Cornell Cinema 40th anniversary peaks with restored "Metropolis" on Saturday

June 23, 2010


The lower theatre entrance to Cornell's Willard Straight Hall. The lower theatre entrance to Cornell's Willard Straight Hall. This week, Cornell Cinema kicks off a celebration of its 40th anniversary with four nightly events, Wednesday through Saturday. The celebration begins with tonight's outdoor terrace screening of the Beatles in 1964's "A Hard Day's Night," and culminates with Saturday's presentation of a newly restored print of Fritz Lang's 1926 "Metropolis."

Cornell's movie theatre operation screens popular films that have just left the commercial theatres, foreign films and independent films that otherwise wouldn't reach Ithaca, and vintage movies from the long history of cinema. Most movies are screened in the lower ground-floor theatre at the back of Willard Straight Hall, though additional campus auditoriums are and have been used during busy seasons.

Tonight's screening of "A Hard Day's Night" on the Willard Straight Terrace (accessible via the building's front door, or by climbing the stairs to the ground floor from the lower parking lot) is the latest in Cornell Cinema's successful summertime series, with movies projected on a screen hung from the Memorial Room windows.

Other upcoming outdoor screenings this summer are Tim Burton's "Edward Scissorhands" on July 7th and the 1934 Frank Capra classic, "It Happened One Night," on July 21st. Cornell Cinema says most of their outdoor screenings sell out in advance, so they recommend buying tickets early. Free snacks and a cash bar are available, and the screenings begin around 9:30pm. In the event of bad weather, the screenings move into the WSH Theatre.

Also playing this week are "For the Love of Movies" tomorrow, and the new release "It Came from Kuchar" on Friday. Friday evening's documentary screening, about experimental underground filmmakers and twin brothers George and Mike Kuchar, will be introduced by Richard Herskowitz, who directed Cornell Cinema from 1981-1994.

The long anniversary weekend ends with this Saturday evening's presentation of "Metropolis," a 1926 masterpiece set in a utopian future with a hidden underground worker society. The discovery in Buenos Aires two years ago of an unknown, complete 16mm print has allowed distribution of a complete version of the film for the first time in decades.

Roger Ebert's review of the restored "Metropolis"

The Alloy Orchestra, who formed to create a musical soundtrack for the then-90-minute version of "Metropolis" in 1991, will perform their updated and expanded score at Saturday's screening. Other silent film screenings on July 12th and 19th will be accompanied by pianist Dr. Philip Carli.

More information about the anniversary events and the Cornell Cinema summer schedule can be found at


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