Sunday, October 30, 2011

Double Feature at Loews Landmark: Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

Not even the snow storm that hit North Jersey yesterday could keep David and I from going to Loews annual Halloween weekend of classic film viewing. Yes, I said SNOW! We got about 4 -6 inches of heavy snow that turned to slush. In our town and the surrounding communities, there were many tree limbs down. In some areas north and west of our town, they got double digit accumulations. I hope this does not indicate what's to come!

The start of the season's first snow fall in October!
 The trip to the Loews was a bit  messy -- but well worth the effort! The first feature of the evening was  Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. This film has always been a favorite of mine. I love the fact that this movie brings together Frankenstein's monster (Glenn Strange), the Wolf Man (Lon Chaney Jr.), and Count Dracula (Bela Lugosi). In previous Universal films with these three monsters, John Carradine portrayed Dracula. In fact, Universal wanted Carradine but he was unavailable. I have always considered this a wonderful twist of fate. Carradine was a great actor, but Lugosi was Dracula. To have the original portrayer of Dracula in the role brought some special to this movie.

Display of memorabilia in Loews lobby
The audience absolutely loved this film! Lou Costello's humor is timeless. His physical comedy as well as the delivery of his lines is impeccable. To say laughter filled the theater when Lou did his schtick is an understatement. I think his style has stood the test of time. In addition, I think NJ film fans have a special place in their hearts for Lou Costello. After all, he was born and raised in Paterson, NJ.

There were numerous families with children at this showing. I have always thought this film was the perfect introduction to the world of Universal monsters. It is fun and not too scary. It's a great way for kids to learn who the monsters are and at the same time laugh at the comedy created by Abbott and Costello. Lou especially embodies the every man who would be scared and shocked to discover that these monsters do exist. I am thrilled that a new generation of filmgoers is experiencing and enjoying the same classic movies that I love.

The second film on the double bill was the 1920 silent film classic The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. This German Expressionist film is a beautiful work of art. It truly should be seen on the big screen. The use of shadows and the skewed, handpainted backgrounds have so much impact when seen on a 50 foot screen. In addition, there was live organ accompaniment. If you have never heard the Wonder Morton Organ, you have missed a great treat. Most importantly, watching a silent film with live organ music truly transports you to the era of the film.

More memorabilia in Loews lobby

In closing, I can only reiterate what I say so often. I am truly blessed to have a wonderful venue like Loews Landmark available to me. The volunteers plan excellent weekend film series. Furthermore, the attention they pay to detail is outstanding. Take this weekend for instance. The House on Haunted Hill was presented in EMERGO! The pulley system was left up and the skeleton returned at various times during the weekend event. The organist who played on Saturday night was dressed in Phantom of Opera style clothing. In addition, there were smoke effects around the organ when he finished his numbers. It doesn't get much better!

Here is a link to this great theater in case you want to learn more.


  1. We had a GREAT time !
    Something I will always remember !

    Good job on the article honey !

  2. Gilby, I'm so glad that you had a good time in spite of the unexpected weather. I live in Tucson, where the temps. were in the 90s. :)

    Not to worry.. you can get even with me in June. ;)

  3. Dawn, I actually like the seasons. I think I might miss the change in weather. Fall and spring are my favorite seasons.

  4. Fall and Spring, are so beautiful. Also, my favorite time of year. Although.. I do not like it when it is cold enough to snow...