Saturday Night at the Movies (1974– )

TV Series
8.3
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Classic movies are shown uninterrupted with interviews and commentary presented between the features.

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Title: Saturday Night at the Movies (1974– )

Saturday Night at the Movies (1974– ) on IMDb 8.3/10

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
 Himself (2007)
...
 Himself (2007)
...
 Herself (2007)
...
 Himself (2007)
...
 Himself (2007)
Shelagh Rogers ...
 Herself - Hostess (1999-2000)
...
 Himself (2007)
Elwy Yost ...
 Himself - Host (1974-1999)
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Storyline

Seated in a comfortable chair, Elwy Yost introduces a double bill of old movies every Saturday night. For many years, his trademark phrase was, "Now it's time to turn those lights down a wee bit low." The films are usually American, sometimes British, very, very rarely Canadian. Each double bill encompasses a certain theme. There may sometimes be guests in the studio to discuss the theme. Taped interviews with filmmakers, performers, and critics may pursue the theme. Interviews also relate to the making of the films on that night's double bill. Very frequent interview subjects are American critics Leonard Maltin and Charles Champlin, plus many older performers, directors, screenwriters, and so on rarely, if ever, seen elsewhere. The show's interview archive is very extensive, and one such interview was used in the 1999 Academy Awards presentation. The interviews are run between the two films, and afterwards. In the very early days, short subjects or experimental films would sometimes ... Written by David Badger

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Did You Know?

Trivia

This long-running program began when the general manager of TVOntario told Elwy Yost that TVO had the broadcast rights to some Ingmar Bergman films, and sought ideas on how to present them on educational TV. Yost presented them under the title "Three Films in Search of God". See more »

Connections

Spun-off from Saturday Night at the Movies Too (1989) See more »

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User Reviews

 
My film education began here....
24 July 2006 | by (Toronto, Canada) – See all my reviews

How does one begin writing comments about something like this, which for most of my years on this planet, was the instrumental thing that nurtured my passion for cinema, and showed me the rich diversity of film history. It isn't just enough that this show continues to show two films every Saturday night since its inception. It simply goes without saying that this show would not be the legend it is, had it not been anchored by the love, lore and enthusiasm of Elwy Yost.

Although "Saturday Night..." had already been on television a few years, I had actually first discovered Elwy by way of his serialized weeknight show, "Magic Shadows" (see my review). So, when I was old enough to stay up late on Saturday nights (or for that matter, strong enough to wrestle the TV away from my babysitter's Saturday night staples of (ick) "Love Boat" and "Fantasy Island"), I was thusly introduced into an even broader spectrum of movie-making.

Even more, between and after the two films (which were often paired as themes for studying genres, directors, actors, or social matters), we were greeted to a "who's who" of movieland- interviews conducted by Yost correlating to the films at hand. In his annual pilgrimage to Hollywood, Elwy had the good fortune to interview stars, directors, writers and technicians from Hollywood's golden age before they had passed on. For that matter, he also sat down for conversations with some of the young lions who were then making names for themselves in the present-day movie world.

Southern Ontario viewers never had a better crash course in cinema than they would get with this weekly show. Elwy took you increasingly further into the magic of the movies, and you came away with much more substance than that thin "Entertainment Tonight" pap that passes itself for TV journalism these days. He would take us out to see how those bullet holes in THE WILD BUNCH got made, behind the scenes for the stop motion animation of THE LOST WORLD (1960), or he would check in on an editor hunched over a Moviola. While you would turn on knowing who Henry Fonda or Bette Davis were, you would leave also learning about Preston Sturges, Franklin Pangborn, Nunnally Johnson, Powell & Pressburger, or Sven Nykvist... to name only a few out of hundreds.

Still, it is important to note that Elwy was more than just a host-- he was a surrogate friend on the other end of the cathode ray tube. With his warm demeanour and natural gift for storytelling, he emerged as more than simply a well-read scholar, he was first and foremost a fan. Through Elwy you were introduced to films without bias or reservation. Whether his films of the week were Ingmar Bergman, or Dorothy Lamour sarong pictures, it ALL mattered. And with his wide-eyed enthusiasm, he was eager to share it with you. Needless to say, we eagerly took it all in.

In 1999, Elwy Yost had left the show. His retirement was certainly well deserved, but he left a long shadow to be filled. Nonetheless, Shelagh Rogers, to our delight, was a fine replacement (I believe, hand-picked by Mr. Yost)- an affable, knowledgeable host, with a wonderfully game approach to the material. However, (if my memory serves) after one year she had to leave the show out of commitments with the CBC. And for years, the program remained without a host. Simply, screens with typeface would introduce the films, and even the newer interviews appeared to be faceless (as the offscreen interviewer never seemed to have any kind of presence). Now there is a new host, delivering the exact same introduction before both films on the bill, whose monologues are with big words and no panache.

Even so, after thirty-odd years, "Saturday Night at the Movies" remains the best date on television.

Before I go, I want to share this with you. In 1989, I had the honour and privilege of meeting Mr. Yost and his wife Lila on the subway. This was even a bigger treat because that season, he -tried- to lighten his work load (introducing only one film on Saturday Night, and then Jay Scott's "Film International" would fill the second slot), and thusly wasn't in Toronto as much. (However he was back the following year, working full time.) So for the duration of about ten subway stops, I managed to talk cinema with Elwy and his wife (and they are a team by the way- no "celebrity-and-spouse" business here), and amusingly enough, he was amazed at how many films a young guy like myself had seen. (He hadn't yet seen Murnau's THE LAST LAUGH!!)

So, as I got out at my subway stop and walked down the platform, Mr. Saturday Night went by on the subway car, doing his trademark wave that ended his show every week, and I had tears in my eyes.

An institution.


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