Jack Burden: I tell you there's nothing on the judge.

Willie Stark: Jack, there's something on everybody. Man is conceived in sin and born in corruption.

         All the King's Men (1949)
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July Issue

Classic Film

The Drive In

In July we are off to the Drive In... a trip back in time in two ways. There are a lot less Drive ins than there once were, but those that are still operating continue to offer a unique cinema going experience.

In this Month's eZine we'll be looking back at the history of Drive Ins, looking at just one of the stars of the Drive In circuit, exploring the Genre of the Political Drama
, and looking at one of the great Directors who was before his time.

And don't forget to check out our website and leave a comment about your experiences at the Drive In.
The History of the Drive In
While most of us would accept that Drive Ins arrived at the same time as the explosion in private vehicle ownership in the 1950's, the first Drive in was actually opened in 1933 in New Jersey. The first Drive in film screened was Wives Beware, starring Adophe Menjou. Admission was 25 cents per car, and an additional 25 cents per passenger.

The first drive-ins project the film's soundtrack through loudspeakers located under the screen or on towers nearby. This likely upset the neighbours so in 1941, the familiar in-car speaker was introduced by RCA.
Australia was an early adopter of the Drive In concept with the first arriving in Western Australia in 1938. Although the American style drive in (the one we're most familiar with) didn't arrive until 1954 when the Skyline opened in the Melbourne suburb of Burwood. Drive in numbers in Australia peaked at 330. While most of those Drive Ins have now closed there has been something of a resurgence - the former Dandenong Panoramic Drive-in, in Victoria, has been reopened as the Lunar Drive-in and now boasts 4 screens making it Australia's largest drive-in theatre. In 2002 the Rodeo Drive-in at Mareeba re-opened, with the Tivoli Drive-in near Ipswich re-opening in 2008.

Of course we are fortunate to have Drive Ins still operating in Charters Towers and the Burdekin

For more interesting information about Drive ins, check out this link.
Classic Drive In Stars
Roy Rogers - a Rootin' Tootin' hit on the Drive In circuit
Born Leonard Franklin Slye on November 5, 1911, in Cincinnati, Ohio. In the late 1920s, Rogers' family relocated to California, where Rogers held various jobs, including fruit picker and factory worker. He got his start in the music business with his cousin Stanley, playing at square dances and local theaters. Shortly after, Rogers met Bob Nolan and Tim Spencer, and the trio began to play together, calling themselves the O-Bar-O Cowboys. The band went through various incarnations, performing as the Pioneer Trio, and the Sons of the Pioneers, and even appearing in several motion pictures.

Throughout his career, Rogers changed his name more than once. At the time of his stint with the Sons of the Pioneers, he was calling himself Dick Weston—the name he was credited with in his first film, Slightly Static (1935). In 1937, he became "Roy Rogers" after Republic Studio offered him a seven-year film contract. His big break came when he was cast to replace Gene Autry (following a contract dispute) in the starring role of Under Western Stars (1938). The film was a major hit with audiences, and Rogers went on to star in an average of seven singing B-Westerns every year until the early 1950s, all of which featured his trusty palomino, Trigger (which he purchased from the studio), and his dog, Bullet.

While Rogers was known as a singing cowboy, his rivalry with the better known Gene Autry helped boost both men's careers and in later years Rogers surpassed Autry at the box office. In an era when the musical Western was a popular film genre with audiences (especially in small town theatres and at the Drive in), Rogers became known as the "King of the Cowboys" after appearing in a film of the same name. Other films he made included Sunset in El Dorado (1945), My Pal Trigger (1946) and The Golden Stallion (1949). Espousing patriotism and heroism, he gained an enormous following of mostly young fans. With his endorsement of a multitude of products—from children's toys to cereal brands—Rogers, with Evans and Trigger, evolved into pop cultural icons.

If you'd like to catch an old Roy Rogers flick, check out 'Heart of the Rockies'.

B films were the staple of the Drive in circuit and helped to prolong the careers of actors such as Roy Rogers. They also provided an outlet for fringe filmmakers such as Ed Wood and later Russ Meyer.
Film genres
A good dramatic storyline needs two or more opposing characters, hidden motivations or agendas which are slowly revealed, high stakes, and a resolution that leaves our hero victorious and the villian vanquished. It even works if the villian is victorious, or if every character seems more or less villianous.

It seems to describe politics to a 'T'.And with the current state of politics (which has mostly degenerated into high farce) right around the planet, has a good political drama ever been a more sought after escpae from reality.

And given the nature of US politics, is it any wonder that the Americans have made so many political dramas... and ones which are so compelling.

And while you can look to recent television shows from around the world to find some great political dramas and you can look back on some classic Shakespearean political dramas, the Classic film era also provides some unmissable stories based on both fact and the imagination.

Some great classic titles include: All the President's Men, Mr Smith goes to Washington, Advise and Consent (which we're screening in November), Dr Strangelove, The Last Hurrah, The Battle of Algiers. All the Kings men (screening in July) and The year of living dangerously

More recent titles worth a look include: Wag the Dog, The Ides of March, The Last King of Scotland, Milk, Malcolm X, The Killing fields and Argo.

And then there are those with significant political content, like: Citizen Cane, On the Waterfront or even films like That Obscure Object of Desire where a political drama is unfolding in the background.

While you could be excused for being tired of politics, don't let that turn you off a great film genre. Take a look at one of the titles listed above, or join us in July or December when we are screening great political dramas.
Frank Capra
During the Great Depression, director Frank Capra became America's preeminent filmmaker, leavening despair with his irrepressible optimism of the Everyman triumphing over seemingly insurmountable odds.

A true rags-to-riches story himself, Capra rose above his working-class immigrant background to become a comedy writer for vaudeville star Harry Langdon, before turning to directing during the silent era. In 1931, he began his lifelong collaboration with writer Robert Riskin on socially-conscious films like "American Madness" (1932) and "Lady for a Day" (1933), which led to Oscar glory with the classic screwball comedy "It Happened One Night" (1934), the first movie to ever sweep the five major Academy Award categories.

Capra then entered a fruitful period with "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town" (1936), which he followed with the classic "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" (1939), starring James Stewart, who came to exemplify the director's prototypical idealist.
During World War II, Capra made several acclaimed wartime propaganda movies, including "Prelude to War" (1942), which won the Oscar for Best Documentary. Upon returning to Hollywood, he reunited with Stewart on "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946), a heartwarming tale that failed at the box office, but later became a perennial holiday classic.

The film proved to be Capra's last great achievement, as the director made several underwhelming films over the next two decades before officially retiring and moving out of Hollywood. With a career that celebrated patriotism, idealism and small-town American values, Capra's strength as a filmmaker marked him as a true giant of Hollywood's Golden Age.

You can watch Frank Capra receiving a Lifetime achievement award here.

Capra's films retain their popularity today. We are screening his mulit-award winning film 'It Happened one night' as a part of our drive in double... one not to miss under the stars at Tor's Drive in.


Saturday, 11th of July

6.30pm start

It Happened One Night (1934)

A spoiled heiress, running away from her family, is helped by a man who's actually a reporter looking for a story.
Winner of 5 Academy Awards (incl. Best Picture)

Comedy/ Romance    Rated: G    105 mins
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Saturday, 11th of July

As a part of a Double feature

All the King's Men (1949)

The rise and fall of a corrupt politician, who makes his friends richer and retains power by dint of a populist appeal.
Winner of 3 Oscars (incl. Best Picture), based on a Pulitzer prize winning Novel

Drama   Rated: M     110 mins
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