Over the years, the Kentucky Theatre’s Summer Classics series has become something of a summer classic itself.
Since 2003, the beloved downtown movie house has unspooled — or, in recent years, spun — some of the best filmmakers have offered over the last century to fans happy to have a midweek excuse to go to the movies.
The lineup for the 2018 series has been unveiled with familiar films and new classics.
May 30: “The Godfather Part II” (1974) The sequel to Francis Ford Coppola’s 1972 classic goes back to look at the rise of Vito Corleone in the early 20th century (Robert De Niro) and paralleled with Michael’s (Al Pacino) tightening grip on and expansion of the family business in the 1950s.
June 6: “Saving Private Ryan” (1998) One of the biggest surprises in Oscars history was when “Shakespeare in Love” beat out this harrowing Steven Spielberg war classic starring Tom Hanks and Matt Damon. This is rated R for graphic war violence, so parents with young children will want to get a babysitter.
June 13: “Funny Face” (1957) They cannot have a Summer Classics series without an Audrey Hepburn film, and here’s this summer’s pick: Fred Astaire is a fashion photographer who discovers Hepburn’s bookstore stock girl during a photo shoot gone awry.
June 20: “North by Northwest” (1959) And we have to have a Cary Grant film (check) and Alfred Hitchcock (check!). This is the cross-country chase that takes us to Mount Rushmore and a very scary, often parodied plane vs. human sequence.
June 27: “Planet of the Apes” (1968) The original, Charlton Heston-Roddy McDowall classic that spawned many, many sequels including last summer’s “War for the Planet of the Apes,” which featured Central Kentuckian Steve Zahn.
July 4: “1776” (1972) If the series is going to fall on the Fourth, this historical musical is an obvious choice, until they bring “Hamilton” to the big screen.
July 11: “The Beatles Yellow Submarine” (1968) The Beatles set sail on the title vessel to rescue Pepperland from the Blue Meanies in this animated, psychedelic classic.
July 18: “Wizard of Oz” (1939) How many times do we have to tell you, if you haven’t seen it on the big screen, you need to see it?
July 25: “All About Eve” (1950) Aspiring actress Eve (Anne Baxter) gets close to aging actress Margo (Bette Davis) feigning admiration, though she really wants to steal her career and more.
Aug. 1: “Jaws” (1975) Take your beach vacation before seeing this Spielberg breakthrough.
Aug. 8: Marx Brothers double feature “Horse Feathers” (1932) and “Duck Soup” (1933) The first one is about a college football game. The second is about a crazy dictator. Both will make you laugh hysterically.
Aug. 15: “Murder on the Orient Express” (1974) With the Kenneth Branagh version out late last year, the Kentucky takes us back to a mid-70s vision of the Agatha Christie mystery with Albert Finney as Inspector Poirot and a cast of old Hollywood royalty such as Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman and more.
Aug. 22: Double feature: “Laura” (1944) and “Pickup on South Street” (1953) A noir lovers delight with Gene Tierney and Dana Andrews in the former, Richard Widmark, Jean Peters and Thelma Ritter in the latter.
Aug. 29: “The Big Lebowski” (1998) The Dude, it seems, now abides in a late summer slot on the Summer Classics schedule.
Sept. 5: “All the Kings Men” (1949) As we get back into the school year, we celebrate a Kentucky literary giant in Robert Penn Warren with the film version of his classic novel about political corruption.
As has been the rule for quite a while, show times are 1:30 and 7:15 p.m. and admission is $6. Learn more at Kentuckytheater.com.