If you’ve got a desire to go see a good movie sometime this summer but want to avoid those ticket prices, the Queens Library is the place for you.
Throughout the rest of July, the library is offering free screenings of films of all kinds at the Central Library and several of its branches. Just be aware that policy says popcorn, soda and other snacks are not allowed.
Today, July 10, one of the most revered classics of all time is showing at the Central Library in Jamaica. The original 1933 “King Kong,” a request of library patrons, will play at 2 p.m.
As long as you can get past the relatively primitive movie technology of the time — and you should, as Kong still dazzles — you can enjoy the film as much as the New York Times reviewer did when it was new, saying in part:
“Needless to say that this picture was received by many a giggle to cover up fright. Constant exclamations issued from the Radio City Music Hall yesterday. ‘What a man!’ observed one youth when the ape forced down the great oaken door on the island. Human beings seem so small that one is reminded of Defoe’s ‘Gulliver’s Travels.’
“One step and this beast traverses half a block. If buildings hinder his progress, he pushes them down, and below him the people look like Lilliputians.”
If you’re not reading this in time to see “Kong,” the classics keep coming at the Central Library every Thursday this month at 2 p.m. On July 17, “Blackboard Jungle” is showing; the next week it’ll be “Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte,” and on the last day of the month Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers will grace the screen in “Top Hat.”
And of course the library is not just playing movies of yore; much more recent ones are also showing. Another at the Central Library is “Down in the Delta” directed by the late Maya Angelou. The 1998 film about a Chicago family returning to Mississippi to reconnect with their roots will show at 6 p.m. July 24. And if you’re more interested in action, “Non-Stop,” which stars Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore and only came out this year, will play there at 2 p.m. July 27. For the younger set, there’s “The Lego Movie” at 6 p.m. July 16.
“Movies and summer go together,” said Kelvin Watson, the library’s vice president in charge of content. “Queens Library tries to choose films that appeal to a broad spectrum of people. They are a communal cultural experience, and it is just plain fun to be in a cool place watching a great film on a hot day.”
While many of the movies are showing at the Central Library, other branches are in on the act too.
“The Monuments Men,” with George Clooney, Matt Damon and Bill Murray, will play at 3 p.m. July 15 at the Douglaston-Little Neck branch. It’s about a platoon in World War II that is tasked with retrieving artwork the Nazis stole and getting the pieces back to their rightful owners. It’s also being shown at 4 p.m. July 31 at the Fresh Meadows branch.
The Lefferts branch in South Richmond Hill is showing the original action-packed “Robocop” at 3 p.m. July 26. The 1987 science fiction movie is about a murdered police officer who is revived as a cyborg.
The Rochdale Village Library is showing a series of well-regarded movies on Tuesdays at 2 p.m. “Driving Miss Daisy” is playing is playing July 15, followed by the original 1960 version of “Ocean’s Eleven” on July 22 and “Chicago” on July 29.
If you can take an intermission that lasts a week, the North Hills Library is showing one of the most celebrated movies ever, “Gone with the Wind,” in two parts. The first half will be shown at 4:45 p.m. July 21 and the second at the same time July 28.
“It’s too big for a single evening!” the library said in its listing of the 1939 classic set during the Civil War. Perhaps the delay will only add to the suspense. Even if it doesn’t, the film is so esteemed that frankly, you shouldn’t give a damn.