Magic Lantern Screens 1966 Western Classic

Drue Watkins
Sports Editor

At 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 19, the Magic Lantern Film Society held a public viewing of the spaghetti-western film “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” in the CETES Conference Center Room A.

The film is directed by Sergio Leone and stars long-time actor Clint Eastwood. After its release in 1966, the film garnered $25 million dollars at the box office.

The Magic Lantern Film Society is a group comprised mainly of students that come together to watch classic, revolutionary films that have massively impacted the craft of filmmaking over the years.

However, the events are always open to the general public.

This semester also marks the society’s 36th year at Cameron University.

One of the organization’s faculty advisors, Professor of English Dr. John Morris, said the Magic Lantern Film Society is about introducing students to a different type of art.

“The mission of the society is similar to the mission of the plays produced by Theatre Arts… cultural enrichment of the CU student body and greater Lawton/Ft. Sill community,” he said.

“Over the years, Magic Lantern has screened some of the greatest films ever made in various genres, providing both great films, many with educational value, and good entertainment for no admission charge.

“We hope that these functions have had a positive and worthwhile effect on students and the surrounding community, supplementing the university’s educational mission.”

President of the Magic Lantern Film Society senior English and business major Zoie Timothy said the organization brings great opportunities to all students on campus.

“It allows students to view and appreciate movies that they’d never see or hear from on their own,” she said. “People can see and understand why these films are so influential and significant.”

“The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” is the Magic Lantern Film Society’s first movie screening of the spring semester, and due to an increase of funding from the Lectures and Concerts Committee and the CU Foundation Account for Classic Films, the organization will be able to screen three more films throughout the semester at their usual time of 7:30 p.m.

Morris said the additional funding has been instrumental in the Magic Lantern’s capabilities to branch out this year.

“We hope that in future years Magic Lantern will be able to realize additional funds from the Holmes, Morris, and Newell Endowed Lectureship for Classic Films,” he said. “Our goal is to return to screening ten films per year, five per semester.”

The Magic Lantern Film Society is actively searching for new members and welcomes any students who appreciate classic films.

Morris said the organization would love to expand its influence, but new students are required for that to happen.

“We are very interested in new members,” he said, “and we’re easy in that regard: there are no dues. Anyone who is interested can help us with putting up fliers, making the popcorn and treats and cleaning up; obviously, anyone who is a member is also welcome to join our selection meeting and help make choices for future films.”

The selection process for which movies will be screened is decided primarily by the members of the Magic Lantern. However, Morris said the organization does take requests.

“Magic Lantern has always solicited input for the films we show from the people who attend,” he said, “and we try to honor requests made.

“In all, four of the films we’re screening this year were requests. We have shown a number of westerns over the years, and this [“The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”] is one of the great ones, even though the director is an Italian and the film was shot in Spain.”

Timothy said the organization is trying to branch out into new activities.

“We’re trying to start film discussions on the movies that we watch about a week after,” she said. “Topics about why the film was interesting for certain students, what it does well and how it’s impactful.”

The next film that the Magic Lantern Film Society will screen is the 1953 Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck classic “Roman Holiday” at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 9 in the CETES Conference Center.

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