Dawn Nies loves old movies and she loves seeing them on the big screen. However Nies, a junior majoring in business, is only 21 years old and was not yet born when the films originally came out.
This summer, Nies can see some of her favorites again when Tampa Theatre begins its sixth year of the summer classic movie series.
“I think it’s nice that they do that,” Nies said. “It’s a good opportunity for us to see films the way they were meant to be seen.”
Tampa Theatre will show 13 classic movies on the big screen every Sunday at 3 p.m. through the summer beginning this weekend. From comedies to thrillers, the summer classic movie series fills 13 weeks with something for everyone.
Many people love old movies, whether it is at home, in front of the television or at the movie theater, according to Tara Schroeder, film program manager for Tampa Theatre.
“There’s nothing like sitting in a 75-year-old movie palace with other people and all sharing the experience,” Schroeder said. “That is something you can’t do at home.”
Movie fans will only have to pay $4 and be treated to a matinee showing of films spanning seven decades starting with the most recent, Somewhere In Time.
Somewhere in Time, starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymore, tells a time-travelling tale about an unhappy playwright who falls in love with a woman painted in a 70-year-old portrait. Made in 1980, the film being shown is in its 20th anniversary remastered print.
For the second week of the series, Tampa Theatre will show the Marx Brothers spoof of dictators and fascism in the 1933 political satire, Duck Soup.
Fans of Alfred Hitchcock will be in for a treat this summer when two of his films will be shown. Schroeder said there are some people that just love Hitchcock, and that helped the decision to showcase two of his films.
“Plus, the distributor we are getting the prints from have high-quality prints, so we are excited about it,” Schroeder said.
Hitchcock’s 1945 mystery-romance Spellbound will be shown July 22, and two weeks later on Aug. 5, Rebecca, 1940’s Best Picture Oscar winner, will be shown.
Another Best Picture winners that will be shown during the series, is 1961’s West Side Story, showing July 1. Other features this summer include Harvey, Double Indemnity, When Worlds Collide, To Kill A Mockingbird, Topper, Pillow Talk and The Invisible Man.
The last film of the series will be the silent film Sparrow, which is being shown Aug. 26.
“During our showing of Sparrows, we will encourage our audience to hiss and boo the villain when he comes on screen,” Schroeder said. “It’s always fun when the audience gets involved.”
Sparrows will feature live musical accompaniment by famous organist Rosa Rio playing Tampa Theatre’s house organ.
“In fact, the organ will be played for about 20 minutes before every movie during the summer classics series,” Schroeder said. “And to see that is always a treat, and everyone usually gets involved.”
Getting involved is one of the best parts of the series and Schroeder considers it “a hoot” when a thousand people break out into applause when Charlie finds the golden wrapper during the showing of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, which was shown last summer.
Each year, Schroeder and one of Tampa Theatre’s booking agents sit down with a wish list and a schedule to determine which films will be shown.
“Dates and print availability are the two main factors deciding which films we show,” Schroeder said. “Plus, when you factor in the different genres we want to represent, it causes a lot of juggling.”
According to Schroeder, the genres usually range from comedy, drama, and romance and in the case of West Side Story, musical.
While in the six years of running the series, there have been some repeat showings of movies here and there, Schroeder said they try to rotate Gone With the Wind, Citizen Kane and The Wizard of Oz every other year.
As each year progresses, the series has become increasingly successful, according to Schroeder.
“Last summer’s total attendance was 10,000 patrons, with the theater almost packed every week,” Schroeder said. “There will be regulars who come every week, but it’s so amazing to see people seeing the film for the first time sitting next to people of an older generation who remember seeing a particular film for the first time.”
Schroeder admitted that she didn’t know if the series would work when they first started it.
“Six years ago, we tried this concept knowing only that people loved old movies,” Schroeder said. “We didn’t know if they’d come to the theater to see movies they can rent and see at home, but they came out in droves.”