Around town: Family-friendly film screenings for Thanksgiving
Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor and Debbie Reynolds headline one the best musical comedies ever made: 1952's "Singin' in the Rain," screening Friday evening at the American Cinematheque's Aero Theatre. Kelly and Stanley Donen directed this classic look at the transition in Hollywood from silents to talkies. www.americancinematheque.com.
Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre is celebrating the 40th anniversary of "Sesame Street" Friday through Sunday. On tap for Friday afternoon is "Muppet History 101," which looks at the origins of Jim Henson's puppets as well as clips from early TV appearances and commercials and guest appearances, and "Muppet History 201," which features recently discovered Muppet TV appearances. Saturday afternoon's offerings are "Sesame Street at 40: Milestones on the Street," which features memorable clips from the past four decades of the series, and "Jim Henson & Friends: Inside the Sesame Street Vault," which highlights favorite moments from the series as well as the Sesame gang in other TV appearances. Screening Sunday is Ken Kwapis' 1985 comedy "Follow that Bird," starring the one and only Big Bird. www.cinefamily.org
The first animated TV Christmas special, the endearing "Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol," screens Sunday afternoon at the Cinematheque's Egyptian Theatre. The musical adaptation of Charles Dickens' legendary holiday tale premiered on NBC in 1962 and quickly became a perennial. Jim Backus' Magoo plays it straight as Scrooge, and he's ably matched by the vocal performances of Jack Cassidy, Jane Kean and Morey Amsterdam. Broadway composers Jules Styne and Bob Merrill penned the memorable score. Among the special guests will be Kean and Marie Mathews (the voice of young Scrooge). www.americancinematheque.com
The 1939 classic "The Wizard of Oz" screens Sunday at the Aero Theatre along with Walter Murch's surreal 1985 sequel "Return to Oz," starring Fairuza Balk as Dorothy. Murch, who is best known as an Oscar-winning sound director and editor, will appear. www.americancinematheque.com
Of course, there is plenty of film programming for adults too.
Film historian Scott Simmon hosts the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' "Griffith in California: Hollywood's Earliest Films from A Century Ago," Monday evening at the Linwood Dunn Theater. The program will feature six films directed by D.W. Griffith during his first trip to Los Angeles, including "Faithful" starring Mack Sennett, and "Ramona," starring a very young Mary Pickford. Joe Rinauldo will hand-crank the films on his 1909 Power's Model 6 Cameragraph motion picture machine. Michael Mortilla will supply the live accompaniment. www.oscars.org.
Griffith is also the subject of UCLA Film and Television Archive's latest "Out of the Past: Film Restoration Today" event Monday evening at the James Bridges Theater. The archive is presenting the Museum of Modern Art's restoration of Griffith's 1921 French Revolution epic, "Orphans of the Storm," starring his favorite leading ladies of the time, Lillian and Dorothy Gish. Katie Trainor of the Museum of Modern Art will talk about the classic film; Cliff Retallick will present the live musical accompaniment. www.cinema.ucla.edu.
Darren Aronofsky's much-anticipated psychological thriller, "Black Swan," will have a preview screening Monday at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art's Leo S. Bing Theatre. The film, which stars Natalie Portman, opens Dec. 3. www.lacma.org.
Women are encouraged to wear their best pajamas to attend the "Pajama Party III" Saturday evening at the Silent Movie Theatre. Besides crafts, foods and even a dance party, the 1985 Jim Henson film "Labyrinth" and "Return to Oz" will be screening. www.cinefamily.org
The 1939 blockbuster of the Old South, "Gone with the Wind," will visit the Egyptian Theatre on Sunday. Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable, Olivia DeHavilland, Leslie Howard and Hattie McDaniel star in this multi-Oscar winner directed by Victor Fleming. www.americancinematheque.com
The Jim Carrey-Ewan McGregor gay romance "I Love You Phillip Morris" will have a sneak preview Sunday at the Silent Movie Theatre. Directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa will appear at the screening. www.cinefamily.org
The filmmakers and cast of "Bold Native," an offbeat fictional film about an animal liberator and wanted "domestic" terrorist, will appear at the screening of the drama Saturday at the Downtown Independent. www.downtownindependent.com
L.A. Talk Radio's Film Courage presents the 13th Film Courage Interactive Monday evening at Downtown Independent with the screening of the feature "Paradise Recovered" as well as the short "Piano Fingers." www.downtownindependent.com
The seventh annual Artivist Film Festival opens Wednesday at the Egyptian Theatre with "ReGeneration," narrated by Ryan Gosling. The documentary by Philip Montgomery examines the issues that face today's youth. The festival, which continues through Dec. 4, is dedicated to addressing international human rights, children's advocacy as well as environmental preservation and animal welfare. www.artivist.com
— Susan King
Photo: The Three Stooges. Credit: American Movie Classics.