WASHINGTON – In the heart of the nation's capital,residents and visitors got together to watch a movie under stars Monday night. With their blankets or lawn chairs,several hundred people picnicked on a summer night and discovered the magic of classic cinema.
Washington's annual tradition has returned for its eighth season. The gigantic screen took its place on the National Mall – the Capitol itself was the screen's backdrop. In all,five classic movies were scheduled for Monday evenings through Aug. 14 – and the shows are free.
“It's my second time here,” Alex Federico,a musician in D.C.,said. “I come with my girlfriend. The ambiance is great,and people really enjoy the classic movies.”
Monday's show was “The Band Wagon,” the 1950s musical comedy starring Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse. Astaire plays a fading movie star trying to boost his career by starring in a Broadway musical. But not everyone was a fan of the movie.
Emily Windsor,a press person who left in the middle of the movie,said,“I come here once a year with friends. I like this place,but it depends also on the movies. I prefer the recent movies than classics.”
Suzanne Pinto,an HBO spokeswoman,estimated between 10,000 and 15,000 attended the first showing,“The Day the Earth Stood Still” on July 17. HBO sponsors the films along with Citi,formerly known as Citibank. Pinto would not say how much the companies spent on the festival.
With friends,family or a partner,Washingtonians and vacationers brought snacks,popcorn and drinks to picnic and take pleasure in the warm summer night.
“Last Monday,I knew that they were doing this,so I came tonight,even if it is not my kind of movie,I came to enjoy the beautiful night. It's better that staying at home,I will come back for ‘Rocky.' I like that movie,” said Matt Whipple,23,a Washington teacher.
Three movies remain to be presented. They all are classic cinema that has its fans,especially when it is a free entertainment.
Screen on the Green Schedule:
July 31 – “Bullitt” (1968)
Aug. 7 – “To Have and Have Not” (1944)
Aug. 14 – “Rocky” (1976).