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Lights, Camera, Action in Culpeper

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mount-pony-theaterThere are almost as many different ways to watch movies today as there are movies themselves: on television (broadcast, cable, satellite, video on-demand, DVR), on disc (DVD or BluRay, at home or on the road), or in digital version on countless varieties of portable devices.

But can anything truly top the experience of watching a film in the most “retro” of ways — in a theater, on the big screen, with great projection, sound and the communal setting of other film buffs surrounding you?

The Library of Congress’s Packard Campus for Audio-Visual Conservation in Culpeper, Va., will be recreating the movie magic of days gone by in its gorgeous, state-of-the-art, Art Deco-style theater. The new theater next week kicks off its free film series with selections from the National Film Registry.

The theater (not to mention the conservation center itself) is chock-full of wonderful things, such as the ability to screen just about any movie format imaginable — including nitrate stock, making the theater one of only a handful of such facilities in the nation. As you can see from the photo, an organ can rise from a pit to accompany silent films, just as it was done at the dawn of Hollywood.

Even if you don’t live in or especially near Culpeper, the experience might be worth the trip!

A little more depth and background from the Culpeper Star Exponent can be found here.

UPDATE: The theater now has its own page on, here.

The full line-up, and what to know if you’d like to partake, follow the jump …


Sept. 4 — 7:30 p.m., The Maltese Falcon (Warner Bros, 1941)
Sept. 5 — 7:30 p.m., The Maltese Falcon (Warner Bros, 1941)
Sept. 6 — 2:00 p.m., The Wizard of Oz (MGM, 1939)
Sept. 9 — 7:00 p.m., Shane (Paramount, 1953)
Sept. 12 — 7:30 p.m., Singin’ in the Rain (MGM, 1952)
Sept. 13 — 2:00 p.m., King Kong (RKO, 1933)
Sept. 16 — 7:00 p.m., Morocco (Paramount, 1930)
Sept. 19 — 7:30 p.m., The Night of the Hunter (United Artists, 1955)
Sept. 20 — 2:00 p.m., Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Walt Disney, 1937)
Sept. 23 — 7:00 p.m., Bringing Up Baby (RKO, 1938)
Sept. 26 — 7:30 p.m., Trouble in Paradise (Paramount, 1932)
Sept. 27 — 2:00 p.m., Gunga Din (RKO, 1939)
Sept. 30 — 7:00 p.m., Ninotchka (MGM, 1939)


Oct. 3 — 7:30 p.m., Shadow of a Doubt (Universal 1943)
Oct. 4 — 2:00 p.m., Duck Soup (Paramount, 1933)
Oct. 7 — 7:00 p.m., Out of the Past (RKO, 1947)
Oct. 10 — 7:30 p.m., Casablanca (Warner Bros, 1943)
Oct. 11 — 2:00 p.m., 42nd Street (Warner Bros, 1933)
Oct. 14 — 7:00 p.m., Adam’s Rib (MGM, 1949)
Oct. 17 — 7:30 p.m., All About Eve (20th Century-Fox, 1950)
Oct. 18 — 2:00 p.m., Lassie Comes Home (MGM, 1943)
Oct. 21 — 7:00 p.m., High Noon (United Artists, 1952)
Oct. 24 — 7:30 p.m., The Bank Dick (Universal, 1940)
Oct. 25 — 2:00 p.m., Gone With the Wind (MGM, 1939)
Oct. 28 — 7:00 p.m., The Grapes of Wrath (20th Century-Fox, 1939)
Oct. 31 — 7:30 p.m., The Bride of Frankenstein (Universal, 1935)


Nov. 1 — 2:00 p.m., The Day the Earth Stood Still (20th Century-Fox, 1951)
Nov. 4 — 7:00 p.m., Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (Columbia, 1939)
Nov. 7 — 7:30 p.m., Love Me Tonight (Paramount, 1932)
Nov. 8 — 2:00 p.m., Pinocchio (Walt Disney – RKO, 1940)
Nov. 11 — 7:00 p.m., All Quiet on the Western Front (Universal, 1930)
Nov. 14 — 7:30 p.m., Letter From An Unknown Woman (Universal, 1948)
Nov. 15 — 2:00 p.m., His Girl Friday (Columbia, 1939)
Nov. 18 — 7:00 p.m., City Lights (United Artists, 1931)
Nov. 21 — 7:30 p.m., Top Hat (RKO, 1935)
Nov. 22 — 2:00 p.m., Yankee Doodle Dandy (Warners Bros, 1943)

From the release:

“Tickets for the film series are not required, but reservations may be made by calling (540) 827-1079, extension 79994, during business hours beginning one week before any given screening. Reserved seats must be claimed at least 10 minutes before show time, after which standbys will be admitted.”

Comments (2)

  1. I totally agree. Watching movies on the big screen is the absolute best way to enjoy any movie. The trend today, with newer, larger homes, is to include a media room in the floorplan.

  2. I wish that all more “retro” theater would pop around. I love the look and feel and it provides you with an extra value to big screen experience.

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