"The Band That Wouldn't Die," Barry Levinson's documentary on his native city's astonishingly resilient Colts-cum- Ravens marching band, will get its U.S. premiere Oct. 6 at M&T Bank Stadium.
"We were very touched and honored that world-famous producer and director Barry Levinson would produce something like this about the Marching Ravens," said band president John Ziemann. "It not only represents Baltimore and Maryland, but it represents every person who is a professional football fan in this city and state."
The film, part of ESPN's "30 for 30" series, chronicles the band's history from its darkest hour, that snowy morning in March 1984 when Mayflower moving vans stole away to Indianapolis with the Colts, through its determination to keep playing and marching even without a team to play and march for, to its present incarnation as the Ravens' musical cheerleaders.
In the process, the group morphed from the Baltimore Colts' Marching Band to Baltimore's Marching Ravens. Their determination to remain both alive and viable - even at a time when Baltimore's prospects of acquiring another NFL team seemed dim - served as a welcome metaphor for the city's determination to bring football back.
Maryland Film Festival founder Jed Dietz, who has seen the film, predicts it will have a profound effect on any Colts or Ravens fan.
"This is somebody who totally gets the story," Dietz says of Levinson's connection to the material. "This band took it upon itself to keep the spirit of football alive in this town. It's civic action, in the greatest sense."
Levinson, busy working on his next film, "You Don't Know Jack," with Al Pacino as Jack Kevorkian, couldn't make the world premiere at last month's Toronto International Film Festival. But he plans to be at M&T Bank Stadium.
"I am thrilled to share this film at M&T Stadium with the great Baltimore fans and our wonderful marching band," Levinson, who will serve as host for the screening, said in a news release. "All of us who worked on the film focused on capturing that very special Baltimore spirit that has always fascinated me, and will certainly be present at this event."
Tickets for the Oct. 6 showing, set for 7 p.m., are $5, and may be purchased in advance at baltimoreravens.com or by phoning 410-261-7283(RAVE). A concert by the Marching Ravens is set for 6:30 p.m. All proceeds benefit the Maryland Film Festival.
'Opera' revival : Halloween may be more than a month away, but it's never too early to start getting your fright on. Toward that end, the Charles Theatre's Saturday revival series will be playing the 1925 silent version of "The Phantom of the Opera." Directed by Rupert Julian, the movie stars film legend Lon Chaney as the titular specter, with Mary Philbin as his scarily beloved, Christine. The film is justly famed for the horrific unmasking scene, in which the unquenchably curious Christine's desire to remove the Phantom's mask leads to horrifying results. But there's far more to the movie than one horrific visage. Some of the movie was shot in an early two-strip Technicolor process. Showtime is noon Saturday, with encores at 7 p.m. Monday and 9 p.m. Thursday. Tickets are $6 Saturday, $8 other times. Information: thecharles.com or 410-727-3456.
More on metal : Penelope Spheeris' "The Decline and Fall of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years," featuring interviews with and performances by Ozzy Osbourne, Kiss, Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, Megadeath and Poison, will have a free screening at 2 p.m. tomorrow in the Wheeler Auditorium of the Pratt Library, 400 Cathedral St. Also on tap is the 17-minute short "Heavy Metal Parking Lot," in which filmmakers Jeff Krulik and John Heyn interviewed fans hanging out before a 1986 Capital Centre concert featuring Judas Priest and Dokken.
Also tomorrow, the Pratt's free monthly Film Talk series will be showing Martin Scorsese's 1973 "Mean Streets," a mob drama starring Harvey Keitel, Robert De Niro and Amy Robinson. Showtime is 10:15 a.m., with spirited discussion sure to follow.
Information: 410-396-5430 or prattlibrary.org.