Classic-film aficionados and other Northwest Indiana movie buffs have a chance to watch some of the best-loved motion pictures of all time, free of charge and on a big screen, at Indiana University Northwest beginning Jan. 8. All afternoon showings will be held at 1 p.m. in the Savannah Center Auditorium, located at 3400 Broadway in Gary. All evening showings will be held at 7 p.m. in Hawthorn Hall Room 469. Hawthorn Hall is located just south of the Savannah Center.
As part of this semester’s American Film Culture class, the IU Northwest English Department has scheduled weekly screenings of classic and contemporary American films. The “Monday Movies” series begins Monday, Jan. 8 with Buster Keaton’s 1927 comedy-adventure “The General,” then continues Wednesday, Jan. 17 with Charlie Chaplin’s “Modern Times.” (This will be the only Wednesday screening in the series.)
“The General” (1927) is generally considered to be one of Keaton’s finest screen efforts and one of the greatest motion pictures ever made, silent or otherwise. Keaton portrays a Confederate locomotive engineer who pursues the Union spies who’ve stolen his beloved train engine, nicknamed The General, and kidnapped his girl, Annabelle Lee.
Based on a real historical incident, “The General,” which Keaton co-directed with frequent collaborator Clyde Bruckman, mixes action, drama, and Keaton’s famously straight-faced brand of slapstick comedy into a rousing runaway train of a movie.
In “Modern Times” (1936), Charlie Chaplin’s timeless Tramp character takes on the world of machines and motion-picture sound. The film, which utilizes sound effects, a musical score and some singing, but no actual spoken character dialogue, is typically considered part of Chaplin’s silent-film canon. In it, the Tramp endures a series of comic misadventures as he tries to adapt to life in an overwhelming industrialized society.
“Modern Times” is one of Chaplin’s most popular films. It deftly showcases his ability to embody comedy and tragedy simultaneously in a single character, and it also reflects the rising social consciousness that would define some of his later works.
On Jan. 22, the “Monday Movies” series returns to Monday with director John Huston’s “The Maltese Falcon” (1940), starring Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Peter Lorre, and Sydney Greenstreet. On Jan. 29, Cary Grant and James Stewart vie for Katharine Hepburn’s affections in director George Cukor’s sharply scripted screwball comedy “The Philadelphia Story” (1940). On Feb. 5, Orson Welles directs himself as publishing tycoon Charles Foster Kane in his legendary classic “Citizen Kane” (1941).
Later films in the series include Preston Sturges’ “The Lady Eve” on Feb. 12, Gene Kelly’s “Singin’ in the Rain” on Feb. 19, Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” on Feb. 26, and John Ford’s “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” on March 5. The “Monday Movies” series takes a hiatus for spring break on March 12 before returning the following week with Sam Peckinpah’s “Straw Dogs” on March 19 and Martin Scorsese’s “Taxi Driver” on March 26. The series wraps up in April with Spike Lee’s “Clockers” on April 2, Nicole Holofcener’s “Lovely and Amazing” on April 9, the acclaimed documentary “Control Room,” about the Arab news network Al Jazeera and its coverage of the Iraq war, on April 16, and director Clint Eastwood’s 2004 Best Picture-winner “Million Dollar Baby” on April 23.
IU Northwest is pleased to invite community members to campus to enjoy these timeless cinema classics in their intended format: uncut, uninterrupted and on a large screen. The “Monday Movies” film series is held as part of the English department’s American Film Culture class, in which students investigate the medium of film as it relates to American society.