Film


The Wheeling Film Society (WFS) is a cultural partnership between the Ohio County Public Library, Oglebay Institute's Towngate Cinema, and Wheeling Jesuit University's English and Fine Arts Departments to screen classics of cinema repertory as they were meant to be seen, on a theater-size screen, to promote continued interest in and appreciation of an indigenous American art form and industry. Each season offers the Ohio Valley community an opportunity to see four classic films of lasting cultural value and to discuss the films with WJU's film scholar, John Whitehead, on the Tuesday after the screening. All programming is free of charge and open to all, with a general encouragement for parental guidance to be exercised in the attendance of children.

Film Society Host
John Whitehead is Associate Professor of English and Fine Arts with a focus on film studies, contemporary literature, and creative writing. He has been at WJU since 1990. His books, Appraising The Graduate: The Mike Nichols Classic and Its Impact in Hollywood (2011) and Mike Nichols and the Cinema of Transformation (2014) were published by McFarland. A native of Philadelphia, he did his graduate work at Temple University, and wrote a creative thesis from which several short stories were subsequently published, including "The Sins of the Father," which won the 1987 Best Fiction award from The Other Side. He has subsequently published 20 short stories, more than a dozen of them in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. He has written regularly on books and culture for scholarly journals such as Christianity and Literature and The Christian Scholar's Review and for major newspapers in California, West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. He was awarded a West Virginia Humanities Council Fellowship grant for his research on his next book, Hitchcock's Shadow: Alfred Hitchcock, World War II, and the Making of Shadow of a Doubt.


Wheeling Film Society
7th Annual Season: 2018-2019

Co-sponsored by:
Ohio County Public Library
Oglebay Institute’s Towngate Cinema
Wheeling Jesuit University’s English Department

The Wheeling Film Society (WFS) announces its seventh annual season of screening-discussions of classic Hollywood films. John Whitehead, professor of film studies at Wheeling Jesuit University and author of Appraising The Graduate: The Mike Nichols Classic and Its Impact in Hollywood (2011) and Mike Nichols and the Cinema of Transformation (2014) will serve as host for the screenings and conversations.

Sept. 14 - Towngate at 7:30
Screening: Bringing Up Baby (Howard Hawks, 1938) - 102 mins.
Sept. 18 – Library at Noon
Conversation: Bringing Up Baby
During the Golden Age of Hollywood Cinema (1930-1960), “Rom-Coms” were not yet a thing. What Hollywood had perfected was a formula known as the “Screwball Comedy,” and there were no more delightful practitioners of the art than Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, and Howard Hawks. In 1938, all three found themselves on the same RKO set to make the delirious Bringing Up Baby, in which daft socialite Hepburn (the screwball) saves Grant, a professor of dinosaur bones, from a dull marriage to his assistant. Along the way a crucial dinosaur bone is lost and found, and our heroes find true love with the help of a tiny dog and a VERY large cat. This is the 80th anniversary of some truly inspired Hollywood lunacy – be sure to rehearse your leopard mating call!

Nov. 9 - Towngate at 7:30
Screening: Dr. Strangelove (Stanley Kubrick, 1964) - 95 mins.
Nov. 13 - Library at Noon
Conversation: Dr. Strangelove
Last season, the Wheeling Film Society watched Kubrick’s 1968 epic, 2001: A Space Odyssey, with its surprisingly hopeful vision of an alternative to the terminal aggression of the human species. Dr. Strangelove was the exceedingly black-comic film Kubrick made four years before 2001: a slapstick comedy about nuclear apocalypse. If you can’t imagine the end of life on Earth as a suitable subject for laughs, you haven’t seen the inspired Peter Sellers play three different roles (including the President of the United States AND the mastermind of the nuclear bomb), or the manic George C. Scott nearly steal the film as a lunatic general (six years before his Oscar for Patton). Made during the depths of the Cold War, Dr. Strangelove is also a film for our times.

Mar. 8 - Towngate at 7:30
Screening: The Wizard of Oz (Victor Fleming, 1939) - 102 mins.
Mar. 12 - Library at Noon
Conversation: The Wizard of Oz
Generations of fans of The Wizard of Oz grew up watching the perennially beloved film on tiny, grainy television sets, marred by cuts and commercial-breaks that fractured continuity but gave kids time to catch their breath between bouts with wicked witches and flying monkeys. The film, which turns 80 this year, continues to speak to the kid in all of us – as well as to avant-garde novelists like Salman Rushdie and filmmakers like David Lynch. After you see it again at Towngate, take the “Kansas test”: is it really true that “There’s no place like home?” Also, the wizard is nothing but a “humbug,” but what of a film that reassures us it was “just a dream”? While it was hardly an overnight success, few films have managed to probe deeper inside our fears, hopes – and dreams.

Apr. 12 - Towngate at 7:30
Screening: Rear Window (Alfred Hitchcock, 1954) - 112 mins.
Apr. 16 - Library at Noon
Conversation: Rear Window
Of all the masterpieces Alfred Hitchcock made, it is difficult to imagine a riskier premise than this one: a photographer with a broken leg sits in a wheelchair and watches the wide world . . . of his apartment courtyard. That’s it, folks: the man doesn’t ever leave his apartment; he barely even stirs from the chair. This unlikely scenario, when embodied by James Stewart (with frequent visitations by the lustrous Grace Kelly in all her haute couture and glamorous provocation), has become a suspense classic celebrating its 65th anniversary, as well as Hitchcock’s most hopeful meditation on the ethics of the voyeur (of which filmmakers are a special sub-category). As Stewart and Kelly solve a murder mystery, they also contemplate the enigma of the human person – and fall in love!

All programs – screenings and conversations – are free of admission charge.
Attend as many or as few programs as your schedule allows.
All are welcome, and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.
All Friday night screenings will be preceded by catered buffet cuisine as part of the popular “Dinner and a Movie” series; call Towngate to reserve.
Parental Guidance is recommended for all screenings and conversations.


Past Wheeling Film Society Events