Be ready to fall in love with Liza all over again, as the third season of the Landmark Loew's Jersey Theatre's monthly classic film screenings kicks off Friday, Oct. 10. America's most famous mother and daughter entertainers, Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli, will keep Jersey City residents dancing and singing.
Featuring two well-known movies and one rather obscure one from early in Garland's career, the weekend event at the historic theater in the heart of Journal Square will allow regional movie lovers a chance to enjoy films that are rarely shown on the big screen, Loew's director Colin Egan said Friday. Projected onto a 50-foot-wide screen, the prints will also be shown using carbon arc illumination, which maximizes the intensity and brightness of the light.
"It's a unique opportunity to see Judy and Liza almost side by side and enjoy the riveting stage presence and electric combination of innocence and sensuality that mother and daughter share," Egan said. "It's fascinating to watch the movies back to back. You truly become aware of the similarities between mother and daughter."
The idea came about when a member of the Loew's' film committee mentioned that he had never seen a double bill of a Garland film and a Minnelli one.
"It stopped everyone cold in their tracks because we never remembered one either," Egan said. "It was an astounding idea."
On the bill
The season begins with an 8 p.m. showing of the rare The Clock, a little-known 1945 Judy Garland film from early in her career. The rest of the weekend will feature a Saturday screening of the 1972 favorite Cabaret, and A Star is Born on Sunday.
The Clock, which was directed by Garland's soon-to-be-husband Vincente Minnelli, takes place in 1940s New York as a WWII soldier on a two-day leave unexpectedly falls in love with Garland's character. Described as containing stunning pictures of old New York, the film features a rare view of the old Pennsylvania Station, the architectural marvel that was destroyed to make room for Madison Square Garden.
"The background views of New York City are extraordinary," Egan said. "They're gorgeous. The city even becomes a character. It brings the two characters together, but because it's so big and time is so pressing, it works to rip them apart."
"There are very few revivals [of The Clock] in theaters today," Egan added.
Saturday's feature presentation is Cabaret, the hit 1972 musical starring Liza Minnelli, Joel Grey and Michael York. Taken from a 1966 Broadway musical by Bob Fosse, the story is based on Christopher Isherwood's Goodbye to Berlin book, which uses the image of a Berlin cabaret as an allegory of German society's descent into Nazi rule.
Recently revived on Broadway, Cabaret is regarded as a transformative moment for musical theater because it elevated the art form by intertwining entertainment with social history. The play's overt allusions to human sexuality made it a groundbreaker when it was first produced, and it still has the capacity to challenge audiences today.
"It still stands as one of the most provocative mainstream movies ever made," Egan said of Cabaret. "It broke all sorts of barriers and now, 30 years later, it continues to stand up as a provocative musical and an entertaining one at that."
The last film in the Loew's' inaugural event is A Star is Born, the 1954 favorite starring Garland and James Mason. When it was first released, the film marked Garland's return to the silver screen after a four-year hiatus.
"A Star is Born is considered by many critics as Judy Garland's finest movie," Egan said. "It's where she finally outgrew her image as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz."
Admission for each screening is $6 for adults and $4 for seniors and children 12 years of age and younger. The theater, located at 54 Journal Square, is directly across the street from the Journal Square PATH Transportation Center.
Off-street parking is also available.
Call the theater at (201) 798-6055 for more information. q