Tybee Post Theater offers up a real fan favorite in honor of St. Patrick’s Day with iconic director John Ford’s 1952 romantic dramedy “The Quiet Man."
Ever wonder why so many of Audrey Hepburn’s older films continue to be shown at revival movie houses? Well, it’s something of a little-known fact, but decades after her demise, that charming actress’s performances still hold so much sway over audiences’ emotions that virtually any time a cinema programs a Hepburn vehicle, they draw a sizable crowd of paying customers.
The same goes for modern-day, nerd-friendly heartthrob Benedict Cumberbatch.
It could be his magnetic screen presence, his seemingly effortless acting chops, or the peculiar way his handsome-yet-rodent-like facial features catch the light. We know the mere mention of his involvement in a given stage, screen or television project is enough to guarantee that tons of the eyeballs of both sexes will be focused squarely on his visage. The overwhelming majority of those Cumberbatch enthusiasts will line up and pay for the privilege of watching the man work.
Which brings us to the British National Theatre Company’s 2015 stage production of Shakespeare’s classic supernatural tragedy “Hamlet,” which starred Cumberbatch. A state-of-the-art high-definition digital video film of one of those stage performances was simulcast into cinemas worldwide a few years back and broke numerous attendance records for such things. Now, on March 8, the Regal Stadium 10 multiplex behind the Savannah Mall and the Cinemark in Bluffton, S.C., will present an encore presentation of that very same film. Showtime at both venues is 7 p.m., with tickets running close to $20 each. However, as I mentioned in last week’s column, this same film will be shown April 24 at downtown’s Lucas Theatre for as little as $5 per seat.
Those same venues are also offering two additional special programming options over the next seven days, in addition to their regular roster of wide release feature films. First up, on March 10 and 14 is a digital high-def stream of the Metropolitan Opera’s first production of Rossini’s acclaimed two-act 1823 composition “Semiramide” in almost a quarter century. Considered by many knowledgeable critics to be perhaps the final great opera in the Baroque tradition, it is distinguished by its unusually imaginative plot and the tricky vocal gymnastics it demands of its cast members.
Based on a tragedy by Voltaire, the storyline of this nearly four-hour effort is rather complex and checks pretty much all of the operatic boxes: love, violence, death, family discord and revenge. It will screen three times, at 12:55 p.m. March 10 in live simulcast at Regal Stadium 10, followed by encores at Regal and Cinemark in Bluffton at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. March 14. In sung and spoken Italian, with English subtitles. As always, ticket prices for all events in Film Scene are in the accompanying sidebar listings.
Finally, on March 11 and 12, there will be a two-day engagement at both the Regal and the Cinemark of the newly restored version of the 2004 Japanese anime feature “Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie,” which is known in some parts of the world by its amended title, “Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Pyramid of Light.” That subtitled, international version is in spoken Japanese and runs 12 minutes longer than this U.S. cut, also dubbed into spoken English.
Based on a popular Japanese manga books, and connected to the anime TV series known here in the States as “Duel Monsters,” the plot of this animated fantasy-adventure deals with the spirit of the ancient Egyptian God of the Dead, Anubis, who is unexpectedly freed from a relic discovered in a Pharaoh’s tomb. This sets about a battle for the destruction or salvation of the entire world. As a bonus for theatergoers who turn out for this remastered feature film, the program will also include a never-before-seen premiere episode of the related, English-language anime TV series “Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS.” Showtimes at 12:55 p.m. March 11 at Regal Stadium 10 and 7 p.m. March 12 at Regal and Cinemark in Bluffton.
‘The Post’ on Tybee
Heading out to Tybee Island, this week the historic Post Theater presents one of the past year’s most acclaimed historical dramas, as well as a classic romantic comedy with a St. Patrick’s Day connection.
First, on March 9 and 10, they’ll screen Steven Spielberg’s latest feature, “The Post,” starring an amazing ensemble cast that includes Tom Hanks, Carrie Coon, Meryl Streep, Bob Odenkirk, Tracy Letts, David Cross, Sarah Paulson and Bradley Whitford. It’s a new retelling of the story of the Pentagon Papers and how their publication by The Washington Post changed the course of U.S. history by leading directly to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.
In this day and age of our nation’s steadily encroaching fascism, the mean-spirited and divisive “dirty tricks” emanating from the highest levels of our federal government and the increasingly viable threat of presidential impeachment, many are seeing obvious and intentional parallels between the circumstances surrounding the exposing of Nixon’s malfeasance and Donald Trump’s own open-throated war on an adversarial press. This adds a heightened sense of gravitas to the already tense and multifaceted tale told in “The Post,” but this time around, it is told from the perspective of the female publisher of the newspaper that broke the story. The Post will screen “The Post” twice each day, at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
For St. Patrick’s Day
On March 15, the same venue offers up a real fan favorite in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. It’s iconic director John Ford’s 1952 romantic dramedy “The Quiet Man,” which is set in the 1920s and finds macho man John Wayne cast somewhat against type as a retired American boxer who, having been born in Ireland, returns to the land of his birth in hopes of reclaiming his family’s old homestead. He falls for a feisty Irish woman (played by Maureen O'Hara) in his small, newly adopted village, but soon runs afoul of her blowhard brother, who conspires to prevent the two lovebirds from marrying.
A charming slice of good-natured storytelling, it is remembered fondly for its lovely cinematography that posits the beautiful, rural Irish countryside in the best possible light, and for a fairly classic fistfight sequence which never fails to entertain young and old alike. Ford took home the Best Director Oscar for this movie. Just a few years back it was digitally restored, and that version will likely be the one screened at this cozy, single-screen venue. As with all its "Date Night" selections, admission to this 7 p.m. show includes your choice of beverage and a small piece of chocolate.
Sultry drama remade
Heading back into town, on March 11, the Lucas Theatre offers a one-show-only presentation of Britain’s National Theatre’s recent stage revival of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” the sultry Mississippi-set drama that nabbed playwright Tennessee Williams a Pulitzer Prize in 1955. A dark rumination on greed, internecine squabbles, issues of morality and repressed sexual desire, it was Williams’ own favorite of all his works. In 1974, he overhauled the original script to make changes he thought would improve the work. It is unknown whether this British production starring Sienna Miller will make use of that updated version to the original 1950s edition, but either way, it’s sure to be a tense and unnerving undertaking. The Lucas will screen this in high-definition digital picture and sound at reasonable admission prices. Showtime is 5 p.m.
PFS ‘drive-in’ movie
And last but not least, the Psychotronic Film Society’s continuing series of marginalized or underappreciated feature films from around the world continues March 14 at The Sentient Bean. They’ll show one of the least-known low-budget 1970s sci-fi/horror hybrids. The exact title of this ambitious-yet-flawed “drive-in” flick will remain a secret right up until showtime, but it can be said it has a small but devoted cult following worldwide for its way-too-weird-to-explain-in-one-paragraph plot, that must be seen to be believed (or maybe disbelieved).
Suffice it to say that it blends realistic fears of the end of the world with everyday racial and gender equality conflicts, and then drenches all of that tension with a completely unexpected flood of old-school scare tactics. Its unusually diverse cast includes Oscar nominees and Emmy Award winners. Unavailable commercially for decades, it has only recently been digitally restored, and this intimate, screening room-style show will be an extremely rare public viewing of a film that deserves wider recognition. Think you know which film they’ll show? Take a chance, buy a ticket and see if you’re right. Showtime is 8 p.m., with discounts on organic wine and craft beer during the movie.
Until next week, see you at the movies, be kind to those around you and don't forget to turn off that cell phone.
Jim Reed directs the Psychotronic Film Society of Savannah.