CinemaDave (cinemadave) wrote,

Lent Day 30 Cinema Dave's article published in the Movie Licensing USA newsletter.

From the written word to the moving image, Broward County Library's "Literary Cinema" began in October 2004 with the screening of Edgar Allen Poe's "Masque of the Red Death," starring Vincent Price and Jane Asher. Since South Florida had recently endured a series of four
hurricanes that caused electrical power outage and it was Halloween season, I expected a large crowd. Four people showed up.

Fortunately, the four people loved this Roger Corman classic from 1964. The program continued with a December screening of Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women" and continued until May with Ernest Hemingway's "Islands in the Stream" starring George C. Scott. Attendance grew with each screening and our regulars were upset that we took summer vacation.

The turning point for "Literary Cinema" occurred when we screened Harper Lee's "To Kill A Mockingbird." Parents brought their children to this January screening that defied conventional wisdom. Conventional wisdom dictated that today's children do not like films in black and white. When the film concluded, parent and child were not talking about explosions or fist fights in the movie, but the lessons of Atticus Finch.

One year after the screening of "Masque of Red Death," "Literary Cinema" programmed "Bride of Frankenstein" for Halloween. While purists argued that "Bride of Frankenstein" was not an exact recreation of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's book, the audience was enraptured by Boris
Karloff's most touching performance. Laughs were shared when The Monster's blunt behavior seemed so righteous. Tears were shed when the blind hermit (O.P. Heggie) offered his friendship to the poor, misunderstood brute. Thus far, "Bride of Frankenstein" still holds the attendance record for "Literary Cinema," SRO - Standing Room Only.

Now in its 5th season "Literary Cinema" continues to track a consistent audience. Perhaps the success of "Literary Cinema" is that the film presentations highlight both the Broward County Library Film collection with an emphasis upon the written word.

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