Get set for a galaxy of stars stopping by The Best Western Plus the evening of Saturday, Dec. 4th, for a parade of special-guest appearances second to none…on reel-to-reel 16mm film, that is. Starting at 7 pm, the hotel’s conference room will host a gala 70th-anniversary screening of 1951’s storied, all-star Technicolor biopic “The Magic Box,” turning it into a Mecca for regional film buffs if only for two hours.
An account of the life and times of William Friese-Greene, sadly forgotten inventor of motion pictures, “The Magic Box” was produced to augment the iconic Festival of Britain, a national exhibition and fair welcoming millions of visitors throughout the UK in the summer of 1951. Intended as a ‘tonic for the nation’, this spectacular cultural event (and template for Expo ‘67) attempted to raise the spirits of a country still recovering from World War II. Created to promote a feeling of resilience in the masses, the festival recruited everyone who was then anyone on British stage and screen to do their patriotic part in “The Magic Box.” This resulted in scores of wonderful cameos led by Laurence Olivier’s in the film’s most memorable scene, as a bobby suddenly pulled from his beat to witness, in utter astonishment, Friese-Greene’s first successful experiment with projected celluloid. In the key role of the festival’s cinematic ambassador, “The Magic Box” moves briskly from one captivating sequence to the next (draped in drippingly gorgeous stained glass-like three-strip Technicolor), with Oscar-winner Robert Donat’s brilliant performance as Friese-Greene the rudder that steers the whole enchanting enterprise to sublimity. In other words, don’t miss!
The Best Western Plus is located at 446 Rt. 3 in uptown Plattsburgh (adjoining 99 Restaurant). Free, with donations welcome (free refreshments as well). Register planned attendance by emailing email@example.com or text/call 518-802-1220.