Bell Theater hosting first double feature

The Pineville Players will be hosting the Bell Theater’s first ever double feature event on April 14, with a showing of both “The Passion of Joan of Arc” and “Jesus Christ Superstar.”

According to Britannica.com, the double feature attraction began in the 1930s to fight back against the box office drop off the Great Depression had impacted. Bottom level production companies produced very low budget “B-movies,” that were only around 60 minutes, to tag on the back end of a double bill. Larger studios at the time had no desire to make their own B-movies because the first film made all the money while the second films profits were not considered substantial enough to bother making them at all.

The first film of the Bell Theater’s double feature, “The Passion of Joan of Arc,” is a French production made in 1928 — the time of the silent film. The film is considered a seminal work in the work of film for its historical accuracy (the director used documents of Joan of Arc’s actual trial) and powerful story. Director Carl Theodore Dreyer used the close-up predominantly throughout the film, which is considered a rather trailblazing at the time of the films production.

The second film of the evening, “Jesus Christ Superstar,” was the brain child of famed stage producer Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyricist Tim Rice. According to a mentalfloss.com article, the idea came to the two from a shared affinity for “Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat.” Webber and Rice envisioned a show about the betrayal of Jesus from the perspective of Judas. They shopped the idea around and were firmly rejected. After being denied the chance to make the show on the stage, the duo instead created a concept musical album, spanning 87 minutes, and it was released in 1970. The album quickly became a massive hit and the show ended up on Broadway in 1971 and in theaters as a feature film in 1973.

The show will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Bell Theater in downtown Pineville. Tickets are $10 and free popcorn will be provided.