The Stanford Theatre is dedicated to bringing back the movie-going experience of Hollywood's Golden Age. It is one of the few places where you can still watch movies on a big screen projected the way they were intended — in 35mm prints. Great classic films were not made to be watched on a video screen in your living room. They depend on a larger-than-life image, and the shared reactions of a real audience.
The Stanford Theatre first opened in June of 1925. For decades nearly every important Hollywood picture played there on its first release. The people of Palo Alto saw them all for the very first time in this theatre.
In 1987 the Packard Foundation bought the theatre and restored it to its original condition. It quickly became America's most popular classic movie house. More people saw Casablanca there on its 50th anniverary in 1992 than at any other theatre in America.
The non-profit Stanford Theatre Foundation is dedicated to the preservation and public exhibition of films from the Golden Age of Hollywood. This means classic movies in a classic movie palace, complete with Wurlitzer organ rising from the orchestra pit every night before and after the 7:30 show, or providing the accompaniment to “silent” films.
Note: This is an unofficial posting of the Stanford Theatre schedules, from published information. This site is in no way connected with the Stanford Theatre nor the Stanford Theatre Foundation. Please check out the official site at http://www.stanfordtheatre.org in case this schedule isn't quite up-to-date! Programs are subject to change. For information, call (650) 324-3700.
(Showtimes in parentheses are for the Saturday and Sunday screenings.)
Gene Kelly (Don Lockwood), Donald O'Connor (Cosmo Brown), Debbie Reynolds (Kathy Selden), Millard Mitchell (R.F. Simpson), Jean Hagen (Lina Lamont), Rita Moreno (Zelda Zanders), Cyd Charisse (Dancer), Douglas Fowley (Roscoe Dexter).
Perhaps the most popular film musical of all time is set in Hollywood at the dawn of talking pictures. Silent stars Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont are making their first sound picture. When Lina's voice doesn't quite match her glamorous image, up-and-comer Kathy Selden steps in.
Singin' in the Rain has been the tenth most widely attended
film at the Stanford Theatre — 47,820 tickets since 1989.
first played at the Stanford Theatre July 27, 1991; last played May 2017
Errol Flynn (Sir Robin of Locksley), Basil Rathbone (Sir Guy of Gisbourne), Claude Rains (Prince John), Olivia de Havilland (Lady Marian Fitzwater), Alan Hale (Little John), Patric Knowles (Will Scarlet), Eugene Pallette (Friar Tuck), Ian Hunter (King Richard), Melville Cooper (High Sheriff of Nottingham), Una O'Connor (Bess), Herbert Mundin (Much the Miller's Son), Montagu Love (Bishop of Black Canons), Howard Hill (Capt. Philip of Arras).
This is (as everyone knows) one of the truly great adventure films of all time. From time to time they try to improve on the original, but there is still no substitute for the genuine article. The dashing Errol Flynn in his greatest role as Robin Hood, speaking treason "fluently", with Olivia de Havilland as the lovely Maid Marian is one of the most indelible images from old Hollywood.
Erich Wolfgang Korngold's score (Academy Award) is a major reason for the film's unending popularity.
"Life and the movies have their compensations, and such a film as this is payment in full for many dull hours of picture-going." The New York Times
The Adventures of Robin Hood has been the twenty-fourth most widely
attended film at the Stanford Theatre — 30,775 tickets since 1989.
first played at the Stanford Theatre May 22, 1938; last played Aug 2017
Fred Astaire, Jane Powell, Sarah Churchill, Peter Lawford, Keenan Wynn.
This film contains two of Astaire's most famous numbers, his dance across the ceiling and his dance with a hat rack. The story of a brother and sister song-and-dance team is based loosely on Astaire's own life. Winston Churchill's daughter Sarah plays the second female lead.
Songs include: Every Night at Seven; Open Your Eyes; The Happiest Day of my Life; How Could You Believe Me When I Said I Love You When You Know I've Been a Liar All My Life; Too Late Now; You're All the World to Me; I Left My Hat in Haiti; What a Lovely Day for a Wedding.
first played at the Stanford Theatre July 19, 1987; last played June 2014
Jane Powell, Ann Sothern, Carmen Miranda, Barry Sullivan, Louis Calhern, Fortunio Bonanova, Hans Conried.
In this remake of Deanna Durbin's It's a Date, Jane Powell plays Ann Sothern's daughter, and both are chasing the same man (without knowing it).
first played at the Stanford Theatre Aug. 26, 1994; last played Aug. 1994
Dick Powell, Ellen Drew, Ernest Truex, Al Bridge, Raymond Walburn, William Demarest.
In this charmingly offbeat romantic comedy, a young man mistakenly believes he has won $25,000 in a slogan contest.
"Probably Sturges' warmest comedy, and a fine illustration of the 'common man' touch which tempered his worldly sophistication." Baseline Movie Guide.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Jan 16, 1941; last played Dec 2014
Fred Astaire (Guy Holden), Ginger Rogers (Mimi Glossop), Edward Everett Horton (Egbert Fitzgerald), Alice Brady (Hortense Ditherwell), Erik Rhodes (Rodolfo Tonetti), Eric Blore (Waiter), Lillian Miles (Hotel Guest), Betty Grable (Hotel Guest).
The first film made specially for Fred and Ginger (it was their second film together) was a tremendous box office success. It was based on Cole Porter's 1932 Broadway musical, but kept only one original song, Night and Day. A new song, The Continental, won the first Oscar ever given for Best Song.
Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers perform their first true romantic dance to Night and Day. To call it a dance of seduction could give entirely the wrong impression, but that is nonetheless what it is. Although Ginger had begun as a Charleston dancer in Texas, she had an innate understanding of the dramatic and emotional richness of the new style Astaire was creating.
The script is bright and fast-paced, and several supporting actors (Eric Blore, Edward Everett Horton, Erik Rhodes) would return in future films as a kind of Astaire-Rogers stock company.
Songs: Night and Day, music and lyrics by Cole Porter; Let's K-nock K-nees and Don't Let It Bother You, music and lyrics by Mack Gordon and Harry Revel; A Needle in a Haystack and The Continental, music and lyrics by Con Conrad and Herb Magidson.
All in all, The Gay Divorcee remains after nearly 80 years one of the very best musical pictures ever made.
This was the very first film we showed in our original Fred Astaire Festival in 1987. Some people said that watching Fred Astaire in a real theatre was pointless because everybody could see his films on late-night television. But our 1175-seat theatre was nearly sold out for two solid weeks. Many people came every night, and we received 700 fan letters. This is why the Stanford Theatre still exists.
The Gay Divorcee has been the twenty-fifth most widely attended
film at the Stanford Theatre — 30,770 tickets since 1989.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Nov 11, 1934; last played Dec 2016
Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Charles Ruggles, Walter Catlett, Barry Fitzgerald, May Robson, Fritz Feld, Jonathan Hale, Asta.
Classic screwball comedy, with dizzy socialite Hepburn and perplexed paleontologist Grant in pursuit of his dinosaur bone and her escaped pet leopard.
Bringing Up Baby has been the twenty-eighth most widely
attended film at the Stanford Theatre — 29,038 tickets since 1989.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Mar 10, 1938; last played Mar 2015
Betty Hutton, Eddie Bracken, William Demarest, Diana Lynn, Porter Hall, Akim Tamiroff, Brian Donlevy, Alan Bridge.
In one of the zaniest screwball comedies, Betty Hutton attends a wild, all-night party for departing soldiers, but the next day she cannot remember the name of the man she apparently married. James Agee said that watching this film is "like taking a nun on a roller coaster... one of the most violently funny comedies that ever came out of Hollywood."
"There's that flawless comic rhythm that is uniquely Sturges." Peter Bogdanovich
first played at the Stanford Theatre Nov 17, 1944; last played July 2016
Cary Grant, Raymond Massey, Priscilla Lane, Josephine Hull, Jean Adair, Jack Carson, Edward Everett Horton, Peter Lorre, James Gleason, John Alexander.
Two lovable old ladies serve a special elderberry wine to help old men forget their loneliness.
Capra borrowed Hull and Adair from the Broadway play and made the film in 1941. For contractual reasons, the film could not be released until the play closed (after nearly four years) in 1944. Capra had to change the ending of the play because the preview audience would not accept the death of the beloved character actor Edward Everett Horton.
Arsenic and Old Lace has been the sixty-fourth most widely
attended film at the Stanford Theatre — 17,315 tickets since 1989.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Nov 5, 1944; last played June 2017
Cary Grant, Jean Arthur, Ronald Colman, Edgar Buchanan, Glenda Farrell, Charles Dingle, Emma Dunn, Rex Ingram, Leonid Kinskey, Tom Tyler, Don Beddoe.
In one of Hollywood's great romantic comedies, Ronald Colman plays a mild-mannered law professor who rents a house from a school teacher (Jean Arthur) who is harboring a suspected murderer (Cary Grant).
"One of the most genial casts in history." Baseline Movie Guide
The Talk of the Town has been the eighty-third most widely attended
film at the Stanford Theatre — 13,460 tickets since 1989.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Oct 11, 1942; last played Apr 2015