A Century Through Cinema

Aug. 21, 2014

A Century Through Cinema

ST. LOUIS (Aug. 21, 2014) - In 1925, Henry McGraw, vice president of the Gypsie Oil Company, which was the largest oil company in the United States at the time, donated a “Filmo Automatic Cine Camera” – a film projector  - to Webster College so that movies could be played on campus for students and the surrounding community.

That action would trigger a nearly 90-year love affair between Webster University and cinema. The Webster University Film Series, which was founded in the ‘70s, will host a series of classic films as part of theUniversity’s Centennial celebration. 

Webster University Centennial Website: 100.webster.edu

“A Century Through Cinema series is designed to highlight 100 years of cinema in conjunction with Webster University’s centennial celebration,” said James Harrison, director of the Webster University Film Series. “It will provide an opportunity for the audience to experience the transformations in culture and society during the past 100 years and enjoy these great films throughout history on the big screen.”

The series will take place throughout 2014-2015 and will include at least one film to represent each decade. The series kicks off on Sept. 5 with silent films starring Harold Lloyd, “The Marathon” (1919) and “The Freshman” (1925) to represent the 1900s. This event will also include musical accompaniment by a local group, The Rats and People Motion Picture Orchestra. The live music allows the audience to experience the film as audiences did in the 1900s.

Harrison collaborated with Beth Ashby from the Webster University Film Series and Kathy Corley, chair of the Electronic and Photographic media department to select the films.

“Several film titles jumped out to us as defining their decade – such as ‘Rebel Without a Cause,’ ‘The Graduate,’ ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ and ‘All the President’s Men’ – they really capture distinct time periods in America,” said Harrison. “I was able to add five more titles to the series and this expanded list gave me the opportunity to add iconic films that represent transitions in decades such as ‘American Graffiti.’”

The series will take place in the Winifred Moore Auditorium in Webster Hall. This is one of the last venues in the St. Louis area that can screen 35MM film prints allowing the Film Series to present archival and restored classic films in their original format.

“Films present easily accessible time capsules that offer a variety of historic perspectives – from documenting an area, as in Harold Lloyd’s ‘The Freshman,

 to re-creating historic events with dramatic storylines, such as the creation of Facebook in ‘The Social Network,’” said Harrison. “Films capture the fashion, design, trends and morals of a particular era, preserving them for analysis and enjoyment.”

The Webster University Film Series, housed in the School of Communications, is the Midwest’s premier hosting venue for American and foreign films. The Series is host to speakers and visiting artists who address the pertinent issues in films presented. In an effort to further integrate film with education, the Film Series provides workshops with artists and experts.

A complete schedule of Century Through Cinema films can be found on the Webster University Centennial website and the Webster University Film Series website.

About Webster University

With its home campus in St. Louis, Webster University (www.webster.edu) is the only Tier 1, private, non-profit U.S.-based university providing a network of international residential campuses and a robust online learning program. Founded in 1915, Webster University’s campus network today includes metropolitan, military and corporate locations around the world, as well as traditional campuses in Asia, Europe, North America, and Africa. The university is committed to delivering high-quality learning experiences that transform students for global citizenship and individual excellence.