillette performing the role of Holmes, to which he brought some of its most iconic aspects, was thought to be lost forever. It was found in the vaults of the Cinémathèque Française in 2014 and was subsequently restored by the Cinémathèque Française and the San Francisco Silent Film Festival.

Wings is the first film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture and features absolutely gorgeous cinematography under the direction of William A. Wellman. Starring Clara Bow, Charles “Buddy” Rodgers, Richard Arlen, and Gary Cooper, this early World War I film about two aviators in love with the same woman recounts the youthful exuberance of the men and women who went to war and the ultimate cost of that war for the men and women that came home.

The Wizard of Oz is a childhood favorite of all of ours, and to be honest, we are all just excited to be able to see it on the big screen for the first time. I think almost everyone knows the basic plot – Dorothy Gale from Kansas gets transported to the magical land of Oz by a tornado. During her quest to return home, she encounters new friends and an evil green witch. If you haven’t seen it or if your children haven’t seen it, or even if you and they have seen it a million times, you should come to this screening. Toto never looked so good as his does on a giant screen.

Leave Her to Heaven is less well known than the others, but is a fantastic film noir film shot in glorious Technicolor. For those of you who are film noir fans, you might be thinking: “Film noir in color? I don’t know about that. Doesn’t film noir kind of have to be in black and white to create the specific film noir atmosphere?”; but trust me when I say it just works. I can’t really explain how, but it just does. Everything you love about film noir is in this film and I promise you will be blown-away by how great this film is as well as how beautiful it looks. Plus, it is set in Maine!

Who doesn’t love a Hitchcock double feature; and Vertigo and Rear Window happen to be two of his best films about spectatorship. I don’t want to get too much into film theory here, but I’ve got to say that the way that Hitchcock places the audience in the position of both of these protagonist voyeurs from these two films has always fascinated me and I think that Rear Window, in particular, is one of the most self-consciously cinematic films I have ever seen. Much of the action takes place through a lens on multiple miniature screens – something to look out for when you come to see it in July.

The Sound of Music is another childhood classic. Come join the Von Trapp family as they deal with not only a new governess, a potential new stepmother, and a father very concerned with discipline, but also the burgeoning invasion of the Nazis. One of our staff members told me the other day that he has never seen it all the way through, so this one’s for him and anyone else who hasn’t gotten the chance to experience the hills being alive with the sound of music. Also, who doesn’t like looking at the majestic Austrian Alps on a giant screen?

With Young Frankenstein, Halloween comes early this year. Dr. Frankenstein’s grandson unexpectedly finds out that he has inherited the family estate in Transylvania. Initially uneasy with his family legacy, he gradually begins to accept the family business and shenanigans follow. This Mel Brooks classic is so funny it will leave you in stitches, pun intended.

Penny Marshall’s Big is the first movie directed by a woman to gross more than $100 million at the box office, and that’s not a surprise. It’s a really good movie that captures the youthful spirit in all of us. Josh Baskin, 12, makes a wish to be “big” at a carnival fortuneteller machine and wakes up the next day as Tom Hanks, 30. From there he begins to experience life as an adult and question if that is what he really wants.

Finally, we end the series with Fargo, the Coen Brothers masterpiece that did to wood chippers what Psycho did to showers. Filled to the brim with “Minnesota nice”, this dark comedy crime thriller follows a car salesman, the criminals he hires to kidnap his wife, and the pregnant police chief who is investigating the case. It was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and was added to the National Film Registry in 2006 for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

We see this series as an integral part of the Alamo’s year-long birthday party, so each title has been carefully curated by our staff to not only represent a significant place in film history, but also to create a celebratory atmosphere for the community. These are films that we ourselves enjoy and are so excited to share with all of you, so come out and help us celebrate the Alamo with these films. It won’t be a party without you!

All the films are free for Members and Century Donors. If you aren’t a Member or Century Donor, the price is $5 per film, except for the Hitchcock double feature. For that one, a ticket to each individual film is $5 or if you want to watch both, a ticket is $7.