Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Preview: Bogart in Love

The Summer Classic Film Series at The Paramount Theatre presents its many movies in small blocks centered around a certain theme. As you browse the schedule, you will find the 80 films are divided into over 35 different themes. Each will be previewed on this blog, complete with original trailers when available...

I don't know about you, but when I think of Humphrey Bogart, my first image is of Sam Spade, the hard-boiled detective from The Maltese Falcon. In fact, that's pretty much my impression of Bogie in general; as a hard man. I admit it's an image reinforced by his most well-known roles, such as the aforementioned Falcon, The Big Sleep, Treasure of the Sierra Madre and High Sierra among others.

However, upon a closer look, one can see the longevity of his career was due to the fact that many roles he played had a great deal of heart as well as grit. Take his most famous role of Rick Blaine from Casablanca. Not only is he "the most dangerous man in the world's most dangerous city," as the trailer states, but he's man motivated by heartache. Not a softee but any means, but a character that is simultaneously glamorous, sauve, smart, and humane.

Often debated as possibly the best movie of all-time (and it's really hard to argue against that contention), The Paramount Summer Classic Film Series kicks off with Casablanca. It's the 1942 Academy Award winner for Best Picture, directed by Michael Curtiz and starring a perfect cast of Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains and Sidney Greenstreet.

Here's a bit of trivia for you. When Casablanca was re-released in 11 theaters in 1992 to celebrate its 50th anniversary, one of those selected was The Paramount Theatre in Austin. Why? Because at the time, this was one of the few venues still standing that screened the film upon its original release in 1942.

The other film featured in this theme is Sabrina, the 1954 romantic comedy directed by Billy Wilder and starring Bogart, William Holden and Audrey Hepburn. It's a Cinderella story of sorts about the title character (Hepburn), the daughter of a chauffeur (Hepburn) for a wealthy family. She's had a crush on David (Holden), a fickle playboy and the younger of the two brothers in the family. He never gave her the time of day until Sabrina blossoms after some time overseas. Unfortunately, he's also engaged. So it's up to his workaholic older brother, Linus (Bogart), to try and distract the young lady.

It's a light movie, but it's a classic for the smiles it brings and for its sheer star power. Plus, it's Billy Wilder, folks. I mean, come on!

If you've never see Sabrina, you owe it to yourself to check it out. And if you've only seen the rather stiff 1995 remake, run to see this one to rinse that film's staleness out of your mouth. Although casting Harrison Ford in the Bogart role was an inspired choice, it fell flat. I'd say the only good thing that came out of the Sydney Pollack-directed remake was Greg Kinnear's career. Otherwise, he just would've been that guy from E!'s "Talk Soup" (remember that show?). And although she was a darling of the mid 1990s after Legends of the Fall and First Knight, Julia Ormand couldn't hold a candle to Audrey Hepburn's charm. Then again, no one can.

So be sure and see some vintage Bogie in two of his finest. If you're "too tough" to come and sit through two vintage romantic films, don't be silly. There's nothing to be ashamed about. After all, they have Humphrey Bogart starring in them. He's still a hardened movie star, right? His status hasn't been diminished one bit by appearing in these two classics. Quite the contrary, it helped solidify him as one of the best of all time. Come on, I'll see you there!

(Unless I see you crying during these movies. In that case... I didn't see anything, tough guy)

Showtimes for the films:

Saturday, May 21st
Sunday, May 22nd

Saturday, May 21st
Sunday, May 22nd

Final Notes about the screening
Double Features:
"When two movies are grouped together under the same thematic heading, one ticket is good for both features when viewed back-to-back on the same day." (cha-ching!)

"Hassle-free downtown parking available for $6 at the One American Center for all summer films! Since you’re also supporting the theatre when you buy parking, they're giving you a free small soda each time you park there for a film. Buy online with your film tix and print out your confirmation e-mail or buy directly from the garage attendant (cash only). Attendant will have your soda ticket as well."

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