Now Showing…

So Westport is one step closer to a movie theater.

(In the current parking lot behind Tavern on Main, if you missed the news.)

It will probably take a year or two (or three or four) before the first popcorn is popped, but it’s not too early to think about opening night.

Of course, the initial film should be something with a Westport connection.

“Man in the Gray Flannel Suit” — filmed a few yards away, on that side of Main Street?

“The Swimmer” — filmed in swimming pools throughout Westport?

“The Stepford Wives” — filmed here also, inspired by some of our own Westporters?

There must be dozens of other candidates. Click “Comments” to nominate your own.

47 responses to “Now Showing…

  1. readermaniac

    ‘Rally ‘Round the Flagpole ‘, filmed partly on the Nike site I think!

  2. “Rally Round the Flag Boys,” a fictionalized account of the fight over building the Nike site, written by Westporter Max Shulman and starring Westporter Paul Newman.

    • Janice Beecher

      Yes!!! One of my favs! What a cast and a funny twist on a serious story.

  3. I worked the Fine Arts when “The Swimmer” was shown there in the late ’60s and remember that the audience was pretty puzzled when they came out after the film. But they did get a kick out of it being Westport.

    The Nutmeg Theater Corporation, owned by Leonard Sampson and Robert Spodick and Norman Bialek (who was a resident of Westport) ran the Fine Arts and then each of the other theatres in town as they expanded eventually to five screens. Today the theaters are Restoration Hardware, Matsu Sushi, the various stores on the corner of Imperial and Main, and Pompanoosic Mills. They also had the theaters in Norwalk (originally the Garden Cinema was the Cinema Norwalk and a single screen), the Wilton Cinema (now TJ Maxx), and the County Cinema on Kings Highway in Fairfield (now an electrical supply house).

    I am Mr. Sampson’s son and a resident of Westport, and I hope a theater can be successful once more downtown although I am afraid I am less opimistic than others, having been the son of an independent theater owner who saw how the business changed from the 1970s on. I hope that the new owners can have the success of the Garden Cinema or the theatre upstate in Madision, now run successfully by the former manager of the York Square in New Haven, another Sampson/Spodick Theater.

    My dad, who passed away a few years back and his partner came here from NYC in the late 1940s to bring what were then called “art films” to Connecticut, first at the Lincoln in New Haven and then in Westport; and worked hard as independent owners to keep going long after it was fashionable. He would undoubtably be pleased to know that the same spirit pervades Westport today and would wish all the best to the venture.


  4. Well, I know it won’t be “Together,” a pseudo-documentary made by Sean Cunningham of “Friday the 13th” fame. Many of the scenes were filmed on ornate Westport lawns starring Staples grads from the late ’60s and early ’70s. One was Marilyn Briggs, who may have already been billed as Marilyn Chambers. She was doing naked handsprings on the lawn.
    I saw this film sort of by accident (I swear it was an accident). A travel snafu left me stranded at an airport overnight, and I walked to the only movie theater nearby. The movie poster gave almost no indication what the thing was about. Like I said, it was purportedly a documentary, but in the middle of it I felt like shouting out in the theater “this is nonsense, I know all these people.” But I stayed mum.

    • Eric Buchroeder

      Thanks for adding another unnecessary and duplicatory detail to the well-documented legacy of Marilyn Briggs in Westport. When all of us who were her friends and classmates are dead, your “tribute” and similar detritus will be all her daughter has to remember her by. Why didn’t you include the exact detail that was contained on the wikipedia article you linked? If you’re going to drag a dead person through the sewer at least do a complete job of it.

      • Wow, Eric, I never bothered to note what others mentioned before, but you are one sick twisted bitter character. I didn’t “drag” anybody through anything. I just mentioned the unusual experience of having seen someone I knew in a setting that, 3000 miles miles from home (it was a theater in LA), was about the last thing I expected to see.
        I didn’t link the Wiki article. Someone else did. The extremely negative and hysterical reaction you’ve had says nothing about me or about Marilyn but quite a bit about you.

        • Eric Buchroeder

          Not sick, not twisted not bitter either. I noted that you weren’t the one who published the link and the mechanics of this blog does not allow retroactive retraction but you did reference the link or at least the movie that fed it. I knew Marilyn and her parents and their good name in Westport doesn’t need to be referenced by you in the manner you did since I can only gather you were just typing to hear yourself type. You obviously knew “sick and twisted” long before I called you on it.

          • I knew her,too. I told a very mild anecdote. Your reaction is mindboggling.
            Get help, man. You seriously need it.

            • Eric Buchroeder

              Jake, Here’s the situation: A person (you) has the option of talking about anything they want in a town that is still small, wants to stay close knit and humane and is trying to bring back the charms of an earlier day and this person (YOU, again) chose to reference a porno movie of a well-remembered friend to many and classic Westport family by drawing attention to an unfortunate episode in her life that there is no doubt was not part of any master plan for her contribution to society and YOU call ME sick. WC’s contribution to society in response to your wise choice was to call the movie up on Wikipedia where the details are laid out in complete and graphic precision. Then YOU chose to reference her by her “stage name” as well as her “Westport name” and thus connected both facets of her life for posterity in the form of searchable text. If her children or grandchildren ever want to know what “Grammy” did they can search her family name. If an asshole like you ever wants to see the details of her porno movies you are well versed enough to search her stage name. YOU and “WC” have connected the two for posterity. AND you’ve accomplished this on behalf of a person who has been dead for five years and who can’t speak for herself to her children and family. Let me ask you this: If, as you say, you knew her, and you had an opportunity to get up in front of the community AND HER FAMILY at a remembrance, funeral or whatever this was is this what you would have chosen to talk about? I doubt you knew her or if you did, you didn’t know her. Seek the help that you recommend for others.. Naaah, you may need it, but it wouldn’t do you any good.

              • Well, I did the same thing in a post after Marilyn died. Because it was picked up by websites around the world, it remains the most viewed story in “06880” history:

              • It was not a “porn” film and I did not identify it as such. It was harmless little film with a gymnastics scene on the lawn.
                I have no idea why you are over-reacting as you are, or why YOU are alluding to something far more nefarious than I indicated. I do know that I have already wasted far too much time replying to your rants.

                • This was my comment, didn’t mean to be “Anonymous,” but had switched to another browser that didn’t have my name in it. Anyway, Eric, the notion of anything to be ashamed about in the matter of “Together” was raised by you, not by me.

              • Eric,

                I do not know you and choose to keep it that way. But, in all sincerity, you need to seek help on this matter. Your reaction to a blog comment is unbelievable and absolutely ridiculous.

                • To all of you: as you take shots back and forth at least sling mud with some better infomration. Don’t blame whomever that he has now linkked the names — CT Magazine did that a few years back in an in-depth article with interviews, etc. So be as sanctimoneous as you want but don’t get carreid away. The cat was out of the bag a long time ago.

                  • Eric Buchroeder

                    So, what’s the harm? The cat’s been out of the bag therefore it’s OK for me to get my jollies and commingle with old sewage. The question remains, and it is just as valid for CT Magazine: IF YOU HAVE THE OPTION OF SAYING ANYTHING YOU WANT, WHAT DOES IT SAY ABOUT YOU THAT YOU CHOOSE TO DREDGE UP A 40 YEAR OLD NEGATIVE EPISODE IN A DEAD PERSON’S LIFE WHERE IT CAN BE READ BY ALL INCLUDING HER FAMILY? PUT THE SHOE ON THE OTHER FOOT!!! WOULD YOU WANT IT DONE TO YOU UNDER SIMILAR CIRCUMSTANCES? Dan, I am your friend and strongly respect you as a man of deep and humane principle but you can’t remain consistent with your core values and defend this. In the interest of fairness, I’ll acknowledge that I reacted strongly, probably way too strongly given the lack of character evidenced by the people who have responded to me. Jake I don’t think you’re worth the further time either but I reacted to what you said. You have shown you have no taste, you have shown you have no empathy and you have shown you have no discretion. What does that leave you? Good-bye and good luck.

                    • One last time. I mentioned an unusual mild anecdote involving a PG-13 film she was in.. You chose to dredge up more than that. I did not. Discretion? You have to be joking. Who’s the one that made this into an enormous deal and an alleged source of shame? Not I.
                      Snd that is the end of that.

                    • Eric, reading your posts on this blog for the last few months– I kind of get you. My dad taught at the jr. high and high school level in Westport during those years that Marilyn was in school. I’m the mother of a beautiful grown daughter now, and if a man referenced my beautiful daughter on a public blog “doing naked handsprings on Westport lawns,” (probably not the best choice for a beautiful young girl), it would be hurtful, especially if she were deceased and the man referencing her was from her hometown and KNEW her family!! It’s disrespectful and the fact that you, Jake, don’t get that — and just maybe you could have left out the “naked handsprings” comment — and that you just don’t retract the statement, and feel sorry that you referenced a lovely old friend in that way who’s now gone to another world is what Eric is talking about. Save your breath, Eric — he’s not getting it but some of us do.

  5. Dan, I thought I was about the only person who remembered The Swimmer with Burt Lancaster and Janice Rule. Why should I be surprised that you remembered that movie? Twilight Zone, A Stop At Willoughby. Yeah, I know, that’s TV. How about “Hello I Must Be Going”?

    • Not sure why, but we were shown it in high school (and it wasn’t Staples or even in CT).
      In all the years it stuck with me, but never saw it again.
      Atlantic City is my favorite Burt Lancaster film (and Susan Sarandon is bad either!).

  6. To Find a Man with Pamela Sue Martin…it actually premiered in Westport.

  7. There was also a film from about 1970 or so called “Loving,” with George Segal and Eva Marie Saint. Segal was a commuter/illustrator who lived in Westport, which was depicted as a town of rather raunchy adult games, long before “The Ice Storm” had the same to say about New Canaan.

  8. There is a Westport connection to The Ice Storm. Ted Gallant, Pete Cole, Jamie Marion and Michael White (forgive me if I’m missing someone) had miniscule parts in the movie; the parts were so small (a band scene), in fact, that their own parents were unable to identify them!! Except for Pete, who, as I recall, was also featured in an outdoor scene.

  9. Aw come’on, let’s premier with an “I love Lucy” marathon, the ‘Living in the Country” episodes, aka, Westport Connecticut …or as my Dad would say, “Let’s not and say we did!” I’m just excited by the whole idea!! Bring it on!

  10. The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit gets my vote but, since the WCI also hopes to show films that will appeal to young kids, how about Manny’s Orphans as the opening matinee? (For those readers who don’t know, Dan Woog had a brief acting career before he became a well-known writer.)

  11. Dan, you have astute readers – great references in this thread. The train in Twilight Zone’s “Willoughby” was probably going to Westport, because Rod Serling lived here. I think Joanne Woodward was also in “Rally ‘Round the Flag, Boys” – maybe she would attend the opening! It’s not a movie yet, but this was a terrific off-Broadway play that should be one: “Jezebel and Me” by Westport writer Liz Fuller, about Weston/Westporter Bette Davis. One more: The town in “Bringing Up Baby” with Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn was not specified but I believe it was based on Westport (as could have been “Mr. Blanding’s Dream House”).

    • The town in Bringing Up Baby was identified early in the movie as Riverdale (Bronx), which is where I live, although I grew up in Westport. I agree re Blandings.

  12. Here’s an idea of raising funds for the new theater…

  13. Since we recently learned that Richard Scarry had a connection to Westport, maybe they should start with a Busytown marathon! Or how about a Paul Newman / Joanne Woodward marathon?

  14. Dennis Jackson

    I’d second “Rally ‘Round The Flag, Boys” and “MIT Grey Flannel Suit” as quintessentailly Westport in the 50s. Would add “The Sting,” or anything with Paul Newman, of course. Or “David and Lisa” with Keir Dullea, and any Episodes of “Twilight Zone,” though not a movie if not of Rod Serling’s making.

  15. Janice Beecher

    Then, there’s also “The Three Faces of Eve”. Not about Westport, per se, but starring two Westporters – David Wayne and Joanne Woodward. Excellent movie!

  16. Unless I missed it above, no one has mentioned the original “Stepford Wives”. Filmedt all around the County, it included the mansion in the street opposite the East bound RR station parking lot. Also the wonderful home
    in Weston, on the right, just before the Weston Racquet Club

  17. Academy Award Voter

    Manny’s Orphans –

  18. How about a movie with Westport’s very own Marilyn Chambers in it?

  19. Don’t forget “Reuben, Reuben” based on the novel by Peter DeVries, and featuring several scenes filmed in Westport–I recall the Inn at Longshore in particular.

    • Dennis Jackson

      Was there ever a movie made of Mr. DeVries’s “The Tunnel Of Love”? A wonderful book; so quintessentially 50’s Westport. I grew up in the house my parents bought from the DeVrieses in 1957, in the woods of rural North Avenue very near where a new high school was built. We used to camp out in those woods. The DeVrieses kept a burro in the back yard!

      • I was curious so I checked online and yes, “Tunnel of Love” was made into a film released in 1958, starring Doris Day and directed by Gene Kelly. I’ll have to try to track down a copy, or better yet, read the book. The Westport Library has a good collection of Mr. DeVries’s work. How fun that you grew up in his former home, in the “wilds” of North Ave!

        • I went to school with Mr. DeVries’s daughter Emily through the 5th grade. She died at a young age due to leukemia. He wrote a chapter in one of his books about her. The chapter was called “Blood of the Lamb.” I can’t remember the name of the book, but the chapter title stayed with me all of these years.

          • “Blood of the Lamb” was a complete book – I recall seeing it on my parents’ bookshelves. But yeah, it was largely about loss. Very sad indeed.

            • Interesting that I remembered the title of the book and thought it was a chapter. In reading a little bit about the book, Emily died in September 1960, which would have been the start of fifth grade, so I must have only been her classmate through part of fourth grade. I just remember she was a very petite girl with blond hair and she was pretty. I guess I should read that book.

        • Dennis Jackson

          Come to think of it, Leslie, the book may be better than the movie, as the book often is. Still, it would be fun to watch. There’s a little “Mad Men” sensibility to the book. I read it as an adult and am not sure how popular it may have been at the time. I wonder….

          Barbara, we were peripherally away of Emily’s illness. Very sad.

  20. Someone should organize a Westport film and literature festival. Don’t forget Revolutionary Road! The book, especially.