Dryden Theatre rings in the season with holiday movies

Willy Wonka and one of its stars kick off the series; holiday films include Muppet Christmas Carol, The Nightmare Before Christmas, It’s a Wonderful Life

For Release 2011-10-27

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — As the museum is sugar-coated with dozens of gingerbread creations this holiday season, the Dryden Theatre is also getting a sugar high, as the star of Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory comes to town for a 40th anniversary screening of the family-fave film at

7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26. Former child actor Peter Ostrum (a.k.a. Charlie) will introduce the film and talk with the audience after the screening. The audience will have a golden ticket to first-hand from Ostrum what it was like to be a on the magical set and on location in Germany. Advance tickets for that screening go on sale Saturday, Oct. 29, at eastmanhouse.org or in person at Eastman House.

The Dryden’s roster of holiday films continues throughout December, concluding with a double feature on New Year’s Eve. The lineup includes some classics, some novelties, and, yes, It's a Wonderful Life. All films are regular Dryden admission: $8 adults/$6 children and students.


Dryden Theatre Holiday Films 2011

7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26

Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory

In Person! Peter Ostrum (a.k.a. Charlie)

Everlasting Gobstoppers! Oompa Loompas! Oh my! It’s been 40 years since the debut of family favorite Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (Mel Stuart, US 1971, 100 min.). When Charlie (Peter Ostrum) finds the golden ticket in his Wonka Bar, he wins not only a tour of the super secret candyland paradise overseen by the mysterious Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder), but a lifetime supply of chocolate as well! As he embarks on this adventure of a lifetime with four spoiled children in tow, he discovers a world beyond his wildest dreams open only to those pure of heart. At the Saturday evening screening, hear first-hand from Ostrum what it was like to be a child actor on the magical set and on location in Germany.


2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 27

Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (Mel Stuart, US 1971, 100 min.) 

Additional screening of the beloved classic (with no guest star)


8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3 and 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4

Black Christmas (Bob Clark, Canada 1974, 98 min., 16mm) It’s Christmas break on campus, and a group of sorority sisters who decided to stay behind (including Olivia Hussey and Margot Kidder) find themselves harassed by an anonymous phone caller. A modern horror classic that predates Halloween and the slasher craze by half a decade, Black Christmas avoids shocks and gore in favor of suspense, atmosphere, and a chilling sense of creeping dread.


8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9 and 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11

Christmas In Connecticut (Peter Godfrey, US 1945, 104 min., 16mm) In this fascinating and very funny late entry in the screwball cycle, Barbara Stanwyck plays a Martha Stewart-esque domestic goddess who advises housewives on how to become gracious homemakers. In truth she’s a single career gal who can’t even cook, and who types her popular magazine column in a cramped New York City apartment far from the rolling hills of Connecticut. When her bamboozled boss (Sydney Greenstreet) insists she invite a handsome war hero (Dennis Morgan) to her “farm” for the holidays, she has to scramble to make her perfect life a reality.


8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10 and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11

The Nightmare Before Christmas (Henry Selick, US 1993, 76 min.) Tim Burton’s stop-motion masterpiece! When Jack Skellington, Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, stumbles upon the portal to Christmastown, he can’t believe his eyes. Even though he doesn’t quite understand what this Christmas and “Sandy Claws” is all about, Jack wants a piece of the action and sets out to take the holiday back to Halloween Town.


8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16 and 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18

We're No Angels (Michael Curtiz, US 1955, 106 min.) Not every Christmas movie features a deus ex machina in the slithery shape of a poisonous viper, but this delightfully oddball comedy isn’t typical holiday fare. After escaping from Devil’s Island, prisoners Humphrey Bogart (reuniting with his Casablanca director Michael Curtiz), Peter Ustinov, Aldo Ray and a viper named Adolphe, hide out in a small village store. The jailbirds plan to rob the place before skipping town, but don’t count on the Christmas spirit and their own better natures.


8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17 and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18

The Muppet Christmas Carol (Brian Henson, US 1992, 85 min.) Michael Caine is perfectly cast as everyone’s favorite miser, although Gonzo the Great as Charles Dickens is perhaps a bit of a stretch! Yet, this Dickensian version of Muppet mayhem is perfectly suited to its beloved source material and the spirit of the holidays.


8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 23

It's a Wonderful Life (Frank Capra, US 1946, 130 min.) The first post-war effort of Frank Capra and James Stewart, It’s a Wonderful Life is an examination of a man’s life marked by despair and disillusionment. It takes an angel to remind Stewart of just how full and worthwhile that life has been, providing a moral backbone for his hometown, Bedford Falls. Darker and more complex than you may remember, It’s a Wonderful Life is essential viewing on the big screen.


8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 30

The Three Stooges: Attention Nyuk-leheads

The Dryden Theatre is proud to present an evening of inspired idiocy featuring five lunatic shorts from Columbia Pictures’ perennially popular pranksters. Included on the bill: Ants in the Pantry (1936); We Want Our Mummy (1939); You Natzy Spy (1940), reportedly the first Hollywood film to satirize Hitler; In the Sweet Pie and Pie (1941); and Loco Boy Makes Good (1942).


Saturday, Dec. 31: New Year’s Eve Double Feature!

7 p.m. The Thin Man (W.S. Van Dyke, US 1934, 93 min., 16mm)

9 p.m. After The Thin Man (W.S. Van Dyke, US 1936, 113 min., 16mm) 

Spend New Year’s Eve with two swells guaranteed to never end the night on a sober note. William Powell and Myrna Loy gave their most iconic performances as Dashiell Hammett-originated husband-and-wife detective team Nick and Nora Charles over the course of six swanky MGM productions. In the first, Nick and Nora solve a murder over the course of a Manhattan dinner party; then, the couple (and beloved terrier Asta) returns to San Francisco and gets wrapped up in another murder, with every hood in the city a suspect (and an old acquaintance of Nick’s). Two films, one admission price.

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Admission : Adults $14, Seniors (62+) $12, Students (with ID) $5, Children 12 and Under Free · Members Free

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