LA UPCOMING STUFF - JANUARY 2007

a highly-opinionated selection of things happening around town, and sometimes out of town. this month's page here.

fri. jan. 5

bipolar bear @ the smell
the friends of eddie coyle, the nickel ride @ egyptian theatre
in a lonely place, bitter victory @ egyptian theatre
les amants reguliers (regular lovers) @ lacma
unfaithfully yours 8:15 PM @ old town music hall


sat. jan. 6

les amants reguliers (regular lovers) @ lacma
black moon, lacombe lucien @ egyptian theatre
unfaithfully yours 2:30 8:15 PM @ old town music hall


sun. jan. 7

barbarella, danger diabolik! @ new beverly theatre
the tall target, devil's doorway @ egyptian theatre
rebel without a cause, knock on any door @ aero theatre
unfaithfully yours 2:30 PM @ old town music hall


mon. jan. 8

barbarella, danger diabolik! @ new beverly theatre


tue. jan. 9

barbarella, danger diabolik! @ new beverly theatre
the wrong man 1 PM @ lacma


wed. jan. 10

border radio 8 PM @ egyptian theatre
daniel higgs @ il corral


thu. jan. 11

plethora yearned @ the smell
haldane of the secret service 8 PM @ silent movie theatre


fri. jan. 12

zack galifianakis and friends @ largo
platinum blonde, bombshell @ new beverly theatre
volver, pan's labyrinth @ aero theatre
the big pond 8:15 PM @ old town music hall
bellrays @ safari sam's


sat. jan. 13

french without tears @ starlight studio
earthless @ spaceland
the flakes @ mr. t's bowl
platinum blonde, bombshell @ new beverly theatre
bipolar bear @ the smell
the big pond 2:30 8:15 PM @ old town music hall


sun. jan. 14

our man in havana, the detective @ egyptian theatre
MASH @ aero theatre
the big pond 2:30 PM @ old town music hall


mon. jan. 15

nick castro @ the echo
the pope @ the smell


tue. jan. 16

intruder in the dust 1 PM @ lacma


wed. jan. 17

ciao manhattan, kiss of the spider woman @ new beverly theatre
our mother's house, the beguiled @ egyptian theatre
life of oharu @ aero theatre
winston jarrett @ dub club @ the echo
steppenwolf 8 PM @ 7 dudley cinema


thu. jan. 18

ciao manhattan, kiss of the spider woman @ new beverly theatre
stray dog @ aero theatre
orphans of the storm 8 PM @ silent movie theatre


fri. jan. 19

by the ways (a journey with william eggleston) @ getty center
the lady from shanghai @ lacma
bunny lake is missing 9:15 PM @ lacma
zack galifianakis and friends @ largo
rashomon, throne of blood @ aero theatre
raiders of the lost ark MIDNIGHT @ nuart theatre


sat. jan. 20

experimental audio research (9 PM), fuxa (8 PM) @ silverlake lounge
mirage, return from the ashes @ egyptian theatre
ran @ aero theatre
saccharine trust @ mr. t's bowl


sun. jan. 21

true confessions, night of the following day @ egyptian theatre
red beard @ aero theatre
hunchback of notre dame 5 PM @ silent movie theatre


tue. jan. 23

switchblade sisters, the swinging cheerleaders @ new beverly theatre


wed. jan. 24

deerhoof, hella @ el rey
walk on the wild side @ egyptian theatre
yojimbo, sanjuro @ aero theatre


thu. jan. 25

the kid @ egyptian theatre
dersu uzala @ aero theatre
grindhouse danny's vintage 16mm cartoon madness 9 PM @ secret headquarters


fri. jan. 26

the exterminating angel @ lacma
secret ceremony 9:20 PM @ lacma
the black lips @ the echo
of montreal @ el rey
missing, z @ egyptian theatre
the bad sleep well @ aero theatre


sat. jan. 27

one night in lisbon @ starlight studio
the black lips @ spaceland
of montreal @ wiltern
music box, hanna k @ egyptian theatre
kagemusha @ aero theatre


sun. jan. 28


of montreal @ troubadour
investigation of a citizen above suspicion, quiet place in the country @ egyptian theatre
the seven samurai @ aero theatre


tue. jan. 30

the letter 1 PM @ lacma
mose allison @ jazz bakery


wed. jan. 31

helmet @ troubadour
mose allison @ jazz bakery
american hardcore, the filth and the fury @ new beverly theatre
dreams @ aero theatre


thu. feb. 1

helmet @ troubadour
mose allison @ jazz bakery
american hardcore, the filth and the fury @ new beverly theatre
experiment in terror, mistery cory @ egyptian theatre


fri. feb. 2

orpheus @ lacma
eyes without a face 9:20 PM @ lacma
mose allison @ jazz bakery
the thief of baghdad 8:15 PM @ old town music hall


sat. feb. 3

sherlock jr. 5 PM, the scarecrow, the play house @ lacma
celine and julie go bowling @ lacma
mose allison @ jazz bakery
woman of straw, the running man @ egyptian theatre
the thief of baghdad 2:30 8:15 PM @ old town music hall


sun. feb. 4

mose allison @ jazz bakery
10:30 pm summer, mademoiselle @ egyptian theatre
the thief of baghdad 2:30 PM @ old town music hall


wed. feb. 7

forbidden zone, flesh gordon @ new beverly theatre


thu. feb. 8

forbidden zone, flesh gordon @ new beverly theatre
night of the generals @ egyptian theatre
jucifer @ the scene


fri. feb. 9

stairway to heaven aka life and death @ lacma
the tenant, rosemary's baby @ new beverly theatre
wild at heart (x-rated version) MIDNIGHT @ nuart theatre


sat. feb. 10

hatter's castle @ starlight studio
the tenant, rosemary's baby @ new beverly theatre
mirah @ troubadour


sun. feb. 11

goldfinger, from russia with love @ new beverly theatre


mon. feb. 12

goldfinger, from russia with love @ new beverly theatre


tue. feb. 13

the decks ran red 1 PM @ lacma
goldfinger, from russia with love @ new beverly theatre
upsilon acrux @ the smell


wed. feb. 14

charalambides @ the smell


fri. feb. 16

point blank @ lacma
blow-up 9:15 PM @ lacma
band of outsiders, shoot the piano player @ new beverly theatre


sat. feb. 17

woman in the dunes @ lacma
band of outsiders, shoot the piano player @ new beverly theatre


sun. feb. 18

the long goodbye, california split @ new beverly theatre


mon. feb. 19

the long goodbye, california split @ new beverly theatre


tue. feb. 20

black shampoo, the human tornado @ new beverly theatre


wed. feb. 21

jonestown: the life and death of peoples temple, deliver us from evil @ new beverly theatre


thu. feb. 22

jonestown: the life and death of peoples temple, deliver us from evil @ new beverly theatre


fri. feb. 23

don't look now @ lacma
persona 9:30 PM @ lacma
the conformist, investigation of a citizen above suspicion @ new beverly theatre


sat. feb. 24

crazy house @ starlight studio
the conformist, investigation of a citizen above suspicion @ new beverly theatre


tue. feb. 27

cabin in the sky 1 PM @ lacma
nels cline @ the echo


wed. feb. 28

the mirror, the sacrifice @ new beverly theatre
french kicks @ troubadour


thu. mar. 1

the mirror, the sacrifice @ new beverly theatre


fri. mar. 2

clinic @ troubadour
play it again sam, modern romance @ new beverly theatre
the pope @ the smell


sat. mar. 3

play it again sam, modern romance @ new beverly theatre


mar. 10

street of chance @ starlight studio
chuck dukowski sextet, saccharine trust @ mr. t's bowl


mar. 16

el topo MIDNIGHT @ nuart theatre


mar. 22

antibalas @ troubadour


mar. 23

santa sangre MIDNIGHT @ nuart theatre


mar. 24

the lady has plans @ starlight studio


mar. 30

dos @ the smell


apr. 7

the mad doctor of market street @ starlight studio


apr. 13

suspiria MIDNIGHT @ nuart theatre


fri. apr. 20

trans am @ troubadour


sat. apr. 21

true to life @ starlight studios


may 5

the hour before the dawn @ starlight studios


may 19

standing room only @ starlight studios


may 26

echo curio @ mr. t's bowl


fri. jun. 29
von trier's medea 8 PM @ getty villa


sat. jun. 30

pasolini's medea 8 PM @ getty villa


WHAT IT IS:


THE BEGUILED, 1971, Universal, 105 min. Don Siegel (DIRTY HARRY) directed this hypnotic American Gothic of a wounded Yankee soldier (Clint Eastwood) holed up in a rural finishing school of sexually voracious Southern belles during the Civil War. Eastwood‚??s complex, double-edged peformance is one of his greatest. Geraldine Page is the tragically-repressed schoolmistress who finds herself falling for her ‚??prisoner‚??, and Elizabeth Hartman is the delicate flower who might just end up being Eastwood‚??s salvation. Critics were initially divided on the film, and it proved a financial flop at the box office. But its reputation has grown steadily, many now believing it one of Siegel and Eastwood‚??s best. With Jo Ann Harris, Mae Mercer. "Combining the conventions of both Western and Grand Guignol chiller, and often directed as if it were an art movie, this is one of Siegel and Eastwood's strangest - and most beguiling - collaborations." ‚?? Time Out


BITTER VICTORY, 1957, Sony Repertory, 103 min. Richard Burton is a fatalistic captain at odds with his indecisive and inexperienced superior, a timid major played by Curt Jurgens, as they undertake a dangerous mission across the desert to steal secret documents from the Nazis during WWII. Burton had left Jurgens‚?? beautiful wife, Ruth Roman, heartbroken years before, and this association further poisons the relationship between the two officers. One of Nicholas Ray‚??s most underrated and most beautifully directed masterworks is full of subtle touches that build inexorably to a shattering and tragic conclusion. Originally cut by over 20 minutes in America, this is the restored and original uncut version. Writing about BITTER VICTORY in Cahiers du Cinema, Jean Luc Godard famously declared "Henceforth there is cinema. And the cinema is Nicholas Ray."


BLACK MOON, 1975, Janus Films, 100 min. Out of circulation for years ‚?? at least in the USA - director Louis Malle‚??s hard-to-see surrealist, adult fairy tale finally became available again thanks to Janus Films. Fifteen-year-old Cathryn Harrison (granddaughter of Rex) is fleeing cross-country in the wake of a war between men and women, finding refuge in a manor (director Malle‚??s own estate) inhabited by an old lady (Therese Giehse) and a brother and sister (Joe Dallesandro, Alexandra Stewart). Much of the film is set to music and sound effects, with a minimum of dialogue spoken (some of it from animals!). Malle purposely defies logic at every turn, conjuring a world of dreams - and nightmares - as refuge from the crushing tyranny of modern reality. Unicorns, wild naked children, the breastfeeding of an old woman, and a gigantic pig all figure into the mix. Unique and wonderfully strange. NOT ON DVD


BLACK SHAMPOO
(from IMDB)
John Daniels stars as Jonathan Knight, the owner of "Mr. Jonathans", the most successful hair salon for women on the Sunset Strip. Jonathan is tall, muscular, black and ballsy. His reputation as a lover has become so awesome that he is sought after almost as much in that capacity as in his expertise as a hair stylist. Everything is cool for Jonathan until he messes with the mob in an effort to protect his young, attractive receptionist from her former boss. Action explodes when the "lovin' machine" becomes the "killing machine". Jonathan, equipped with chain saw in hand, gets down on the vicious mob gang.


Blow-Up
(1966/color/111 min.) Scr: Michelangelo Antonioni, Tonino Guerra, based on a story by Julio Cort√°zar; dir: Michelangelo Antonioni; w/ David Hemmings, Vanessa Redgrave, Sarah Miles.
Based on a short story by the Argentinian writer Julio Cortázar, Michelangelo Antonioni's first English-language film, set in Swinging London, was a deconstructed whodunit, a cause célèbre, and one of the most discussed films of its time. Ostensibly a day in the life of a successful, bored fashion photographer, it also involves a murder photographed by chance and then "erased": the photographs are stolen, the body has vanished. In this existential mystery, Antonioni shows only what the photographer himself sees, leaving it to the viewer to decide what really lies behind the image or within the protagonist's heart. With its spectacular set pieces (a visit to a deserted London park at night made eerie by the sound of rustling leaves and the tour de force sequence in which one photograph is progressively enlarged to reveal a hidden "truth"), Blow-Up is a film that rewards repeated viewings with new insights.


BOMBSHELL
(from IMDB)
Lola Burns is at the top of the pile in Hollywood. But life ain't easy, what with her father and brother always hanging around for handouts, and devious studio publicity honcho Space Hanlon cooking up endless lurid newspaper stories. Makes a girl want to give up pictures.


BORDER RADIO, 1987, 87 min. Directed by then UCLA students Allison Anders, Kurt Voss and Dean Lent (who also served as cinematographer), this seminal indie film was one of the first of a new breed of moviemaking. Embittered rocker, Jeff (Chris D.) takes it on the lam to Mexico after robbing a cheating nightclub‚??s safe with his pals, alcoholic bass player, Dean (John Doe) and spoiled, smart aleck roadie, Chris (Chris Shearer). Jeff‚??s wife, Luanna (Luanna Anders), suddenly finding herself a single mother, tries to put the pieces of the mystery together and convince Jeff to return to his Los Angeles home. A trenchant look at the indie rock scene of the early 1980‚??s as well as a potent comedy drama about trying to grow up while staying true to iconoclast roots in an evermore homogenized world. With Dave Alvin, Iris Berry, Texacala Jones, Devon Anders and the bands Green On Red and Billy Wisdom and The HeShes. Discussion following the screening with directors Allison Anders, Kurt Voss, Dean Lent and actors Chris D., Luanna Anders, John Doe, Chris Shearer and Iris Berry (schedule permitting). The first 30 attendees (purchased ticket holders only) to arrive at the theatre will get a new Criterion Collection DVD (to be released January 16) and a DVD signing will take place at 7:00 PM when the theatre doors open.


Bunny Lake Is Missing
(1965/b&w/107 min./Panavision) Scr: John Mortimer, Penelope Mortimer, based on the novel by Evelyn Piper; dir: Otto Preminger; w/ Laurence Olivier, Carol Lynley, Kier Dullea, Anna Massey, Noel Coward.
Does this Bunny really exist? That's the question dominating Otto Preminger's examination of the events surrounding the disappearance of four-year-old Bunny Lake from a London nursery school that has no record of the child's registration. With its bizarre cast of characters-Bunny's neurotic American mother, her weird, solicitous brother, the dotty school teachers, and the sadistic landlord-and its asymmetrical black-and-white CinemaScope images, Bunny Lake "walks a fascinating line between morbid humor and outright horror, and it consistently defies expectations," notes Tasha Robinson in The Onion A.V. Club. "By building a world where nearly every character flaunts a dark or disturbing side, Preminger turns a relatively simple mystery into an unsettling fun house ride where nothing can be assumed or assured."


By the Ways (A Journey with William Eggleston)
French filmmakers Vincent Gérard and Cédric Laty examine the art of pioneering photographer William Eggleston, hailed as "the father of color photography" in this recent documentary. An unconventional portrait, this evocative film follows the artist on a journey through the American South as he photographs "these badlands" and features interviews with Eggleston, tributes from other artists, and a glimpse of Eggleston at work in the lab and behind the camera. Complements the exhibition Where We Live: Photographs of America from the Berman Collection.


Céline and Julie Go Boating
(1974/color/193 min.) Scr: Juliet Berto, Eduardo de Gregorio, Dominique Labourier, Bulle Ogier, Marie-France Pisier, Jacques Rivette; dir: Jacques Rivette; w/ Juliet Berto, Bulle Ogier, Dominique Labourier, Marie-France Pisier, Barbet Schroeder.
Inspired by Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865), Jacques Rivette's lighthearted celebration of the world of the imagination centers on two women-Céline, a magician, and Julie, a librarian-who meet on a summer day in a Paris park. Instant friends and conspirators, they stumble into a mysterious house and a parallel reality in which a quartet of ghosts acts out a nineteenth-century play about two women in love with the same man. "The old house is like a deserted art cinema where the same faded old print is projected forever. But what happens there is also a creaky stage melodrama that needs to be endlessly rehearsed until the spell is broken," observed Jonathan Romney in The Guardian. "[And] that's only part of it: there's Céline's slapdash magic act as La Mandragore, Julie's manic song-and-dance debut as La Kamikaze, a dead-of-night library raid with roller skates and an extraordinary number of cats . . . Rivette's film is a three-hour tangle of dream, cloak-and-dagger intrigue, and seemingly haphazard comedy that leaves you exhilarated.


CIAO! MANHATTAN
(from IMDB)
'Ciao Manhattan' is made up of black and white footage shot in 1967 originally intended for a never finished movie that almost accidentally starred Edie, and later colour footage filmed in an attempt to salvage the project. In the final version Edie plays a character called Susan, a former model and underground film star who has retreated to her mother's home for "treatment". She's a mess - has permanent brain damage and a drinking problem. Hayes plays Butch a young Texan drifter who picks Susan up while she is hitchhiking half naked down the highway. He returns her home and Susan's mother (Isabel Jewell) hires him to babysit her troubled daughter. The movie cuts between "now" and then, colour and black and white, documentary footage and paranoid sci fi fantasy. It's quite a trip! Anybody interested in Andy Warhol or The Velvet Underground will want to see this very strange, but watchable mess.


DELIVER US FROM EVIL
(from IMDB)
Moving from one parish to another in Northern California during the 1970s, Father Oliver O'Grady quickly won each congregation's trust and respect. Unbeknownst to them, O'Grady was a dangerously active pedophile that Church hierarchy, aware of his predilection, had harbored for over 30 years, allowing him to abuse countless children. Juxtaposing an extended, deeply unsettling interview with O'Grady himself with the tragic stories of his victims, filmmaker Amy Berg bravely exposes the deep corruption of the Catholic Church and the troubled mind of the man they sheltered.


DERSU UZALA, 1975, Kino International, 141 min. Director Akira Kurosawa was pulling himself out of a suicidal depression when he agreed to helm this Soviet-Japanese co-production, a film that went on to win an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. When Captain Vladimir (Yuri Solomin) and his Siberian forest expedition meet a diminutive mountain man, Dersu Uzala (Maksim Munzuk) at their rural campsite, a friendship begins that will span decades. Kurosawa perceptively and subtly explores the inevitable clash of civilization and nature, focusing on a relationship between two men who are very different, yet share a warm, kindred spirit. Ultimately, ‚??rational‚?? realty in the form of Vladimir collides with the holistic, all-is-one-with-nature being that is Dersu, leading to an unwished for, but tragic resolution. From Siberia‚??s wildly beautiful wooded landscapes to its pitiless, snow-ravaged wastes, a stirringly timeless evocation of man‚??s fateful, often fractured and awkward place in the world.


THE DETECTIVE, 1954, Sony Repertory, 91 min. Dir. Robert Hamer. Alec Guinness portrays G. K. Chesterton‚??s mild-mannered, but very shrewd detective, Father Brown. Pursuing dapper jewel thief, Flambeau (Peter Finch) through England and France, Brown is as eager to save the man‚??s soul as to recover the loot. Constantly amusing, with a formidable cast that also includes Joan Greenwood and Bernard Lee (M in the early Bond films) as a police inspector whose patience is sorely tested by the amateur sleuth cleric. "The near-sighted priest, who learns the secrets of unarmed combat from some of the tougher members of his flock, is admirably brought to life by Guinness. His performance, good though it is, does not overshadow a first-class thesping job by Peter Finch as the international thief who likes to collect the rare treasures he cannot afford." ‚?? Variety NOT ON DVD


DEVIL‚??S DOORWAY, 1950, Warner Bros., 84 min. Director Anthony Mann‚??s first true western (before the more well-known James Stewart masterpieces), this is the story of a highly decorated Native American (Robert Taylor) who fought for the Union during the Civil War ‚?? and returns home to find his land seized by the Federal Government. A groundbreakingly fearless look at what are still controversial topics today, including racism, genocide, eminent domain and women‚??s struggle for equality (Paula Raymond, as Taylor‚??s inexperienced, novice lawyer!). Manns totally uncompromising, unsentimental portrait of the birth - and rape - of the American West is superbly photographed by John Alton (his last film with Mann). A scarily cold-hearted Louis Calhern co-stars as the unrepentant, bigoted land agent. NOT ON DVD


Don't Look Now
(1973/color/110 min.) Scr: Allan Scott, Chris Bryant, based on the story by Daphne du Maurier; dir: Nicolas Roeg; w/ Donald Sutherland, Julie Christie.
Grieving for their young daughter who has drowned on their farm in Britain, John and Laura Baxter travel to Venice. John, an architect, has been hired to restore an old church there, and it is in this city built on water that he and Laura begin to catch glimpses of their dead child wearing a red raincoat. From this simple premise, Nicolas Roeg created one of the great modern horror films, a tale told in images that merge past, present, and future and weave an indelible atmosphere "of dread, grief, and apprehension," as critic Roger Ebert noted. "Venice, that haunted city, has never been more melancholy than in Don't Look Now. It is like a vast necropolis, its stones damp and crumbling, its canals alive with rats . . . and the streets, bridges, canals, dead ends, and wrong turns fold in upon themselves. Walking in Venice, especially on a foggy winter night, is like walking in a dream."


DREAMS (YUME), 1990, WarnerBros., 119 min. One of maestro Akira Kurosawa‚??s last films is an anthology of eight dream episodes adapted from the director‚??s own nocturnal reveries. The mysteries of childhood, nature and man‚??s seemingly eternal predilection for self-destruction are the main themes, depicted sinply and with a sense of childlike wonder. Kurosawa drew on the fantasy cinema expertise of lifelong friend, director Ishiro Honda (GOJIRA) who was uncredited co-director on the two episodes "The Tunnel" and "Mount Fuji In Red" as well as the prologue and epilogue of "The Weeping Demon". Another master filmmaker, Martin Scorsese also participated, but as an actor, giving a very convincing portrayal of Vincent Van Gogh in "The Crows" segment. Another one of Kurosawa‚??s splendid visual achievements that really needs to be seen on the big screen.


EXPERIMENT IN TERROR, 1962, Sony Repertory, 123 min. Lee Remick is a bank teller whose teenage sister (Stephanie Powers) is kidnapped by creepy, asthmatic Ross Martin (Artemus Gordon on TV‚??s "The Wild, Wild West"), a sociopathic crook brewing an extortion plot. Glenn Ford is the no-nonsense FBI agent who steps in after a terrified Remick contacts the agency. Director Blake Edwards‚?? skill at creating dark atmosphere and nailbiting suspense (honed on "Peter Gunn," the TV show he created) presaged his later seemingly contradictory focus on effervescent comedy. After BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY‚??S and THE PINK PANTHER (both also coincidentally Edwards‚?? films), composer Henry Mancini graces us with his most memorable (and sinister) score.


The Exterminating Angel
(1962/b&w/95 min.) Scr: Luis Bu√Īuel, based on a play by Jos√© Bergam√≠n; dir: Luis Bu√Īuel; w/ Silvia Pinal.
After an opera performance, members of Mexico's elite are invited to a dinner party at a mansion on "Calle de la Providencia" but find themselves incapable of leaving the house at night's end. An inexplicable force similarly drives the servants home, and as the days pass and the food and water run out, the trapped-Luis Bu√Īuel called them "shipwrecked"-bourgeoisie quickly descend into savagery. No description of the plot can evoke the black humor and strange poetry that Bu√Īuel weaves into this premise; it is certainly one of the eeriest and most memorable films ever made.


FORBIDDEN ZONE
(from IMDB)
A mysterious door in the basement of the Hercules house leads to the Sixth Dimension by way of a gigantic set of intestine. When Frenchy slips through the door, King Fausto falls in love with her. The jealous Queen Doris takes Frenchy prisoner, and it is up to the Hercules family and friend Squeezit Henderson to rescue her.


THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE, 1973, Paramount, 102 min. Director Peter Yates (BULLITT) adapts George V. Higgins‚?? brilliant slice of Boston low life crime novel. Robert Mitchum is at his finest as streetwise Eddie Coyle, a blue collar fence squeezed between the Feds and his hoodlum cohorts, all the while trying to support his family. Cynical young cop Richard Jordan, hep gun dealer Steven Keats, bank robber Alex Rocco and sociopathic bartender Peter Boyle all use Eddie in one way or another for their own ends. And Eddie plays all ends against the middle, trying to survive and pick up a little change on the side. Gritty and grim, shot completely on Boston locations and full of some of the most wonderfully pungent dialogue this side of GOODFELLAS. NOT ON DVD


HALDANE OF THE SECRET SERVICE
(from AMG)
Famed escape artist Harry Houdini functions as producer, director and star of Haldane of the Secret Service. After his detective father is murdered by the villains, Heath Haldane (Houdini) dedicates himself to tracking down the scoundrels. Time and again, the bad guys trap Haldane in ropes, chains and strongboxes. And time and again, our hero wriggles out of his predicaments with the skill of? well, of Harry Houdini. The one surprise in Haldane of the Secret Service is the identity of the head criminal, a surprise which will not be revealed in these notes.


HANNA K, 1983, Universal, 111 min. In this underrated drama, Jill Clayburgh is Hanna Kaufman, an emigrant to Israel and a court-appointed lawyer chosen to defend suspected Palestinian terrorist, Selem Bakri (Mohammed Bakri). Bakri asserts he has legal evidence going back decades to reclaim family property confiscated by the Israeli government. Complicating matters are not only her estranged husband (Jean Yanne) and her current lover, the Israeli prosecutor (Gabriel Byrne), but her growing personal attachment to her enigmatic client. Shunning facile conclusions, director Costa-Gavras gives a remarkably even-handed look at both sides of the thorny question of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a gauntlet of mutual injustices that ping-pong back-and-forth in seemingly perpetual motion. NOT ON DVD.


THE HUMAN TORNADO
(from IMDB)
One of several Rudy Ray Moore films, THE HUMAN TORNADO is part of the on-going adventures of Dolemite: a signifying' super-hero. Dolemite comes to the rescue of Queen Bee, whose primarily black Nightclub is threatened by White Mafia types.


IN A LONELY PLACE, 1950, Sony Repertory, 94 min. Dir. Nicholas Ray. A brilliant, moody drama of a screenwriter (Humphrey Bogart) accused of murder, and the starlet (Gloria Grahame) afraid to trust him. On one level, a poisonous rejection of all things Hollywood; on another, a love triangle of almost demonic intensity between the director and his two stars. Although Dorothy B. Hughes‚?? original novel was also possessed of a desolate ending, Ray‚??s equally downbeat climax was quite different and undoubtedly did not find favor with the studio powers-that-be. Co-starring Frank Lovejoy.


INVESTIGATION OF A CITIZEN ABOVE SUSPICION, 1970, Sony Repertory, 115 min. Despite its brief, limited re-release a few years ago, director Elio Petri‚??s masterwork has received scant exposure in America since its original run when it picked up an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Shamefully, it has never received a video release. Gian Maria Volonte is a right wing Italian police inspector who decides to murder his acid-tongued mistress (Florinda Bolkan). Spurred on by his unraveling, egocentric personality, he purposely leaves incriminating clues all over her apartment, believing that no one in his corrupt and largely incompetent homicide squad will ever dare to connect the dots. What follows makes up one of the great Italian movies of the early 1970‚??s - part giallo mystery, part political satire, part psychological study - but all masterpiece. With a great Morricone score. NOT ON DVD.


THE KID, 1921, 60 min. Dir. Charlie Chaplin. In perhaps his greatest film masterpiece, Charlie Chaplin‚??s Tramp, following his paternal instincts, takes a hapless, orphaned baby ‚?? "The Kid" - under his wing. Five years pass, and the tyke is now a precocious little boy (Jackie Coogan), helping his foster dad, The Tramp, in his "window glass replacement" scam. But a confluence of events, including The Kid‚??s sudden illness, conspire to separate the two. "‚?¶scenes of Chaplin and his company at their finest. And it is a real cinematographic work in the universal language of moving pictures. It could be understood, which means mightily enjoyed, anywhere in the world without a single sub-title, and those it has are few, far between and brief." ‚?? New York Times Preceded by the short: "The Fireman", 1916, 32 min. Dir. Charlie Chaplin. Charlie is an incompetent fireman who can‚??t seem to get things right, but in the end saves the day. Preceding the screening of each film, author John Bengtson will lead a mixed media tour across the landscapes of Chaplin-era Hollywood, combining movie images with archival photographs, vintage maps, and contemporary location photographs, to illuminate both Chaplin‚??s genius and the evolving city that served as a backdrop for his art. Discussion and booksigning will follow the screening with author, John Bengston (Silent Echoes) with his new book, Silent Traces: Discovering Early Hollywood Through the Films of Charlie Chaplin, which reveals the 90-year-old history of Los Angeles and the early film industry hidden within Chaplin‚??s films.


KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN
(from IMDB)
Luis Molina and Valentin Arregui are cell mates in a South American prison. Luis, a homosexual, is found guilty of immoral behaviour and Valentin is a political prisoner. To escape reality Luis invents romantic movies, while Valentin tries to keep his mind on the situation he's in. During the time they spend together, the two men come to understand and respect one another.


KNOCK ON ANY DOOR, 1949, Sony Repertory, 100 min. Director Nicholas Ray‚??s second picture was produced by its star, Humphrey Bogart‚??s Santana Productions, and it mirrors the kind of gutsy social realism both men favored in their storytelling. It‚??s remarkably candid and gritty for the time period as it follows delinquent John Derek and his gutter rat chums who have shot a cop in the course of a robbery. Bogart‚??s character, a successful attorney who extricated himself from toxic ghetto roots, feels obligated to defend Derek. Ray poses eternal questions about character versus environment, and how much responsibilty each side bears for rampant urban crime. Although Bogart and Ray obviously lean towards the latter as being a big part of the problem, there are no easy answers here. The film compares favorably with other socially conscious noirs of the 1950‚??s such as NO WAY OUT and EDGE OF THE CITY, and is an intriguing foreshadow of Ray‚??s later work with James Dean in REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE. NOT ON DVD.


LACOMBE LUCIEN, 1974, Janus Films, 141 min. Possibly director Louis Malle‚??s most uncompromising film tracks 18-year-old Lucien (Pierre Blaise), a farmboy who tries to join the French Resistance during the closing days of WWII. When he is rejected after being judged too unreliable, he joins the Vichy forces collaborating with the Nazis. His coarse ignorance and absence of feeling ‚?? particularly when witnessing torture ‚?? seem to paint him as pure sociopath. But his adoption as surrogate family of a Jewish tailor (Holger Lowenadler), in hiding with his mother and his beautiful daughter (Aurore Clement), show his character to be more complex. Straightforward and matter-of-fact, Malle refuses to judge his characters or manipulate audience emotions with standard Hollywood plot devices. As a result, Malle creates one of his most deeply moving films. "Malle's toughest, most rueful, least sentimental film. Like the extraordinary Marcel Ophuls documentary, THE SORROW AND THE PITY, the film refuses to identify heroes and villains with certainty." ‚?? Vincent Canby, New York Times


The Lady from Shanghai
(1948/b&w/87 min.) Scr: Orson Welles, based on a novel by Sherwood King; dir: Orson Welles; w/ Rita Hayworth, Orson Welles, Edward Everett Sloan.
Orson Welles cast himself as the Irish drifter who falls down the rabbit hole when he rescues a beautiful woman (played by Rita Hayworth, the former Mrs. Welles) in Central Park and then accepts a job on her crippled husband's yacht. Rich in plot twists, exotic settings, and cruel behavior, the film has been described as Welles's fever dream, in which he vanquishes the cool, enigmatic, and iconic Hayworth. As Foster Hirsch wrote in The Dark Side of the Screen: Film Noir (1981), "The ideal metaphor for the worldview that prevails in noir is the mazelike, mirrored fun house which Orson Welles uses at the end of The Lady from Shanghai: the noir world is as filled with deception as Welles's bizarre set, and the multiple mirrored reflections of the film's duplicitous husband and wife are equally representative of their uncertain, shifting identities."


Les Amants réguliers (Regular Lovers)
(2005/b&w/178 min.) Scr: Philippe Garrel, Marc Cholodenko, Arlette Langmann; dir: Philippe Garrel; w/ Louis Garrel, Clotilde Hesme, Mathieu Genet, Nicolas Bridet.
Winner of the best director award at the 2005 Venice Film Festival, Philippe Garrel has crafted an epic look back at several lives that were changed by the antigovernment riots that students and workers mounted in Paris in May 1968. Garrel was then a budding filmmaker in his early twenties, and unlike his friend Bernardo Bertolucci, whose film The Dreamers (2003) romanticized the lives of three students on the eve of the riots, Garrel participated in the events of May '68. Les Amants réguliers opens on the Molotov cocktail-throwing "night of the barricades" with a nearly wordless hour-long sequence staged as a ghostly hallucination. As the excitement and chaos of the police clashes recede, the protagonist (played by Garrel's son Louis) is left to face a post-'68 reality in which political passions give way to personal dilemmas. "Garrel shot the film in black and white and very much in the film style of the day; we can literally feel [Jean-Luc] Godard, [Eric] Rohmer, and [Robert] Bresson looking over his shoulder," Piers Handling wrote in the Toronto Film Festival catalogue. "It has an unadorned sense of verisimilitude that captures the spirit of the sixties and the lives of the students who form the narrative's core, balancing the contradictory idealism and nihilism of a generation trying to grapple with its restless ambitions."


LIFE OF OHARU (SAIKAKU ICHIDAI ONNA) 1952, Janus Films, 137 min. Dir. Kenji Mizoguchi. Based on one of Japan‚??s first novels, the 17th century The Woman Who Loved Love by Saikaku Ihara. Kinuyo Tanaka is Oharu, a samurai‚??s daughter expelled from her station as a lady-in-waiting at the Imperial Palace for falling-in-love with a man below her rank. Driven into exile along with her parents, she soon resorts to being a kept woman then finally a common prostitute. Mizoguchi expertly walks a tightrope, delivering an unflinching examination of a sensitive woman‚??s emotional brutalization without manipulative sentimentality. Another masterwork. With Ichiro Sugai, Toshiro Mifune. Film critic Kevin Thomas will introduce the screening.


MADEMOISELLE, 1966, MGM Repertory, 103 min. Dir. Tony Richardson. Jeanne Moreau is stupendous as a provincial schoolteacher in the French countryside, secretly lashing out from her stifling cocoon of sexual repression. She drags earthy farmer Ettore Manni and his son (Keith Skinner) down with her into a whirlpool of humiliating degradation. When Manni finally decides to leave the village, the floodgates literally open, Moreau‚??s persona exploding in a swath of destruction aimed at implicating Manni. Writer Marguerite Duras penned the screenplay, adapted from a story by Jean Genet (The Thief‚??s Journal; Our Lady Of The Flowers). Many critics squirmed uncomfortably at the poisonously perverse and seemingly nihilistic subject matter. Yet the film has steadily grown in stature over the years, and is now seen in many quarters as a neglected masterpiece. In French, with English subtitles.


MASH, 1970, 20th Century Fox, 116 min. Director Robert Altman‚??s breakout film defines black comedy and the pushing-the-envelope, pioneering spirit then blossoming in the New Hollywood of the 1970‚??s. Donald Sutherland and Elliot Gould are hilarious as Hawkeye Pierce and Trapper John, newly arrived surgeons at the 4077 MASH unit located in a Korean War battle zone and two anarchic spirits who have no patience for hypocrisy, bureaucracy or stupidity. Timeless, with a dream cast of standout performers, including Robert Duvall, Sally Kellerman and Tom Skerritt. Please join us for this screening commemorating the passing of one of the masters of the New Hollywood revolution who forever changed filmmaking.


MIRAGE, 1965, Universal, 108 min. Director Edward Dmytryk (MURDER, MY SWEET) delivers one of his best later pictures, expertly returning to noir territory with a modern sensibility and Hitchcockian style. During a New York skyscraper blackout, a high-powered executive falls to his death, and accountant Gregory Peck loses 90% of his memory. He enlists the help of new acquaintance Diane Baker and private eye Walter Matthau to help him uncover his past. Peck can only remember a couple of people who know him, and they inevitably turn up dead. From then on, all bets are off ‚?? the killers (George Kennedy, Kevin McCarthy) want Peck out of the way, too. A marvelous puzzler with brain-twisting turns that point the way to later thrillers like MEMENTO. NOT ON DVD


THE MIRROR
(from IMDB)
The director mixes flashbacks, historical footage and original poetry to illustrate the reminiscences of a dying man about his childhood during World War II, adolescence, and a painful divorce in his family. The story interweaves reflections about Russian history and society.


MISSING, 1982, Universal, 122 min. Director Costa-Gavras follows Jack Lemmon as a conservative father, traveling to a South American country after a recent coup in search of his missing journalist son. Although fundamentally opposed to his daughter-in-law‚??s (Sissy Spacek) left-leaning views, he joins with her in navigating the treacherous, often nightmarish landscape of the new government‚??s wholesale murder in the streets. After seeking help from the U.S. Consulate, Lemmon and Spacek come to realize that not only are their own country‚??s representatives lying to them, they are also actively supporting the brutally fascist repression by the military junta. Based on a real American family‚??s harrowing true story in the wake of Chilean President Allende‚??s assassination. "‚?¶Mr. Costa-Gavras' most beautifully achieved political melodrama to date, a suspense-thriller of real cinematic style, acted with immense authority by Jack Lemmon‚?¶and Sissy Spacek." - Vincent Canby, New York Times


MISTER CORY, 1957, Universal, 92 min. Perhaps director Blake Edwards‚?? most underrated film, this sleeper finds tough slum rat, Cory (Tony Curtis) getting a job as a busboy at an upscale Wisconsin resort. But it‚??s just the first rung of the ladder for climber, Cory, who will soon end up as a prime mover and shaker in Chicago, manager of one of the city‚??s classiest gambling houses. The color cinematography belies the saga‚??s noirish roots, but Edwards is true to his material with a consistently realistic tone and a razor sharp ending. The supporting cast of Martha Hyer, Charles Bickford, Kathryn Grant and Henry Daniell are all fine as is Curtis in one of his best (and least known) performances. NOT ON DVD. Discussion in between films with actress Stefanie Powers (EXPERIMENT IN TERROR).


MODERN ROMANCE
(from IMDB)
Robert Cole, a film editor, is constantly breaking up with and reconciling with long-suffering girl friend Mary Harvard, who works at a bank. He is irrationally jealous and self-centered, while Mary has been too willing to let him get away with his disruptive antics. Can they learn to live with each other? Can they learn to live without each other? The movie also provides insight into film editing as Robert and co-worker Jay work on their current project, a cheesy sci-fi movie.


MUSIC BOX, 1989, Sony Repertory, 124 min. Dir. Costa-Gavras. Criminal lawyer Jessica Lange receives the shock of her life when her Hungarian immigrant father (Armin Mueler-Stahl) is accused of complicity in Nazi war crimes. Lange takes on the difficult task of defending someone who she may not know as well as she thinks. Is dad, Mueller-Stahl, being victimized and framed by the Hungarians for his aggressive anti-Communism, as he claims? Or is it possible that there is some shred of truth in the cumulative evidence organized by Budapest authorities? Lange (who received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress) is put through an emotional wringer as she tries to uncover the truth. Co-starring Frederic Forrest, Michael Rooker, Lukas Haas.


THE NICKEL RIDE, 1974, 20th Century Fox, 99 min. Dir. Robert Mulligan (TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD). A superb neo-noir with Jason Miller (THE EXORCIST) as the can-do man who holds keys to stolen goods depots in downtown Los Angeles. Charged by his syndicate boss, urbane John Hillerman, with buying up an unused block of warehouses for more storage, Miller starts to encounter problems. Like an unraveling ball of yarn, trivial difficulties snowball out-of-control, threatening not only his ‚??career‚?? but his life. Beautifully realized, from the low-key performances to the evocation of a dying-on-the-vine downtown - whole blocks of which have not changed much since the making of this film. The gradual building of suspense and the aura of impending doom - a feeling so borderline we're not sure if Miller‚??s just being paranoid - is intensely disturbing. Bo Hopkins is the friendly good ole boy apprentice Miller gets saddled with and Linda Haynes, Miller‚??s understanding girl. NOT ON DVD. Discussion in between films with actor Bo Hopkins (THE NICKEL RIDE).


NIGHT OF THE FOLLOWING DAY, 1968, Universal, 93 min. In director Hubert Cornfield‚??s minimalist, dreamlike suspense thriller, young heiress Pamela Franklin is snatched by fake chauffeur Marlon Brando, his junkie stewardess girlfriend Rita Moreno, her hulking brother Jess Hahn and a cheerfully sadistic double-crosser, Richard Boone. Originally dismissed by critics, NIGHT‚??S reputation has steadily grown over the last few decades to emerge as one of Brando‚??s best 1960‚??s pictures as well as one of the most cinematic and creepy of neo-noirs.


NIGHT OF THE GENERALS, 1967, Sony Repertory, 148 min. An epic murder mystery set in the depths of the Third Reich during the worst days of WWII. Peter O‚??Toole is alarmingly spot-on as the fastidiously uptight general who is a closet psychopath in the bedroom (he murders prostitutes) as well as on the battlefield. Omar Sharif is the comparatively moral colonel trying to amass evidence against him with the help of French police inspector Philippe Noiret. Corporal Tom Courtenay and paramour Joanna Pettet are the innocent couple caught up in the nightmare. To complicate matters, three other generals (Donald Pleasence, Charles Gray, Harry Andrews) are conspiring to assassinate Hitler. Director Anatole Litvak (SORRY, WRONG NUMBER; THE SNAKE PIT) directed this engrossing psychological study and atmospheric suspenser, a film criminally underrated on its initial release. NOT ON DVD.


ORPHANS OF THE STORM
(from IMDB)
Henriette and Louise, a foundling, are raised together as sisters. When Louise goes blind, Henriette swears to take care of her forever. They go to Paris to see if Louise's blindness can be cured, but are separated when an aristocrat lusts after Henriette and abducts her. Only Chevalier de Vaudrey is kind to her, and they fall in love. The French Revolution replaces the corrupt Aristocracy with the equally corrupt Robespierre. De Vaudrey, who has always been good to peasants, is condemned to death for being an aristocrat, and Henriette for harboring him. Will revolutionary hero Danton, the only voice for mercy in the new regime, be able to save them from the guillotine?


Orphée (Orpheus)
(1950/b&w/95 min.) Scr/dir: Jean Cocteau; w/ Jean Marais, María Casares, Edouard Dermit, Marie Déa, Juliet Gréco.
Jean Cocteau transposed the myth of Orpheus-in which the singer/poet travels to the underworld to rescue his dead wife, Eurydice-to 1950s Paris and its bohemian cafés. Using simple but astonishing effects (Orpheus passes through a mirror to reach the dark side), Cocteau created a film that he described as "a thriller which draws on myth from one side and the supernatural from the other." Critic Pauline Kael described it as a "masterpiece of magical filmmaking . . . as inventive and enigmatic as a dream. Jean Marais is ideal as the successful, popular poet who is envied and despised by the younger poets; his conflicts, his desire to renew himself are the substance of the film . . . Dark, troubled, passionate María Casares is his Death: attended by her hooded motorcyclists, she is mystery incarnate."


OUR MAN IN HAVANA, 1959, Sony Repertory, 111 min. Director Carol Reed‚??s (THE THIRD MAN) amusingly droll souffle of a film of Graham Greene‚??s novel received only lukewarm reviews upon its initial release, but is more impressive with each passing year. Alec Guinness is single father, Jim Wormold, a vacuum cleaner salesman in pre-Castro Cuba trying to bring up his teenage daughter. Strapped for money, Guinness accepts when he‚??s asked by Englishman, Hawthorne (Noel Coward) to spy for his country, but he proves inept at recruiting contacts. On the advice of friend, Dr. Hasselbacher (Burl Ives), he decides to make them up, as well as the information he passes along. Before he knows it, pleased UK bosses send him a secretary (Maureen O‚??Hara), and rival Soviet agents begin trying to eliminate him. A great, knowing satire about the unreliability of intelligence-gathering, something more prescient today than ever. With the great Ernie Kovacs as the smoothly sinister captain of police. NOT ON DVD


OUR MOTHER‚??S HOUSE, 1967, Warner Bros., 104 min. Afraid of being sent to an orphanage, seven children living in a decrepit London house decide to keep it a secret when their Mother dies. Led by eldest, Elsa (Margaret Brooks), they bury her in the garden, then go about their routine: school, shopping, cashing Mother‚??s monthly check. The desire to keep contact with Mom via seances using their sister, Diana (Pamela Franklin) as medium and the curiosity of a schoolteacher and a nosy ex-housekeeper enamored of leopard-skin coats (a delightfully vulgar Yootha Joyce) erodes the innocent clan‚??s self-assurance. When their ‚??father,‚?? Charlie (Dirk Bogarde) suddenly shows up, rescue seems at hand. However, he‚??s revealed to be a manipulatng, hard-drinking layabout, and things take an ugly turn. Director Jack Clayton (THE INNOCENTS; THE PUMPKIN EATER), no stranger to films dealing sympathetically, yet realistically, with children, helmed this lesser-known, but no-less-worthy saga of urban Gothic jeopardy. NOT ON DVD


Persona
(1966/b&w/83 min.) Scr/dir: Ingmar Bergman; w/ Liv Ullmann, Bibi Andersson.
Emerging from a serious illness, the great Ingmar Bergman created a film that ranks among the simplest and most enigmatic ever made. An actress who mysteriously ceases speaking is put in the care of a nurse who responds to the silence of her inscrutable patient with a stream of compulsive talk, by turns confessional, self-pitying, aggressive, and cruel. Are we watching two similar-looking Swedish women or two faces of one woman? Bergman attempts nothing less than to deconstruct the self, to go through the mirror and behind the mask-the persona-to pose fundamental questions about reality, the image, performance, and cinema itself. With its outstanding performances, intense probing close-ups, white-on-white decor, and film-within-a-film stylistics (at a moment of high emotion the celluloid appears to burn from the center outward), Persona is an aesthetic triumph and an enduring masterpiece.


PLATINUM BLONDE
(from IMDB)
Frank Capra created universes and cast actors capable to inhabit them with total, natural ease. Robert Williams in "Platinum Blond" personifies that theory. His performance is as close to perfection as any I have ever seen. Let's remember this is 1931. Great acting was considered the Paul Muni, George Arliss kind of acting. Now, they seem stilted and highly theatrical. Robert Williams's performance seems ahead of its time even today in 2004. "Platinum Blond" offers very many pleasures, but Robert Williams is at it's center, keeping the joy of the movie very much alive.


PLAY IT AGAIN, SAM
(from IMDB)
A mild mannered film critic is dumped by his wife and his ego is crushed. His hero persona is the tough guy played by Humphrey Bogart in many of his movies and the apparition of Bogart begins showing up to give him advice. With the encouragement of his two married friends, he actually tries dating again, with less than satisfactory results, until he relaxes.


Point Blank
(1967/color/92 min./Panavision) Scr: Alexander Jacobs, David Newhouse, Rafe Newhouse, based on a novel by Richard Stark; dir: John Boorman; w/ Lee Marvin, Angie Dickinson, John Vernon.
One of the most violent and influential gangster films of the 1960s, Point Blank follows Lee Marvin as Walker, an implacable force who will stop at nothing to find his gangster friend Reese and Reese's lover, Chris (Walker's wife), who stole his money and left him for dead in a cell at Alcatraz. A nihilistic nightmare fashioned out of surreal fragments, the film owes a stylistic debt to Alain Resnais and Jean-Luc Godard, but its vision of the modern city as an alienating jungle and the criminal organization as a faceless corporation run on credit cards is distinctly American. Critic David Thomson called the film a masterpiece. "The actual and the imaginary are perfectly joined in Point Blank," he wrote. "For it is not only an account of Marvin's remorseless and romantic hacking away at the syndicate, but his dream in the instant that he dies."


QUIET PLACE IN THE COUNTRY, 1969, MGM Repertory, 106 min. Avant-garde painter Franco Nero suffers from paranoid dreams brought on by the noise and pollution of urban life - so he coaxes his mercenary agent (and lover) Vanessa Redgrave to rent him a dilapidated, rural villa where he can finally get some work done. But Nero‚??s personal demons pursue him as he finds the house haunted by the vengeful ghost of a girl killed at the close of WWII. Director Elio Petri (THE 10TH VICTIM) creates a terrifying and funny, surrealistic tour-de-force that is a visual feast of bizarre images and juxtapositions. Petri is able to not only integrate subtle sociological and psychological insights into his pictures, but also to retain compassion for his tormented characters. QUIET PLACE manages this easily, as well as some of the most frightening sequences in 1960‚??s Italian cinema. Ennio Morricone furnishes the soundtrack, a strange collection of dissonant squawks and haunting melodies. NOT ON DVD.


RED BEARD (AKAHIGE), 1965, Janus Films, 185 min. A period film set in samurai times without a sword-wielding hero in sight, this remains one of Akira Kurosawa‚??s most humanistic efforts. The subject is a run-down infirmary for the poor in feudal Japan where a confident, young novice physician, Dr. Noboru (Yuzo Kayama) is sent to begin his career. Expecting to visit only temporarily and then to leave to serve the Shogunate, he is infuriated to learn he must remain at the destitute hospital, which is brimming with society's dying poor, wretched and unwanted. Though he learns that the patients need him, Noboru is quick to take measures that will ensure his termination. But he is foiled at every turn by head man, Dr. Kyojio, otherwise known as "Akahige" or "Red Beard" (Toshiro Mifune) whose methods and behavior are as caring and compassionate as they are unconventional and unpredictable. At times RED BEARD veers dagerously close to soap-box philosophizing and pretension. But ultimately the film earns the emotions and ideas it attempts to evoke; the young doctor's heart and mind are forever changed, and we are as enamored of Red Beard and his patients as Noboru. And like the young Noboru and his colleagues, we hope that when, one day, faced with such dire misfortune and misery, we too may be like him.


RETURN FROM THE ASHES,1965, MGM Repertory, 105 min. Post-WWII, doctor Ingrid Thulin (WILD STRAWBERRIES) returns after a grueling sojourn in a Nazi concentration camp, only to find that her daughter, alcoholic Samantha Eggar (THE COLLECTOR), is the mistress of stepfather (and Thulin‚??s non-Jewish husband) Maximilian Schell. Before Thulin can reveal her true identity, Schell ‚?? believing his mate long dead ‚?? approaches her because of the resemblance, hoping to use her in a scam to seize his ‚??late‚?? wife‚??s assets. Still-in-love with her mercenary spouse, Thulin decides to go along with the ruse. Schell and Eggar are not nice people, and their schemes gradually pull Thulin into an ever-more-deadly game of cat-and-mouse. A fascinating, unjustly forgotten psychological suspenser, full of great performances, from underrated director J. Lee Thompson (THE GUNS OF NAVARONE). NOT ON DVD


THE RUNNING MAN, 1963, Sony Repertory, 103 min. This slowly building psychological suspense film undeservedly fell through the cracks. Director Carol Reed (THE THIRD MAN) concentrates almost exclusively on his characters here (√  la Patricia Highsmith, who seems an obvious influence), refusing to resort to the usual thriller cliches. Independent pilot Laurence Harvey, embittered by the treatment from his insurance company, fakes his own death to bilk them out of a small fortune. In-love, Lee Remick soon follows her "dead" husband - with his now bleached blond hair - to Spain where the couple hope to start a new life. But suddenly insurance man Alan Bates (whom Remick had met after the funeral) shows up. Is he wise to their scheme or is it a coincidence? Is he really, as he says, just on holiday (and a guy who may be falling in-love with the "grieving widow")? Reed expertly focuses on the uncomfortable dynamic that gradually evolves amongst the three, and we witness their strange, ever-more circuitous conversations, everyone saying more by what they are not saying. Gorgeously photographed in color on Spanish locations by Robert Krasker. NOT ON DVD.


THE SACRIFICE
(from IMDB)
Alexander, a journalist and former actor and philosopher, tells his little son how worried he is about the lack of spirituality of modern mankind. In the night of his birthday, the third world war breaks out. In his despair Alexander turns himself in a prayer to God, offering him everything to have the war not happened at all.


Secret Ceremony
(1968/color/109 min.) Scr: George Tabori, based on the novel by Marco Denevi; dir: Joseph Losey; w/ Elizabeth Taylor, Mia Farrow, Robert Mitchum, Peggy Ashcroft, Pamela Brown.
Though less political and more psychological than Luis Bu√Īuel, Joseph Losey shares a jaundiced view of human nature, and his films abound in destructive relationships and sadistic characters. In Secret Ceremony, a mad young heiress coerces a streetwalker whose child has drowned into being her mother and takes the woman home to play house. A gothic premise deserves a gothic setting, and Losey found one in an abandoned 1896 art nouveau mansion in London's Kensington, tiled in peacock blue and emerald green and filled with dark wood, leaded glass, De Morgan mosaics, and Pre-Raphaelite stained-glass windows. As the secret ceremonies of the film unfold in an increasingly twisted and lethal fashion, Losey, critic David Thomson noted, "uses the interior setting as an extension of character and finds a unique suggestibility in the spaces and shapes within a house."


Sherlock Jr., The Scarecrow, The Play House
Sherlock Jr. (1924/b&w/45 min.) Scr: Clyde Bruckman, Jean Havez, Joe Mitchell; The Scarecrow (1920/b&w/20 min.) Scr: Buster Keaton, Edward F. Cline; The Play House (1921/b&w/20 min.) Scr: Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton; all b&w, silent w/ recorded music; dir: Buster Keaton.
In Sherlock Jr., Buster Keaton's most surreal and conceptually audacious film, Keaton is a projectionist who aspires to become a great detective. Falsely accused of stealing his boss's watch, he dreams that he enters the movie he is projecting, solves the crime, and wins the boss's daughter. In The Scarecrow, nothing is what it seems: a Victrola turns into a stove and tennis racquets double as snowshoes. In The Play House, nine Keatons strut their stuff in a minstrel show.


SHOOT THE PIANO PLAYER
(from IMDB)
Charlie Kohler is a piano player in a bar. The waitress Lena is in love with him. One of Charlie's brother, Chico, a crook, takes refuge in the bar because he is chased by two gangsters, Momo and Ernest. We will discover that Charlie's real name is Edouard Saroyan, once a virtuose who gives up after his wife's suicide. Charlie now has to deal wih Chico, Ernest, Momo, Fido (his youngest brother who lives with him), and Lena...


Stairway to Heaven aka A Matter of Life and Death
(1946/color/104 min.) Scr/dir: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger; w/ David Niven, Kim Hunter, Roger Livesey, Richard Attenborough.
"RAF pilot [David] Niven bales out of his blazing plane without a chute and survives; but-at least in his tormented mind-he was due to die, and a heavenly messenger comes down to earth to collect him. A celestial tribunal ensues to judge his case while, back on earth, doctors are fighting for his life. What makes the film so very remarkable is the assurance of [Michael] Powell's direction, which manages to make heaven at least as convincing as earth. (The celestial scenes are in monochrome, the terrestrial ones in color.) Made at the instigation of the [British] Ministry of Information, who wanted propaganda stressing the need for goodwill between Britain and America, it emerges as an outrageous fantasy full of wit, beautiful sets, and perfectly judged performances."‚??Time Out


STEPPENWOLF ('74, 107m)
Director Fred Haines will be present to screen and discuss his psychedelic adaption of the Herman Hesse cult classic about the dual nature of man (ordered/animalistic--ascetic/hedonistic) enlivened by the complex and poignant performances of Max Von Sydow and Dominique Sanda. This ambitious film lets go enough to win us entry into the mysterious Magic Theatre, with its promise of total enlightenment.


STRAY DOG (NORA INU), 1949, Janus Films, 122 min. One sweltering summer day, young police detective Toshiro Mifune has his gun lifted from him on a bus. Impatient Mifune‚??s frenzied efforts to find the homicidal fugitive responsible, both to atone to his superiors and to his calm, middle-aged partner (Takashi Shimura), and to prove his worth as a cop, leave the viewer breathless. Director Akira Kurosawa loved hardboiled American crime fiction, and there is no more conspicuous proof in his early career than in STRAY DOG. An expertly-paced, atmospheric suspense film that more than holds its own against the numerous noirs that were being produced across the Pacific in the United States. With Keiko Awaji, Isao Kimura.


THE TALL TARGET, 1951, Warner Bros., 78 min. A real treasure from director Anthony Mann starring Dick Powell as a detective (named, oddly enough, John Kennedy!) who tries to stop an assassin from gunning down President Lincoln on a night train from New York to Washington in 1861. Almost a blueprint for the smart, modern American action movie (see Wolfgang Petersen‚??s IN THE LINE OF FIRE, for one), full of twists, turns and characters who are not always who they seem to be. One of Mann‚??s most thrilling, pure entertainments. With sterling support from Adolphe Menjou, Paula Raymond, Ruby Dee, Marshall Thompson and Will Geer. NOT ON DVD


10:30 PM SUMMER,1966, MGM Repertory, 85 min. Director Jules Dassin (NIGHT AND THE CITY; RIFIFFI) helmed this mesmerizing existential drama written by Marguerite Duras, a melding of amor fou, fugitive-on-the-run melodrama and the tormented inner life of its main protagonist. Middle-aged married couple Melina Mercouri and Peter Finch and young friend Romy Schneider, driving cross-country in Spain, form a potentially explosive love triangle. A fierce rainstorm strands them overnight at a crowded hotel in a small village, and while they are there, the police begin an intense search for a man who has killed his unfaithful lover. Alcoholic Mercouri, obviously loved by spouse Finch, is, by nature, a melancholic, self-destructive person. Her drinking spurs her feelings of inadequacy as she witnesses Finch and Schneider‚??s obvious chemistry together. By chance, she runs into the fugitive, and spontaneously helps the despairing man make his escape into the lonely countryside. This deeply felt character study is one of Dassin‚??s finest later films. Charismatic Mercouri gives one of her greatest performances, and Finch and Schneider are likewise standouts. NOT ON DVD.


TRUE CONFESSIONS, 1981, MGM Repertory, 108 min. Circa 1948, Robert Duvall is a hardnosed cop and Robert DeNiro is his brother, an enterprising monsignor rising behind-the-scenes with high-powered Catholic members of Los Angeles‚?? political elite. When a young actress is gruesomely murdered (√  la the Black Dahlia), Duvall believes one of DeNiro‚??s high-profile parishioners, former-pimp-and-current building contractor, Jack Amsterdam (Charles Durning) may be involved. Issues of family, guilt, moral responsibility and hypocrisy collide in screenwriter John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion‚??s screenplay from Dunne‚??s novel. Director Ulu Grosbard‚??s (STRAIGHT TIME) focuses on character and the personal terrain of missed emotional and spiritual opportunities, rather than a standard whodunit, something that led critics to damn the movie with faint praise. One of the great lost films of the 1980‚??s. NOT ON DVD


WALK ON THE WILD SIDE, 1962, Sony Repertory, 114 min. Overseen by director Edward Dmytryk and co-written by John Fante from Nelson Algren‚??s novel, this could have been a masterpiece. But the truly offbeat casting sent this guilty pleasure in a campier direction. Depression era vagrant Dove (Laurence Harvey) hitchhikes to New Orleans in search of his lost love, Hallie (Capucine). Along the way, he runs into homeless reprobate, Kitty Twist (Jane Fonda) and Mexican caf√© owner, Teresina (Anne Baxter) ‚?? both of whom fall for our heartbroken hero. Arriving in the Big Easy, Harvey is crushed to find paramour Capucine a love slave in the Doll House, a brothel run by lesbian madam, Jo (Barbara Stanwyck). Since it was the early sixties when this was made, the franker elements are toned down, but it is more than clear what is going on ‚?? Stanwyck‚??s character is as obsessed with Capucine as Harvey. Despite the occasionally overripe delivery, WALK remains marvelously entertaining, perhaps even more so today than on its original release. Saul Bass supplied the cat-prowling-a-dark-alley titles, perhaps his most memorable, set to Elmer Bernstein‚??s equally famous and indelible theme. Look for Juanita Moore (IMITATION OF LIFE) and an uncredited Lee Marvin in small roles.


Woman in the Dunes
(1964/b&w/147 min.) Scr: K√īb√ī Abe, based on his novel; dir: Hiroshi Teshigahara; w/ Eiji Okada, Ky√īko Kishida.
An entomologist searches the dunes for a rare beetle that will bring him fame but finds himself instead imprisoned in a sand pit with its sole occupant, a woman with whom he must labor shoveling sand or perish. "Are you shoveling to survive, or surviving to shovel?" the man asks the woman. Adapted by K√īb√ī Abe from his own novel, this parable about a man reduced to the status of an insect while retaining all of his human needs is an existential horror film that brings to mind Franz Kafka's "The Metamorphosis" (1916), the myth of Sisyphus, and the claustrophobic hotel room-hell of Jean-Paul Sartre's No Exit (1947). "There is a strong erotic undercurrent, beginning with the woman displaying her sleeping form, and continuing through hostility, struggle, and bondage," critic Roger Ebert wrote. "In this pit, life is reduced to work, sleep, food, and sex."
Los Angeles premiere of the director's cut; new print courtesy of Janus Films.


WOMAN OF STRAW, 1964, MGM Repertory, 122 min. Basil Dearden (THE BLUE LAMP; LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN) directed this crisp and atmospheric suspense thriller with Gina Lollobrigida as a private nurse for despicably mean, invalid tycoon Ralph Richardson. Sean Connery is flawless as Richardson‚??s sexy, conniving nephew who seduces Lollobrigida. When Richardson is murdered and Lollobrigida framed, is it Connery‚??s doing? Or someone else? Alexander Knox is the dogged police inspector and Johnny Sekka the butler who may hold the key to the mystery. Although Connery was still doing the Bond films at this point, he gets to stretch a bit here, playing a much more complex character. The velvety black-and-white cinematography was by the great Otto Heller. NOT ON DVD.


Les Yeux sans visage (Eyes without a Face)
(1960/b&w/88 min.) Scr: Pierre Boileau, Pierre Gascar, Thomas Narcejac, Claude Sautet, based on the novel by Jean Redon; dir: Georges Franju; w/ Pierre Brasseur, Alida Valli, Edith Scob.
Jean Cocteau, whose novel Thomas l'imposteur (1923) had also been filmed by Georges Franju, said of the face-lifting scene in Les Yeux sans visage that "it takes us implacably to the end of what our nerves can bear." The premise is lurid: a mad doctor attempts to restore his daughter's mutilated face with skin obtained from young women that he has had abducted and imprisoned in a remote ch√Ęteau. But the execution is poetic and dreamlike, enriched by free-floating allusions to then-recent European history, such as Nazi scientific experiments and Orph√©e's leather-clad messengers of death. As Kenneth Turan noted in the Los Angeles Times, "Eyes is a series of images that burn themselves into your subconscious. Every visual is carefully thought out and brilliantly composed for effect, creating a world that is simultaneously real and surreal. With its ability to go deeply into our fears, this is a motion picture that captures the texture of nightmare as convincingly as it's ever been done on film."


Z, 1969, Cinema V, 127 min. In an unnamed state (obviously Greece), a left leaning candidate (Yves Montand) with a significant following is assassinated by fascist thugs employed by the ultra-right military government. A prosecutor (Jean-Louis Trintignant) whom the politicians expect to whitewash the crime is assigned to investigate. However, they have made a mistake ‚?? right-leaning Trintignant is an honest man who soon uncovers a conspiracy that goes straight to the top. But once he calls his witnesses, they start disappearing or dying in mysterious ways. Enormously controversial worldwide when first released, director Costa-Gavras‚?? first internationaly-recognized masterpiece won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and fearlessly exposed the machinations of the then still ruling powers in Greece, a repressive regime propped-up by the USA. With Irene Papas. Discussion in between films with director Costa-Gavras.

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