Classic movies on display at Tampa Theatre

You have to give props to the Tampa Theatre. Their annual Summer Classic Movie Series is the best game in town for catching the greatest films in Hollywood history on the big screen. Past years have seen films as varied as Raiders of the Lost Ark, King Kong and West Side Story play to packed houses. And really, isn't a historic theater dating to the 1920s the best place to see a flick from the Golden Age of Tinseltown?

This year's attention-grabbers are Hitchcock's North By Northwest (Aug. 9), Gone With The Wind (Aug. 15-16) and The Wizard of Oz (Aug. 22-23), with all three films celebrating major anniversaries (50th for Northwest, 70th for the other two) and presented in 35 mm prints. They're all classics by any measure and you need to see them in a theater with an audience to appreciate them.

But maybe you're tired of these films. (Personally, if I see The Wizard of Oz one more time I'm going to strangle a little person.) In that case, Tampa Theatre still has you covered with a wide spectrum of flicks in all genres, including a newly restored print of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (May 31); To Kill A Mockingbird (June 14); Preston Sturges's screwball road movie Sullivan's Travels (June 21); Casablanca (June 27-28); Saving Private Ryan (July 5); Blazing Saddles (July 19); Citizen Kane (July 26); and a 3-D screening of The Creature From The Black Lagoon (Aug. 2) complete with "uber cool" glasses for everyone.

Screenings are every Sun., May 31-Aug. 22, with added Saturday screenings for selected films. Tampa Theatre, 711 N. Franklin St., Tampa, 813-274-8981, tampatheatre.org.