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Friday Night at the Movies

at the Norman Rockwell Museum

No one captured mid-20th century America the way we would have liked it to have been better than illustrator Norman Rockwell. In magazine cover after magazine cover he celebrated the spirit of kindness, the need for tolerance and the value of hard work in images tinged with gentle humor.

As we move into the fast-paced 21st century, Rockwell’s ability to summon up images of an America whose values centered on friends and family increasingly evokes feelings of nostalgia.

This summer, the Norman Rockwell Museum is presenting a Friday night series of classic films that explore some of the same themes featured in Rockwell paintings. In Just Pals, for instance, a 1920s silent movie that is among the earliest works by director John Ford, the theme of friendship is explored through the relationship between Bim, the “village bum,” and a young boy, Will, who is riding the rails. The movie will be screened Friday, August 12th at 5:30PM.

In his 1973 classic, American Graffiti, director George Lucas mines the same motherlode of nostalgia visited so many times by Rockwell. Set in Modesto, California in 1962, the film is a study of the cruising culture popular among post–World War II baby boomers as told in a series of vignettes. It will be the feature September 2nd.

The last feature, My Man Godfrey, again revisits the theme of love, friendship and character as Dick Powell and Carol Lombard star in a Depression-era screwball comedy. Through a series of improbable events, this Academy Award-winning film uncovers the stellar personality of a “derelict” hired by a socialite as her butler. While society looks askance, the socialite falls in love with her servant. It is only after he quietly saves her family from bankruptcy that he is revealed to be a “Parke of Boston.”

Museum Curator Jesse Kowalski will introduce the films, providing context, followed by an audience Q&A. Refreshments will be served. Admission to each movie is free with museum admission; or $10 per film, $5 for museum members. All will be screened at 5:30PM.