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Shirley Jones coming to the Plaza Classic Film Festival!


July 10

Shirley Jones, the Academy Award-winning stage and screen star, will appear with two of her most highly regarded movies — “Oklahoma!” and “Elmer Gantry” — at the seventh annual Plaza Classic Film Festival.

The El Paso Community Foundation presents the seventh annual edition of the world’s largest classic film festival Aug. 7-17 in downtown El Paso. More than 80 movies, concerts and other events will take place during the 11-day festival.

Shirley Jones will discuss the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “Oklahoma!” at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 8, with a screening of the movie to follow. She will talk about the riveting drama “Elmer Gantry” at 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 9, with the movie to follow. Both will be in the historic Plaza Theatre.

She also will sign autographs from 1-2:30 p.m. Aug. 9 at the Camino Real Hotel.

“El Paso is such a great American city, about to pay tribute to two great American motion pictures, ‘Oklahoma!’ and ‘Elmer Gantry,’” she said. “I am very proud of these films and honored that I was invited to be there for their screenings.”

Eric Pearson, president and CEO of the El Paso Community Foundation, added: “Since her debut in the 1950s, Shirley Jones has had a stellar career as a multi-award-winning actor and performer on the stage, the screen and TV. We are proud to have her here.”

The Pennsylvania native, who turned 80 this year, has enjoyed an illustrious — and still active — career spanning seven decades. She made her Broadway debut in “South Pacific” at age 19 in 1953 after composers Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II discovered her.

They cast her, over several bigger names, to play wholesome farm girl Laurey in the 1955 movie version of “Oklahoma!,” her film debut, which includes beloved standards such as “Oh What a Beautiful Mornin’” and “People Will Say We’re in Love.” In 2007, it was selected for preservation in the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry.

Shirley Jones went on to star in other hit movies, including “Carousel” and “The Music Man,” but it was her first dramatic role — as a vengeful prostitute — in the 1960 drama “Elmer Gantry” that earned her an Academy Award for best supporting actress.

Shirley Jones the movie star became Shirley Jones the TV star after she was cast as the piano- playing matriarch of “The Partridge Family” from 1970-74 on ABC. The show co-starred her stepson, David Cassidy, and yielded a No. 1 hit song, “I Think I Love You.”

She has continued to work on stage and screen. Last year, Shirley became an author with the release of her best-selling autobiography, “Shirley Jones: A Memoir.”

Tickets for her appearance with“Oklahoma!” are $10, $6 for “Elmer Gantry.”

Tickets for the Plaza Classic Film Festival are on sale at the Plaza Theatre box office, Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster.com and 800-745-3000. Movies scheduled this year include “The Wizard of Oz,” “Rear Window,” “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.”

Festival passes are $200 and include admission to all PCFF movies, discounts, special events and a jump-the-line option. Plaza Classic Film Club passes — for teens 14 to 18 — are $100 and include admission to all festival movies, a jump-the-line option and other perks.

They are available at plazaclassic.com or by calling 915-533-4020.


PCFF featured movies: From Marilyn to Tricky Dick


June 18

As the seventh annual Plaza Classic Film Festival draws closer, we thought we’d bring you up to date on the movies we’ll be showing in the featured 7 p.m. prime time slot.

The world’s largest classic film festival, produced by the El Paso Community Foundation, runs Aug. 7-17 in and around the Plaza Theatre. We’ll show about 80 movies and bring in several special guests, including NMSU icon Mark Medoff (who’ll appear with his Oscar-nominated “Children of a Lesser God” on Aug. 14).

We’ll be announcing more guests soon.

As for those 7 p.m. prime time movies, all of which will be in the Plaza Theatre, all but one have been confirmed. We’ll let you know about that one as soon as we can.

Here’s a rundown:

• “The Seven Year Itch” (Aug. 7) — We open the seventh edition with this 1955 romantic comedy featuring Marilyn Monroe and that billowing white dress.

• “Oklahoma!” (Aug. 8) — We’ll roll out a digital restoration of the 1955 Rodgers and Hammerstein classic that’s as big as the plains.

• “The Wizard of Oz” (Aug. 9) — We couldn’t resist bringing back Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion, the Tin Man and one of the most popular movies of all time in honor of its 75th anniversary.

• “Rear Window” (Aug. 10) — It’s also the 60th anniversary of this enduring voyeuristic thriller from Alfred Hitchcock, starring James Stewart, one of a handful of his movies we’ll be showing this year.

• “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” (Aug. 11) — Interracial marriage is the focus of this thoughtful 1967 comedy starring Sidney Poitier, Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy.

• “Crimes of the Heart” (Aug. 12) — Beth Henley will talk about how she transformed this 1986 dark comedy — starring Sissy Spacek, Diane Keaton and Jessica Lange — from a Pulitzer-winning play to the big screen.

• “A Hard Day’s Night” (Aug. 13) — Meet the Beatles, again! The Fab Four poke fun at themselves at the height of Beatlemania in this delightful comedy from Richard Lester, a new digital restoration that comes on the 50th anniversary of the movie and the band’s U.S. debut.

• “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” (Aug. 14) — It’s hard to believe that the second installment of the blockbuster series about a daredevil archaeologist played by Harrison Ford is 30 years old this year. We’ll celebrate that. Please, leave the bullwhips at home.

• “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly” (Aug. 16) — It’s the 50th anniversary of the spaghetti Western and what better way to celebrate than with this digitally restored masterpiece from Sergio Leone, starring none other than Clint Eastwood as the anti-hero and that haunting Morricone score.

• “All the President’s Men” (Aug. 17) — We’ll close with Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as real journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein in this true thriller about the Watergate scandal that led to President Richard Nixon’s resignation 40 years ago.

Festival passes are on sale now for $200 (includes admission to all events and the option to skip the line). Individual tickets will go on sale in July.


PCFF and EPMA team up for a movie poster exhibit


June 13

The Plaza Classic Film Festival, a project of the El Paso Community Foundation, joins the El Paso Museum of Art to shed light on something often taken for granted — the movie poster.

“No Subtitles Required: The Art of the International Film Poster” opens July 13 at the museum and features three dozen posters from 12 countries, each illustrating what EPMA Curator Christian Gerstheimer describes as a form where art, design and commerce intersect.

The film festival returns for its seventh year Aug. 7-17 and will show beloved classics such as “The Wizard of Oz” (Aug. 9), “Rear Window” (Aug. 10), “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” (Aug. 14) and “The Seven Year Itch” (Aug. 7).

The stylistically diverse exhibition, on loan from Plaza Classic program advisor Charles Horak and his wife Ann Horak, includes posters from 1952 through 1984 that illustrate “the popularity and portability of film worldwide,” Gerstheimer says.

It includes a Belgian poster of “North by Northwest,” a French take on Fellini’s “8 1/2,” a Japanese depiction of the Beatles “Help!,” plus film icons Marlon Brando, Marilyn Monroe and John Wayne. “No Subtitles Required” is grouped by genre — action, drama, samurai, sci-fi and Western. About a third of the exhibit is devoted to posters from Poland, including “Bus Stop,” created by artists under Communist rule.

“No Subtitles Required” will be up through Aug. 31 and is the first public showing of the Horaks’ private collection.

This is the fourth annual collaboration between the film festival and the museum. Previous exhibits have highlighted the costumes of Edith Head, costumes and jewelry from “The Ten Commandments” and production art.

In addition to the exhibit, PCFF has scheduled six movies and documentaries for the museum’s Energy Auditorium, including “Ice Age” (Aug. 9) and “Ice Age: The Meltdown” (Aug. 16), “An Inconvenient Truth” (Aug. 10) and “Whale Rider” (Aug. 17). They are in conjunction with the environmentally-themed exhibits “Vanishing Ice: Alpine and Polar Landscapes in Art, 1775-2012” and “Water, Water Everywhere: Paean to a Vanishing Resource.”