Philipsburg

Rowland series brings classic films back to big screen

Top: The Rowland Theatre marquee is easily visible on Front Street in Philipsburg. Above: The auditorium retains the vintage architecture of when the theater was built in 1917 by Charles Hedding Rowland.
Top: The Rowland Theatre marquee is easily visible on Front Street in Philipsburg. Above: The auditorium retains the vintage architecture of when the theater was built in 1917 by Charles Hedding Rowland. CDT file photos

In a land filled with silver screens that are increasingly dominated by remakes and reboots, the concept of showing original classic films is almost revolutionary.

On Saturday, the Rowland Theatre will continue its Rowland Reels film series with a 9 p.m. screening of “The Quiet Man,” the 1952 drama/comedy starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara.

The John Ford-directed film is the latest golden oldie to grace the Philipsburg cinema, which kicked off its series with a showing of the 1940 romantic comedy “His Girl Friday” last Valentine’s Day.

As a part of the series, the theater will screen a different classic movie on the second Saturday of every month following the evening’s 7 p.m. film.

“There are so many old classics that were so well done and I want people to see them on the big screen,” said Chris Wilson, a member of the board of directors at the Rowland Theatre.

According to Wilson, the concept behind Rowland Reels came to life on a night that traditionally favors the dead. Last Halloween, the theater screened a double-feature of “Night of the Living Dead” and “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

More than 100 people attended the event, some sporting costumes and props from the Jim Sharman comedy classic. Wilson said the response to the screening gave board members the final push they needed to seriously consider showing classic movies on a more regular basis.

“We had a lot of people ask us about older movies,” Wilson said.

Films are selected based on a monthly theme; this month’s pick was chosen in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.

“The Quiet Man” tells the story of a retired American boxer, played by Wayne, who returns to the Irish village where he was born. John Ford won the Oscar in 1953 for his direction.

Next month’s pick will offer a salute to silent film star Charlie Chaplin, a tribute that will arrive almost a week before the filmmaker’s birthday on April 16.

Wilson said she hopes the classic films strike a chord with modern audiences so that the series can continue.

“We would love to see it be successful,” Wilson said.

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