There's this cozy scene in Giuseppe Tornatore's "Cinema Paradiso" where all the village families gather in a makeshift outdoor theater to watch a movie. The sun has just gone down, the breeze is up and everybody seems lazy and happy, just enjoying the huge images flickering against a whitewashed wall.
Well, nobody would confuse Golden West College in Huntington Beach with Tornatore's Italian countryside, but you may get a taste of that experience in the college's Summer '91 Outdoor Family Film Festival beginning Friday. Presented in GWC's amphitheater, an airy space surrounded by trees, the series offers a beguiling environment for mom, dad and the kids.
You won't find any Bergman, Fellini, Scorsese or even Tornatore in this G-rated lineup, but you will find a mix of light comedy, feature-length cartoons, fantasy, adventure and a little drama. Parents may have to stifle a yawn with most of these movies, but children will probably be pleased.
Friday's opener is the animated "An American Tail," produced by Steven Spielberg and directed by Don Bluth. The story follows the whiskered Mousekewitz family's journey to America, focusing on Fievel, their young son who gets lost along the way.
Up next, on July 19, is "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken" with Don Knotts. Knotts desperately wants to impress his girlfriend and become a newspaper reporter. To prove his moxie to her and the paper's editor, he agrees to spend a night in a haunted house and write a story about it.
On July 26, "The Neverending Story" will be screened. This fantasy, the only PG-rated movie in the bunch, tells the odyssey of a 10-year-old boy trying to save an imaginative wonderland from destruction.
"All Dogs Go to Heaven" is scheduled for Aug. 2. This animated film is about a girl who can talk to animals. It was also directed by Bluth and features the voices of Burt Reynolds, Dom DeLuise and Loni Anderson.
On Aug. 9, "Tom Sawyer" is offered. This musical version of Mark Twain's novel features Warren Oates, Celeste Holm and a very young Jodie Foster.
Screening Aug. 16 is "The Sea Gypsies," an adventure tale about a widower, a feisty female journalist, two girls and a stowaway who set out to sail around the world, meeting near-disaster along the way.
The series' highlight, "The Black Stallion," will be presented Aug. 23. The Francis Ford Coppola movie stars Mickey Rooney, Kelly Reno and a magnificent horse and is known for its glorious cinematography. The early scenes, when the young boy bonds with an Arabian stallion on a deserted island, are simply beautiful.
The final offering on Aug. 30 is the popular musical "The Sound of Music," starring Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer and Eleanor Parker. The film, winner of five Academy Awards, features several memorable Rodgers and Hammerstein songs including "Do-Re-Mi" and "My Favorite Things."
What: The Golden West College Summer '91 Outdoor Family Film Festival.
When: Friday nights (movies start at dusk; get there by 8 p.m.) through Aug. 30.
Where: Golden West College's amphitheater, 15744 Golden West St., Huntington Beach.
Whereabouts: Take the San Diego (405) Freeway to Golden West Street and head west. Go south on McFadden Avenue to Gothard Street and head west. Enter the Center Street parking lot next to the campus.
Wherewithal: $1.50 to $2.
Where to Call: (714) 891-3991.