In celebration of the Maine’s bicentennial, the Maine Film Center and 19 other arts and education organizations and independent cinemas, including Damariscotta’s Lincoln Theater, have joined together to present “Maine in the Movies” bringing 35 films set in Maine to audiences throughout the state.
The historic Lincoln Theater is pleased to be bringing four of these films to the big screen in Damariscotta; Disney’s “Bambi” will be shown Sunday, March 8 at 2 p.m.; “How to Marry a Millionaire” Wednesday, March 11 at 7 p.m. and finally, “The Whales of August” on Friday, March 13 at 2 p.m. “Jean the Match-Maker” (1910), a short film and Maine’s oldest narrative movie will be screened prior to each of the other three films.
It is a rare event when Disney allows its classic animated movies to play in single performances outside a major national release. And seldom now does Disney reissue classic animation theatrically, but the studio made a special exception for the Maine bicentennial screening of “Bambi” (G). With numerous connections to Maine, it is so exciting to have “Bambi” at the Lincoln Theater for what may be a once in a lifetime chance to catch it on the big screen. Maurice "Jake" Day, a Disney artist from Damariscotta, was instrumental in convincing Disney to reset the Austrian novel's Black Forest setting to the Maine North Woods. Disney sent Day back to his home state to sketch and photograph the landscape, vegetation, and animals of Baxter State Park for reference in the film’s design. Disney even went so far as to bring live deer to the studio! A male and female fawn were sent by train to live at the Disney Studio where animators could study their behavior and movement. Another Maine connection, Frank Churchill, a major talent hailing from Rumford, composed the score and songs for “Bambi.” Mark your calendars for this special event, Sunday March 8 at 2 p.m. Andy O’Brien, writer for The Free Press, will introduce the film with a question and answer session. He will be joined by Sandi Day, a local family member of artist Maurice “Jake” Day.
And what’s a celebration without a Maine love story? In “How to Marry a Millionaire” (1953), playing Wednesday, March 11 at 7 p.m., three women (Betty Grable, Marilyn Monroe, and Lauren Bacall) set out to find eligible millionaires to marry but end up finding true love in the process. Loco (Betty Grable) heads off to a glamorous lodge in Maine to meet wealthy Elks Club Members, but instead finds herself stuck in a dingy lodge with a grumpy married businessman, the measles, and a handsome outdoorsman who she thinks owns most of the surrounding land. “How to Marry a Millionaire” was also known for its impact on the film industry as it was the first film made in the CinemaScope process that ushered in the wide-screen era.
The Lincoln Theater’s final bicentennial screening is “The Whales of August,” Lindsay Anderson’s gentle drama, set on Cliff Island off the coast of Portland, Maine. Bette Davis and Lillian Gish portray two widowed sisters vacationing on the Maine coast for their 60th consecutive summer. One being blind and embittered, and the other healthy, supportive, and chipper, the two sisters reflect on their lives and their pasts during a late summer day in Maine.
Accompanying all three bicentennial screenings is a short film not to be missed. “Jean the Match-Maker” (1910) is Maine’s oldest narrative movie and features the first certifiable animal movie star and Eastport Maine native – Jean, the Vitagraph Dog! Before Rin Tin Tin, Lassie, and Toto, the tri-color scotch collie was the most famous dog in the world. The film “Jean the Match-Maker” was thought lost until a print was discovered in the New Zealand Film Archive and restored by the Library of Congress. A new musical score has been commissioned from composer Mikel Hurwitz specifically to accompany the film’s screenings for Maine’s bicentennial celebration.
Celebrate Maine’s birthday with Maine in the movies! All three bicentennial screenings at Lincoln Theater, located at 2 Theater St. will be shown for regular movie ticket prices - $8/adult, $6.members and Youth 18 and under, and will be available at the door. N advance ticket sales.
More information on the these bicentennial screenings is available on the theater’s website at www.lcct.org or by calling the theater office at 563-3424 during office hours: Tuesday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Additional information on the entire festival can be found at MaineMovies200.com.