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Library’s Classic Film Series Celebrates the Swashbuckler

February 11, 2013 04:34 PM
If honor, chivalry, romance, and plenty of action strike you as the ideal antidote for winter weather and political headlines, then head to the Park Ridge Public Library this spring for "Crossed Swords," a new classic film series celebrating swordplay and the art of the great Hollywood swashbuckler.
Running from March 10 through May 30, the series will showcase 13 films that defined the swashbuckler genre during Hollywood’s golden age. Highlights include Robert Donat in The Count of Monte Cristo, Ronald Colman in the 1937 version of The Prisoner of Zenda, Fredric March in the rarely-screened The Buccaneer, and Tyrone Power in The Mark of Zorro.
The series kicks off on Sunday, March 10, at the historic Pickwick Theatre in Park Ridge. For Program Host Matthew C. Hoffman, the choice of opening there with The Adventures of Robin Hood, starring Errol Flynn, was a natural one.
"People who remember watching Robin Hood on television as a child will have a whole new appreciation for it when they see it at the Pickwick," says Hoffman. "Swashbucklers were created to fill the big screen with spectacular sets and larger-than-life actors – and Robin Hood is still one of the best in that regard."
Most of the other films will be screened at the Library on Thursday nights, but a second special showing takes place at the Pickwick on Sunday, April 28. Featuring The Black Pirate with Douglas Fairbanks, this screening also includes a live organ accompaniment by Jay Warren of the Silent Film Society of Chicago.
All the films will be preceded by shorts subjects and a brief introduction by Hoffman, who will take time to focus on the history of swordplay and how it evolved for the cinema.
Hoffman believes that his audience will also come to recognize that the classic swashbucklers went far beyond their reputation as light entertainment, speaking both to the reality of world events and to a natural human desire to believe in virtue.
"Swashbucklers dealt with moral choices and honorable behavior  in a way that resonated with people who were living through the Great Depression, world wars, and political unrest," he says. "And they appealed to everyone – men, women, and children – because their message rang true in a direct, visceral way."
That appeal, he believes, is stronger than ever. "Hollywood films today like to tear down heroes – or present them in a cynical fashion, as if they don’t trust people to take them seriously. That’s probably one reason why Hollywood is struggling."  
Discerning viewers who still love classic stories and great filmmaking are invited to vanquish cynicism with the following lineup of films:
(All films start at 7:00 p.m. unless listed otherwise)
Sunday, March 10                            The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) 102 min.
                             ​                         ​       (Screened at the Pickwick Theatre at 7:30 p.m.)
Thursday, March 14                        The Iron Mask (1929) 87 min.
Thursday, March 21                        The Count of Monte Cristo (1934) 119 min.
Thursday, March 28                        Captain Blood (1935) 119 min.
Thursday, April 4                             The Prisoner of Zenda (1937) 101 min.
Thursday, April 11                           The Buccaneer (1938) 124 min.
Thursday, April 18                          &nbs​p;The Man in the Iron Mask (1939) 110 min.
Thursday, April 25                           The Mark of Zorro (1940) 93 min.
Sunday, April 28                               The Black Pirate (1926) 85 min.
                                        &nbs​p;                    (Screened at the Pickwick Theatre at 7:30 p.m.)
Thursday, May 9                           &nb​sp;   The Sea Hawk (1940)127 min.
Thursday, May 16                             The Black Swan (1942) 85 min.
Thursday, May 23                             Adventures of Don Juan (1948)110 min.
Thursday, May 30                             Scaramouche (1952)115 min.
Please note that films being shown at the Pickwick Theatre have a cover charge of $5.00 for adults and $1.00 for children 12 and under.
For more information on the "Crossed Swords" film series, please visit the Library website at www.parkridgelibrary.org or the official blog at http://crossedswords2013.wordpress.com, or call 847-825-3123.

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