Our Classics on Sundays Series runs year-round at 2pm on Sunday afternoons; however you’ll sometimes see films from our Young Audiences or First Friday Fright Night series show up here too, because, well, they’re classics! Each month is programmed around a theme. Our upcoming themes are:
Dec: Holiday Favorites
Jan: Robert Evans Saves Paramount
Feb: Digital Restorations
Mar: March Madness
May: Meryl Streep
Jun: Reinventing the Wheel
Sponsoring a program is a great way to support the Colonial and get 50 free passes to a show! Click here to download a pdf that explains how it works (updated Sep 2013).
Directed by Leo McCarey. US. 1945. NR. 126 min. Paramount. 35mm.
- Sun, Dec 15, 2:00 pm
Bing Crosby (who copped an Oscar for playing Father Chuck O’Malley in the previous year’s hit film, “Going My Way”) is back again as that carefree, trouble-shooting priest in this delightful, heart-warming sequel. This time he is called in to help out a financially troubled parish whose mother superior is the lovely, dedicated and clever Ingrid Bergman. (One waggish British reviewer has referred to her in this film as “looking wonderful in a wimple.”) Much of the charm of this classic film lies in the interplay between her and Crosby (e.g., Bergman’s line, “Did anyone ever tell you that you have a very dishonest face – for a priest, I mean.”) More»
Directed by Frank Capra. 1946. NR. 130 min. Paramount. 35mm.
Sat, Dec 21 thru Tue, Dec 24 -- Roll over to view showtimes.
What can we say about “It’s a Wonderful Life” that hasn’t been said a thousand times before? One of the most popular movies of all time (though it wasn’t a hit when it was first released), this is a film that has come to represent all the hope, good will, and sentiment that define the holiday season. Please join us in rooting for Jimmy Stewart, Clarence the Angel, and all his friends as they discover that each of us, in our own way, is a vital part of the world, illustrating that John Donne was right in saying “each man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. Therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls – it tolls for thee.”ť Attaboy, Clarence! (Bill Roth)
Directed by George Cukor. US. 1938. NR. 95 min. Sony. 35mm.
- Sun, Dec 29, 2:00 pm
Two years before the delightful “Philadelphia Story” the same creative team of Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, director George Cukor, playwright Philip Barry, and screenwriter Donald Ogden Stewart gathered to produce this sparkling romantic comedy. Considered by many to be the ultimate 1930s drawing-room comedy, it features Grant as a free-spirited young man who is about to marry into a quite stuffy, super rich family. However, things go haywire when he informs them that, having just made a killing in the stock market, he wants to take an extended “holiday” from responsibility before settling into the conservative role that his fiancee and future father-in-law have planned for him. More»
Directed by Arthur Hiller. US. 1970. PG. 99 min. Paramount. Digital.
- Sun, Jan 5, 2:00 pm
To start off the new year, we are celebrating the early producing career of Robert Evans, one of Hollywood’s “wunderkinds” who is often given credit for resurrecting the status of Paramount, the mega-studio whose fortunes had been in decline until Evans took over as Head of Production in the late 1960s. “Love Story,” one of his earliest hits, is just what the title promises, the story of an attractive young couple (Ryan O’Neal and Allie MacGraw) from opposite sides of the tracks (to coin a cliche) who fall in love, with one of them developing a terminal illness. More»
Directed by Sidney Lumet. US. 1973. R. 130 min. Paramount. 35mm.
- Sun, Jan 12, 2:00 pm
After making a name for himself in “The Godfather” (which, by the way, was another of Evans’s early 70s super-hits for Paramount), Al Pacino took on the title role in this gripping true story of a New York police officer who refuses to be corrupted in an almost totally corrupt organization. More»
Directed by Roman Polanski. US. 1968. R. 136 min. Paramount. Digital.
- Sun, Jan 19, 2:00 pm
“Rosemary’s Baby” directed by Roman Polanski (and “Chinatown” showing on Sun, Feb 23) and features Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Ruth Evans, and Sidney Blackmer. The making of “Rosemary’s Baby” is almost as fascinating as the film itself - from Mia Farrow receiving divorce papers from Frank Sinatra to the bizarre cameo of Tony Curtis. What stands the test of time, though, is not the backstory behind the film, though intriguing. It is the horror that takes place on screen. Farrow’s Rosemary is young, pregnant, and full of love. When her husband’s acting career starts to take off, Rosemary develops a severe case of paranoia. Did her husband make a deal with the devil? Is the little old couple next door really the leading force behind a coven of witches? “Rosemary’s Baby” is a film about fear, trust, and the devil. (Bob Trate)
Directed by Hal Ashby. US. 1971. PG. 91 min. Paramount. 35mm.
- Sun, Jan 26, 2:00 pm
Here we have the makings of one of Hollywood’s most unlikely hits; a black comedy about the love affair between a young man (Bud Cort) who is obsessed with death, and an eighty-year-old woman (the wonderful Ruth Gordon) who is “high on life.” Although when it was first released it couldn’t find an audience, “Harold and Maude” has since become a true cult phenomenon, and has even been named by the American Film Institute as being among filmdom’s “Top Ten Romantic Comedies!” More»
Directed by Roberto Rossellini. Italy. 1954. NR. 97 min. Janus. Digital.
- Sun, Feb 2, 2:00 pm
Among the most influential films of the postwar era, Roberto Rossellini’s “Journey to Italy” charts the declining marriage of a British couple (Ingrid Bergman and George Sanders) on a trip in the countryside near Naples. More than just an anatomy of a relationship, Rossellini’s masterpiece is a heartrending work of emotional transcendence and profound spirituality. Considered an ancestor of the existential works of Michelangelo Antonioni; hailed as a groundbreaking work of modernism by the critics of Cahiers du cinéma; and named by Martin Scorsese as one of his favorite films, “Journey to Italy” is a breathtaking cinematic landmark. Janus Films is proud to present a new, definitive restoration of the essential English-language version of the film, featuring Bergman and Sanders voicing their own dialogue. (Janus Films) More»
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. US. 1954. NR, 10+. 112 min. Universal. Digital.
- Sat, Feb 8, 2:00 pm
“For kids the nice thing about Hitchcock is that he has such fun with dark subjects. More violent films like “Psycho” and “The Birds” can come later, along with the more sophisticated Hitchcocks. Not lacking in their own complexities, films like “Rear Window” and “North by Northwest” openly expose elements of great filmmaking that even young children can grasp. More»
Directed by David Lean. UK. 1962. PG. 216 min. Sony. Digital.
- Sun, Feb 9, 2:00 pm
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the release of David Lean’s film masterpiece “Lawrence of Arabia” last year, Sony Pictures provided a masterful restoration of the Director’s Cut of this stunning visual experience. With an international cast that includes Peter O’Toole (who received an Academy Award in the title role, his first major screen portrayal), Omar Sharif (Oscar for Best Supporting Actor), Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, Jack Hawkins, and Claude Rains, and award winning cinematography of the vast Moroccan deserts by Freddie Young, this is a true visual and dramatic delight, especially in this brilliantly restored version. The story, based on Lawrence’s book, “The Seven Pillars of Wisdom,” tells of his efforts to rally divided Arab forces against the oppressive Turks during the early years of the twentieth century, with O’Toole’s charismatic and daring performance forming the centerpiece of the action. This is a film that demands to be seen on the big screen, and the Colonial is most proud to bring it to you. (Bill Roth)
Directed by John Sturges. US. 1963. NR. 168 min. MGM. Digital.
- Sun, Feb 16, 2:00 pm
John Sturges, director of many of the greatest action films of the mid-twentieth century (“The Magnificent Seven,” “Bad Day at Black Rock,” “Gunfight at The OK Corral,”), produced what many believe is his masterpiece in this classic tale of one of the largest Allied escapes from a German POW camp during WWII. With a cast that features Steve McQueen (in one of his most charismatic and “cool” roles), James Garner, Richard Attenborough, and such future action stars as Charles Bronson, James Coburn, and David McCallum, this is the ultimate prison escape movie. A lesson in bravery, planning and teamwork, made all the more enthralling by its basis in fact, “The Great Escape” is a film that will grip you from beginning to end. (People still talk about the exciting climactic motorcycle chase, with McQueen tailed by what seems to be a thousand Nazi cyclists through a barbed wire course.) Done with suspense, humor, and very effective casting, and sparked by Elmer Bernstein’s exhilarating score, this ranks as one of the greatest action thrillers of all time. And it’s new digital restoration brings it to new and vibrant life. Don’t miss it! (Bill Roth)
Directed by Roman Polanski. US. 1974. PG-13. 130 min. Paramount. Digital.
- Sun, Feb 23, 2:00 pm
One of the few unquestioned classics of modern film, Roman Polanski’s film noir rendering of the classic detective story genre is the basis for one of Jack Nicholson’s most memorable roles. Nicholson plays Jake Gittes, a private eye with an attitude who works the steamy underside of Los Angeles during the 1940s, and whose dedication to his case pulls him deeper and deeper into an incestuous web of corruption, murder and politics. Filled with striking images and an authentic feel for the times, “Chinatown” keeps you guessing until the end, and then blows you away with its gut-wrenching conclusion. The screenplay, by Robert Towne, received an Academy Award, and Nicholson was deservedly nominated as Best Actor. See this newly restored modern-day classic on the Colonial’s big screen and watch for incredibly rendered details that you never noticed before. (NOTE: That mean little guy who wields the knife when Jake is up against the fence is director Roman Polanski. Just thought you might like to know.) (Bill Roth)
Directed by Mark Robson. US. 1946. NR. 79 min. Warner Bros. 35mm.
- Sun, Mar 2, 2:00 pm
What better way to start off this month’s collection of classic films about madness than to take you back to the place that has become synonymous with madness itself, eighteenth century London’s St. Mary’s of Bethlehem Hospital, otherwise known as “Bedlam.” Boris Karloff, at his most sadistic, stars as the head of that institution who holds captive an innocent woman (Anna Lee) that tries to expose the horrific conditions at the infamous asylum. This unique combination of horror and history was produced by Val Lewton, premier creator of subtle horror in the 1940s, and provides images that are truly unsettling and memorable. (For you art buffs out there: director Mark Robson and production designer Albert D’Augustino wisely decided to model their sets on Hogarth’s engravings of the infamous madhouse, which only enhances the film’s creepiness.) (Bill Roth)
Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. US. 1959. NR. 114 min. Sony. 35mm.
- Sun, Mar 9, 2:00 pm
Elizabeth Taylor, at her loveliest, stars in this intense rendering of Tennessee Williams’ famous play, adopted for the screen by Williams and Gore Vidal. It seems that Ms. Taylor has apparently been driven mad by the events that took place the previous summer. Katherine Hepburn co-stars as a manipulative and malicious family matriarch, and Montgomery Clift plays a gifted neurosurgeon whom Hepburn hopes to have “cure” the traumatized Liz by providing her with a lobotomy. As Clift explores and uncovers the events of that summer, a story of degeneracy, violence and horror unfolds. It is not hard to see why the powerful performances by Taylor and Hepburn earned them both nominations as Best Actress that year. This is a film that, though greatly sanitized from the original play, was considered to be incredibly outrageous and appalling for its time. Even today it retains the ability to shock. Come see it and find out why. (Bill Roth)
Directed by Milos Forman. US. 1975. R. 133 min. Zaentz. Digital.
- Sun, Mar 16, 2:00 pm
Jack Nicholson deservedly won his first Best Actor Oscar for this indelible role as Randall Patrick McMurphy, a rebellious, profane, free spirit who has evaded prison by pretending to be crazy (some might call him “crazy like a fox”) and being placed in a mental institution. There he ends up matching wits with the quietly sadistic head nurse, Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher), and creating havoc (and joy) in a place that had previously been sadly lacking in humanity. If you haven’t seen this truly affecting comedy/ drama, or if you haven’t seen it in a long time, do yourself a favor and come join us for an afternoon of fun, madness and, at times, jarring emotion. Besides winning awards for Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Actor, and Best Actress (Fletcher), this wonderful film also featured such soon-to-be-famous character actors as Christopher Lloyd, Danny DeVito, Brad Dourif and Will Sampson. (Bill Roth)
Directed by Jonathan Demme. US. 1991. R. 118 min. MGM. 35mm.
- Sun, Mar 23, 2:00 pm
“After scaring the wits out of millions, Jonathan Demme’s The Silence Of The Lambs joined It Happened One Night and One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest as one of the few movies to score Oscars in all five major categories (Picture, Actor, Actress, Director, Screenplay). Thereafter, the serial-killer movie became its own subgenre. And yet, with the possible exception of Seven, these movies—and Thomas Harris’ subsequent novels and adaptations, for that matter—invariably ripped off all the wrong things, focusing less on psychology than on the grisly details of killers’ artifacts and obsessions. Hiring Demme, surely among the warmest and most humane American directors, to handle such a violent story turned out to be a masterstroke of casting against type: He knew from his early years working for Roger Corman how to deliver the genre goods, but his empathy, particularly with regard to women, is what makes the film so enduring. More»
Directed by Dennis Hopper. US. 1969. R. 95 min. Sony. Digital.
Sponsored by Grace Tattoo
- Sun, Jun 22, 2:00 pm
“This low budget phenom sent shock waves through Hollywood and the nation. Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper are the hippie bikers who trek across America blithely caught the mood of the times. Jack Nicholson is unforgettable as the alcoholic lawyer with an itch to drop out.” (TLA Film and Video Guide 2002-03).