After a year off, the West Orange Classic Film Festival returns, this year with a focus on classic comedies. Starting on Jan. 30 and running every Sunday (with the exception of the Sunday of the Super Bowl) through March 13.

The festival screenings are at the AMC Theatre in Essex Green Shopping Center in West Orange, the town where Thomas Edison invented filmmaking. Each film will be followed by a discussion led by a local film scholar/critic. Tickets are $14 and must be purchased in advance on Eventbrite.

The festival premieres on Jan. 30 with "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" (1966), with screenwriter/playwright/stage director Joe Gilford, son of Jack Gilford, one of the film's stars.

In ancient Rome, a slave named Pseudolus (Zero Mostel) attempts to win his freedom by helping his young master woo the girl next door. The film also stars Phil Silvers and Buster Keaton (in his last film role).

The rest of the films are as follows:

Feb. 6 - “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” (1963) in its reconstructed 197 minute form.

Feb. 20 - “Bringing Up Baby” (1938), the classic “screwball comedy” starring Cary Grant and Kathryn Hepburn

Feb. 27 - “Young Frankenstein” (1974), Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder- what else do you need?

March 6 - “Some Like it Hot” (1959), with Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon in the film that AFI named the best comedy of all time

March 13 -“Buck Privates” (1941), New Jersey natives Abbott and Costello join the Army.

The West Orange Classic Film Festival is presented by the West Orange Film Society, part of the West Orange Arts Council, and in 2022 is co-sponsored by the West Orange Recreation Department.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle only.

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