Lights, Camera, Summer

Paramount film series starts with a double-barreled bang


The lights dim.

Trumpets blare as we're greeted by the old Warner Brothers logo. Then, fade into the African continent circa 1941 while the orchestral music shifts to a more exotic theme with Arabic undertones. Then Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, and Paul Henreid’s names. Then: "Casablanca."

The credits keep rolling, but by the time the music transforms again into "La Marseillaise," we’re no longer in the theatre; we’ve been transported to Northern Africa, where we're about to visit with Rick, Ilsa, and Victor Lazlo, with Sam and Sascha, and Carl, with Maj. Strasser and Capt. Renault – every one of them old friends.

For Austin cinephiles, summer doesn’t really begin until the Paramount opens its doors for the Summer Classic Film Series. Last night summer started with a bang, or maybe a double barreled shotgun blast, with the double feature of two Hollywood juggernauts: Casablanca and Annie Hall.

The hot, muggy day — paired with some organizational issues at the will-call windows and long concession stand lines — ruffled some moviegoers' feathers, but there’s something to be said for the soothing essence of the Paramount. Once you're in your seat, air conditioning cranked to 11, and talking about the hole that Houdini opened in the ceiling for one of his tricks, the hassle of getting in melts away, leaving only the expectation of a great night – and summer – ahead.

And that’s the promise of Paramount’s new film programmer, Stephen Jannise: a great summer of movies and a place to escape the oppressive weather and revisit old friends. His aim is to get us to look at familiar movies in a different way by making some unconventional movie pairing choices, like Casablanca (1942) with Annie Hall (1977), 12 Angry Men (1957) with Hunger (2008), or The 400 Blows (1959) with Fish Tank (2008), letting us come to our own conclusions on what those films have in common.

So get your dates lined up, pick your favorites, and head to the Paramount. Summer is finally here!

See our preview of the Summer Classic Film Series here. To see the full slate or to purchase tickets, visit the Paramount's website.

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