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Keanu and Sandra inside their runaway bus
"Speed" (1994)

This Month at the Packard Campus Theater — May 2023

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This month we present some of the best films ever made that feature a catastrophe!  On land, air or sea, Hollywood can always find a way to get itself into trouble, and audiences love it.  Natural disasters, sinking ships (oops, spoiler alert!), or just bad guys messing things up, May is going to be a pleasant disaster!

Dramatic image from film with Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton show running from tornado seen in background destroying a farmhouse
“Twister” (1996)

Friday, May 5 @ 7:30pm

“Twister” (Warner Bros., 1996)

Nothing like a good tornado to bring an estranged couple back together. Bill Paxton is a weather man and Helen Hunt is his soon to be ex-wife, a storm chaser. Can they save Oklahoma and their marriage?  (Color, 113 minutes)

Pink background in front of which is photos of Clark Gable and Jeanette MacDonald. Title of fim is written in script.
“San Francisco” (1936)

Saturday, May 6 @ 2pm

“San Francisco” (MGM, 1936)

Chicago had Mrs. O’Leary’s cow, the City by the Bay had the worst earthquake to ever hit the always shaky State of California. The fire caused by the big rumble interrupts a love story between Clark Gable and Jeanette MacDonald.  (Black & white, 115 minutes)

Dramatic illustration of pivotal scene in film where the ship turns over is depicted along with headshots of film stars, in yellow, at the bottom of this film poster
“The Poseidon Adventure” (1972)

Saturday, May 6 @ 7:30pm

“The Poseidon Adventure” (20th Century-Fox, 1972)

An all-star cast is aboard the S.S. Poseidon on its final voyage… but disaster strikes and what happens next is exactly what we all wished would have happened in every episode of “The Love Boat.” Gene Hackman leads this group of 1970s superstars.   (Color, 117 minutes)

Star-studded headshots of cast dot bottom of the film poster; illustration of jumbo jet against firery sky of red and orange
“Airport 1975” (1974)

Friday, May 12 @ 7:30pm

“Airport 1975” (Universal, 1974)

Somewhat of a sequel to “Airport” (1970), this film is about a midair collision and would become the basis for many parodies, even though they are oh, so serious in this film.  One clue to staying free of air disasters…keep clear of George Kennedy.   (Color, 107 minutes)

Illustration of various cast members from film, shown all together.
“The High and the Mighty” (1954)

Saturday, May 13 @ 2pm

“The High and the Mighty” (Paramount, 1954)

One of John Wayne’s best performances and one of director William Wellman’s greatest efforts, too.  Disaster isn’t in this one, thus giving us all the time to reflect on their lives.  You’ll be whistling the theme song when you exit the theater.  (Color, 147 minutes)


Illustration: 747 jet shown twisted into a pretzel-like shape against blue background
“Airplane” (1980)

Saturday, May 13 @ 7:30pm

“Airplane!” (Paramount, 1980)

What can be said about a film that pays homage to past disaster films and also started a resurgence of, not only film parodies, but also of disaster films?  (Color, 88 minutes)

Triptych of stars--Harry Belafonte, Inger Stevens and Mel Ferrer--shown above title of film.
“The World, The Flesh and the Devil” (1959)

Friday, May 19 @ 7:30pm

“The World, the Flesh and the Devil” (MGM, 1959)

More post-disaster than disaster is this film where a miner emerges from a cave-in (a disaster in itself) to discover that most of mankind has been destroyed by a nuclear holocaust.  The talented Harry Belafonte, who shows he is more than just a singer, stars.  (Black and white, 95 minutes)


Illustation of couple on wood plank in water.
“The Johnstown Flood” (1926)

Saturday, May 20 @ 2pm

“The Johnstown Flood” (Fox, 1926)

The print ad for the film says it all:  “Eight towns destroyed, 12,000 lives sacrificed, scenes of terror and moments of inspiring heroism!  Disaster sought to separate them but heroism reunited them, the thrilling romance of a boy and a girl who survived a terrifying experience.”  (Silent, black and white, 60 minutes + short subjects; musical accompaniment by Ben Model; print courtesy of George Eastman Museum)

Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock shown looking straight out as flaming bus is shown in lower right-hand corner
“Speed,” 1994

Saturday, May 20 @ 7:30pm

“Speed” (20th Century-Fox, 1994)

Keanu Reeves, Dennis Hopper and Sandra Bullock star in this iconic summer blockbuster about a bus wired to blow-up if it goes under 50mph!  Hold onto your seat, this film moves!  Although the real disaster is the film’s sequel.  (Color, 116 minutes)



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