The Hope Cinema has a long and storied history. Perhaps its most iconic moment was when Sylvester Stallone, who was in Hope shooting Rambo: First Blood, used the theatre for a private screening of the soon-to-be-released Rocky III.
It’s a bit of cinematic history that still lives on in the hearts and minds of movie lovers in the area. But there is plenty more history inside the walls, and it’s all about to be celebrated as the Hope Cinema turns 75.
The Hope Cinema began in the post-war heyday of the silver screen, but has had its hard times over the years. Much like a Stallone character, it’s scrapped it out against home televisions, bigger theatres and a change in entertainment habits. It’s changed hands a number of times, and even closed for spells here and there, as documented by Inge Wilson on the cinema’s own website.
But after a number of renovations and changes, it’s stronger than ever. The Hope Film Club is celebrating on Thursday, Dec. 19, with a showing of Meet Me in St. Louis, an MGM Technicolour Musical from 1944 starring Judy Garland. It was filmed five years after she stole the world’s hearts in The Wizard of Oz.
The film starred Garland, Margaret O’Brien, Tom Drake and Marjoire Main and was directed by Vincente Minnelli (who later married Garland), and it was released in 1944. The musical features songs like The Trolley Song and Skip to My Lou. It also has a Christmas theme, which is one of the reasons it was chosen by the club for this celebration.
They chose the film as its 75 years old as well, and could easily have been shown here that opening year. But this is also the 75th club’s 75th feature presentation.
There will be cake along with the festivities. Doors open at 7 p.m. (Dec. 19) and the show starts at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $10 for adults ($8 for Hope Film Club members), and $4 for children. Children 12 and under get in free with a paying adult.