Have a Good Cry at the Jacob Burns Film Center

Humphrey Bogart

Who from my generation doesn’t just adore Humphrey Bogart?  Is it even conceivable not to? Tell the truth Ladies. Wasn’t he the bad boy your mother didn’t know you dated. Years ago, sitting in the dark in the old RKO Strand in Far Rockaway with girlfriends, we could all fall in love over and over again with Bogie.   I, for one,  bawl  every time I watch Bogie say goodbye to Bergman in Casablanca. There’s still no better line than “Here’s looking at you kid.”   Well, we can all have a good cry at the Jacob Burns Film Center in the month of November, starting on the 5th.   Bring hankies for a real throw back. Nine of Bogie’s films will be shown.

Sure, you could watch these film noire movies at home in your jammies on Turner Classics.  But it wouldn’t be quite like the experience of an old movie theater.  There in the dark, you can hate Lauren Bacall for being so gorgeous and having Bogie as her mate.  And no one would give you a guilt trip over it either.  Well, we can all get to see the Bogie classics at the Burns in Pleasantville, which in another lifetime was the Rome Theater.  The theater was lovingly restored, and although the musty smells and creaky seats are gone, the ghosts of past performances are still around.  The Burns and others are part of a nationwide romance with saving old theaters. Luckily, we have several vintage ones here in Westchester.  As we speak, the old Picture House in Pelham is undergoing restoration and rebirth as a film center.  In Peekskill, the Paramount Center for the Arts happily draws audiences back to the downtown to see a movie or a show gazing every once in a while at the ornate refurbished ceiling overhead…certainly worth the price of a ticket.  Too bad about the RKO Keith and the Colony Theaters in White Plains.  No one had the foresight to save them.  But, there’s still a chance to restore the century old Capitol Theater in Port Chester.  You might say “Why bother?” Why indeed?  It’s expensive.  Building codes have changed. Costs have skyrocketed. There’s a mine field of historic ordinances. And yet, there’s the history and also the track record…restoring old buildings may be daunting in the beginning, but almost always old buildings bring new life to a neighborhood. So “Play it once, Sam, for old times sake.”

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