|The Rowland Theater in Philipsburg, Pa. is a beautiful old-world theater. (Photo by the Altoona Mirror)|
by Shawn K. Inlow
"The idea," explains Rowland Theater Director of Daily Operations, Kevin Conklin, "Arose because a lot of people ask us about classic movies, so the board of directors talked about it after the installation of our digital equipment."
The schedule of films is being roughed out now and Conklin hopes to continue Rowland Reels on the second Saturday of every month. Start times will vary between 9 and 9:30 p.m. depending on the run-time of the 7 o'clock feature. And depending on how the program is received, Conklin says that Rowland Reels could grow to include the 4th Saturday of the month and expand it's calendar of films.
Currently, such chillers as "Carnival of Souls," "Nosferatu" or great film comedians like Charlie Chaplain, Buster Keaton and the Three Stooges among many others including multiple Oscar winners are being considered for the series.
The Mountain had gone down to the Rowland last Halloween and checked out "Night of the Living Dead." It was long a favorite of mine and I had realized I had never seen this game-changer of horror cinema on the big screen. And what a delight it was. When your zombies are on a little box, even if it is a fifty inch screen, they are not nearly as jarring as when they are projected to the size of a house and are coming right for you as you squish down behind your popcorn.
"The patrons were excited to see 'Night of the Living Dead', " said Conklin. "Last Halloween's twin-bill of the Romero film and 'Rocky Horror Picture Show' was a bit of an experiment to see what people would say. And people loved the movie."
It is, I suppose, about projecting stars in the orders of magnitude that they deserve. And they've chosen one of the great film romances to magnify this Valentine's Day, starting out with the 1940 comedy / romance "His Girl Friday," a raucous war of the roses between Hildy Johnson (Rosalind Russell) and Walter Burns (Carey Grant).
Here's a clip with one of my favorite exchanges.
The film makes amazing use of its mega-watt stars with Charles Lederer's machine-gun script that has Grant and Russell tossing barbs at one another so fast you can barely keep up, let alone tell which of the two estranged lovers is coming out on top. In fact, the screenplay is considered one of the longer ones in film history, yet the pacing is so fast that the movie comes in at only 92 minutes.
Director Howard Hawks filmed the rat-a-tat-tat dialogue to mimic the way people really speak. Nobody having a discussion waits until the other person is done talking. You talk over one another all the time, so Hawks was trying to get a natural feel to the dialogue. Boy howdy, what a screaming success.
The verbal boxing match between the leads is like a heavy-weight title fight. Something that had never been seen before or since in cinema history. So treasured has "His Girl Friday" become, that it was selected by the National Film Preservation Board to its National Film Registry in 1993.
The plot of the film revolves around Hildy Johnson, who returns to the offices of her old newspaper to tell her ex-husband she's getting married in the morning. This doesn't sit well with Walter Burns, who seizes upon the story of an innocent death row inmate, doomed to the gallows in the morning, to lure Hildy back into the news reporting game. Burns bets that Hildy's love of a good scoop might derail the pending nuptials and give him another chance to wheedle his way back into Hildy's heart.
So if you're going to remember Valentine's Day this year, mark down the date (gentlemen, that would be Saturday, February 14) and plan to get out to the Rowland Theater in Philipsburg for the 9:15 p.m. premier of Rowland Reels. Cost of a ticket is only $5 and, trust me, you'll be doing yourself, your date and the local movie house a favor.
And if you are so inclined, Valentine's Day is also the opening day for the wickedly popular "50 Shades of Gray" which the Rowland will be screening at 7 p.m. So no matter what your romantic bent, be it the hot-n-steamy or the classy-n-sassy, The Rowland Theater has you covered.
You can find more information about Rowland Reels by checking The Philipsburg Journal. You can click over to the Journal's Facebook Page HERE. You can like and follow the Rowland Theater HERE and you can always see what's playing HERE.
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Until next time, Enjoy!