Film series comes to UW-Rock County
If you go
What: UW-Rock County black and white film series
Where: Kirk Denmark Theatre, UW-Rock County campus, 2909 Kellogg Ave., Janesville.
Cost: UW-Rock County students, free; everyone else, $2.50. For tickets, call the UW-Rock County business services office, (608) 758-6565, Ext. 100. Tickets also will be available at the door.
JANESVILLE "Mein Fuhrer, I can walk!" (Peter Sellers as Dr. Strangelove in the 1964 movie of the same name).
"What kind of convenience store are you running here?" (The coroner in "Clerks," the 1994 movie that launched the career of Kevin Smith).
Now, a quick quiz: What three things do those two films have in common? Answer:
1. They're both considered classics.
2. They're both black and white films.
3. They're both part of UW-Rock County's black and white film series.
The series starts at 7 p.m. tonight with Alfred Hitchcock's "Strangers on a Train."
A performing arts committee made up of students and faculty picked the films, explained Pat Thom, UW-Rock County senior lecturer in communications and theater arts.
Thom was surprised when students wanted to do a black and white film series.
"We could have picked anything we wanted," Thom said. "It was the students who really drove the decisions here."
Thom and others had wanted to present a film series for years, but they knew it'd be expensive to secure the rights to show the films. This year, the committee decided to spend the money—about $75 a film.
Thom, who is a Hitchcock fan, suggested "Strangers on a Train." The 1954 film is about a murder plot concocted between two men. One takes it seriously. The other does not.
"We wanted to have a film from each era," Thom said.
The series features films from 1940, 1951, 1964, 1980, 1994 and 2003.
In many people's minds, black and white films are connected with either the sparkling romantic comedies of the 1930s and 1940s or with classic hard-boiled detective films such as the "Maltese Falcon" or "White Heat" of the 1940s and 1950s.
But black and white was used long after the advent of color film to provide emotional atmosphere, enhance storytelling or create drama.
"Sometimes black and white can communicate more than colors," said Thom.
The film series also gives people the chance to see classics on the big screen, the way they were meant to be seen.
"I kills me when I see people watch movies on their phones," Thom said. "In a movie theater, the emotional impact is more than double; you feel what the director wanted you to feel."
7 tonight: "Strangers on a Train," PG, 1951. Alfred Hitchcock's classic film noir is a masterpiece of suspense and cinematography. Staring Farley Granger, Robert Walker and Ruth Roman, the film chronicles the results of a conversation on a train about a murder plot.
7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17: "Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb," PG, 1964. Stanley Kubrick's comedy/drama spoofing the Cold War era features Peter Sellers in three roles.
7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8: "Clerks," R, 1994. Kevin Smith's comedy about the angst of being in your early 20s, working at a convenience store and hanging out with a pack of stoner/slacker friends.
7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 2: "The Philadelphia Story," 1940. Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn and Jimmy Stewart star in this comedy/romance.
7 p.m. Thursday, March 8: "Raging Bull," R, 1980. Martin Scorsese's film about boxer Jake La Motta. The American Film Institute listed the film as No. 4 in its "100 Films in 100 Years."
7 p.m. Thursday, April 26: "Coffee and Cigarettes," R, 2003. Jim Jarmusch's film is a series of vignettes of people talking about everything—and nothing.