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Classic Film Group Looking for New Film Enthusiasts

By Steve Whiteman
After a half hour of commercials and two hours of explosions at the multiplex, have you ever had the feeling that there must be a better way to spend a Saturday night at the movies?
The Woodland Hills classic film seminar “Life is Too Short to Watch Lousy Movies,” set to begin its tenth year, has some openings for congenial film attendees get guaranteed seating with some space-available places from time to time. There is no charge for the films or the programs.
Many movie selections are recognized classics with the majority from Hollywood’s Golden Age. The rest of the selections are from other eras or countries. The features this year have included the granddaddy of all romantic comedies, “It Happened One Night” (1934), with Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert; the Hitchcock thriller “Notorious” (1946), with Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman; and the Federico Fellini comedy-drama “Nights of Cabiria” (1957). In September, the group was startled by the uncensored, fully-restored version of the Barbara Stanwyck 1933 pre-code film “Baby Face.” In November, they will celebrate Halloween with an eerie chiller from the 1940s.
The group meets on the first Saturday of every month, and each occasion is conducted like a friendly, laid back seminar. No background in film is necessary. Meetings are moderated by Steve Whiteman, a long-time film buff with a 12,000-item video library. Space allowing, screenings are open to all who show up as confirmed and who treat the movie and each other with respect.
All genres are represented, and Steve provides background information about each motion picture and the historical context in which it was made. In addition to the movie, there are snacks and drinks provided by participants, a trivia contest each month (with prizes!), and Steve provides plenty of supplemental reading material at each meeting as well.
Because the evening is more than just a “movie night,” those interested should have a look at the group’s website ClassicFilmAppreciation.webs.com, which explains how things work and includes detailed program examples, photos from meetings, and testimonials. Anyone who would like to be notified of future films may sign up for the mailing list as a space-available Drop In participant on the Contact Us page of the site. After attending a couple of screenings, you can sign up as a Regular, and that will guarantee you a seat at all future screenings and additional benefits. Steve can answer questions at ClassicFilmAppreciation@gmail.com.

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