On Friday, July 6th, 2012, UCSB Arts & Lectures, Santa Barbara County Arts Commission, Santa Barbara County Park Foundation, and the Community Services Department of Santa Barbara County present ROBOTS! SPACE ALIENS! BODY SNATCHERS!: Science Fiction Film Classics of the 1950s, a free summer cinema series that runs on most Wednesday nights through late August in UCSB’s Campbell Hall and most Friday nights at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse Sunken Garden.
The 3rd annual, free summer film series highlights the curatorial genius of UCSB Arts & Lectures Associate Director Roman Baratiak. This year’s incarnation comes at a time that science-fiction narratives are more popular than ever (think Hollywood genre blockbusters, special Sci-Fi editions of New Yorker Magazine, and San Diego’s Comic-Con International).
On Monday’s edition of “The Freak Power Ticket,” producer/host Ted Coe‘s conversation with Baratiak previewed the entire series, while sharing trailers, select tracks of science-fiction film music, and more. An edited podcast and webstream of this appearance is now available below!
The series presents key works from the Cold War era, starting with Robert Wise’s inversion of paranoid “Alien Invasion” stories, the pacifistic The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) screening outdoors only, on Friday, July 6th.
Next up is the Howard Hawks-penned/Christian Nyby-directed The Thing from Another World, a scary sci-fi thriller from the same year of 1951 (remade by the contemporary horror-meister John Carpenter in the early 1980s). The original moody masterpiece screens on Wednesday, July 13th and Friday, July 15th.On July 20th and 22nd, Jack Arnold’s It Came from Outer Space (1953) captures a somewhat similar mood. Originally released in the now common 3D format, this 2D screening will likewise evoke the memory of its original storyteller, writer/novelist Ray Bradbury. During Monday’s broadcast, Baratiak paid tribute to Bradbury by discussing the Santa Barbara history of this former A&L guest author, and his overall legacy.
July 27th and 29th bring the George Pal-produced/Byron Haskin-directed full-color, Oscar-winning adaptation of H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds. Laser-blasting, giant-tripod war machines of the story’s Martian invaders populate this effects-laden epic adventure from 1953.
Next, screening only on Wednesday, August 1st at UCSB’s Campbell Hall, the Atomic Age produces a new kind of enemy invader: as Gordon Douglas’ 1954 creature-feature Them! brings giant radioactive mutant ants from nuclear-test sites of the Nevada desert into the city of Los Angeles.
“One of the most resonant and highly imitated films of the sci-fi genre” screens next on August 8th and 10th, Don Siegel’s 1956 story of alien panic, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, as space entities systematically replace earth’s people with soulless duplicates.
August 15th and 17th present Fred MaLeod Wilcox’s Forbidden Planet, a 1956 reimagining of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest set on a planetary colony, starring Walter Pidgeon and Anne Francis, and featuring the iconic Robby the Robot. (One co-creator of its groundbreaking electronic music score, Bebe Barron, had a late-career residency at UC Santa Barbara in the year 2000.)
Finally, the series reaches a startling conclusion on August 22nd and 24th, with screenings of another Jack Arnold masterpiece, The Incredible Shrinking Man (from 1957).
Guests are invited to bring blankets, lawn chairs, and picnics to the Courthouse screenings. Showtimes are 730pm at UCSB and when darkness settles after 8pm at the County Courthouse (1100 Anacapa Street). For more information call 805.893.3535 or CLICK HERE.
KCSB is a media supporter of A&L’s Summer Cinema.