Movie News & Reviews

Nothing says summer like classic movies at The Kentucky: Here’s what’s playing

Prince, the star of and genius behind “Purple Rain,” debuted in 1984. The movie makes its Summer Classic series debut.
Prince, the star of and genius behind “Purple Rain,” debuted in 1984. The movie makes its Summer Classic series debut.

Summer in Lexington isn’t complete without catching one (or several) old favorites at the Kentucky Theater downtown.

The theater released its annual Summer Classic Movie series, and it has lots of familiar favorites again. But there are also nine movies that haven’t been in the summer schedule before.

This year’s list also features a five-title salute to 1939, most often referred to as “Hollywood’s Greatest Year,” according to the Kentucky Theater. These are “Stagecoach,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “Gone with the Wind,” “Son of Frankenstein,” and “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”

Showtimes are 1:30 p.m. and 7:15 every Wednesday. Tickets are $6 per person.

Here’s the schedule; asterisks mark movies making their series premiere. Descriptions from IMDB:

May 22 – “Purple Rain”* (Benefit for Friends of the Kentucky) The Prince movie debuted in 1984 and stars the singer as The Kid, plus Apollonia Kotero and Morris Day. “A young musician, tormented by an abusive situation at home, must contend with a rival singer, a burgeoning romance, and his own dissatisfied band, as his star begins to rise.”

“Stagecoach” is the ultimate classic Western, establishing John Wayne as a star and the iconic setting of Monument Valley as the look of the West.

May 29 – “Stagecoach”* “A group of people traveling on a stagecoach find their journey complicated by the threat of Geronimo and learn something about each other in the process.”

Jimmy Stewart, Grace Kelly and those gorgeous Edith Head clothes. “Rear Window” by Alfred Hitchcock will be back in the Summer Classic Movie lineup.

June 5 – “Rear Window” “A wheelchair-bound photographer spies on his neighbors from his apartment window and becomes convinced one of them has committed murder.”

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Another great Western, starring Tim Holt, Humphrey Bogart and Walter Huston.

June 12 – “The Treasure of Sierra Madre” “Fred Dobbs and Bob Curtin, two Americans searching for work in Mexico, convince an old prospector to help them mine for gold in the Sierra Madre Mountains.”

Another 1939 classic is “The Wizard of Oz,” with Bert Lahr, left, as the Cowardly Lion, Ray Bolger as the Scarecrow, Judy Garland as Dorothy, and Jack Haley as the Tin Man. Associated Press

June 19 – “The Wizard of Oz” “Dorothy Gale is swept away from a farm in Kansas to a magical land of Oz in a tornado and embarks on a quest with her new friends to see the Wizard who can help her return home to Kansas and help her friends as well.”

Harrison Ford stars as Indiana Jones in "Raiders of the Lost Ark." Paramount Pictures

June 26 – “Raiders of the Lost Ark” “In 1936, archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones is hired by the U.S. government to find the Ark of the Covenant before Adolf Hitler’s Nazis can obtain its awesome powers.”

This 1971 musical is making its Summer Classic Movie Series premiere and it's about time. Just try to watch and not sing along. Courtesy of Columbus State University.

July 3 – “Fiddler on the Roof”* “In prerevolutionary Russia, a Jewish peasant contends with marrying off three of his daughters while growing anti-Semitic sentiment threatens his village.”

Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn in 'Charade' (1963). With a cameo by Notre Dame.

July 10 – “Charade” “Romance and suspense ensue in Paris as a woman is pursued by several men who want a fortune her murdered husband had stolen. Whom can she trust?”

Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh starred in the iconic 1939 drama "Gone With the Wind." Courtesy Everett Collection

July 17 – “Gone with the Wind” “A manipulative woman and a roguish man conduct a turbulent romance during the American Civil War and Reconstruction periods.”

A film noir classic, “Kiss Me Deadly” makes its summer movie debut. It’s based on a Mickey Spillane novel starring his classic detective, Mike Hammer.

July 24 – “Kiss Me Deadly”* “A doomed female hitchhiker pulls Mike Hammer into a deadly whirlpool of intrigue, revolving around a mysterious ‘great whatsit.’”

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Karloff, Lugosi, Rathbone, this classic horror film has them all.

July 31 – “Son of Frankenstein”* “One of the sons of Frankenstein finds his father’s monster in a coma and revives him, only to find out he is controlled by Ygor who is bent on revenge.”

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“The Goonies” is an early film written by Steven Spielberg and Chris Columbus, starring lots of people who went on to be famous, including Josh Brolin, Sean Astin and Martha Plimpton.

Aug. 7 – “The Goonies”* “A group of young misfits who call themselves The Goonies discover an ancient map and set out on a quest to find a legendary pirate’s long-lost treasure.”

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“Foreign Correspondent,” starring Joel McCrae and Laraine Day, is one the movies making its summer debut.

Aug. 14 – “Foreign Correspondent”* “On the eve of World War II, a young American reporter tries to expose enemy agents in London.”

Come for stars Maureen O’Hara and Charles Laughton but don’t forget Notre Dame.

Aug. 21 – “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”* “In 15th century France, a gypsy girl is framed for murder by the infatuated Chief Justice, and only the deformed bellringer of Notre Dame Cathedral can save her.”

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It’s “Blade Runner,” but with even more Harrison Ford and Sean Young.

Aug. 28 – “Blade Runner: The Final Cut”* “A blade runner must pursue and terminate four replicants who stole a ship in space, and have returned to Earth to find their creator.”

“The Big Lebowski” (1998), by brothers Joel and Ethan Coen, stars Jeff Bridges, Steve Buscemi and John Goodman. Cortesía

Sept. 4 – “The Big Lebowski” This is the traditional closer to the summer series, a great chance to break out your bathrobe and down a White Russian.

Bill Webber heads a 501(c)3 group currently charged with completing restoration of the theater organ, which was used during the silent movie era.