Two months of free Saturday afternoon matinees in the Victory Theater at AARLCC
By Steve Vinik
BROWARD COUNTY, FL – Before the Victory Theater is dismantled and the entire Fabulous Forties on the Avenue exhibit is removed at the end of December 2012, the library will hold two more months of free Saturday afternoon matinees in honor of African-American Research Library and Cultural Center’s (AARLCC) 10th anniversary in October.
Each Saturday in September and October beginning at 1 p.m., AARLCC will be showcasing the following films:
Sept. 15, 2012
· Casablanca – 1942 romantic drama directed by Michael Curtiz and featuring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. Set during World War II, the film focuses on a man torn between “love and virtue.” According to Roger Ebert, ‘Casablanca’ is “probably on more lists of the greatest films of all time than any other single title, including ‘Citizen Kane’ because of its wider appeal.”
Sept. 22, 2012
· Stormy Weather – 1943 musical features dancing great Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. Nearly every famous African-American entertainer of the 1940s performs in “Stormy Weather,” including Cab Calloway, Fats Waller, The Nicholas Brothers, Ada Brown and Katherine Dunham and her dancers.
Sept. 29, 2012
· Carmen Jones – 1943 musical update of Bizet’s opera “Carmen” during World War II with an African-American cast starring Oscar-nominated Dorothy Dandridge.
Oct. 6, 2012
· Shadow of a Doubt – 1943 drama directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The Newton’s eldest daughter, ‘young Charlie’ (short for Charlotte) invites her Uncle Charlie to stay at their house. However, Uncle Charlie is being pursued by a couple of detectives who suspect him of being “The Merry Widow Murderer.”
Oct. 13, 2012
· New Orleans – This 1947 film features the “birth” of American jazz music. Arturo de Cordova plays Nick Duquesne, the owner of a posh gambling house in turn-of-the-century New Orleans. Nick is chased out of town by the “good” people and finds hot jazz in Chicago, with bandleader Louis Armstrong and love interest Billie Holliday.
Oct. 20, 2012
· Imitation Of Life – The 1934 film features Claudette Colbert as an enterprising widow and Louise Beavers as her housekeeper, each with a young daughter. The friendship between the two women, one white and one Black, and the sacrifices they make for their daughters gives this film a greater depth than being a conventional melodrama.
Oct. 27, 2012
· It’s a Wonderful Life – 1946, a Frank Capra film featuring James Stewart and Donna Reed. Contemplating suicide after a life filled with financial frustrations and shattered dreams, George Bailey is visited by Clarence his guardian angel, and discovers what the world would be like if he hadn’t been born. “It’s a Wonderful Life” was nominated for five Oscars without winning any, although the film has since been recognized by the American Film Institute as one of the 100 best American films ever made.
This is the third film series for the Victory Theater. In February 2012, during Black History Month, free Saturday afternoon matinees of 1940s films were held in the theater and enjoyed by the public. In June, to honor the Juneteenth celebration, the library showed a variety of African-American films from different decades.
The Victory Theater is one of the featured exhibits of the Fabulous Forties on the Avenue. This yearlong exhibition—ending in December 2012—celebrates the era of the late 1940s and the neighborhood of Northwest 5th Avenue in Fort Lauderdale, the historically Black section of town. The exhibit pays tribute to an iconic stretch of road that motivated generations of Black families to push through the boundaries of segregation and form lasting bonds that led to survival, entrepreneurship and cultural reformation.
The African-American Research Library and Cultural Center is located at 2650 Sistrunk Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale, phone (954) 357-6282.