The weekend ritual known as “Sunday Flicks” (originally held on Saturday evenings) continues to thrive as a perdurant student tradition. As explained in the ASSU records, two showings for these movies were available, both 7:00pm and 9:30 pm, in Memorial Auditorium. The early movie time was designed for quiet, civil grad students, whereas the later showing was intended for those who “want to throw lots of paper and yell and talk a lot.” Among favorite and frequently repeated films were Citizen Kane, Franco Zefferelli’s Romeo and Juliet, and those by Woody Allen.
The student police reports provide eyewitness insight into the ebullient, and occasionally uncivilized, audience reception. In a report on the November 1, 1959 showing of Une Parisienne, the chief of student police recounted that “Brigitte Bardot managed to draw 1,400 plus intelligent, cultural minded Stanford students into Memorial Auditorium to see the shortest flick of the quarter. With the exception of the crude yells originating in the men’s rooting section in the balcony, the crowd behaved in a normal fashion.” While the police made a sincere effort to ensure the safety and well-being of their fellow students, there were moments during which the police themselves became momentarily distracted. In the Sunday Flicks police report from October 22, 1950, the head of student police confessed that “there was no trouble at all except upon the arrival of a gorgeous redhead. After the student police were calmed down, things went on normally.” The same police officer submitted another report on the following Sunday, October 29: “very little smoking and no trouble. The redhead didn’t show.”
The Stanford Film Society, a more recent addition to the student film buff scene, fosters the appreciation and study of film through screenings, workshops, and hands-on production opportunities.
Featured image: Sunday Flicks poster for Fall quarter, 1974