I’ve been thinking about our classic film series here at UCPAC, and about the many, many classic films we screened at the Fox Tucson Theatre during my decade at the helm there.
There’s nothing like being in a restored historic theatre and watching a classic movie on 35mm film, as we used to say, “film the way it was meant to be seen.” I mean, who doesn’t love walking back in time by entering a beautiful old theatre (where so many people watched so many great films week after week for decades), grabbing some popcorn (free small bag at the UCPAC!), a snack, and a drink (beer and wine available at the UCPAC!), and settling in for one of Hollywood’s great cinematic experiences?
Thinking back to my time at the Fox Tucson Theatre, there were a few films we seemed to screen nearly every year (and which, amazingly, would seem to draw more and more attendees each time): The Wizard of Oz, It’s a Wonderful Life, and The Polar Express. And then there were so many that we only screened once, but always had enthusiastic audiences for: timeless westerns like High Noon or The Searchers, film noir classics like Touch of Evil or The Maltese Falcon, Hitchcock thrillers like The Birds or Psycho.
Union County is blessed to have one of the very last theaters in New Jersey that is actually able to show movies in 35mm. And not only that, but it’s worth mentioning that our projectionist, Mark Pusillo, has been screening 35mm films for more than 45 years (and yes, he’s catching up to his dad, who was a projectionist for 55 years!). And then of course there’s our wonderful “biggest little Wurlitzer,” which has been played more or less continually since we opened our doors in 1928!
Have I whetted your appetite for seeing a classic film in our beautiful historic theater? I hope so. Upcoming film screenings include:
- Peter Bogdonovich’s wonderful The Last Picture Show (particularly appropriate since a historic theater plays such a seminal role in the film) on Friday, March 11
- A new release called Tango Shalom on Sunday, March 20 (not on 35mm, but with a post-screening Q&A with actors/directors of the film), and
- The silent film Peter Pan (1924) on Friday April 8, which we’re co-sponsoring with our friends at the Garden State Theatre Organ Society.