JAWS on the big screen tonight at CALS Ron Robinson Theater


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The terrifying motion picture from the terrifying No. 1 best seller – Steven Spielberg’s breakout movie Jaws will be shown at the CALS Ron Robinson Theater tonight as part of their “Movies Meant for the Big Screen” series.

Based on Peter Benchley’s bestselling book, the film starts Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss.  It is, in many ways, the ultimate Summer movie — beach, action, special effects, and a hearkening back to simpler times.

The cast also includes Lorraine Gray and Murray Hamilton as well as Bruce the Shark. Spielberg’s dog at the time also made an appearance.  It also features the iconic score by John Williams. Nominated for four Academy Awards, it won three: Score, Sound and Film Editing. The only Oscar it lost was Best Picture.

Originally slated for Christmas 1974 release, the movie was so far behind schedule the release did not happen until June 20, 1975. At the time, summer was the dumping ground for movies. But based on the success of Jaws, the concept of the Summer Blockbuster was born.

Tonight’s screening starts at 7pm.  Admission is $5.

Redford, Newman and Ross light up CALS Ron Robinson Theater screen tonight with BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID

Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid

As part of the CALS Ron Robinson Theater’s series of films that turn 50 in 2019, tonight (May 21) they are showing Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Nominated for seven Oscars (and winner of four), this is the true story of fast-draws and wild rides, battles with posses, train and bank robberies, a torrid love affair and a new lease on outlaw life in far away Bolivia. It is also a character study of a remarkable friendship between Butch – possibly the most likable outlaw in frontier history – and his closest associate, the fabled, ever-dangerous Sundance Kid.

Directed by George Roy Hill, it paired Paul Newman and Robert Redford as the title characters.  Katharine Ross also starred in a cast that included Strother Martin, Henry Jones, Cloris Leachman, George Furth, Jeff Corey, and Kenneth Mars.  The screenplay was written by William Goldman.

The four Academy Awards were for Goldman’s Screenplay, Cinematography by Conrad L. Hall, Musical Score by Burt Bacharach, and Best Song by Bacharach and Hal David. The song was “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head.”

The movie starts tonight at the CALS Ron Robinson Theater at 7pm.  Admission is $5.

(In 1969, the cost to see it was probably $1.50. With inflation, that would be close to $10 today. So a $5 movie ticket is like seeing it for half price in 1969.)

Rosebud revealed as CITIZEN KANE is shown at CALS Ron Robinson tonight


With that mysterious (and now iconic) word, Orson Welles’s acclaimed CITIZEN KANE opens and the rest of the movie is a quest for the characters and viewers to determine the significance.

Often hailed as the best movie ever made, this 1941 classic is part of the “Cinema Essentials” film series at the CALS Ron Robinson Theater.  The screening starts tonight at 7:00pm.

Viewed at the time as a Roman à clef of sorts of the life of William Randolph Hearst (who did everything he could to keep it from being released or viewed by people after it was released), the movie was directed, produced, and starred Welles, who also co-wrote the script with Herman J. Mankiewicz.

Joining Welles in the cast were Joseph Cotten, Dorothy Comingore, Everett Sloane, Ray Collins, George Coulouris, Agnes Moorehead, Paul Stewart, Ruth Warrick, Erskine Sanford, and William Alland.

The film was nominated for nine Academy Awards and was a favorite to win several. However, block voting from some branches apparently stymied that. It only won the Original Screenplay Oscar for Mankiewicz and Welles.  The other nominations were for Best Picture, Director, Actor, Art Direction, Cinematography, Film Editing, Score, and Sound.

YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (or is it Fronkensteen?) tonight at the CALS Ron Robinson Theater as part of 2019 Arkansas Literary Festival

Young Frankenstein PosterThe laughs come alive as the Arkansas Literary Festival presents Mel Brooks’ comic masterpiece YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN tonight at the CALS Ron Robinson Theater.

This 1974 comic riff on Mary Shelley’s story, features Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Cloris Leachman, Marty Feldman, Teri Garr, and Madeline Kahn (along with a cameo by Gene Hackman).

An American grandson of the infamous scientist, struggling to prove that his grandfather was not as insane as people believe, is invited to Transylvania, where he discovers the process that reanimates a dead body.
The movie was nominated for two Oscars: Best Sound and Best Adapted Screenplay.
The screening starts at 7pm.

GOLDFINGER at the CALS Ron Robinson Theater as part of the 2019 Arkansas Literary Festival

Sean Connery, Honor Blackman, and Shirley Eaton in Goldfinger (1964)Before Goldfinger was an iconic film (with a great song sung by Shirley Bassey), it was a novel by Ian Fleming.

Kick off the 2019 Arkansas Literary Festival with a screening of the 1964 film Goldfinger, the third in the franchise.

The screening starts tonight at 7pm at the CALS Ron Robinson Theater.

Directed by Guy Hamilton from a screenplay adapted by Richard Maibaum and Paul Dehn, this is considered by many to be the best classic Bond film.

Goldfinger is stockpiling gold reserves. Bond investigates and uncovers an audacious plan to commit the heist of the century.

Sean Connery returned as the suave spy. Joining him in this outing were Gert Frobe, Honor Blackman, Harold Sakata, Bernard Lee, Martin Benson, and Lois Maxwell.

The film won the Oscar for Best Sound Effects, which went to Norman Wanstall.


Little Rock Look Back: “Nine from Little Rock” wins an Oscar

On April 5, 1965, the Academy Award for Best Documentary, Short Subject went to the film “Nine from Little Rock.”

Narrated by Jefferson Thomas, Charles Guggenheim’s documentary looks at the nine African-American students who enrolled in Little Rock Central High School in 1957. Thomas, one of the students reflects on the state of race relations in the seven years that had elapsed (up to 1964).  The film also focuses on Ernest Green, Elizabeth Eckford and Thelma Mothershed.

Guggenheim both directed and co-wrote the film. The latter credit was shared with Shelby Storck, who also produced the film.   The film had been commissioned by George Stevens, Jr., for the United State Information Agency.

The Oscar that night was Guggenheim’s first of four.  His others would be for: 1968’s “Robert Kennedy Remembered” (Live Action Short), 1989’s “The Johnstown Flood” (Documentary Short) and 1994’s “A Time for Justice” (Documentary Short).  His son Davis Guggenheim won the Oscar for Documentary, Feature for An Inconvenient Truth.

The film was digitally restored by the Motion Picture Preservation Lab for the 50th anniversary of its win for Best Short Documentary at the 1965 Academy Awards.  It is available for purchase on DVD and can also be viewed in its entirety on YouTube