The Greatest Stories Ever Told

The 2010 Paramount Summer Film Classics

Almost as soon as humans started writing stories down, we started trying to crack the code on them, from Aristotle's Poetics to Joseph Campbell and Syd Field. The 19th century writer Georges Polti studied ancient Greek texts, too, claiming every story – be it girl meets boy, man makes monster, or small-town boy makes good – could be boiled down to one or more of the so-called Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations: lofty, capital-letter conditions like Mistaken Jealousy, Fatal Imprudence, and Conflict With a God. Take Polti's tersely majestic elucidation of the 20th situation, Self-Sacrifice for an Ideal: "a Hero; an Ideal; a Creditor or a Person/Thing sacrificed." I know, I know, it sounds a little snooty and academic – then again, what else but self-sacrifice for an ideal could you call a clenched-jaw Bogey chucking all to ensure the safe passage of his lover's husband out of Nazi-occupied Morocco? Casablanca kicks off the Paramount Theatre's annual summer series on Thursday, May 20; the series continues through September. The films, a handful of which we're profiling here, range from early silents to newly minted classics. Whether you've never seen them or you've seen them so many times you've lost track, we can guarantee every film will in some way feel familiar, universal, and relatable. They're the greatest stories ever told, and we never get tired of seeing them.


The 2010 Paramount Summer Film Classics series runs May 20-Sept. 12. See last week's insert for a complete schedule or visit www.austintheatre.org.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Paramount Summer Film Classics
That Thing They Do
That Thing They Do
The Paramount Summer Film Classics' season of stars

Kimberley Jones, May 22, 2009

More Screens Reviews
SXSW Film
SXSW Film Reviews: 'TPB AFK: The Pirate Bay Away From Keyboard'
Daily Reviews and Interviews

Richard Whittaker, March 15, 2013

SXSW Film
SXSW Film Reviews: 'We Cause Scenes'
Daily Reviews and Interviews

Wayne Alan Brenner, March 15, 2013

More by Kimberley Jones
Austin FC Is the Hottest Ticket in Major League Soccer
Austin FC Is the Hottest Ticket in Major League Soccer
First-day deposits on seats break MLS record

June 13, 2019

Booksmart
The kids are better than alright in Olivia Wilde's raucous, resonant comedy

May 24, 2019

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Paramount Summer Film Classics, Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations, Georges Polti, Casablanca, Splendor in the Grass, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, The Red Shoes, Ran, Black Sunday, Freaks, Batman, All That Heaven Allows, A Night at the Opera, The Last Picture Show, Brighton Rock

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle