Believe In The Films You Like #Popeye & #TheWiz

#MiDNiGHTSFORMANiACS will be entertained & enlightened by two films featuring people who are (and sadly, now were) living legends during their life times. #Popeye & #TheWiz will be shown FRiDAY @ #TheCastroTheatre.

Popeye, the 1980 film, did not do so well critically & financially when initially released. It’s now being seen a bit more charitably, and perhaps will find a ‘home’ with a new generation who may turn out to become more appreciative than we expect, once exposed to screening opportunities such as this one, coming Friday–29 August 2014. It remains to be seen how screening opportunities for the next couple of generations will come about, considering the rapid demise of single screen houses & 35mm film projectionists.

Robin Williams as Popeye & Shelley Duvall as Olive Oyl bring the comic strip characters from the televised animation many of us knew as children during the 1950s-60s & give them a spin that enhances their depth, especially as they touch real issues of biological identity angst (Popeye) & eviction from one’s home (the whole Oyl Family).


The other film featured is #TheWiz (1978), based upon the book by L. Frank Baum, originally entitled The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. This film, too, derives from the long-established & popular classic film #THEWIZARDOFOZ. The Wiz was a remake of a classic specifically to engage black Americans in a universal application of the theme of the importance of knowing where your home is. Dorothy, played by Diana Ross, discarded the trappings of glamour, which had been embedded in her career, & made the simplicity of her soul her only resource. This was all she needed. Her journey was not about wealth, but about wisdom. Michael Jackson, also too soon gone, played the scarecrow (made) of garbage, and this Oz, based in New York City, features the now extinct World Trade Center. Dorothy once again finds the meaning of growth & renewed value in what home really means, made especially more important when threatened with it’s loss.

One of the greatest joys offered in this film is the legendary Lena Horne as Glinda The Good Witch of the South. #LenaHorne sings #BelieveInYourself, which was a show stopper. I remember seeing this film during it’s initial theatrical run, downtown #Indianapolis @ the #CircleTheatre, one of the last single houses left, Indianapolis having switched to multiplexes 15 years before that movement hit San Francisco. Her performance garnered a huge applause from the audience, something Indianapolis audiences seldom displayed. I knew who Lena Horne was, in a vague sort of way, but this commanding performance of hers sealed her into my psyche, and turned me into an instant fan. Being reminded of her loss, too, brings simultaneously a sadness, but a joy from knowing that she met the challenges of her day with a gusto tempered with class, a rare combination.


This will be an evening of challenge, moving on from loss, Robin Williams, Michael Jackson, The World Trade Center…and challenge to continue to find truth in from past generations of films that can resonate for all audiences, young, & those who are old enough to be familiar with the history of both films and what came before. This film series is taking a different spin, embracing films that were intended from the start to be “mainline” films, but were not well-accepted during the eras in which they were made. This night may be #JesseHawthorneFicks chance to turn some of that around.

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