Movie Review

From left, Sharks Jay Norman, George Chakiris and Eddie Verso in a scene from ‘West Side Story’

“Something’s coming, something good …” 

Fifty-seven years after its world premiere screening at the Rivoli Theatre in New York City, the award-winning musical “West Side Story” will return to over 600 select cinemas nationwide on June 24 and 27, courtesy of Turner Classic Movies and Fathom Events.

Richard Beymer and Natalie Wood sing ‘Tonight’ in a scene from ‘West Side Story’

Starring Natalie Wood, Rita Moreno, Russ Tamblyn, Richard Beymer and George Chakiris the film takes inspiration from Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” and turns the Montague-Capulet battle into a feud between two New York City street gangs — the Jets and the Sharks. When a member of the Jets falls in love with the sister of the Sharks’ leader, things look hopeful at first, but rapidly go downhill. Illustrating the events are many memorable song and dance numbers such as “America,” “Tonight,” “A Boy Like That,” “One Hand, One Heart,” “Somewhere” and “I Feel Pretty.”

With book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics from Stephen Sondheim, the film went on to win 10 Oscars at the 34th Academy Awards, including Best Picture and both supporting acting awards, for Chakiris and Moreno, becoming the record holder for the most wins for a movie musical. Deemed “culturally significant” by the United States Library of Congress, it was selected for the National Film Registry in 1997.

The film will be presented in its original wide-screen aspect ratio and include a mid-film intermission, as was featured in the original theatrical release. It will also include pre- and postshow commentary from TCM host Ben Mankiewicz.

There’s no better way to prepare yourself for Steven Spielberg’s reboot, so mark your calendars!

Participating movie theaters in our neck of the woods include AMC Loews Stony Brook 17, 2196 Nesconset Highway, Stony Brook (at 2 and 7 p.m. on both days); Farmingdale Multiplex Cinemas, 1001 Broadhollow Road, Farmingdale (on June 24 at 2 p.m. and June 27 at 7 p.m.); and Island 16 Cinema de Lux, 185 Morris Ave., Holtsville (on June 24 at 2 p.m. and June 27 at 7 p.m.) To purchase your ticket in advance, visit www.fathomevents.com.

Supersequel was worth the wait

By David Ackerman

After a 14-year hiatus, Pixar’s beloved superhero family, the Incredibles, has returned and immediately picks up where the original left off. “Incredibles 2” follows the Parr family — parents Bob/Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) and Helen/Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) along with kids Violet (Sarah Vowell), Dash (Huck Milner) and Jack-Jack (Eli Fucile) — as they strive to find their place in a society that has criminalized their superpowers.  

The Parr family is back to save the day.

The story opens when the city is under attack by the Underminer who appeared in the final moments of the original movie. The fallout from this epic and highly destructive confrontation causes all Superhero activity to be banned in the city, and the Parr family is forced to go underground, taking up residence in a dingy motel.

The outlook is bleak for the superfamily until they are approached by the wealthy and eccentric siblings Evelyn (Catherine Keener) and Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk) who offer them a chance to restore the reputation of all Supers to the glory of a bygone era.

Elastigirl is chosen to take on the mission independently due to her proven track record of causing minimal collateral damage; leaving Mr. Incredible to deal with the equally daunting task of staying home with the kids. In the new role of Mr. Mom, he struggles to manage Violet’s teenage angst, Dash’s math homework, and the highly unpredictable Jack-Jack, who is beginning to show an impressive range of superabilities including self-replication, morphing into demon form and laser vision.

Jack-Jack’s superpowers come out in full force in new Incredibles sequel.

Meanwhile, Elastigirl is faced with her first assignment — to save the passengers on a newly unveiled high-speed train that has been set on a collision course by the mysterious supervillain, Screen Slaver. She accomplishes her mission with flawless style and is applauded for reminding society of the Supers’ value as protectors of the innocent.  Mr. Incredible watches his wife’s success on the news and is forced to reconsider the effectiveness of his macho, alpha-male persona.

The plot remains fast-paced and unpredictable up until the conclusion. Pixar’s brilliant character design and highly creative action sequences will keep your attention from start to finish. 

“Incredibles 2” is a breath of fresh air in the superhero genre, which has become saturated with sequels based on unoriginal, formulaic story lines. The superhero film has been brought back to a focus on strong character development, dazzling creativity and a continuous thread of humor and levity woven throughout the story line. While the film maintains a light-hearted tone it also touches on relevant social issues such as gender stereotypes and the public’s obsessive consumption of digital media and entertainment.

Elastigirl in a scene from the movie.

“Incredibles 2” is a worthy sequel that doesn’t disappoint. Pixar has again succeeded in creating a film that will appeal to audiences of all ages by avoiding the typical limitations of a children’s film. The film’s primary strength is in the creativity and beauty of its visual execution and character design. Although the plot is certainly original and engaging, what will keep your attention is the incredible depth of expression that is achieved through character development, world building and visual design.

The film is a must see for Incredibles fans and is bound to be a major hit this summer for all audiences. Running time is 1 hour and 58 minutes.

Rated PG (for action sequences and some brief mild language) “Incredibles 2” is now playing in local theaters.

Photos courtesy of Disney/Pixar

Above, a battle scene shot at Benner’s Farm in East Setauket last summer.
Film showcased at SBU’s Staller Center for the Arts

By Talia Amorosano

The wait is over. On Sunday, June 24, an integral piece of U.S. and Long Island history will be revisited in the geographic location where much of it actually took place. At 7 p.m., the Stony Brook University’s Staller Center for the Arts, 100 Nicolls Road, Stony Brook, will host the first major public screening of “One Life to Give,” a film about the friendship and lives of young American heroes Benjamin Tallmadge and Nathan Hale, whose actions would lead to the creation of a Revolutionary spy ring based on the North Shore of Long Island.

Presented in the Main Theater, doors will open at 6:45 p.m. After a message from publisher Leah Dunaief, a short behind-the-scenes documentary will be shown followed by the main film screening. After a message from the creators, the evening will conclude with a Q&A with the cast and crew. Admission to the event is free, courtesy of TBR News Media. No reservations are necessary.

Cast and crew gather around a camera to view playback last summer.

The film’s co-producer and writer, Michael Tessler, describes the film as an exploration of historical events with a human focus. “After spending several years researching Benjamin Tallmadge and the other heroes featured in our film, I began to look at them not as detached names in a textbook, but more so as real people, with real stories that deserve to be told,” he said.

 Dave Morrissey, the actor who portrays Tallmadge in the film, describes his character as a “22-year-old kid,” who, despite his relative youth, is “focused” and “grounded,” propelled into action by the death of his brother at the hands of the British. “When something like that happens to you, you turn into a machine … into something else,” said Morrissey. “If you channel the energy and do what’s right, the possibilities are endless.”

By focusing a metaphorical macro lens on the multidimensional characters of Tallmadge and Hale, the film traverses consequential moments of American history: the Battle of Long Island, the anointing of America’s first spy and the events that would lead to the creation of the Culper Spy Ring, a group of men and women who risked their lives and status to gather British intelligence for the Revolutionary cause. 

Though Tessler notes that the film is, at its heart, a drama, he and the film’s director and co-producer Benji Dunaief stress the cast and crew’s commitment to accuracy in their interpretation of historical events. 

“The history comes second to the narrative in most [other film adaptations of historical events],” says Dunaief. “Our approach with this film was the exact opposite. We wanted to see where we could find narrative within [pre-existing] history.” 

“Many of the lines from the film were plucked directly from the diaries of the heroes themselves,” stated Tessler. “We worked closely with historians and Revolutionary War experts to achieve a level of accuracy usually unseen in such a local production.”

The fact that many scenes from the film were shot in the locations where the events of the real-life narrative took place helped give the visuals a sense of truthfulness and the actors a sense of purpose.

“The location took production to the next level. It’s really crazy how closely related the sets we used were to the actual history,” said Dunaief, who specifically recalls filming at a house that contained wood from Tallmadge’s actual home. “It helped to inspire people in the cast to get into character.” 

Morrissey recalls spending a particularly inspiring Fourth of July on Benner’s Farm in East Setauket. “We were filming the war scenes with all the reenactors … in the cabin that we built for the set … in the town where the battles and espionage had really happened. There were fireworks going on in the background while we sang shanty songs. It was amazing.”

The Continental Army shoots off a cannon at Benner’s Farm.

Though locational and historical accuracy played a large role in making filming a success, ultimately, Dunaief and Tessler credit the resonance of “One Life to Give” to an engaged and participatory community. “This was a community effort on all accounts,” says Dunaief, noting the roles that the Benners, Preservation Long Island, The Ward Melville Heritage Organization, the Three Village Historical Society and others played to bring “One Life to Give” to fruition. 

The fact that the screening will take place at the Staller Center, in the heart of the community that helped bring the film about, represents a full-circle moment for the cast and crew. “We’re calling it a screening but it is so much more,” said Dunaief. “It is a fantastic example of how the community has stood by this film, from beginning to end.”

“We’re beyond honored and humbled to use a screen that has seen some of the greatest independent films in history,” said Tessler. “Stony Brook University has been a wonderful partner and extremely accommodating as we work to bring our local history to life.” 

Tessler projects confidence that viewers will leave the screening with a similar sense of gratitude. “This story shows a part of our history that I think will make the audience very proud of the place they call home.”

The future of ‘One Life to Give’: 

Michael Tessler and Benji Dunaief plan to show the film at festivals around the country, to conduct a series of screenings on Long Island, and to partner with local historical societies that can use it as an educational tool. Additionally, a sequel to “One Life to Give,” titled “Traitor,” is already in the works. Filming will begin this summer.

All photos by Michael Pawluk Photography

Disney’s ‘The Little Mermaid’ will be screened at the Crab Meadow Beach Drive-In on July 19.

By Sabrina Petroski

Mark your calendars! With the beautiful summer weather comes another season of free outdoor movie screenings for families on the North Shore. Parks, beaches and other outdoor spaces will magically transform into theaters, presenting a mix of animated films, current releases and family favorites.

Councilman Mark Cuthbertson (D) and the Town of Huntington recently announced this year’s schedule for its annual Movies on the Lawn event. Now in its 14th year, four movies, handpicked by the councilman himself, will be shown over the course of the summer at various locations in the town for free.  

“We are excited to bring you another great lineup of movies this summer. Pack your picnic dinner, blankets and lawn chairs and enjoy this summer’s lineup,” said Cuthbertson. 

This year’s program includes “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” at Heckscher Park, 2 Prime Ave., Huntington on June 25 (rain date July 16); “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” at Crab Meadow Beach Drive-In, Waterside Ave., Northport on Thursday, July 5 (rain date July 31); Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” at Crab Meadow Beach Drive-In on Thursday, July 19 (rain date July 31); and “Despicable Me 3” at Peter Nelson Park, Oakwood Road, Huntington on Aug. 13 (rain date is Aug. 20).  

A sandcastle contest and basketball shoot off will be held on July 19 before the movie. All movies will begin at dusk. 

According to Cuthbertson’s office, no alcohol is allowed at any of the events. If a showing is rained out, the event will be moved to the listed rain date and be shown indoors at Walt Whitman High School, 301 West Hills Road in Huntington Station at 7:30 p.m.

For more information about the movies, including updates, visit http://huntingtonny.gov/moviesonthelawn2018 or call 631-351-3112. 

More free outdoor movie offerings:

•The St. James Chamber of Commerce will host a Movie Night at Deepwells Farm County Park, located at the corner of Route 25A and Moriches Road, St. James on July 17, with “Coco” and Aug. 21 (updated) with “Breaking Legs.” Movies begin at 7:45 p.m. Call 631-584-8510 or visit www.stjameschamber.org for updates.

•Grumman Memorial Park, Route 25, Calverton will screen “Top Gun” on Aug. 3 at 8:30 p.m. Call 631-727-574 or visit www.riverheadrecreation.net for further info.

•Hoyt Farm Park Preserve, 200 New Hwy., Commack will screen “Beauty and the Beast” on Aug. 3 at 8:30 p.m. (rain date is Aug. 10). Alternate street parking is available for nonresidents of Smithtown. For more information, call 631-543-7804 or visit www.smithtowninfo.com.

•North Shore Heritage Park, 633 Mount Sinai-Coram Road, Mount Sinai, resumes its annual Movies in the Moonlight series on July 6 with “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” July 20 with “The Incredibles” and Aug. 17 with “Toy Story 3.” Sponsored by Heritage Trust, all movies begin at dusk (approximately 8:15 p.m. Bring a blanket or chair. Movie refreshments will be available at The Shack concession. No rain dates. Questions? Visit www.msheritagetrust.org, or call 631-509-0882.

•The Village of Port Jefferson’s Movies on the Harbor returns to the Jeanne Garant Harborfront Park, 101 East Broadway, Port Jefferson on July 10 with “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory,” July 17 with “Wonder,” July 24 with “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” (updated),  July 31 with “Cars 3”  and Aug. 7 with “Coco.” Movies begin at dusk and the rain date is the next evening. For additional info, call 631-473-4724 or visit www.portjeff.com.

•Movies Under the Stars returns to Smith Haven Mall’s Lifestyle Village (located next to Dick’s Sporting Goods), Lake Grove, with a screening of “Moana” on Aug. 6, “Justice League” on Aug. 13, “Coco” on Aug. 20 and “A Wrinkle in Time” on Aug. 27. Call 631-724-1433 or visit www.simon.com for updates.

The original ‘Jumanji’ film, below, and its sequel, ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,’ above, will screen as a double feature.

If you happen to be a fan of the “Jumanji” movies, then you’re in for a special treat. 

Fathom Events invites you to join fellow fans for the ultimate watch party — the Jumanji Movie Event -— coming to select theaters nationwide on Sunday, June 10, and Monday, June 11. See the original 1995 “Jumanji” starring Robin Williams followed by the 2017 Dwayne Johnson-led hit sequel, “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” back-to-back for an action-packed double-feature event that includes a special prerecorded introduction.

In our neck of the woods, enjoy the special screening at the AMC Stony Brook 17, 2196 Nesconset Highway, Stony Brook at 2 p.m. on June 10 and 6:30 p.m. on June 11. To purchase your ticket in advance, visit www.fathomevents.com.

Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel in a scene from ‘The Producers’
A scene from ‘The Producers’

Fathom Events, Turner Classic Movies, Studiocanal and Rialto Pictures are celebrating the 50th anniversary of “The Producers” by bringing the classic movie to select cinemas nationwide for a special two-day event on Sunday, June 3, and Wednesday, June 6.

The 1967 satirical comedy film stars Zero Mostel, Gene Wilder, Dick Shawn and Kenneth Mars. The film was Mel Brooks’ directorial debut, and he won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. In 1996, the film was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the  Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

Once the King of the Great White Way, Max Bialystock (Mostel) is reduced to romancing old ladies to finance his next flop show. But when nervous accountant Leopold Bloom (Wilder) surmises that more money could be made from a flop than a hit, the next step is to produce the Busby Berkeleyesque musical “Springtime for Hitler” and to cast stoned-out Flower Child “LSD” (Shawn) in the lead. A surefire flop, or is it?

The special screening also features an interview between TCM host Ben Mankiewicz and Brooks. 

Participating movie theaters in our neck of the woods include AMC Loews Stony Brook 17, 2196 Nesconset Highway, Stony Brook at 2 and 7 p.m. on both days; Farmingdale Multiplex Cinemas, 1001 Broadhollow Road, Farmingdale on June 3 at 2 p.m. and June 6 at 7 p.m.; and Island 16 Cinema de Lux, 185 Morris Ave., Holtsville on June 3 at 2 p.m. and June 6 at 7 p.m. To purchase your ticket in advance, visit www.fathomevents.com.

Ryan Reynolds is back for more in ‘Deadpool 2.’ Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox

By Kyle Barr

Deadpool, the fourth wall-breaking ninja of the first 2016 film, was everywhere before “Deadpool 2” arrived in theaters. Seriously, everywhere. He was on billboards with his name spelled with a skull and poo emoji. He was in paintings spoofing the Sistine Chapel. His masked face was even put on the slipcovers of DVDs in Walmarts. So instead of Arnold Schwarzenegger looking gruff on the cover of “Predator” you had Deadpool staring out with a bland expression and holding a water gun. 

It was almost too much. It was as if the 20th Century Fox sequel had to convince you even before you stepped in the theater that this movie was going to be zany, off the wall action and satire. 

Well it is, at least for the most part. Really, the film is at its best when it’s playing with common superhero comic and film tropes. It’s at its worst when it’s not.

“Deadpool 2” starts out with our main character, Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) laying on a bed of gasoline cans and lighting a match. The explosion causes his body parts to fly every which way. How is this possible?

Ryan Reynolds is back for more in ‘Deadpool 2.’ Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Deadpool cannot die. If he has his limbs removed, they will simply grow back. If he is shot, his wounds will instantly heal. This is bad for Wade Wilson, the man behind Deadpool’s mask, as a terrible tragedy early on makes Deadpool want to quit living. X-Men member Colossus (voiced by Stefan Kapicic) tries to make him turn his life around and become a member of the vigilante mutant group, but murderous mutant from the future Cable (Josh Brolin) comes back in time to assassinate a young mutant named Russell (Julian Dennison). Deadpool, who decides to protect him, finds he can’t die just yet.

All the actors do a fine job in this film. Reynolds as Deadpool gives as much an enthusiastic performance as one could ask from a man who made the first film as a passion project. Another standout is Domino, played by Zazie Beetz, as she is just simply a fun character to be around. Her mutant power is Luck, and it was amusing to watch the film’s writers come up with ways her power works. Beetz’ sarcastic and self-confident style does such a good job playing off Deadpool’s antics. 

The film takes a little too long to pick up speed. The beginning act drags, even among the epic, R-rated fight scenes that include our main hero jumping headfirst into bullets and armed men like a kid jumping into a swimming pool on the first day of summer. 

But the joyride comes to a screeching halt as soon as we get to the romantic side of the story. Deadpool and his girlfriend Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) had what was an honestly sweet relationship in the first movie, but that mostly came down to how the two characters played off each other’s sense of sardonic and often violent humor. However, in this movie, none of that comes through. At certain points, in dreamlike sequences, Deadpool has conversations with his girlfriend who tells him his heart “isn’t in the right place,” a line that seems to come straight out of a soap opera’s playbook. I kept expecting the joke to continue where Deadpool reaches inside his chest to move his heart back into place, but that never happened. 

It’s bad likely because some of the gags in this film are just so good. Most of the best, hardest hitting gags come in the middle of the film. There’s nothing worse than ruining or explaining a joke. Suffice it to say when Deadpool tries to start his own team by the derivative name X-Force, it leads to perhaps the best sequence in the entire film that pokes the hardest at well-worn superhero clichés.

The movie is easily at its best when it relies on this biting satire of the superhero genre. The jokes are so good that they make you want for more. It gets worse when it cannot deliver. There are some great jokes made at the expense of Cable, who is really the stereotype of every jacked-up gritty vigilante hero we’ve had since the ’90s, but in the end those jokes don’t lead anywhere. The best satire often wants to come to a conclusion about whatever its ribbing, but this film lands somewhere in between and can’t seem to break away from the genre convention. 

Worse, it can’t do the romance, and hopefully when they do the inevitable sequel and go for even bigger, they leave all that at home.

Rated R for violence and profanity, “Deadpool 2” is now playing in local theaters.

Thanos (Josh Brolin) in a scene from ‘Avengers: Infinity War’. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios

By Kyle Barr

Marvel movies tread a line between being formulaic comic-book style action movies and surprisingly nuanced examinations of real world problems with real emotional heart. Some do better than others with that. 

A scene from ‘Avengers: Infinity War’

“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” was as much a condemnation of modern government surveillance as it was a spy-style action thriller. “Black Panther” was an exploration of afro-futurism and a condemnation of isolationist policies as much as it was a high-tech, high-flying romp. 

That’s not a bad thing, and in fact the formula has grown to the point it’s now expected that Marvel movies cannot have their introspection without the action, and visa versa.

So what extra edge does “Avengers: Infinity War,” directed by the brothers Anthony and Joe Russo, have to set it apart from its contemporaries in the action genre? Well, to avoid spoilers, the most I can say is that it flips the genre formula where “heroes learn a lesson and win the day” on its head. 

 

In this movie, written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, the main villain is also the main character. Thanos, played with such subtle menace and intelligence by Josh Brolin, searches the universe for the infinity stones, glowing rocks that control an element of existence, from time to reality. Superheroes from Earth and beyond must find a way to stop him before he commits the biggest act of genocide the universe has ever seen.

Unlike a normal Marvel movie, it is the villain whose decisions drive the plot. In most Marvel movies, the main characters need to learn, grow and change in order to win the day. In “Avengers: Infinity War,” even if a character learns a lesson and even if they make the right decision, it doesn’t necessarily mean they win.

Being that this is the most recent big crossover Marvel movie, it is impossible to list the characters and actors who play them without leaving out a number of characters who all make contributions to the plot. Many of these actors have been in their roles for so many years it seems it would be hard at this point for any of them to not play their characters effortlessly. 

A scene from ‘Avengers: Infinity War’

Chadwick Boseman of this year’s “Black Panther” remains great as the stoic and noble King T’Challa. Robert Downey Jr. adds an extra edge of fear and foreboding to the character that really takes the performance above the usual I’m-too-smart-for you sarcasm of old Iron Man. 

If there were to be a weak link, it would have to be Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/The Hulk, who can’t seem to make an emotional impact compared to the other characters. His jokes land largely flat, and he doesn’t seem to be as invested as the rest of the cast. Another small disappointment is Eitri, the weaponsmith dwarf played by Peter Dinklage, who despite having an interesting play upon the “Dwarf” character, seems stiff and his performance seems almost phoned in.

Although it’s been a conflict built up to through 19 films so far, the ferociousness with how the plot develops is breathtaking. Again, trying to resist spoiling the plot is hard, but none of the characters come out of this movie clean. 

Thanos’ race to find the infinity stones takes place both on Earth and across the stars, but nearly every character plays off of the emotional conclusions of their own separate movies. For those who have been keeping up with every new Marvel release, you might feel as if you’re watching family members being repeatedly punched in the gut. 

If you haven’t been a hard-core Marvel fanatic, it might seem overwhelming. All of these characters have a backstory, and while some of them are meeting for the first time, several have long and troubled histories together like a big screen version of a soap opera. The movie tries to avoid info dumps (though it still has to go and explain what the heck the big colorful space rocks are) so people going into this as their first Marvel movie might have a hard time understanding what’s happening.

A scene from ‘Avengers: Infinity War’

The film ends on a very deep and somber note. Of course that is in anticipation for “Avengers: Infinity War Part 2” to be released in May of next year. The sequel now has quite the task of concluding what happens at the end of Part 1, and one could be skeptical to see how they might manage to pull it off. 

Isn’t it strange how we got here? It has been a decade of nothing but Marvel fever. When the idea for a shared film universe was still new there were quite a few people who were waiting for the bubble to burst. They waited for the first movie that was bad enough to let the whole thing crumble.

Of course that didn’t happen. For now, “Avengers: Infinity War” is the real deal. There are few good movie series like what Marvel has done that combine real emotional heart with comic book action gravitas. As long as they stay good, they still deserve an audience.

“Avengers: Infinity War,” rated PG-13 for sci-fi violence and action, language and some crude references, is now playing in local theaters.

Edith Storey, third from left, in a scene from 'A Florida Enchantment'

By Victoria Espinoza

“I want to be a bit different from the girl across the aisle.” — Edith Storey

Town of Huntington residents may be surprised to learn a Hollywood actress from the early 20th century once lived a stone’s throw away from their own backyards. Silent film star Edith Storey, who has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, lived in Northport for a considerable amount of her life, and in celebration of her career, the Cinema Arts Centre will be showing two of her films this week. 

Edith Storey in 1917

A special screening of “A Florida Enchantment” (1914) followed by the 1916 short “Jane’s Bashful Hero” will take place on Wednesday, May 16 at 7:30 p.m. Film historian Steve Massa will speak at the event, and the film will have live theater organ accompaniment by Ben Model.

Considered one of her best films, “A Florida Enchantment” stars Storey as a strong-willed young woman named Lillian who is irritated with her much-older fiancé, Dr. Cassandene, played by Sidney Drew, who also directs the film. Lillian finds magic seeds that transform her into a man and enjoys the newfound freedoms she gains with her switch of gender. She kisses other women, dances with them, smokes cigarettes, applies for a man’s job and dresses in men’s clothing. When she starts secretly feeding the magic seeds to those around her, including her unsuspecting fiancé, pandemonium ensues.

Born in New York City in 1892, Storey began acting in Vitagraph productions at the age of 16, appearing in “Francesca da Rimini.” From 1908 to 1921 she starred in over 140 films and shorts in a variety of film genres including comedies and westerns. Reportedly an excellent horseback rider, one of her director’s commented that Storey could “ride anything with hair and four legs, throw a rope and shoot with the best of the cowpunchers.” During that time she was one of the most celebrated actresses on the American screen.

Dylan Skolnick, co-director at the Cinema Arts Centre said he happened upon Storey’s life story quite accidentally during a visit to the Northport Historical Society. 

“They had a display of Northport’s history and significant people and there was this section about her,” Skolnick said in a phone interview. “I was shocked, I had never heard this story before.”

Skolnick said he reached out to Massa, who had written about Storey in his book “Slapstick Divas: The Women of Silent Comedy” to learn more about the movie star.

“He was like, ‘Oh, of course, Edith Storey.’ His knowledge is so deep,” Skolnick said. The co-director said after learning more about the actress he reached out to the Library of Congress, which confirmed it had some of her films and would loan them to the Cinema Arts Centre.

Massa called Storey a “talented character actress” and outstanding in “A Florida Enchantment” in a recent email. He said during World War I she took time off from acting to drive an ambulance that transported wounded returning soldiers to New York hospitals.

After retiring from films in 1921 at the age of 29, she moved to a house in Asharoken where she eventually became village clerk, a position she held from 1932 to 1960. According to Skolnick, in the 1930s there was no village hall in Asharoken so elections were held at her house. During World War II, her front yard served as the drop spot for scrap metal. Children who grew up in the neighborhood later recalled how she would tell them stories of her movie career. Storey passed away in Northport in 1967 at the age of 75.

Skolnick is looking forward to this special evening dedicated to the silent film star. “It all sort of came together and here we are,” he said. “Audience members will have a really good time. The film is a delightful comedy and will be accompanied by some wonderful live music.”

The Cinema Arts Centre is located at 423 Park Ave., Huntington. Tickets for this event are $16, $11 members. For more information, please call 631-423-7611 or visit www.cinemaartscentre.org.

Gloria Swanson and William Holden in a scene from ‘Sunset Boulevard’. Photo courtesy of Fathom Events

Fathom Events and Turner Classic Movies are bringing the timeless classic “Sunset Boulevard” to select cinemas nationwide for a special two-day event on Sunday, May 13 and Wednesday, May 16.

Winner of three Academy Awards, the 1950 film directed by Billy Wilder stars Gloria Swanson, as Norma Desmond, an aging silent-film queen, and William Holden, as the struggling young screenwriter who is held in thrall by her madness. From the unforgettable opening sequence — a body found floating in a decayed mansion’s swimming pool — through the inevitable unfolding of tragic destiny, “Sunset Boulevard” is the definitive statement on the dark and desperate side of Hollywood. 

The film also stars Erich von Stroheim as Desmond’s discoverer, ex-husband and butler, and Nancy Olson as the bright spot amid unrelenting ominousness. The screening will include an exclusive commentary from TCM Host Ben Mankiewicz. 

Participating movie theaters in our neck of the woods include AMC Loews Stony Brook 17, 2196 Nesconset Highway, Stony Brook at 2 and 7 p.m. on both days; Farmingdale Multiplex Cinemas, 1001 Broadhollow Road, Farmingdale on May 13 at 2 p.m. and May 16 at 7 p.m.; and Island 16 Cinema de Lux, 185 Morris Ave., Holtsville on May 13 at 2 p.m. and May 16 at 7 p.m. To purchase your ticket in advance, visit www.fathomevents.com.

Social

9,203FansLike
0FollowersFollow
1,119FollowersFollow
33SubscribersSubscribe