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May & June Films and Special Events at the Colonial

The Colonial Theatre will be hosting a number of films and special events throughout the months of May and June. Beginning this Friday with the First Friday Fright Night screening of Maniac, there is sure to be something for everyone to enjoy.


Sun, May 15 @ 4PM
Paul Mariano. US. 2011. NR. 86 min.

What do the films Casablanca, Blazing Saddles and West Side Story have in common? Besides being popular, they have also been deemed “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant” by the Library of Congress and listed on The National Film Registry. These Amazing Shadows, an 85-minute documentary, tells the history and importance of the Registry, a roll call of American cinema treasures that reflects the diversity of film, and indeed the American experience itself. The current list of 550 films includes selections from every genre – documentaries, home movies, Hollywood classics, avant-garde, newsreels and silent films. These Amazing Shadows reveals how "American movies tell us so much about ourselves…not just what we did, but what we thought, what we felt, what we aspired to, and the lies we told ourselves.

Sun, May 22 @ 4PM
Mark Cousins. UK. 2009. NR. 76 min.

The First Movie is a tribute to the imaginative resilience of children. When filmmaker Mark Cousins and his crew travel to Goptapa, a small Kurdish Village in Northern Iraq devastated by Saddam Hussein's regime, they discover children who have known nothing but war their entire lives and have never experienced the magic of cinema. The filmmakers sew together a movie screen from old sheets and set up a projector, instantly creating a movie theater that plays children's classics in the village center. But the real magic happens when the children receive Flip camcorders and create their own movies filled with a child's wonder and boundless imagination. The resulting films are the true gift of The First Movie; they are tickets to see a different Iraq, and the world, through a child's transformative eyes. The film conveys the power of cinema to enchant and inspire, even amidst the bloodshed of war. "A terrifically enjoyable and engaging film: open-minded and open-hearted, and utterly unlike the material on regular commercial release" (Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian)


Sun, May 8 @ 2PM
W.S. Van Dyke. US. 1936. NR. 113 min.

Because of the tremendous success of The Thin Man (last week’s Sunday Classic), MGM produced this first sequel, again starring Myrna Loy and William Powell(and Asta) and filled with the sophisticated wit and suspense that exemplified this long-running series. This adventure moves the action from New York to San Francisco, to deal with intrigue and murder within Nora’s family circle. Among the top-notch supporting cast are James Stewart (in one of his first featured roles), Elissa Landi, Sam Levine, Penny Singleton, and George Zucco. So, if you like your whodunnits clever, sophisticated and fast moving, then you will find this to be a sequel without equal. (Bill Roth) Screened on DVD.

Sun, May 15 @ 2PM
William Wyler. US. 1946. NR. 172 min.

After Pearl Harbor and the United States’ entry into World War II, Myrna Loy took a hiatus from acting (other than for one Thin Man adventure in 1944) and worked steadily for the Red Cross and other causes for the duration. It is most fitting that this patriotic and dedicated woman chose to return to the screen in this particular film, a monument to and apotheosis of the struggles of soldiers returning from a long, hard war. The Best Years of Our Lives is considered by many to be one of the high-points of American film, with its remarkable embodiment of the atmosphere and issues facing American society at the time. Robert Sherwood’s film adaptation of MacKinley Kantor’s book tells the stories of three returning veterans (Fredric March, Dana Andrews and Harold Russell) as they re-enter civilian life and is a masterpiece that still resonates today. Ms. Loy is truly affecting in her understated portrayal of March’s wife, helping him to cope with a family that has grown more independent in his absence. In addition to its Best Picture Oscar, this film garnered Awards for March, Sherwood, William Wyler (Best Director), editing, score, and for Harold Russell (a non-professional actor and veteran who had lost both hands in the War who memorably brings to life the struggles of a young soldier learning to trust the love and acceptance of his family and his high school sweetheart.) A powerful film filled with wit, insight and pathos, this is American movie-making at its best. It will make you laugh, cry, and be proud to be an American. When was the last time that happened for you? (Bill Roth)

Sun, May 22 @ 2PM
Irving Reis. US. 1947. NR. 95 min.

Who can blame teen-aged Shirley Temple for having a crush on sophisticated bachelor playboy artist Cary Grant? Well, her elder sister, a judge portrayed by Myrna Loy, for one. And when Shirley, uninvited, sneaks into Cary’s apartment in an attempt to convince him that she would be a suitable model, of course Cary is brought up on a morals charge before the wise and witty Myrna. What follows is a clever and eventful farce, with Cary improbably “sentenced” to become Shirley’s escort for a week, until the girl overcomes her infatuation. Though the premise is, admittedly, quite silly, it provides Cary with plenty of opportunities for hilarious takes and physical comedy, as he emulates teen-aged antics and attitudes, while Myrna bemusedly enjoys his predicament and gains a new appreciation for the man. The genuine fun here is in watching the interaction of Cary and Myrna, two consummate pros, as they grow in admiration and enjoyment of each other. (Bill Roth) Screened on DVD.

Sun, May 29 @ 2PM
Walter Lang. US. 1950. NR. 86 min.

"Though it's impossible to gauge just how much of it is true, this endearing family comedy (based on the book by their children Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey) is inspired by the true story of the husband-and-wife efficiency experts Frank and Lillian Gilbreth and their adventures raising 12 kids at the turn of the century. Director Walter Lang takes a loping pace through the episodes of family life: the kids descend upon the new school in force while Dad (fussy Clifton Webb) offers his unsolicited views on education; Dad takes his oldest daughter (wholesome Jeanne Crain) to the school dance and becomes the hit of the ball; a mass tonsillectomy becomes an opportunity todocument the ordeal as an experiment in efficiency. Myrna Loy almost steals the film in her one standout scene, holding back a smirk while a birth-control advocate (played by Mildred Natwick) solicits this mother of 12 to speak at a rally, but her martini-dry comic deadpan is criminally underused in this picture, which is dominated by Webb's stern, military-like parenting and Crain's adolescent crises. Though this sometimes overly sentimental classic never builds to any real dramatic plateau or comic highlights, it maintains an even tone of good humor and warmth throughout, capturing a bygone era through the travails of a loving family. (Sean Axmaker, Screened on DVD.


Sun, Jun 12 @ 2PM
Howard Hawks. US. 1932. NR. 93 min.

“This pictorial recapitulation of the high lights of Chicago's recent history of crime is an adaptation by Ben Hecht of a book by Armitage Trail. It is a stirring picture, efficiently directed and capably acted, but as was once said of "The Covered Wagon," that it was all very well if you liked wagons, so this is an excellent diversion for those who like to take an afternoon or an evening off to study the activities of cowardly thugs.” (Mordaunt Hall, The New York Times, 1932)

Sun, Jun 18 @ 10AM
Francis Ford Coppola. US. 537 min.

We're celebrating Father's Day with a Godfather marathon on Saturday. We're showing all three films on 35mm (the theatrical versions) starting at 10am. Advance purchase tickets are recommended.
Showtimes: The Godfather: 10:00am - 12:55pm; The Godfather II: 1:45pm - 5:05pm; The Godfather III: 6:00pm - 8:42pm.
Tickets: Adults: $8 for one screening or $20 for all three; Seniors/Students: $6 for one screening or $15 for all three; Children/Members: $5 for one screening or $12 for all three
Please note that tickets bought in advance at the box office or over the phone are subject to a $1 per ticket service fee. Online is the fastest, cheapest way to buy tickets.

Sun, Jun 19 @ 2PM
Abraham Polonsky. US. 1948. PG. 78 min.

"Force of Evil is a cold, hard, relentless dissection of a bitter, aggressive young man who let's himself get in too deep as the lawyer for a "policy racket" gang. And as such it is full of vicious people with whom the principal boy associates, it reeks of greed and corruption and it ends in death and despair. But for all its unpleasant nature, it must be said that this film is a dynamic crime-and-punishment drama, brilliantly and broadly realized. Out of material and ideas that have been worked over time after time, so that they've long since become stale and hackneyed, it gathers suspense and dread, a genuine feeling of the bleakness of crime and a terrible sense of doom. And it catches in eloquent tatters of on-the-wing dialogue moving intimations of the pathos of hopeful lives gone wrong.” (Bosley Crowther, The New York Times, 1948)
Force of Evil: Preservation funded by The Film Foundation. Print courtesy of the UCLA Film and Television Archive.

Sun, Jun 26 @ 2PM
Joseph L. Mankiewicz. US. 1955. NR. Running time: 150 min.

"Guys and Dolls is a bang-up film musical in the top-drawer Goldwyn manner, including a resurrection of the Goldwyn Girls. The casting is good all the way. Much interest will focus, of course, around Marlon Brando in the Robert Alda stage original and Jean Simmons as the Salvation Army sergeant (created by Isabel Bigley), and they deport themselves in inspired manner. They make believable the offbeat romance between the gambler and the spirited servant of the gospel.Vivian Blaine is capital in her original stage role. Frank Sinatra is an effective vis-a-vis in the Sam Levene original of Nathan Detroit and among the four they handle the burden of the score. The action shifts from the Times Square street scenes to the Havana idyll, where Brando had taken the mission doll ('on a bet'). " (Variety, 1955) Oscar Nominations: Best Color Cinematography, Color Costume Design, Color Art Direction, Scoring of a Musical Picture.


Fri, May 6 @ 9:45PM
William Lustig. US. 1980. R. 87 min.

NEW! Director William Lustig will be here, at the theatre, to introduce Maniac and do a Q&A after the screening!
It'd be tempting to go as far as to deem Maniac an avant-garde work, but its ends are not explorative nor is it in any way groundbreaking or, by standard definitions, "good." Maniac simply exists as a wretched yet unforgettable succession of scenes meant to corrupt even the purest of minds, if you can help yourself from laughing uncontrollably at its overwhelming amount of inconsistencies. It's an oddity even among oddities, if for no other reasonthan it was marginally successful. (Chris Cabin, Slant Magazine)

Fri, June 3 @ 9:45PM
W.D. Richter. US. 1984. PG. 103 min.

"The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai Across The Eighth Dimension hit theaters in 1984, in the midst of a glut of post-Raiders Of The Lost Ark throwback adventure stories. Amid all the Allan Quartermains, Remo Williamses, and Indiana Joneses, who could be expected to take note of a deadpan science-fiction comedy about a neurosurgeon rock-star superhero and his rugged team of colorfully code-named specialists? Buckaroo Banzai washed out in theaters, but the home-video crowd quickly caught up with director W.D. Richter and screenwriter Earl Mac Rauch's detailed world, a papier-mâché playset pasted together from the torn pages of Zen philosophy texts and Silver Age comics.” (Noel Murray, The Onion AV Club)


Fri, May 20 @ 9:45PM
Greydon Clark. US. 1985. R. 90 min.

“When two Italian mobsters kill his partner, it’s up to Thomas Jefferson Geronimo (MST3K favorite Joe Don Baker) to dispense his brand of old western justice. This is a fish out of water tale of extraordinary proportions, with the totally unappealing Joe Don Baker at his unappealing-ist and Mike, Crow and Servo at their zing-iest. Take one Texas lawman with a penchant for gun fighting and eating Twinkies, add two Italian Mafioso’s on the run and a heaping Joe Don Baker. Shake and pour over a tall glass of the Island of Malta. Serve to a man and his two robots in space. So if you think you can take it, go ‘head on. It’s your move.” (Chuck Francisco) Screened on DVD.


TEDTalks Salons
Tue, May 17 @ 7PM
Tue Jun 21 @ 7PM

As we gear up for our second annual live TEDxPhoenixville event on Sep 24, we’d like to share some of our favorite TEDTalks with you. Join us each month for a different program of compelling and inspiring talks. Each evening’s program will consist of pre-recorded TEDTalks plus one live performance. The salons will continue once per monththru August and will take place in the theatre's third floor screening room. Seating is limited to 50 people. Tickets are $5 per person and can be purchased in advance at

Sun, May 8 @ 7:30PM • $22 - $39.50 • Reserved Seating

Nils Lofgren is an American rock guitarist, singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. Famous as a solo artist, he has spent the past 25 years as a member of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band. Nils was also a member of Crazy Horse and Grin. Reserved seating. Gold Circle: $39.50, Orchestra: $34.50, Front Balcony: $29.50, and Rear Balcony: $22.00. Ticket prices do not include the $2 per ticket Restoration Fee or the $1 per ticket Service Fee (max. $4). These fees will be calculated at check out. Tickets available with cash, check or credit card at the Colonial Theatre Box Office, or at Please note that the seats in the rear balcony have limited legroom.

Sun, Jun 5 @ 2PM
Presented by The Theatre Organ Society of the Delaware Valley

Featuring Rudy Lucente and Glenn Hough – together again for the first time - playing old favorites, classical theatre organ music and lots of surprises. Tickets are $10.00 foradults $5.00 children 12 and under. For additional information visit the Theatre Organ Society of the Delaware Valley online at; email; or call 215-780-0831.

Sat, Jun 11 @ 8PM
Presented by Beat the Drum Entertainment

An evening with the DePue Brothers Band to Benefit the Francisvale Home For Smaller Animals in Malvern, PA, America’s oldest no kill shelter. Join the DePue Brothers Band and our special guest host, Keith Brand of WXPN’s Sleepy Hollow for an astounding evening of ‘grassical’ experience as these 7 nationally heralded classically and jazz trained musicians bring us an evening of Bluegrass Fusion! Special guest banjo player Tony Trishka will be with the band for the 2011 benefit concert. Treat yourself and friends to VIP level tickets (premier seating) and receive invitations to the after concert party upstairs at the Colonial and take home an autographed copy of the Depue Brothers CD, ‘Weapons of Grass Destruction’ as part of your VIP package! Drinks and Desserts on the band and a meet and greet with ‘the boys’ themselves. VIP tickets are limited. Reserved seating. VIP Gold Circle: $125; Orchestra: $65; Front Balcony: $45; Rear Balcony: $30. Ticket prices do not include the $2 per ticket Restoration Fee or the $1 per ticket Service Fee (max. $4). These fees will be calculated at check out. Tickets available with cash, check or credit card at the Colonial Theatre Box Office, or at Please note that the seats in the rear balcony have limited legroom.


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