Your Guide to Classic Movie Theater Filmgoing!
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Although most of the old movies shown at these theaters have appeared on television, the big screen makes them a completely different experience. Musicals are especially entertaining, with applause for great dance numbers. Films like Singin' in the Rain and West Side Story explode off of the screen, and the artistry of Fred Astaire and Busby Berkeley can take your breath away.
Casablanca is a great romantic drama, but after laughing along with an audience at the witty script, you discover that it's also a classic comedy. Theater showings of film spectaculars like Lawrence of Arabia and 2001: A Space Odyssey reveal new depths of meaning.
Silent films have been discovered by many filmgoers at these theaters. The Michigan and Redford have both put their Barton theater organs to their original use with presentations of short comedies by Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, and Harold Lloyd, and dramas such as Wings, Phantom of the Opera, and The Mark of Zorro. Silent film music at the DFT has included the insightful lyricism of pianist David Drazin and the dramatic electronic sounds of the Alloy Orchestra.
Foreign language films can be a rewarding challenge, as you adjust to the subtitles and the unfamiliar words. You learn how much is communicated through tone of voice and facial expression. The subtitles make the film a literary experience that is similar to watching a silent film. The emotional and intellectual depth of foreign language films often has a deep poignancy.
Foreign language films can teach you about the history, culture and politics of other countries, as well as the fashion, food, geography and architecture. A Chef in Love mixed luscious images of food with the political upheavals of 1920's Russia. Wings of Desire used the landscape of Berlin to track several spiritual journeys.
Independent films have a home at these theaters. These fiction and nonfiction movies have unique content and styles that provide alternatives to the larger budget mainstream films that fill the megaplexes. Independent movies are often launched at film festivals, and these theaters help dreams come true for filmmakers who often have to finance their own movies.
Although most of the films at these theaters are geared towards adults, family-oriented programming has also been promoted. A family-friendly film series at the Michigan has included Annie and The Muppet Movie. The DFT has held matinee showings of old science fiction movies, the children's classic The Red Balloon, and animated movies from Japan and other countries. And the Redford schedule includes many family movies, like The Wizard of Oz and Mary Poppins.
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Launched November 25, 2005.
Last updated March 22, 2015.
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