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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


“Fox, UA revive reels from old Hollywood”

Lisa Beth Earle/ Arizona Daily Wildcat

Aodhan Lyons, organized a HAiti benefit concert at Fox Theater.
Lisa Beth Earle
Lisa Beth Earle/ Arizona Daily Wildcat Aodhan Lyons, organized a HAiti benefit concert at Fox Theater.

Classic film buffs are in luck this summer. In collaboration with the UA Hanson Film Institute, Fox Theatre will show seven classic films, beginning July 3 with “”The Big Sleep.”” 

“”When a print is struck, a new film is made, it looks absolutely gorgeous, because it’s made from an original negative,”” said Vicky Westover, director of the Hanson Film Institute.

“”These are archives. They’ve been kept in a special vault, rarely allowed out for screening.””

Craig Sumberg, executive director for Fox Theatre, said the Fox had an opportunity to bring in a new film programmer, so its partnership with the film institute made a lot of sense. 

“”We have occasionally had UA events at Fox, but not recently and not enough. We really want to build on that partnership with the film institute and other departments,”” Sumberg said.

He said it costs a little more money to get these prints, but believes it will be worth it because there seems to be a real community interest in the series.

“”We believe that in terms of attendance and audience interest, it will pay for itself. These prints will fill up the screen in a beautiful way. People want to come back to the theater and see a film the way it was shown 50 years ago … in more comfortable seats,”” he said.

One of the main requirements for screening is a 35 mm reel-to-reel change-over projection system. Westover said very few commercial theaters use this system. The old process involves switching back and forth every 20 minutes from one projector to the other, versus the modern system, or the platter system, which has one giant reel that can be turned on and left running.

“”The problem with platterizing is you are attaching the films with tape, damaging the ends of all the reels. In order to borrow or screen a print, you must have the older system,”” said Westover.

Alex Bain, a psychology sophomore, said he looks forward to checking out the featured films.

“”Classic movies don’t really rely on special effects to make the movie flashy. It’s all about the story. The fact that they can still maintain captivating to audiences today is a landmark achievement,”” Bain said.

Undeclared freshman Miranda Sheeley agrees that movies should be more than animation and 3-D. She is most interested in seeing “”The Big Sleep”” and “”Witness for Prosecution.””

“”It’s a really good idea to screen these in town. It’s important for people to know that there is more than crazy special effects. I find the whole courtroom and detective stuff truly mesmerizing. I’m a big Perry Mason fan,”” Sheeley said.

Westover tried to program thematically in order to represent the film genre, directors and a period in history. 

“”The first four movies in the series, ‘The Big Sleep,’ ‘Gilda,’ ‘Double Indemnity’ and ‘Witness for the Prosecution’ are in the Film Noir category. Film Noir was a time period in Hollywood film where a lot of the stories were about the underbelly of society, criminals, and were filmed with beautiful extreme darkened shadows,”” Westover said.

Westover chose the theme Mystery and Murder for these films, while the remaining three fall under the category of romantic comedies, and are named Classic Comedy Couples. 

She said many people view older movies as boring, but she argued that these assumptions are false.

“”In the 1930s and 1940s, Hollywood made very sophisticated, clever dialogue that was snappy and funny. Everyone likes romantic comedies now, but it’s interesting to see these from this time period,”” Westover said.

Westover feels that in order to understand the true essence of a movie, it should be seen on the big screen.

“”It kills me when I see students on campus watching movies on a computer screen. I cringe. You’re seeing just an impression of the movie. Movies were made to be watched on a big screen,”” she said.

This cinematic experience offers $6 tickets for students, active military and seniors, while adult tickets are $8. For more information visit or call Fox Theatre at 520-547-3040.

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