The year: 1950. The location: Bucknell University’s Campus Theatre in downtown Lewisburg. There I was, sitting excitedly on the edge of my seat and anxiously awaiting the premier of the film as the red curtains opened to reveal the big white screen that would show me “Sunset Boulevard.” Only it wasn’t really 1950, it was earlier this afternoon. And it wasn’t the premier, although it sure felt that way.
Since matriculating at Bucknell University, I have been to the Campus Theatre on Market Street to watch a movie on two different occasions. The first time was during my freshman year; I can’t remember the movie that was showing, but it was a current one that had been released within the past two years. My second time seeing a movie at the Campus Theatre, earlier this afternoon, was an entirely different experience. Some may even call it authentic.
The movie that was shown this afternoon in celebration of the Campus Theatre’s 70th Anniversary was “Sunset Boulevard,” a 1950s American film noir directed by Billy Wilder. While I was watching the movie, I really felt like I was back in the 1950s, in a movie theatre watching the premier of Sunset Boulevard immediately upon its release from Hollywood. However, at the same time, my modern-day self could not help but notice the amazing distance that films and acting have come in the past sixty years.
As I sat and watched “Sunset Boulevard” and tried to make some connection between the movie and Business, Government and Society, the most obvious connection was the huge gap between the rich and the poor, shown through the amazingly wealthy movie stars in Hollywood and the penny-pinching “starving artist” script writers trying to make it big. It was fascinating how much this huge divide parallels the current situation in America. It just goes to show that history does repeat itself. Perhaps we should be watching old films more often to predict what the future of this country holds.
I was very happy that I decided to go see “Sunset Boulevard” at the Campus Theatre today. At the risk of sounding cheesy, it was truly an enchanting experience that one can not get at any movie theatre. I highly recommend going sometime this week to see one of the movies being shown for the 70th Anniversary film festival.