FREEPORT, Ill. — Since the mid-19th century, science fiction films have slowly become a regular staple of the film industry. Covering topics of space travel, aliens and technology, this genre of films has led to innovations in special effects technology as well as social commentary.
As a tribute to this timeless film genre, the Lindo Theatre in Freeport, Ill., presents its next film series — ’50s Science Fiction. All show times are at 1 and 7 p.m. on select Wednesdays at the Lindo Theatre, 115 S. Chicago Ave., in downtown Freeport.
This film series is co-sponsored by the Stephenson County Museum and Highland Community College. Admission to the Science Fiction Film Series is $20 for the entire series or $5 per movie, and tickets are available at the Lindo Theatre box office. The series will kick off Jan. 9 with The Thing from Another World (1951).
Lindo’s ’50s Science Fiction Film Series will also bring these classics back to the big screen: Them!, Creature from the Black Lagoon and Invasion of the Body Snatchers. And, as an added bonus for those who purchase tickets to the entire series, the Lindo Theatre will offer complimentary admission to the 1962 musical film, The Music Man, April 24.
Schedule for the ’50s Science Fiction Film Series at the Lindo is as follows:
Jan. 9 — The Thing from Another World (1951): Considered to be one of the best films of 1951, this classic science fiction film stars James Arness as The Thing, a bloodsucking alien accidentally set loose upon the earth. Scientists and American Air Force officials discover a spacecraft frozen in the ice with its pilot, “The Thing,” inside. They take it back to their remote arctic outpost and mistakenly defrost it, leading to a terrifying series of events as they try to fend off this bloodthirsty organism. Starring James Arness, Margaret Sheridan, Kenneth Tobey and Robert Cornthwaite.
Feb. 6 — Them! (1951): One of the first “nuclear monster” movies featuring “big bugs,” Them! starts off as a simple suspense film with the FBI looking into mysterious disappearances and unexplainable deaths in New Mexico. When the FBI bring in Harold and Pat Medford, a father and daughter team of entomologists from the Department of Agriculture, the maniac killer on the loose turns into a completely different situation as they discover giant ants are attacking the locals. Starring James Whitmore, Edmund Gwenn, Joan Weldon and James Arness.
March 6 — Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954): A classic of the 1950s with two sequels, this monster horror film was one of the first from Universal to be filmed in 3D. A team of doctors on a geology expedition in the Amazon uncovers a fossil of a skeletal hand with webbed fingers. In an attempt to find the entire skeleton, they venture to the Black Lagoon where they encounter the amphibious “Gill-Man,” played by Ben Chapman, who has been watching them. The explorers capture the mysterious creature, but it breaks free. The Gill-Man returns to kidnap the lovely Kay, fiancée of one of the expedition, with whom it has fallen in love. Starring Antonio Moreno, Ben Chapman, Richard Carlson, Richard Denning and Julie Adams.
April 3 — Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956): An adaptation of the 1954 novel The Body Snatchers by Jack Finney, this classic extraterrestrial film follows Dr. Miles Bennell as he returns to his small-town practice to find several of his patients suffering the paranoid delusion that their friends or relatives are impostors. He is initially skeptical, especially when the alleged dopplegängers are able to answer detailed questions about their victim’s lives, but he is eventually persuaded that something odd has happened and determines to find out what is causing this phenomenon. Starring Kevin McCarthy, Dana Wynter and Larry Gates.
PLUS, A SERIES BONUS:
April 24 — The Music Man (1962): Confidence man Harold Hill arrives at staid River City intending to cheat the community with his standard scam of offering to equip and train a boys’ marching band, then skip town with the money since he has no music skill anyway. Things go awry when he falls for a librarian he tries to divert from exposing him while he inadvertently enriches the town with a love of music. Starring: Robert Preston, Shirley Jones and Buddy Hackett.
The films in the series have been selected with the assistance of Dr. Ed Finch, executive director for the Freeport Historical Museum, and Alan Wenzel, speech and communications instructor for Highland Community College. There will be a brief introduction before each movie and a discussion led by Dr. Ed Finch and Alan Wenzel following the movie. Movie-goers are encouraged to stay after each film to participate in this exchange.
From the Dec. 26, 2012-Jan. 1, 2013, issue