The Academy Award-winning MGM classic “The Wizard of Oz” (1939) was requested more than any other film and will lead off a month-long celebration of classic movie musicals at the Appalachian Theatre of the High Country with a 7 p.m. screening on Tuesday, August 30. It will be followed by fan favorites “A Star is Born” (1955) on September 13,“Singing in the Rain” (1952) on September 20, and, appropriately, the movie musical “Grease” (1978) on August 26 to commemorate the birthday of the late Australian singer and actress Olivia Newton-John, star of the popular film.
A family-friendly start time of 7 p.m. is scheduled for all four films with a general admission ticket price of just $5.
According to Patron Services Manager Jason Deathridge, an astonishing 333 suggestions were received by the App Theatre after soliciting input from audience members and the general public to help select films to be shown in its Cinema Classics Series. Four specific genres are scheduled for screening at the historic landmark on King Street in downtown Boone, with movie musicals slated for September and sci-fi films in October, followed by beloved westerns in November, with classic holiday movies slated for the month of December.
The Cinema Classics Series is generously sponsored by Nancy and Neil Schaffel. Nancy, a member of the theatre’s board of trustees, said, “Neil and I are delighted to support any effort that keeps ticket prices affordable, especially for entire families of movie-goers who will experience these cinema classics for the very first time on a large screen in a real theatre.”
According to the U.S. Library of Congress, “The Wizard of Oz” is the most viewed film in movie history. The American musical fantasy was produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) and is an adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s 1900 children’s fantasy novel “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.” The film was primarily directed by Victor Fleming (who left the production to take over the troubled “Gone with the Wind”), and stars Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, Jack Haley, Billie Burke, and Margaret Hamilton. The music was composed by Harold Arlen and adapted by Herbert Stothart, with the lyrics written by Edgar “Yip” Harburg.
Characterized by its brilliant use of Technicolor, fantasy storytelling, musical score, and memorable characters, The Wizard of Oz was original released on August 25, 1939. The film was considered a critical success and was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, winning in two categories: Best Original Song for “Over the Rainbow” and Best Original Score by Stothart.
The 1956 television broadcast premiere of the film on the CBS network reintroduced the film to the public. In 1989, it was selected by the Library of Congress as one of the first 25 films for preservation in the United States National Film Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” It is also one of the few films on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Memory of the World Register.
The story takes place after a tornado hurls through Kansas, during which Dorothy Gale (Garland) and her dog, Toto, are swept away from their home to the colorful and vibrant Land of Oz. In order to find their way back home, they must embark on a journey to the Emerald City, where the Wizard of Oz (Morgan) resides.
On the way, they are accompanied by a Scarecrow (Bolger) who wants a brain, a Tin Man (Haley) who wants a heart, and a Cowardly Lion (Lahr) who wants courage. They are hopeful that the Wizard will be able to fulfill their wishes, but not far behind them is the Wicked Witch of the West (Hamilton), who is out for revenge on Dorothy after she accidentally killed her sister, the Wicked Witch of the East.
“The Wizard of Oz” has become the source of many quotes referenced in contemporary popular culture. The film ranks often on critics’ lists of greatest films of all time and is the most commercially successful adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s work. While the App Theatre’s online ticketing system is accessible 24/7, customers can avoid the online service fees by visiting the lobby box office between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. from Tuesday through Friday, or one hour prior to showtime for each film. For a complete performance schedule and of all upcoming events, or to sign up for the theatre’s e-blast distribution list, visit the organization’s website at www.apptheatre.org