Monday, May 9, 2011

Coming Soon: The CASABLANCA 2011 Kick-Off Party

Glancing at the thermometer, summer is certainly in full swing. Temperatures reside in the upper 90s, and a hankering for swimming pools and snow cones are already taking root inside me. However, as an Austinite/cinephile, the season kicks off when The Paramount Summer Classic Film series gets under way. About to launch its 36th year, the series begins on May 20th with a recurring opening night screening and a very special guest.

A tradition from years past, the kick-off party includes a screening of perennial favorite Casablanca, the 1942 classic starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. It's a film that truly needs no introduction, and is a classic in every sense of the word. No matter how many times you've watched the movie, the thrill of being able to see it on the big screen should be an enticement itself to attend this party.

But, if that's not enough for you... there will be a special guest: Director/Actor/Writer/Walking Hollywood Wikipedia Peter Bogdanovich.

Although known primarily as the director of The Last Picture Show, Bogdanovich has appeared throughout the movie industry in numerous capacities. He's popped up as an actor in television and film, most notably as Dr. Elliot Kupferberg on "The Sopranos." However, Peter has also made a huge impact as a Hollywood historian. His career began to take build steam when he was a film programmer and a writer for Esquire magazine, which built upon his obsessive movie-viewing habits from his youth. He wrote about legends such as John Ford and Alfred Hitchcock, and crafted prolific profiles about Jerry Lewis, James Stewart... and Humphrey Bogart.

As he began his film career, he paid tribute to the style of Old Hollywood and the Golden Age from a time gone by. Ironically, as part of the New Hollywood of the 1960s and 70s, where the director was referred to as the auteur, Bogdanovich's films emphasized a more collaborative aesthetic. Directing several of his actors to Oscar nominations (which a few of them won), it can be safely said that his approach is performance-based. Peter has often praised Casablanca as a work of the ‘non-auteurist’ tradition, and his reverence for this film obviously influenced one of his more underrated films, 1979's film Saint Jack.

In addition to sharing his thoughts about the opening night film, Bogdanovich has also chosen a mystery film to serve as the second half of a double-feature that evening. To date, no one knows what the movie will be. How about you? What do you think it will be?

So be sure to join us as- Wait a sec.
Ack, I almost forgot a couple of important details.

First: Admission tickets are already reasonably prized (and can be found here), but if you become a Paramount Film Fan, admission to this event and double-feature is FREE. That's right. On top of that, enjoy discounts and perks (like free popcorn) throughout the 2011 Summer Series based on your level of membership. Curious? Then click here for details.

Second: For Gold and Platinum Film Fan members, there will be a Meet & Greet Reception with Mr. Bogdanovich himself prior to the screenings.

It promises to be a thrilling night for all. The appearance of Peter Bogdanovich is an ever so appropriate one for the Summer Classic Film Series. Why? Because he still holds his sensibilities to a long-ago Golden Era of film. I'm reminded of this gem of a quote by our special guest, one that reveals this particular truth:

"I think one of the reasons younger people don't like older films, films made say before the '60s, is that they've never seen them on a big screen, ever. If you don't see a film on a big screen, you haven't really seen it. You've seen a version of it, but you haven't seen it. That's my feeling, but I'm old-fashioned."

Here here. Maybe my cinematic views are archaic, but you can lump me in full agreement with that statement. Seeing these treasures on the big screen stirs a level of excitement you just can't get from any HDTV screen.

Doors to the party open at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, May 20th. The films begin at 7:00 p.m. Don't you dare miss it, because if you do... "you'll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life."

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