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carole lombard 01

Carole conquers the capital

Posted by vp19 on 2009.02.02 at 00:54
Current mood: embarrassedembarrassed

Sometimes you're caught by surprise, and I now have a perfect example.

I reside about 30 miles south of Washington, D.C. (the photo above shows the Supreme Court, Capitol, National Mall, Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial), but just now have learned that Carole Lombard is being honored here with a festival honoring the centennial of her birth -- and I thought such celebrations ended Dec. 31, the end of the calendar year. But hey, if you want to keep things going clear through Oct. 6, 2009, it's all right by me.

And just as Lombard's centennial isn't being celebrated in '08, the event isn't being held in Washington (or, should I say, the District of Columbia). Rather, it's a bit north of the D.C. line in Silver Spring, Md., at the AFI Silver Theatre:

The Silver has a fascinating history. It opened in Art Deco splendor in 1938, just as Washington's suburbs were beginning to grow. When Silver Spring's central business district began to thrive in the postwar era, the theater was well patronized. (Goldie Hawn, who grew up in nearby Takoma Park, probably attended her share of movies there as a teen in the fifties and early sixties, hardly knowing that in the 1970s, her image would regularly be projected onto that screen.)

But even Goldie's movies couldn't fight off the maturation and decline of older suburbs such as Silver Spring, and the Silver closed in 1986. It appeared headed for demolition until the American Film Institute came to the rescue by moving out of its D.C. digs and making it the AFI's eastern film center in 2003, restoring the place to its palatial glory as part of a downtown Silver Spring redevelopment project.

The AFI's Lombard salute -- "Carole Lombard: A Screwball's Centennial" -- is relatively unadventurous compared to what Film Forum in New York ran last fall...only 10 films, and one of them ("Twentieth Century") finished its brief run over the weekend. Nevertheless, seeing Carole cavort on the big screen, just as your grandparents (or great-grandparents) did, is always a worthwhile experience.

Here's the remainder of the schedule (all times p.m.):

* "My Man Godfrey" -- Tuesday, 9:45

* Hands Across The Table" -- Thursday, 7

* Double feature: "Virtue" and "White Woman" -- Sunday, Feb. 8, 3:15; Monday, Feb. 9, 7

* "Nothing Sacred" -- Friday, Feb. 13, 5:30; Saturday, Feb. 14, 1:15; Monday, Feb. 16, 7:15; Wednesday, Feb. 18, 6:30

* "True Confession" -- Saturday, Feb. 14, 5; Sunday, Feb. 15, 2:50; Tuesday, Feb. 17, 7

* "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" -- Friday, Feb. 20, 5; Sunday, Feb. 22, 3:30; Monday, Feb. 23, 9; Tuesday, Feb. 24, 9:15

* "Made For Each Other" -- Saturday, Feb. 21, 3; Wednesday, Feb. 25, 7

* "To Be Or Not To Be" -- Friday, Feb. 27, 2; Monday, March 2, 7; Wednesday, March 4, 9:15

For tickets and other information, go to http://www.afi.com/silver/new/nowplaying/2009/v6i1/lombard.aspx. And if you're coming by mass transit, the Silver is only two blocks north of the Silver Spring Metro station.

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