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You may not be aware that every Wednesday in July and August, the Center for Contemporary Culture (CCC) at the Hartford Public Library screens old movies—completely free for your viewing pleasure! With a matinee showing at 1:30 and an evening screening at 5:30, the event is called “Way Back Wednesdays” and takes place in a large social space in the back of the Hartford Public Library on Main Street. Since the start of July, the CCC has shown movies from the 1930s, 40s, 50s, and 60s, working forward chronologically throughout the summer. Films include Sons of the Desert (1933), The Wizard of Oz (1939), Casablanca (1942), Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), Marty (1955), and continue this week with the James Dean classic Rebel without a Cause (1955).
The Hartford Public Library at 500 Main St, Downtown Hartford
I visited the Library last Wednesday to see Marty, which I later realized was the 1955 Oscar Winner for Best Picture! Although it may not be as well-known as the other “Way Back” movies (made clear by the very large number of empty seats in the room), Marty was a wonderfully simple story of a heavyset but big-hearted 34-year-old butcher, living alone in New York with his mother, who has yet to find the right woman. Things start to look up when he goes to a dancehall and meets Clara, a plain, 29-year-old school-teacher who has also given up on love. A short and sweet film, it spans the course of just one weekend, showing the wonders of their night together and Marty’s subsequent struggles to fend off objections from his skeptical mother and fellow bachelor friends.
Ernest Borgnine as the title role in Marty (1955)
Perhaps it was just the week I chose, but I found it very unfortunate that so few people showed up to enjoy such a great movie. If you have the chance this week or the next two Wednesdays—in which they’re showing the Elvis Presley musical Jailhouse Rock (1957) and the Marilyn Monroe/Clark Gable classic The Misfits (1961)—I highly recommend you stop by and enjoy these old movies which you may not get to see anywhere else—especially not for free!
For more information on Way Back Wednesdays, click here.