Because it was easily the most popular film in our first series of "Golden Oldies," "Ben-Hur" will make a return engagement as the free movie both Saturday and next Wednesday at the new Trolley Square Cinemas, located on the south side of Trolley Square, in the new series sponsored by the Deseret News and Cineplex Odeon Theaters.
Winner of more Oscars (11) than any other film in history, the 1959 "Ben-Hur" definitely benefits from being shown on the big screen as opposed to television's muting of its power and scope - not to mention the damage done when a nearly 4-hour movie is interrupted every 15 minutes for commercials.And if you think your kids won't sit still for a movie this long (this is the full 212-minute version, as opposed to the 165-minute version often shown on television), let me assure you they will - assuming MTV hasn't made their appetite so narrow that everything must move in speeded-up motion. I took three teenagers to one of the screenings of this film during our last series, and they were completely enthralled and moved to tears before it was over.
"Ben-Hur" is a powerful motion picture that stands the test of time well and not just for its awesome chariot race and seafaring scenes, but also for its compelling story and the strong way in which it is told. It will be shown only twice Saturday - at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
The other free films in this weeklong series are "Singin' in the Rain" (Sunday), "The Sting" (Monday), "Doctor Zhivago" (Tuesday), "Ben-Hur" again (Wednesday) and "You Can't Take It With You" (Thursday).
Each movie will play only one day, but there will be several showings throughout that day. The screenings are free with an original ad for the series from the Deseret News (there is one in this section today). Simply present the ad at the box office for two free admissions - if you want to take more people, just collect more ads (no photocopies, please). You cannot purchase tickets to these films; seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.
The new Trolley Square Cinemas is a four-plex on the south side of Trolley Square, 602 E. Second South. - Christopher Hicks.