Films Run Gamut From Musical to Thriller
BY RON SUTTON
Special to The Pilot
The Sunrise Theater's Classic Summer Film program will continue through August with five outstanding and very different films.
The month will begin with the beloved "The Sound of Music," on Wednesday, Aug. 1. This feel-good, sing-along film from 1965 is based on the Rodgers and Hammerstein Broadway musical of the same name.
Directed by Robert Wise and starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, the story is loosely based on the life of the real von Trapp family, who fled Austria to escape the Nazis.
Filmed on location in Salzburg, Austria, and Bavaria, in Southern Germany, the film was -photographed in 70mm Todd-AO, a quite new and unusual format at that time.
It won a total of five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and displaced "Gone With the Wind" as the highest grossing film of all time. The cast album was also nominated for a Grammy Award for Album of the Year. The film's score includes many popular songs, including "Edelweiss," My Favorite Things," "Climb Ev'ry Mountain," "Do-Re-Mi," "Sixteen Going on Seventeen," and "The Lonely Goatherd," as well as the title song.
On Wednesday, Aug. 8, travel "Back to the Future," with Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd in the science-fiction-adventure-comedy film directed by Robert Zemeckis, written by Zemeckis and Bob Gale and -produced by Stephen Speilberg.
The film also stars Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover and Thomas F. Wilson.
The film tells the story of Marty McFly, a teenager who is -accidentally sent back in time from 1985 to 1955. He meets his future parents in high school and accidentally attracts his future mother's romantic interest. Marty must repair the damage to history by causing his parents-to-be to fall in love, and with the help of scientist Dr. Emmett "Doc" Brown, he must find a way to return to 1985.
Alfred Hitchcock's classic "Vertigo" (1958) will be shown Wednesday, Aug. 15.
John "Scottie" Ferguson is a retired San Francisco police detective who suffers from acrophobia, and Madeleine is the lady who leads him to high places. A wealthy shipbuilder, an acquaintance from college days, approaches Scottie and asks him to follow his beautiful wife, Madeleine. He fears she is going insane, maybe even contemplating suicide, because she believes she is possessed by a dead ancestor. We watch with fascination and fear Scottie's relationship to this mysterious woman.
Regarded as one of his masterpieces, "Vertigo" has been called the most personal, emotional and complex of Hitchcock's films. The performances by Jimmy Stewart as an anti-hero and Kim Novak as a bewitched beauty are outstanding, as is the supporting role of Barbara Bel Geddes. The story, the cinematography, the -surreal artwork all combine to leave you transfixed and mystified. Some consider it an almost flawless film.
The fourth Wednesday (Aug. 22) brings "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" (1969), which shifts the action to the American West of 1890.
The film is based loosely on the story of the outlaws Robert LeRoy Parker, known to history as Butch Cassidy (Paul Newman), and his partner Harry Longabaugh, the "Sundance Kid" (Robert Redford). Sundance has a girlfriend, Etta Place (Katharine Ross), and she joins the two outlaws as they eventually migrate to Bolivia in search of a more successful criminal career.
In the film it ends badly for these affable heroes, but legend has it that Butch got back to the U.S. and lived out his life under an assumed name.
This was the highest grossing film in 1969, and allowing for inflation it remains one of the top hundred money- making films in Hollywood history. It won four of the seven Academy Awards it was nominated for: Best Cinema- tography, Best Screenplay, Best Musical Score and Best Song, "Rain-drops Keep Falling on My Head," by Burt Bacharach and Hal David.
The final film for August (Wednesday, Aug. 29) is a true classic for kids of all ages, "The Princess Bride" (1987).
Written by William Goldman and directed by Rob Reiner, the story combines comedy, adventure, romance and fantasy. The wildly -fantastical story is presented as a book being read by a grandfather (Peter Falk) to his sick grandson (Fred Savage).
The film features a creative and -exciting cast that includes Cary Elwes (Westley), Mandy Patinkin (Inigo Montoya), Christopher Guest ("six-fingered" Count Tyrone Rugon), Billy Crystal (Miracle Max), Robin Wright (Buttercup), Wallace Shawn (Vizzini), Chris Sarandon (Prince Humperdinck) and Andre the Giant (Fezzik).
(For those of you who may not be aware of it, Andre the Giant had a farm in nearby Ellerbe. After his 1993 death from congestive heart failure while in Paris, where he had gone to attend the funeral of his father, his ashes were -scattered there.)
This is rollicking good tongue-in-cheek fun with a philosophical twist or two. Phrases such as Westley's "as you wish" and Vizzini's "inconceivable!" will place second or third in your memory only to the most famous phrase of all: 'Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."
All films begin at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays at the Sunrise Theater, in downtown Southern Pines. Tickets are $5.
Call (910) 692-8501 for information.
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