Sunday, December 4, 2016
It will be a "Wonderful" holiday time at Loew's Jersey . . .
-- as part of --
The Classic Holiday Show
On Stage AND Screen
Back in the glory days of the Movie Palace, many of the big, downtown theatres presented Christmas pageants that combined a live stage show with a film. The show would feature some of the season's most loved music, a skit or two, and even an audience sing-along with the theatre's massive pipe organ. Then the stage curtain would close, and when it reopened a holiday-themed movie filled the big screen. If a lot of us are too young to have experienced this kind of Movie Palace show back in the day, the idea of going downtown to gather in a grand theatre with family, friends and even strangers to share in the magic of the season still lives on as a kind of a collective holiday memory.
The Landmark Loew's Jersey Theatre makes that wish come true, and creates lasting new memories every Christmastime with The Classic Holiday Show.
2:00 pm On Stage: A Traditional Holiday Concert & Sing-Along
A live concert of holiday classics performed by Taresa Blunda, Howard Richman, the Litha Symphony Orchestra, and Bernie Anderson playing the Loew's Wonder Morton Pipe Organ. They will perform some of the most cherished classics of the season, along with some newer favorites. There will even be an audience sing-along, just like in the old days! And following the concert, at 3:30 PM, one of most beloved holiday movies of all time will be shown on the big screen:
Donna Reed's daughter, Mary Owen, will introduce the screening, talk about her mom and her role in this holiday classic, and take questions from fans.
Ms. Owen will be joined by Stephen Whitty**
It's hard to believe now, but when "It's a Wonderful Life" premiered in 1946, it wasn't very popular with either the public or critics, who knocked it as the ultimate example of "Capra corn" — director Frank Capra's supposed penchant for stories with corny characters and happy endings. For the next three decades the film was mostly unknown. But in 1973 it's copyright was allowed to lapse, which meant that local TV stations looking for cheap holiday programming could run the movie for free. By the 1980s, it seemed possible during the Holiday Season to flip on a TV — any TV, anywhere — and find "It's A Wonderful Life" playing somewhere on the dial at all hours.
But the legendary status the movie now holds didn't come from this newfound familiarity alone. The story of George Bailey, a decent guy who's done far more in his life than he realizes, connects with the hopes and doubts all of us have. And like Charles Dickens' work, it takes a surprisingly clear-eyed view of the darker side of human nature. In truth, despite his reputation for happy endings, Capra's best movies always showed that the world teeters between the selfless and the selfish, with a none-too-subtle social commentary just under the surface — just like Dickens' work. But unlike Scrooge, George Bailey doesn't need to reform; instead, by being a decent guy, he has already helped the other good people of his community overcome the greed and shortsightedness of others. In this, "It's A Wonderful Life" is a decidedly American Christmas Carol that leaves you feeling warm and hopeful in the end.
**Stephen Whitty is the film critic for the Star-Ledger and nj.com, as well as a reviewer for the New York Daily News. He teaches film at NYU and Baruch; his new book, 'The Alfred Hitchcock Encyclopedia' (Rowman & Littlefield), was published this summer.
Admission to BOTH the Concert AND Movie: $12 Adults / $8 Kids & Seniors
(Movie Only: $10 / $7 Kids & Seniors)
AND PLEASE - do a good deed just like George Bailey! Bring a new, unwrapped toy for a needy child to the Loew's annual Toy Drive. Donated toys will be distributed off-site by a local charitable service.
Classic Film Weekends are presented by Friends of the Loew’s, Inc.