Ten Reasons We’re Excited for Hollywood Summer Nights

Hollywood Summer Nights is upon us! Every Wednesday and Thursday night this summer the Ambler, County, and Garden Theaters and every other Thursday at the Hiway we will be showcasing a different big-screen classic. We’re so excited for this year’s slate, as it includes a number of films we have never shown before and some rare titles we just can’t wait to see. It was hard to limit this list to only ten items, but here are the top reasons we are excited about our 2018 Hollywood Summer Nights lineup.

10. 30th Anniversary of GREASE!

Sandy and Danny celebrate summer romance. (Photo: Paramount Pictures)

To kick things off, we’re warming up our vocal chords for a sing-along to one of the most beloved musicals of all time. John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John star as Danny and Sandy in this 1978 nostalgia film set 20 years prior in 1959. To put that into perspective, it would be the equivalent of making a high school flick today set in 1999. Let that sink in!

Showtimes + tickets:

Ambler | County |Garden

9. Beatlemania: Yellow Submarine

The Beatles, animated. (Photo: Abramorama)

We are excited to be screening the brand-new, digital restoration of the 1968 animated Beatles film Yellow Submarine. At the time of its release this film reflected the contemporary pop art of the time and demonstrated major advancements in the world of animation thanks to the art direction from Heinz Edelmann. Not to mention that it is packed with some of the Beatles’ best tunes including “Eleanor Rigby,” “When I’m Sixty-Four,” “All You Need is Love,” and, of course, “Yellow Submarine.”

Showtimes + tickets: Ambler |County | Garden

8. 50th Anniversary of FUNNY GIRL

Barbra Streisand in her first screen performance (Photo: Sony)

Hello Gorgeous! Another film celebrating its 50th Anniversary is the Barbra Streisand launching pad, Funny Girl. Babs completely charmed audiences, so much so that it earned her a Best Actress Academy Award in her first ever screen role. In addition to Streisand this film has so much going for it: a great performance by the late legend Omar Sharif, iconic songs such as “Don’t Rain on my Parade,” and direction by classic Hollywood giant William Wyler.

Showtimes + tickets: Ambler |County | Garden

7. Pre-code Hollywood Titles!

Screen legends Cary Grant and Mae West (Photo: Universal Pictures)

Every year we try to dig as far back as we can for older titles that still pack some punch and were were able to book a couple Pre-Code titles. These films were produced during a brief period in Hollywood after sound was introduced and before the Hays Code began rating film content. This window, between the years 1929–1934, is a very different Hollywood from the Golden Age that would follow with films including strong female characters, depictions of sexual innuendo, profanity, drug use, promiscuity, and intense violence (all incredibly tame by today’s standards).

This year we’re screening two films from 1933. I’m No Angel written by and starring Mae West (featuring a very young Cary Grant). PLUS at the Ambler Theater we’ll be sharing a recently rediscovered classic Baby Face starring Barbara Stanwyck on 35MM from the Library of Congress’ vaults. This is a title you will be hard pressed to see anywhere else. Don’t miss it.

Showtimes + tickets: Ambler | County | Garden

6. Remembering Miloš Forman

Miloš Forman and Jack Nicholson on set (Photo: Saul Zaentz Company)

Sadly, this year we lost the unbelievably talented filmmaker Miloš Forman. Forman began as an early figure in the Czechoslovak New Wave and released the highly influential films Loves of a Blonde and The Firemen’s Ball. He’s most remembered, however, for his American productions One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Amadeus. Cuckoo’s Nest, based on the Ken Kesey novel, is one of only three films to ever win the “Big Five” awards at the Academy Awards (Picture, Actor, Actress, Director, Screenplay); Amadeus took home 8 awards in 1985 including Forman’s 2nd Best Director Award. (The other two “Big Five” winners were It Happened One Night (1934) and Silence of the Lambs (1991).)

Showtimes + tickets: Ambler | County | Garden

5. The King of Rock ‘n Roll

Elvis doing what he does best. (Photo: Warner)

No one can deny that Elvis Presley will forever be one of the most iconic performers of all time. To capitalize on his fame, Presley began starring in Hollywood films in 1956. Though Elvis always wanted to pursue more dramatic roles, he was stuck with the light-hearted musicals that his notorious manager Colonel Tom Parker pushed on him. Elvis was so charismatic on screen that he went on to star in 31 films as an actor. The best known is 1957’s Jailhouse Rock which produced a number one hit single and a dance sequence that has become a landmark of the film canon.

Showtimes + tickets: Ambler | County | Garden

4. Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetle…

A Ghostly Michael Keaton as Beetlejuice (Photo: Warner)

Tim Burton’s horror-comedy turns 30 this year and may be getting a sequel soon, so we thought it was the perfect time to revisit this campy classic. Michael Keaton is an incredibly versatile actor and we could endlessly debate his most famous role, but Beetlejuice is certainly a contender. Despite appearing on screen for only 17 of the 92 minutes, Keaton steals every moment that he’s in and created one of the most bizarrely memorable characters in modern film.

Showtimes + tickets: Ambler | County | Garden

3. Our Summer Event Staples: Casablanca, Jaws, North By Northwest, Python Fest, Little Lebowski Nite, Three Stooges Classic Shorts

Bogey & Bergman together again (Photo: Warner)

As always, we’ll be screening certain classic titles that you can watch over and over and over. This year we’re bringing back Casablanca, Jaws, and North by Northwest. These are movies that were made for the big screen and are just as powerful in the first or hundredth viewing. And what summer would be complete without our annual Python Fest, Little Lebowski Nite, and Three Stooges Night? Get your tickets now. These events always sell out!

2. F-Rated Films

Ida Lupino behind the lens

What does F-Rated mean? The internationally-recognized F-Rating denotes films that have major female participation behind the camera — as a director or screenwriter — or that feature strong female leads or women’s issues. Throughout 2018 we are celebrating the life and films of Ida Lupino with our series “Breaking the Celluloid Ceiling” in which we’re screening films written and directed by women, including Lupino herself. We’re continuing throughout Hollywood Summer Nights with titles like A League of Their Own, Mean Girls, Rio Bravo (written by The Empire Strikes Back screenwriter Leigh Brackett), The Women which features and all-female cast, and Moontide starring Lupino, and a handful mores. Check out our website for a full listing of F-rated films.

Be sure to join us at the Ambler on Wed, July 25th for a special Film 101 discussion of The Women with Temple University film professor LeAnn Erickson.

Showtimes + tickets: Ambler | County | Garden

1. Something for Everyone

Our 2018 lineup has a little bit of everything.

Where else can you see Yankee Doodle Dandy AND Mean Girls? Our lineup has something for everyone. Our 2018 program ranges from Golden-Age classics that have never played at our theaters like Gene Kelly’s On the Town and Greta Garbo’s Camille to modern classics like Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing. We’ve got cult favorites like Harold and Maude; hard-boiled noirs such as The Killing and Double Indemnity, romantic comedies like Sleepless in Seattle, Westerns like High Noon and Rio Bravo, plus musicals, comedies, screwballs, dramas, adventures, thrillers, silly Knights, Nihilists, a killer shark named Bruce, a Mount Rushmore chase, and “…we’ll always have Paris.” Everything you’ve come to expect from our Hollywood Summer Nights.

Complete listings: Ambler | County | Garden