Starting Sept. 4, the Library of Congress will offer a picture-perfect dream for cinema buffs – classic movies shown three times a week in a new art deco theater, reminiscent of the movie palaces of the 1920s and 1930s.
“Rarely today are so many classic American films shown in 35mm in a single location under such ideal new conditions,” said Mike Mashon, head of the Moving Image Section of the Library’s Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division (MBRS).
The 200-seat theater is located in the Library’s state-of-the-art, recently opened Packard Campus of the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center on Mount Pony near Culpeper, Va. It is one of only five theaters in the country equipped to show original classic film prints on nitrate film stock as they would have been screened in theaters prior to 1950.
The Mount Pony theater also features a custom-made organ that can rise from a pit in the stage. “Watching silent films accompanied by live music will allow patrons a richer cinematic experience,” Mashon said.
Sponsored by MBRS, the film series will mark the first public showings at the Mount Pony theater. The series, running from Sept. 4 through Nov. 22, will showcase selected short subjects and feature film classics such as “The Maltese Falcon,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “42nd Street” and “Gone With the Wind.” All of the feature films are on the Library’s National Film Registry, a list of culturally, historically or aesthetically significant films that are preserved for all time.
Tickets for the film series are not required, but reservations may be made by calling (540) 827-1079, extension 79994, during business hours beginning one week before any given screening. Reserved seats must be claimed at least 10 minutes before show time, after which standbys will be admitted.
The theater is located on the ground floor of the Packard Campus of the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center, 19053 Mount Pony Rd., Culpeper, Va. The program of films, which is subject to change without notice, is listed below.
For further information on the theater and film series, visit www.loc.gov/mtponytheater
The Packard Campus was made possible by the financial support from Packard Humanities Institute (PHI). The facility, with a construction cost of more than $155 million, represents the largest-ever private gift to the Library of Congress and one of the largest ever to the federal government. A public component of this 415,000-square-foot facility is the theater, which showcases state-of-the-art archival projection capability for nitrate film, 35mm, 70mm and modern digital cinema, featuring the highest sound quality.
“The creation of the theater was a labor of love for David Woodley Packard (president of PHI),” said Gregory Lukow, chief of MBRS. “He is a true believer in preserving the American cinema heritage and preserving the classic exhibition experience.”
The Packard Campus comprises three main areas: a collections building, where the Library’s moving images and recording sound collections of more than 5.7 million items will be housed under ideal conditions; a conservation building, where the collections will be acquired, managed and preserved; and a separate facility with 124 vaults, where nitrate films – which become more combustible as they age – will be stored safely.
The Library of Congress, founded in 1800, is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world. The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site, in its 22 reading rooms on Capitol Hill, and through its award-winning Web site at www.loc.gov
. Many of the Library’s rich resources and treasures may also be accessed via interactive exhibitions on a new, personalized Web site at www.myLOC.gov
Sept. 4 -- 7:30 p.m., The Maltese Falcon (Warner Bros, 1941)
Sept. 5 -- 7:30 p.m., The Maltese Falcon (Warner Bros, 1941)
Sept. 6 -- 2:00 p.m., The Wizard of Oz (MGM, 1939)
Sept. 9 -- 7:00 p.m., Shane (Paramount, 1953)
Sept. 12 -- 7:30 p.m., Singin' in the Rain (MGM, 1952)
Sept. 13 -- 2:00 p.m., King Kong (RKO, 1933)
Sept. 16 -- 7:00 p.m., Morocco (Paramount, 1930)
Sept. 19 -- 7:30 p.m., The Night of the Hunter (United Artists, 1955)
Sept. 20 -- 2:00 p.m., Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Walt Disney, 1937)
Sept. 23 -- 7:00 p.m., Bringing Up Baby (RKO, 1938)
Sept. 26 -- 7:30 p.m., Trouble in Paradise (Paramount, 1932)
Sept. 27 -- 2:00 p.m., Gunga Din (RKO, 1939)
Sept. 30 -- 7:00 p.m., Ninotchka (MGM, 1939)
Oct. 3 -- 7:30 p.m., Shadow of a Doubt (Universal 1943)
Oct. 4 -- 2:00 p.m., Duck Soup (Paramount, 1933)
Oct. 7 -- 7:00 p.m., Out of the Past (RKO, 1947)
Oct. 10 -- 7:30 p.m., Casablanca (Warner Bros, 1943)
Oct. 11 -- 2:00 p.m., 42nd Street (Warner Bros, 1933)
Oct. 14 -- 7:00 p.m., Adam’s Rib (MGM, 1949)
Oct. 17 -- 7:30 p.m., All About Eve (20th Century-Fox, 1950)
Oct. 18 -- 2:00 p.m., Lassie Comes Home (MGM, 1943)
Oct. 21 -- 7:00 p.m., High Noon (United Artists, 1952)
Oct. 24 -- 7:30 p.m., The Bank Dick (Universal, 1940)
Oct. 25 -- 2:00 p.m., Gone With the Wind (MGM, 1939)
Oct. 28 -- 7:00 p.m., The Grapes of Wrath (20th Century-Fox, 1939)
Oct. 31 -- 7:30 p.m., The Bride of Frankenstein (Universal, 1935)
Nov. 1 -- 2:00 p.m., The Day the Earth Stood Still (20th Century-Fox, 1951)
Nov. 4 -- 7:00 p.m., Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (Columbia, 1939)
Nov. 7 -- 7:30 p.m., Love Me Tonight (Paramount, 1932)
Nov. 8 -- 2:00 p.m., Pinocchio (Walt Disney – RKO, 1940)
Nov. 11 -- 7:00 p.m., All Quiet on the Western Front (Universal, 1930)
Nov. 14 -- 7:30 p.m., Letter From An Unknown Woman (Universal, 1948)
Nov. 15 -- 2:00 p.m., His Girl Friday (Columbia, 1939)
Nov. 18 -- 7:00 p.m., City Lights (United Artists, 1931)
Nov. 21 -- 7:30 p.m., Top Hat (RKO, 1935)
Nov. 22 -- 2:00 p.m., Yankee Doodle Dandy (Warners Bros, 1943)