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Kenneth Turan's film picks of the week: 'Oklahoma!' and 'The Leopard'

June 24, 2010 |  8:15 am


Saturday is going to be a great day for lovers of really big movies on really big screens, not to mention vintage movie theaters, as two great films play. Traffic willing, you could see them both.

It starts at 2 p.m. (with a repeat show at 8 p.m.) at the venerable Alex Theatre in Glendale with a 35 mm Cinemascope showing of Rodgers and Hammerstein's swell musical "Oklahoma!" The Broadway version ran a then-record 2,212 performances over five years, and the film features Shirley Jones and Gordon MacRae marveling at corn that's as high as an elephant's eye.

Then it just takes a leisurely drive across town to make a 6 p.m. screening at the Orpheum on Broadway in downtown Los Angeles of the stunning digital restoration of the Burt Lancaster-starring "The Leopard."  This is the complete three-hour-and-five-minute version of the magisterial Luchino Visconti epic, also starring Claudia Cardinale and Alain Delon, that justifiably wowed audiences at Cannes.

Either way, you can't go wrong.

-- Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times film critic

Photo: Alain Delon and Claudia Cardinale in "The Leopard," which is screening as part of the Los Angeles Film Festival. Credit: Los Angeles Times file photo

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Turan gives Oklahoma short shrift. The first musical with a single performance-long story line, wherein all songs and dances referred to the subject matter, and the first PLAY to portray and delve into mental illness, sympathetically, even after the unstable character does his villainous deeds, letting the audience in on what the other characters intellectually can't see. The music and lyrics deserve a lot better than a condescending "swell".

He could have not mentioned "Oklahoma!" at all. I didn't find his comment condescending. One wonders how much better "The Leopard" would have been if the producer had not overruled Visconti's original choice for the lead, Laurence Olivier.


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