Classic films return to the big screen twice a year in downtown Paso Robles, thanks to the Downtown Paso Robles Main Street Association and the city’s downtown movie complex, Park Cinemas. These Sunday-evening classics, offered in September and February, are hugely popular with vintage movie buffs, boasting a $10 ticket price that includes popcorn and soda pop. It’s for a good cause, too, benefiting the local Main Street program that is devoted to the preservation and vitality of Paso Robles’ historic downtown.
On Sunday, Sept. 9, Main Street’s “Pajama Party” fundraiser features one of the greatest cinema romances of all time: the 1946 film-noir classic “The Big Sleep,” starring Humphrey Bogart and his sizzling new love, Lauren Bacall, in a devious mystery spun by masters Raymond Chandler and Howard Hawks.
“The Big Sleep” ranks in cinematic history as a classic work of film noir. Bogart—rated the greatest male star in the history of American cinema by the American Film Institute—plays the iconic hard-boiled detective Philip Marlowe with wicked cleverness, as he weaves through the lurid underbelly of 1940s L.A. glamour in a plot of blackmail, murder, and deceit.
The film is historic for another reason. “The Big Sleep” is Bogart’s second film with young Lauren Bacall, who is about to become his lifelong partner, and before your very eyes, the camera captures the deepening love affair between the icon and the ingénue. After filming wrapped in early 1945, scenes were re-shot and parts of the film revised to capitalize on their chemistry, and they married before the movie was released in 1946.
Seating is limited and advance tickets are advisable because previous events have sold out. They can be purchased in advance only through the Downtown Paso Robles Main Street Association. To use a credit card, call the office (Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) at 805-238-4103, or visit the office at 835 12th St., entering around back in the Norma’s Way alley.
The show begins at 7 p.m. on Sept. 9 at Park Cinemas (1100 Pine St.), but arrive much earlier for best seating. Main Street volunteers will have a table outside the cinema entrance if tickets are still available Sunday evening before showtime.
Chris Weygandt Alba left a magazine career in Southern California a dozen years ago for the greener pastures of her childhood home. Now she writes for a local magazine, profiling the many intriguing characters who make their home in northern San Luis Obispo County.