Monday, May 18, 2015

Gettysburg's "Majestic" Theater to showcase Summer Classic Film Series

The Majestic Theater in Gettysburg, adjacent to the historic
Gettysburg Hotel (circa 2009).
The Majestic  in 1984 (then-owned by R/C Theatres),
being converted from a single-screen theater
into a "triplex cinema."
The Majestic Theater in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania has had a lot significant moments since the cinema opened next to the historic Gettysburg Hotel in 1925.

It was one of many theaters that decided to showcase sound films using both sound-on-disc (Warner Bros.' "Vitaphone") and sound-on-film (Fox's "Movietone") formats in 1929.    Ironically, Warner Bros. would own the Majestic, spanning from the late 1930's until the 1948 "Paramount" anti-trust decree, forbidding studios to participate in the exhibition business (Warners' theater holdings- including the Majestic, along with its sister cinemas in the Frederick area- the Tivoli, the City Opera House and the Frederick Theater would be spun off to Fabian Interests, under the banner of Stanley Warner Theaters).  

The Majestic was remodeled for the exhibition of Twentieth Century Fox's Cinemascope widescreen features in 1954 (according to an advertisement in The Gettysburg Times, showcasing How To Marry A Millionaire as the theater's first Cinemascope film).  

Shortly thereafter, the theater was used for The White House Press Corps, when President Dwight Eisenhower was at his Gettysburg farm.  Both President and Mrs. Eisenhower were frequent visitors to the Majestic when they were hosting international leaders in Gettysburg.    The Majestic hosted the American premiere of Federico Fellini's 1969 film, Fellini Satyricon.  In 1993, Ronald F. Maxwell's Gettysburg (originally conceived as a made-for-TV film in conjunction with Ted Turner) premiered at the theater.

In 2005. renovations were made to the Majestic, which was now under the ownership of Gettysburg College, to accommodate live stage and music performances in addition to showing first-run, independent and classic feature films.  In 2012, the theater installed digital projection systems to showcase digital prints of feature films, along with screening live broadcasts of opera, musical and orchestral performances from the Metropolitan Opera (via satellite).
1942 advertisement (in The Gettysburg Times) for the Majestic, showcasing
the comedy George Washington Slept Here, starring Jack Benny and Ann Sheridan.
"CLASSIC MOVIE NIGHT" SERIES AT THE MAJESTIC: One great aspect about the Majestic is that the cinema's management is doing a wonderful service for movie buffs, classic film aficionados and area students who might be interested in classic film- by showcasing classic films the way they were meant to be seen, on the big screen! 

Beginning on June 3rd, the theater will kick off their summer classic film series, showcasing a classic film every Wednesday evening at 7:30 PM.  Admission is $6.00 per person.   Tickets can be purchased at the Majestic box office, or can be purchased by phone by calling 717-337-8200.

Here's the listing of classic (and modern) films that will be shown at the Majestic for the summer:

June 3rd- Wings (1927), directed by William A. Wellman, featuring Gary Cooper, Clara Bow and Charles "Buddy" Rogers.  The first motion picture to receive the Academy Award for "Best Picture."

June 10th- It Happened One Night (1934), directed by Frank Capra, featuring Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert and Walter Connolly.  The first film to be honored with all five major Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Actor (Clark Gable), Best Actress (Claudette Colbert), Best Director (Frank Capra), and Best Screenplay.   Capra's landmark film helped put minor studio Columbia Pictures on the map. 

June 17th- Rose Marie (1936), directed by W.S. Van Dyke, featuring Nelson Eddy, Jeanette MacDonald, and James Stewart.

June 24th- Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942), directed by Michael Curtiz, featuring James Cagney, Joan Leslie, Walter Huston, George Tobias, Frances Langford and S.Z. "Cuddles" Sakall.  Winner of three Academy Awards, including Best Actor (James Cagney), Best Sound Recording (Nathan Levinson and the Warner Bros. sound department), and Best Music, Scoring of a Motion Picture (Ray Heindorf and and Heinz Romfeld).  Includes free raffle prizes and an introduction by Jeffrey W. Gabel, founding executive director of the Majestic.

July 1st- The Best Years of our Lives (1946), directed by William Wyler, featuring Myrna Loy, Frederic March, Dana Andrews, Teresa Wright, Virginia Mayo, Cathy O'Donnell, Hoagy Carmichael, Harold Russell and Gladys George.  Winner of seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture (Samuel Goldwyn), Best Director (William Wyler), Best Actor (Frederic March), Best Supporting Actor (Harold Russell), Best Screenplay (Robert E. Sherwood), Best Film Editing (Daniel Mandell), and Best Score (Hugo Friedhofer).

July 8th- Rio Grande (1950), directed by John Ford, featuring John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Victor McLaglen, Harry Carey, Jr., J. Carroll Naish, Chill Wills, Ben Johnson, Grant Withers, and "The Sons of the Pioneers."

July 15th- Carousel (1956), directed by Henry King, featuring Gordon MacRae, Shirley Jones, Cameron Mitchell and Gene Lockhart.

July 22nd- Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), directed by Stanley Kubrick, featuring Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden, Slim Pickens, James Earl Jones, Keenan Wynn, Peter Bull and Tracy Reed.

July 29th- Bye Bye Birdie (1963), directed by George Sydney, featuring Ann-Margaret, Janet Leigh, Paul Lynde, Bobby Rydell, Maureen Stapleton, Ed Sullivan, Dick Van Dyke and Jesse Pearson.

August 5th- Close Encounters of The Third Kind (1977), directed by Steven Spielberg, featuring Richard Dreyfus, Teri Garr, Melinda Dillon, François Truffaut and Bob Balaban.  Winner of an Academy Award for Best Cinematography (Vilmos Zsigmond).  NOTE: At The Matinee is unsure if the original 1977 release version, the 1980 "Special Edition" version, or the 1998 "Collector's Edition" version will be screened at the Majestic.


August 12th- Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom (1984), Directed by Steven Spielberg, featuring Harrison Ford, Kate Capshaw and Ke Huy Quan.  Winner of an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects (Dennis Muren, Michael J. McAlister, Lorne Peterson and George Gibbs).

August 19th- The Big Lebowski (1998), Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, featuring Jeff Bridges, Julianne Moore, John Goodman, John Turturro and Steve Buscemi.  Winner of the Awards Circuit Community Awards for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (John Goodman).

August 26th (Final film in the series)- Gladiator (2000), Directed by Ridley Scott, featuring Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielson, Oliver Reed, Richard Harris, David Hemmings and Derek Jacobi.  Winner of 5 Academy Awards, including Best Picture (Douglas Wick, David Franzoni,
and Branko Lustig), Best Actor in a leading role (Russell Crowe), Best Costume Design (Janty Yates), Best Sound (Scott Millan, Bob Beemer and Ken Weston) and Best Effects, Visual Effects (John Nelson, Neil Corbould, Tim Burke and Rob Harvey).

This is a perfect opportunity to see classic and contemporary cinema at the "grandest small-town theater in America."  To fellow readers of At The Matinee: if you're interested in seeing one of the many Majestic classics on the schedule (on Wednesday evenings during the summer), it would be an enlightening experience.

At The Matinee salutes Gettysburg College, Jeffrey W. Gabel (founding executive director of the Majestic) and the staff and management of the Majestic for keeping the spirit of classic (and contemporary) cinema alive and well on the big screen! 

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