The Theatre is funded in part with a Facility Operating Grant from the City of Salem’s Transient Occupancy Tax Funds


The Historic Elsinore Theatre and Chemeketa Community College

The Wednesday Evening Film Series

The Historic Elsinore Theatre, in partnership with the Chemeketa Community College Humanities Department & Film Studies Program, presents a program of classic movies.

Our fall 2014 series of nine presentations begins September 24th with Leo McCarey’s screwball comedy masterpiece, The Awful Truth.  It’s the first of three delightful films about characters whose happiness and personal identity are challenged in a great city –– Manhattan, Paris, and Florence.  The Silent Program will offer three movie evenings, beginning October 1st with four short films featuring comedian Harold Lloyd.  And, beginning with Rebecca on November 5, we’ll be presenting a mini-festival of three Alfred Hitchcock movies in three weeks.

Program notes offering commentary are provided only at our six Classic Program screenings.  Silent Program presentations feature digitally restored prints whenever possible and live musical accompaniment by Rick Parks on the “Mighty Wurlitzer Organ.”

Tickets are $5 each and can be purchased at the Historic Elsinore Theatre, and at all Tickets West locations.  Phone 503.375.3574 for information.  Box office and doors open at 6:15 pm, movies start at 7:00 pm.  

Series Coordinator:  Robert Bibler, Chemeketa CC Film Studies Program.
Silent Film Organist:  Rick Parks.
Sustaining Partner: 
Allied Video Productions  

Personal Space:  Setting and Perspective in Classic Films

September 24
7:00 pm  The Awful Truth  (Leo McCarey, USA, 1937)

Cary Grant and Irene Dunne star in this top-notch romantic comedy.  Returning from separate vacations, suspicious Grant and Dunne accuse one another of infidelity.  Divorce proceedings result in a custody battle over their little dog, the adorable Mr. Smith, followed by classic scenes of unparalleled screwball jealousy, as sophisticated Manhattanites Grant and Dunne attempt to interfere with each other’s romances.   Nominated for five Academy Awards, the film won the Best Director Oscar for Leo McCarey, whose brilliant use of improvisation and spontaneity led his expert performers to achieve a landmark comedy and an audience favorite.  Pure pleasure.  With Ralph Belamy, Alexander D’Arcy, Cecil Cunningham.  91 minutes.

"Hilarious screwball comedy… Inspired direction." ––Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide

"Zappy, sophisticated screwball comedy, with Grant and Dunne displaying perfect timing.  Delightfully effective entertainment." ––Time Out Film Guide

Masters of the Silent Screen.  Restored films with live organ accompaniment

October 1
7:00 pm  
I Do
  (Hal Roach, 1921)
Ring up the Curtain (Alfred J. Goulding, 1926)
Captain Kidd's Kids
(Hal Roach, 1920)
Just Neighbors
(Harold Lloyd & Frank Terry, 1919)

The first of tonight’s four Harold Lloyd shorts features the comic misadventures of newlyweds.  Then, in Ring up the Curtain, Harold plays a stagehand who falls for the leading lady of a visiting theatrical troupe.  After a wild bachelor party in Captain Kidd's Kids, our hero finds himself aboard a sailing vessel where, in a dream sequence, he fantasizes that the ship is seized by a band of female pirates.  In Just Neighbors, suburbanites join together to build a garden shed, a project beset by mayhem that soon threatens the garden it is meant to serve, the laundry drying in the yard, and the chickens.  70 minutes.

Personal Space:  Setting and Perspective in Classic Films

October 8
7:00 pm
An American in Paris
  (Vincente Minnelli, USA, 1951)

In one of the great American musicals from MGM, Gene Kelly plays ex-GI Jerry Mulligan, an artist struggling to survive on his paintings in post-War Paris, along with a fellow American and aspiring composer (Oscar Levant).  While courted by a wealthy patron with romantic inclinations (Nina Foch), Jerry’s wandering eye spots a lovely young Parisiene (Leslie Caron).  Director Vincente Minnelli (Meet Me in St. Louis) was a master of cinema space, and Gene Kelly (Singing in the Rain) a master of physical space.  When Kelly moves effortlessly through an impossibly tight Montmarte apartment in his very first scene, we recognize the genius of a great dancer.  The film’s charming sets are initially faithful to Paris’s little cafes and constrained spaces, but the venues and the dances grow gradually more grand until extravagant numbers are staged at a wild Art Students’ League costume ball and finally in the infinite dimensions of Jerry’s artistic imagination.  The famous 18-minute dance finale –– set to George Gershwin’s 1928 symphony –– is such an inventive and hallucinatory explosion of color, music, design, and movement that you may leave the theater feeling you should be drug-tested.  Nominated for nine Academy Awards, it won seven.  Gorgeous, restored Technicolor.  115 minutes.

"Joyous, original musical built around Gershwin score; dazzling in color. …The songs, dances, and production are superb.  Oscars include Best Picture, Story and Screenplay, Cinematography, Scoring, Art Direction, Costume Design, and a special citation to Kelly."  ––Leonard Maltin

Masters of the Silent Screen.  Restored films with live organ accompaniment

October 15
7:00 pm
Son Of The Sheik
  (George Fitzmaurice, USA, 1926)

Son Of The Sheik was Rudolph Valentino’s follow up to The Sheik, a superior sequel, and his last film.  The greatest lover on the silent screen plays a dual role, that of the Sheik and his hot-blooded son, Ahmed.  Kino Films writes that young Ahmed, “a cultured yet untamed young man, is lured into a thieves' trap by a beautiful dancer, Yasmin (Vilma Banky).  After escaping, he kidnaps the damsel and holds her captive in his desert lair, dressing her in Arabian finery and threatening to unleash his violent passion upon her….  The film's sultry beauty and torrid power are derived from the exotic romance which saturates every frame, its sadomasochistic fantasies acted out against the lavish set design of William Cameron Menzies (The Thief Of Bagdad) and lushly photographed by George Barnes.”  Shortly after the film’s completion, Valentino died suddenly, on August 23, 1926, at the age of 31.  68 minutes.

"Handsomely mounted silent film is a first-rate adventure / romance.”  ––Leonard Maltin

"Tongue-in-cheek desert romp, which was probably its star’s best film.”   ––Halliwell’s Film Guide

Personal Space:  Setting and Perspective in Classic Films

October 22
7:00 pm
A Room With a View
  (James Ivory, UK, 1985)

Touring Italy, a proper young heiress, Lucy Honeychurch (Helena Bonham Carter), and her Victorian chaperone (Maggie Smith) find themselves sharing a modest pensione in Florence with some fellow Brits, including a free-thinking middleclass Englishman (Denholm Elliot) and his handsome, liberal-minded son, George (Julian Sands).  Soon, George stirs feelings in Lucy that run counter to social convention, class boundaries, and the expectations of her upper class fiancé (Daniel Day-Lewis) in England, awaiting her return.  Adapted from the 1908 E.M. Forster novel, A Room With a View is an exquisitely made comedy of manners, filmed on location in Florence and England by Oregon-raised director James Ivory, containing a treasure-trove of great actors and sterling performances.  It received eight Oscar nominations, and won three.  Maggie Smith’s (Downton Abbey) performance earned a Golden Globe.  With Judi Densch (Philomena), Simon Callow, Rosemary Leach, Rupert Graves.  Color and widescreen.  115 minutes.

"A whimsical social comedy…  [T]he movie is well paced, and it never loses its hold on a viewer’s affections, because it’s so thoroughly inhabited.  The actors who circulate around the heroine create a whirring atmosphere –– a comic hum."   ––Pauline Kael, The New Yorker

"Exhilarating….  A Room with a View enjoys its storytelling so much that I enjoyed the very process of it.  The story moved slowly, it seemed, for the same reason you try to make ice cream last:  because it's so good."  ––Roger Ebert


Masters of the Silent Screen.  Restored films with live organ accompaniment

October 29
7:00 pm
 (F.W. Murnau, Germany, 1922)

The first film version of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Nosferatu is a horror film landmark and one of the masterpieces of silent cinema.  Max Schreck plays the deathly, rat-like vampire, moving his collection of coffins from one harbor to another like a spreading plague.  (Shadow of the Vampire in 2000, with Willem Dafoe, depicted some of the legends surrounding the making of this famous film, and Werner Herzog’s Nosferatu was a faithful color 1979 remake, but this is the original.)  Directed by F.W. Murnau (Sunrise).  We will be showing a beautiful restoration mastered from an original color-tinted 35mm negative preserved by the Murnau estate.  94 minutes.

"A concentrated essay in horror fantasy, full of weird effects….  This important film of the vampire genre has more spectral atmosphere, more ingenuity, and more imaginative ghoulish ghastliness than any of its successors….  Murnau concentrates on scenes of suggestive and horrible beauty…"  –– Pauline Kael, The New Yorker

"Brilliantly eerie." ––Leonard Maltin

Sin and Dread:  Alfred Hitchcock

"Hitchcock continues to draw crowds generation after generation.  His films have achieved something better than timelessness;  the older they get, the more astutely they function as social critiques.  … Long after we know who did what to whom, we return repeatedly for the nuance, the humor, the stylishness, the daring, the frisson, and the sex, which is invariably delayed, frustrated, or undermined with perversity."  ––Gary Giddins, Warning Shadows

November 5
7:00 pm
  (Alfred Hitchcock, USA, 1940)

In an Oscar-nominated performance, Joan Fontaine plays a shy, innocent young American who meets and quickly marries a wealthy, sophisticated Englishman (Sir Lawrence Olivier), only to find that his huge gothic residence is haunted by the memory of his deceased former wife, Rebecca.  An imperious, near-demonic housekeeper (Judith Anderson) administers the mansion in accordance with the wishes of the late Rebecca, as suspicious circumstances surrounding her death begin to surface.  A superb atmospheric mystery thriller, produced by David O. Selznick (Gone With the Wind), that swept the Academy Awards categories with an astonishing eleven Oscar nominations.  It won two, for Best Picture and Best Cinematography.  A masterpiece, and a veritable fountainhead of Hitchcockian themes and images that figure prominently in movies to come, such as Vertigo, Spellbound, and Psycho.  With George Sanders.  130 minutes.

"Hitchcock's first American film is a sumptuous Selznick production of Daphne du Maurier novel…. Stunning performances by Fontaine and Anderson; haunting score by Franz Waxman." ––Leonard Maltin

"A gripping blend of detective story, Gothic romance, and psychological drama… Riveting."  ––Time Out

November 12
7:00 pm
Dial M For Murder
  (Alfred Hitchcock, USA, 1954)

Based on the hit stage play by Fredrick Knott and presented on the 60th anniversary of its release, Dial M for Murder represents the first of three movies the extraordinary Grace Kelly made with Hitchcock.  A husband (Ray Milland) plots the murder of his wealthy wife (Grace Kelly) after she begins an affair with an American writer (Robert Cummings), leading to a police detective’s (John Williams) penetrating investigation.  By compressing the film’s action to a single apartment set (as he would subsequently do in Rear Window), Hitchcock retained the suspense that made the stage play such a hit.  He then amplified the intrigue with his mastery of point-of-view framing and cinema vocabulary.  Shot in 3-D, but released flat (as we will present it).  Restored, and in color.  105 minutes.

"Hitchcock himself dismissed 3-D …, but that didn’t stop him having some fun with it.…  The London-set story…remains one of Hitch’s most absorbingly airtight:  its trick is to generate considerable suspense while withholding nothing from the audience.  Its pleasures are not profound ones, but there’s enough dimensionality up on the screen to compensate.  Hitchcock’s 3-D thriller still grips."  ––Time Out

November 19
7:00 pm
Shadow of a Doubt
 (Alfred Hitchcock, USA, 1943)

A major masterpiece and Hitchcock’s personal favorite among his films.  It is 1943, and the world is at war.  Charlotte, a bored teenage girl (Teresa Wright) living in small town, wishes her distant uncle would “come and shake us all up.”  And Uncle Charlie mysteriously arrives.  Young “Charlie” is quite attracted to her debonair namesake, but as he occupies her room, her home, and blends effortlessly into her family and community, she becomes aware of a chasm of darkness within him.  As Hitchcock’s first full-blown portrait of a psychopathic personality, Uncle Charlie (masterfully played by Joseph Cotton) represents a capacity for evil that the young woman must come to acknowledge –– within herself and her world. Rich characters and wonderful texture of small town life thanks in part to the screenplay contribution of Thornton Wilder’s (Our Town).  108 minutes.

"Not only psychologically intriguing, but a sharp dissection of middle American life, in its own quiet way an ancestor of Blue Velvet.  Funny, gripping, and expertly shot by Joe Valentine." ––Time Out Film Guide

The Film Studies program at Chemeketa Community College offers courses in film appreciation.  See the College website www.chemeketa.edu for further information.

Historic Elsinore Theatre
170 High St SE, Salem OR 97301  

All films at the Historic Elsinore Theatre.  Box office and doors open at 6:15 pm, movies begin at 7 pm.

Films subject to change.


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