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“Sunday Night at the Movies”: The Cinema, Inc.’s 50th Season Features 12 Films for Just $20

Janet Gaynor and George O'Brien star in "Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans," which will open Cinema, Inc.'s 50th season at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 13th, at The Rialto Theatre

Janet Gaynor and George O’Brien star in “Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans,” which will kick off The Cinema, Inc.’s 50th season at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 13th, at The Rialto Theatre, near Five Points in Raleigh

At 7 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 13th, The Cinema, Inc. will kick off its milestone 50th season with an encore screening of Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans, the very first feature film shown by the Raleigh, NC-based nonprofit film society in the fall of 1965. Adapted by Austrian screenwriter Carl Mayer from Hermann Sudermann’s short story “Die Reise nach Tilsit” (“A Trip to Tilsit”) and directed by German film director F.W. Murnau, this celebrated 1927 American silent movie — with synchronized music and sound effects, courtesy of the then-new Movietone sound system — won the 1929 Academy Award® for Best Picture, Unique and Artistic Production. It stars George O’Brien as The Man, Janet Gaynor as The Wife, and Margaret Livingston as The Woman from the City, who tempts The Man to sell the family farm, murder his Wife, and run off with her to The City.

The late, great Chicago film critic Roger Ebert listed Sunrise among his “Great Movies,” and the U.S. Library of Congress added the film to its prestigious National Film Registry in 1989. Sunrise ranked 82nd in 2007 in the American Film Institute’s 10th anniversary list of “100 Years … 100 Movies“; but an international panel of 846 critics polled in 2012 by the British Film Institute for Sight & Sound magazine’s latest decennial poll of the world’s best films of all time ranked Sunrise fifth, whereas the 358 directors in the magazine’s directors’ panel rated it 22nd.

Raleigh’s oldest continuously operating nonprofit film society will screen 12 full-length feature films for just $1.67 per movie. That’s only two cents more than the average movie ticket price in 1971. For “Sunday-Night-at-the-Movies'” a season ticket price of $20, 2015-16 Cinema, Inc. subscribers will enjoy the Triangle’s biggest entertainment bargain: an international array of cinematic masterpieces, chosen for their intellectual substance, aesthetic appeal, and ability to stimulate lively discussions.

Founded in 1965, The Cinema, Inc. screens 12 movies annually — at 7 p.m. on the second Sunday of each month — at The Rialto Theatre, 1620 Glenwood Ave., Raleigh, NC 27608 (near Five Points). Admission is by season ticket only.

In addition to Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (Sept. 13th), the 2015-16 Season of The Cinema, Inc. will include: King of Hearts (Oct. 11th); La Strada (Nov. 8th); Babette’s Feast (Dec. 13th); Five Easy Pieces (Jan. 10th); Top Hat (Feb. 14th); Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (March 13th); The Seventh Seal (April 10th); Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (May 8th); To Kill a Mockingbird (June 12th); Rashomon (July 10th); and Some Like It Hot (Aug. 14th).

Cinema, Inc. membership is open to the public. To join, please fill in the order form at the bottom of page three of this year’s season-ticket brochure and mail the order form and a check or money order (not cash) for $20 a ticket to:

The Cinema, Inc.
Dept. TAE
Post Office Box 20835
Raleigh, NC 27619

Details about this year’s film selections are listed below. Click here to view the 2015-16 Season-ticket brochure. For more information, telephone (919) 787-7611, e-mail, or visit

The Cinema, Inc.’s 2015-16 Season

September 13, 2015 — Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (U.S., 1927)

SunrisePOSTER2Genre: Drama/Romance, Black & White, Unrated, 94 Minutes.
Directed by F.W. Murnau. Starring George O’Brien, Janet Gaynor, and Margaret Livingston.

Sunrise comes with a subtitle “A Song of Two Humans”. Interestingly, the characters are not named. At the start, we meet The Woman from the City who takes a vacation at the seashore. She has an affair with The Man who’s married to The Wife with whom he is embroiled in marital problems. The Man is tormented by his infidelity but continues his tawdry affair. The Woman encourages The Man to kill The Wife. He gets cold feet and frightens The Wife, who runs scared to The City. He chases her to The City, where they reunite culminating in events that settle who The Man ends up with.



October 11, 2015 — King of Hearts (Le roi de coeur) (France/Italy, 1966)

KingofHeartsGenre: Drama/Comedy/War, Color, Unrated, 102 Minutes.
Directed by Philippe de Broca. Starring Alan Bates, Geneviève Bujold, and Pierre Brasseur.

Set during World War I, the occupying Germans retreat from the town of Marville, France, but not before leaving behind a time bomb. The fleeing townspeople tell the approaching British forces about the hidden explosive. Pvt. Charles Plumpick, a poetry- loving Scotsman, is dispatched to locate the bomb. To avoid the German rear guard, Plumpick ducks into Marville’s insane asylum. While trying to defuse the bomb he falls in love with one of the lovely inmates, Coquelicot. The inmates hail him as the King of Hearts before retaking the town and resuming their former lives in a decidedly loony fashion. Those willing to open themselves to a lighthearted treatment of this all-too-serious subject will find it touching and life-affirming.

November 8, 2015 — La Strada (Italy, 1954)

LaStradaGenre: Drama, Black & White, Subtitled, Unrated, 108 Minutes.
Directed by Federico Fellini. Starring Anthony Quinn, Giulietta Massina, and Richard Basehart.

This is one of Fellini’s best works. The film centers on two itinerate circus performers on the road. Zampano, the gypsy, a traveling strong-man, “buys” Gelsomina, a simple-minded but pure of heart young woman, from her destitute mother and makes her his assistant to the act. However, his abuse of her causes great suffering. Eventually, the pair join a tiny circus where she meets Il Matto, a clown and high-wire artist, who treats Gelsomina kindly. When Matto is accidentally killed, she is devastated and suffers an emotional breakdown and Zampano abandons her. Years later, he realizes his need for her.

December 13, 2015 — Babette’s Feast (Babettes gæstebud) (Denmark, 1987)

BabettesFeastGenre: Drama/Music, Color, Subtitled, Rated G (general audiences), 102 Minutes.
Directed by Gabriel Axel. Starring Stéphane Audran, Bodil Kjer, and Brigitte Federspiel.

Two aging sisters, the leaders of a small Danish sect, have devoted their lives to religion, never venturing from their town of birth. Babette, a cook from Paris, has been hired to work for the sisters. Babette invites the sisters and a few other townsfolk to share in a feast to celebrate their beloved, late pastor, and ends up performing an amazing act of grace and selflessness. Babette is a maestro. The kitchen is her orchestra. The sisters and the church members agree to eat the food, but not to enjoy or praise it. And then the miracle occurs, when these stern old puritans are transformed by the baba au rhum and the champagne (which is mistaken for lemonade).


January 10, 2016 — Five Easy Pieces (U.S., 1970)

FiveEasyPiecesGenre: Drama, Color, Rated R (adult situations/language), 98 Minutes.
Directed by Bob Rafelson. Starring Jack Nicolson, Karen Black, and Billy Green Bush.

This is a moody, incisive, thoughtful character study of an alienated, misfit drifter and noncommittal dropout. It’s a road trip about a man who had turned his back on his well-to-do upbringing and his musical talent leading him into a period of self imposed exile, discontent, and emotional emptiness. In a major turning point in the film, this misbehaving redneck returns to his estranged family’s home in Puget Sound for a final reconciling visit. There he finds love with the sophisticated, musical protégée and fiancée of his brother. However, he quickly returns to his discontent and is back on the road again with his dim-witted girlfriend.

February 14, 2016 — Top Hat (U.S., 1935)

TopHatGenre: Comedy/Musical/Romance , Black & White, Unrated, 101 Minutes.
Directed by Mark Sandrich. Starring Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, and Edward Everett Horton.

While the plot is somewhat thin, the comic mix-ups, great songs and marvelous dance numbers more than make up for it. Fred Astaire plays Jerry Travers, a song-anddance man brought to London by a big-time impressario, Horace (Edward Everett Horton), to star in one of his shows. Ginger Rogers plays Dale Tremont, a young fashion model who Jerry meets his first night in town and instantly falls in love . Trouble develops when Dale mistakenly assumes that Jerry is Horace, a married man. As Jerry is doing his best to pursue Dale, Dale is doing her best to avoid a guy she thinks is a cad. This mistaken-identity gambit provides a relaxed, unpretentious mood where the stars and the music and the dancing are all that matter.

March 13, 2016 — Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Mujeres al borde de un ataque de “nervios”) (Spain, 1988)

WomenontheVergeofaNervousBreakdownGenre: Comedy/Drama, Color, Rated R, 90 Minutes.
Directed by Pedro Almodóvar. Starring Carmen Maura, Antonio Banderas, and Julieta Serrano.

This is a funny, energetic and sexy comedy by a filmmaker who intuitively understands women. In this picture, the women are a mix of strength and vulnerability, of passion and neurosis. Pepa is an actress who learns that her longtime married lover Ivan is breaking up with her. The problem is, she’s pregnant and her failed attempts to contact Ivan doesn’t help her state of mind. Complexity grows with the arrival of her hysterical friend Candela, who may have caused an international incident by sleeping with a renowned terrorist. In the meantime, Ivan’s ex-wife is seeking revenge on Pepa. There is also a cab driver who provides a drug store on wheels, a burning bed, and a pitcher of gazpacho laced with barbiturates. This is a zany comedy with a touch of sex appeal.

April 10, 2016 — The Seventh Seal (Det sjunde inseglet) (Sweden, 1957)

SeventhSealGenre: Drama/Fantasy, Black & White, Subtitled, Unrated, 96 Minutes.
Directed by Ingmar Bergman. Starring Max von Sydow, Gunnar Björnstrand, and Bengt Ekerot.

The film is an exploration of life, death and the existence of God. Set in medieval times, it follows a depressed knight called Antonius Block (Max von Sydow) and his squire who return from the Crusades to find the land ravaged by the Black Death. After Death shows up to claim Block, and challenges him to a game of chess to play for his fate, so he might have time to come to terms with the world. The game takes place at various intervals during the knight’s journey home, during which he encounters different characters, always with the threat of doom lurking in the shadows.


May 8, 2016 — Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (U.S., 1964)

DrStrangeloveGenre: Comedy/War, Black & White, Rated PG (for thematic elements, some violent content, sexual humor and mild language), 95 Minutes.
Directed by Stanley Kubrick. Starring Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, and Sterling Hayden.

Commanding a wing of the Strategic Air Command, a looney general orders B-52 bombers to attack the Soviet Union. When a military attache tries to stop him, the general defends his act based on the Commie plot to “taint our water and deplete our precious bodily fluids”. He refuses to reveal the code which can recall the bombers. The President learns that the Russians have a doomsday machine set to launch at the U.S. if they’re bombed. While this dark comedy of errors has a serious theme, Kubrick manages to inject wicked humor into it, including lots of sexual innuendos.

June 12, 2016 — To Kill a Mockingbird (U.S., 1962)

ToKillaMockingbirdGenre: Drama, Black & White, Unrated, 129 Minutes.
Directed by Robert Mulligan. Starring Gregory Peck, John Megan, and Frank Overton.

This film nails the essence of childhood, a recreation of the fears, attitudes and preoccupations of kids. Essentially, the film is just a string of events that share the underlying theme of prejudice. The children’s irrational fear about Boo Radley, whom they’ve never seen, and the townsfolk’s racial intolerance are separate events, but they are about the same thing. Scout, the daughter of Atticus (Gregory Peck), is the movie’s narrator and that’s perfect because the story works well from a child’s perspective. The film doesn’t take an easy road. It confronts tough issues along the way and doesn’t flinch from unpleasant outcomes.


July 10, 2016 — Rashomon (Rashômon) (Japan, 1950)

RashomonGenre: Crime/Drama/Mystery, Black & White, Subtitled, Unrated, 88 Minutes.
Directed by Akira Kurosawa. Starring Hoshirô Mifune, Machiko Kyô, and Masayki Mori.

This tells the story of the rape of a woman and the murder of a man, presented entirely in flashbacks from the perspectives of four narrators. At the Rashômon gate at Kyoto, several people who witnessed the incident take shelter and discuss the crime. A woodcutter claims to have stumbled upon the scene first. A priest recalls seeing a man and a woman traveling through the woods. A bandit confesses to raping the woman and killing the man. A woman adds more confusion by confessing to the murder. Rashômon isn’t about determining a chronology of the event, nor about culpability or innocence. It focuses on how perspective distorts reality and hides the truth.


August 14, 2016 — Some Like It Hot (U.S., 1959)

SomeLikeItHotGenre: Comedy, Black & White, Unrated, 120 Minutes.
Directed by Billy Wilder. Starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon.

Set in Prohibition-era Chicago,the film stars Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon as Joe and Jerry, two jazz musicians who encounter perpetual economic troubles. They land a gig at a speakeasy but lose it when the cops raid the joint. After that, they witness the killing of the informant who ratted on the crime boss “Spats” Colombo (George Raft) so they have to go on the lam. They don women’s garb, transforming themselves into “Josephine” and “Daphne” to join an all-girl band for a gig in Florida. Inevitably the crooks catch up with them but not before they run into other crazy and funny complications.



Robert W. McDowell has written articles for The News & Observer, The Raleigh Times, Spectator Magazine, CVNC, and Triangle Arts and Entertainment, all based in Raleigh. He edits and publishes two FREE weekly e-mail newsletters. Triangle Review provides comprehensive, in-depth coverage of local performing-arts events. (Start your FREE subscription by e-mailing and typing SUBSCRIBE TR in the Subject: line.) McDowell also maintains a FREE list of movie sneak previews. (To subscribe, e-mail and type SUBSCRIBE FFL FREE in the Subject: line.)

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