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Beat heat watching cool classics

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Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2013 at 04:17 PM

A longtime summer tradition begins again this weekend when Tampa Theatre's Summer Classics hit the movie screen.

Sunday through Aug. 19, the historic movie house boasts a matinee lineup with broad appeal.

This season's lineup is:

June 3 – "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" (1954): This high-spirited Western musical stars Jane Powell and Howard Keel about a man who brings home a wife to the family cabin, prompting his brothers to want the same kind of companionship. Michael Kidd's choreography during the barn-raising scene alone is worth the admission price.

June 10 – "Gilda" (1946): Rita Hayworth beguiles and sizzles in his film noir about the love-hate relationship between a gambler and the wife of his bad boss. Also stars Glenn Ford.

June 17 – "The 39 Steps" (1935): Robert Donat stars as an ordinary man thrust into an extraordinary situation in this Alfred Hitchcock mystery classic with a touch of comic relief.

June 24 – "The Gang's All Here" (1943): Alice Faye, Carmen Miranda and Phil Baker star in this over-the-top musical best known for Miranda dancing and singing "The Lady in the Tutti-Frutti Hat" amid a sea of gigantic fruit.

July 1 – "Planet of the Apes" (1968): The first film in the epic franchise has an astronaut crew crash landing on a planet in a distant future in which talking apes are dominant and humans are enslaved. Stars Charlton Heston as the astronaut befriended by apes Cornelius (Roddy McDowell) and Zira (Kim Hunter).

July 8 – "Shaft" (1971): An empowering action classic, which starred Richard Roundtree as a private eye hired by a mobster to find his kidnapped daughter, kicked off Hollywood's Blaxploitation genre. The movie's theme song is legendary.

July 15 – "Edward Scissorhands" (1990): This magical tale about a young man with scissors for hands who falls in love with a young woman was partially filmed in the Tampa area. It also was the first collaboration between director Tim Burton and actor Johnny Depp.

July 22 – "Laura" (1944): It doesn't get more twisted than this tale of a police detective (Dana Andrews) falling in love with the woman (Gene Tierney) whose murder he's investigating.

July 29 – "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" (1953): Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe co-star in this comedy about singers on a cruise ship being pursued by a private eye. The movie is best known for Monroe in a fab pink dress singing "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend."

Aug. 5 – "Gone With the Wind" (1939): As God as our witness, we will watch this Civil War classic again! Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable, Leslie Howard and Oscar-winner Hattie McDaniel star in this epic love story about a Southern belle and the man who got away.

Aug. 12 – Alfred Hitchcock's "The Lodger" (1927): The silent offering of the Summer Classic series features live musical accompaniment by Steven Ball on the Mighty Wurlitzer Theater Organ. The movie, about a serial killer terrorizing London, is called the "first true Hitchcock film" because it contains many of his stylistic and thematic trademarks — including the famed director's first cameo.

Aug. 18-19 – "Casablanca" (1942): A movie so great, it has to screen twice. Celebrating its 75th anniversary, this oft-quoted film starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman and Paul Henreid has it all — a love triangle, a war, a great song ("As Time Goes By"), an underworld boss, a petty crook, Nazis, a best friend, an epic goodbye and a long last walk into the fog.

All screenings feature a pre-show at 2 p.m. that includes a quick theater tour and a concert on the Mighty Wurlitzer Theater Organ.

At select screenings, Harriet Deer, professor emeritus at the University of South Florida, will provide insight into the movies' cultural significance (June 3, 10, 17, 24 and July 22).

Joe Bardi and David Russell of Creative Loafing's "Reel Projections" podcast will discuss "Planet of the Apes" on July 1. And Times film critic Steve Persall will talk about "Shaft" on July 8.

All shows start at 3 p.m. and regular feature tickets are $9. Tickets for "The Lodger" are $12 for adults and $10 for children, seniors, military and Tampa Theatre members.

Tampa Theatre is at 711 Franklin Street in downtown Tampa; (813) 274-8981 or visit www.tampatheatre.org.

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