CARBONDALE – The next round of Friday Flicks at The Varsity begins March 1 with a screening of the Alfred Hitchcock classic “Rear Window.”
All showings begin at 7. Tickets are $7 or $5 for students. They are available in advance at thevarsitycenter.eventbrite.com and at the venue when doors open; they are not available in advance at the venue. Doors and Varsity Bar open at 6:30.
Here’s the lineup through April 19; synopses are from rottentomatoes.com.
“Rear Window,” March 1: Laid up with a broken leg, photojournalist L.B. Jeffries (James Stewart) is confined to his tiny, sweltering courtyard apartment. To pass the time between visits from his nurse (Thelma Ritter) and his fashion model girlfriend Lisa (Grace Kelly), the binocular-wielding Jeffries stares through the rear window of his apartment at the goings-on in the other apartments. Of particular interest is seemingly mild-mannered traveling salesman Lars Thorwald (Raymond Burr), who is saddled with a nagging, invalid wife. Out of boredom, Jeffries casually concocts a scenario in which Thorwald has murdered his wife and disposed of the body in gruesome fashion. Trouble is, Jeffries' musings just might be the truth. One of Alfred Hitchcock's very best efforts, “Rear Window” is a crackling suspense film and ranks as one of the movies' most trenchant dissections of voyeurism. (Rated PG for adult situations, language; 1954)
“O Brother, Where Are Thou,” March 8: In the Depression-era deep South, three escapees from a Mississippi prison chain gang embark on the adventure of a lifetime as they set out to pursue their freedom and return to their homes. With nothing to lose and still in shackles, they make a hasty run for their lives and end up on an incredible journey filled with challenging experiences and colorful characters. However, they must also match wits with the cunning and mysterious lawman Cooley, who is bent on bringing the trio back to the prison farm. The film was written by Ethan and Joel Coen and directed by Joel Cohen; it stars George Clooney, John Turturro and Tim Blake Nelson. (Rated PG-13 for some violence and language; 2000)
“The Quiet Man,“ March 15: Returning to the Ireland of his birth, director John Ford fashions an irresistible valentine to the "Auld Sod." An Irish-American boxer (John Wayne), who is recovering from the trauma of having accidentally killed a man in the ring, arrives in the Irish village where he was born. Hoping to bury his past and settle down to a life of tranquility, he purchases the home of his birth from wealthy local widow Mildred Natwick, a transaction that has incurred the wrath of pugnacious squire Victor McLaglen, who coveted the property for himself. Wayne’s character falls in love with McLaglen's beautiful, high-spirited sister (Maureen O'Hara). Her insistence that he conduct his courtship in a proper Irish way is but one obstacle to their future happiness. Though it tends to perpetuate the myth that all true Irishmen live only to fight, drink and make love, “The Quiet Man” is grand and glorious fun, enacted with gusto. The film won Oscars for Archie Stout's Technicolor photography and for John Ford's direction. (Rated G; 1952)
“Blazing Saddles,” March 22: Vulgar, crude and occasionally scandalous in its racial humor, this hilarious, bad-taste spoof of Westerns, co-written by Richard Pryor, features Cleavon Little as the first black sheriff of a stunned town scheduled for demolition by an encroaching railroad. Little and co-star Gene Wilder have great chemistry, and the delightful supporting cast includes Harvey Korman, Slim Pickens and Madeline Kahn. Director/writer Mel Brooks gives a burlesque spin to a classic Hollywood movie genre; in his own manic, Borscht Belt way, Brooks was a central player in revising classic genres in light of ‘70s values and attitudes. Some of this film's sequences, notably a gaseous bean dinner around a campfire, have become comedy classics. (Rated R for adult situations, language; 1974)
“The Great Outdoors,” March 29: The 1988 American comedy was written and produced by John Hughes. It stars Dan Aykroyd, John Candy, and Annette Benning in her feature film debut. Nostalgic about the good old days in the honeymoon cabin, the patriarch Chet and the Ripley family set off to the idyllic woods of Wisconsin for the summer vacation. However, their plans for a peaceful family bonding in the heart of the untamed nature will be thwarted, when the high-rolling brother-in-law Roman and the snotty Craig family decide to crash the party. Eventually, as the two families try to have a good time together, a seemingly endless series of misfortunes and mini-disasters with thirsty leeches, cunning racoons and a mythical wild bear, threaten to ruin the vacation. (Rated PG for adult situations, language;1988)
“Shakespeare in Love,” April 5: William Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) is he writing for Philip Henslowe (Geoffrey Rush), owner of "The Rose," a theater whose doors are about to be closed by sadistic creditors, and he's got a nasty case of writer's block. The Rose's solvency depends on Shakespeare's new comedy, "Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate's Daughter." The problem is that not a word of it is written. Meanwhile, the lovely Lady Viola (Gwyneth Paltrow) is an ardent theatergoer, scandalous for a woman of her breeding in the 16th century, who admires Shakespeare's plays and the playwright. She's about to be sold as property into a loveless marriage by her mercenary father and shipped off to a Virginia tobacco plantation – but not before dressing up as a young man and winning the part of Romeo in the embryonic play. Shakespeare soon discovers the deception and goes along with it, using the blossoming love affair to ignite his muse. As William and Viola's romance grows in intensity and spirals towards its inevitable culmination, so, too, does the farcical comedy about Romeo and pirates transform into the timeless tragedy that is “Romeo and Juliet.” (Rated R for sexuality; 1998)
“Amityville Horror,” April 12: This is based on a supposedly true story about George and Kathleen Lutz, whose dream house turns into a nightmare. James Brolin and Margot Kidder are the unsuspecting new tenants of a house whose previous occupants had been murdered in their sleep. The Lutzes and their children are menaced by the lingering evil in this frightening ghost story. (Rated R for violence disturbing images, language, brief sexuality, drug use; 1979)
“Singing in the Rain,” April 19: Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O'Connor star in one of the greatest and most successful musicals ever filmed, filled with memorable songs, lavish routines and Kelly's fabulous song-and-dance number performed in the rain. Set during the advent of "talkies," Don Lockwood has risen to stardom during Hollywood's silent-movie era, paired with the beautiful, jealous and dumb Lina Lamont. And when Lockwood becomes attracted to young studio singer Kathy Selden, Lamont has her fired. But with the introduction of talking pictures, Lockwood finds his career in jeopardy after audiences laugh when they hear Lamont speak in her shrill voice for the first time – until the studio decides to use Selden to dub her voice. It was filmed in Technicolor to show the glamourous world of Hollywood. The film topped the AFI’s Greatest Movie Musicals list and is ranked as the fifth-greatest American Motion picture of all time in its updated list of the greatest American films in 2007. (Rated G; 1952)