Epic Stretch: introducing The Shawshank Redemption at Derby QUAD

May 20, 2013 by Simon Kinnear in Introductions with 0 Comments

Think of epic cinema, and invariably you’ll have an image of endless vistas and wide open spaces in mind. So far in my new strand at Derby Quad – called Epic! – that’s exactly how I’ve pitched it, with screenings of Lawrence of Arabia and The Searchers.

Yet an epic tale can also be painted on the most intimate scale, too, and that’s why for the third film in the season I’ll be introducing Frank Darabont’s 1994 modern classic, The Shawshank Redemption, at 4pm on Sunday 26th May.

The story behind the film is itself an epic tale, and one of the happiest underdog tales in cinema.  Based on a short story by Stephen King, Darabont bagged the rights for a dollar when he was an aspiring writer/director still looking for his break.

When he came to make Shawshank, he secured the talents of Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman yet, despite seven Academy awards and widespread critical praise, the film belly-flopped at the box office due to its cumbersome title and seemingly depressing prison setting.

And then… those people who did see it urged their friends to check it out.  And thanks to video and regular television screenings, Shawshank made a stealthy transition from flop to classic. It’s now a mainstay in any list of the public’s favourite films.

Is that enough of a epic? If now, how about the fact that it tells the tale of one man’s life over three long decades, as he struggles to maintain his integrity and to maintain hope against seemingly impossible odds?  And, at 140-odd minutes, it’s perfect viewing for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Better still, it’s a film that relatively few have seen on the big screen, so here’s the chance to marvel at the exquisite cinematography of Roger Deakins, who received the first of 10 as-yet-unrewarded Oscar nominations for his work.

Visit Derby QUAD on Sunday for a long stretch inside, and still be released on good behaviour in time for tea.  Tickets can be booked here.

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