Film series kicks off new season of classics

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    Shirley Temple, Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire and Grace Kelly are just a few of the classic Hollywood movie stars returning to campus as the radio-TV-film Thursday Night Film Series resumes this evening.This film series, which features movies from various eras between 1930 and 1985 each semester, is open to the public, said Joan McGettigan, associate professor of RTVF.

    McGettigan said she began showing films in 1998 as a small series. Since then, the series has drawn crowds as large as 80 viewers.

    Tonight’s film, “The Glenn Miller Story,” is a Hollywood biography filmed in 1953. Jimmy Stewart portrays famous musician and composer Glenn Miller, whose music helped to define the Big Band sound of the 1940s, McGettigan said.

    Because the films are mostly Hollywood classics, they tend to draw an older crowd, McGettigan said. Her audience consists of mostly people from the Dallas/Fort Worth area and the surrounding communities, as well as faculty, staff and alumni, rather than students, she said.

    “It’s hard to get students involved in black and white films,” she said, “especially if they aren’t familiar with the actors and actresses of the era.”

    McGettigan said she thinks everybody can identify with most of the characters in the classic films, even if they have little prior knowledge of the films.

    “The quality and dialogue is something any audience can relate to,” McGettigan said.

    When given a list of the films showing this semester, Jazen Merrill, a freshman nursing major, said she wasn’t interested in attending the film series.

    “I’ve never heard of any of these films or the people in them,” Merrill said.

    However, Chandler Smith, development director of College of Fine Arts, said students would benefit from attending the film series.

    Smith said it’s important that films are shown for educational purposes and not particularly to cater to students through showing the movies they want to see.

    “College is the time for students to broaden their horizons,” Smith said. “There are so many films in this series that are worth being viewed.”

    Chris Josephson, a senior RTVF major, said that although he probably wouldn’t attend the film series, he likes that the series attracts people throughout the D/FW area.

    McGettigan said it’s important to have a community component within the film series.

    “It’s a lot of fun, and I’ve been able to meet people from all across campus and in the community,” she said.

    McGettigan said she is amazed that people come to the series to view films with an audience even though these are films that they can see on their own.

    “People come out of their way on a Thursday night for a film,” she said. “It’s really rewarding for me.