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Around Town: Classic TV, Irish Film Festival, Tracy-Hepburn

September 29, 2011 |  6:00 am


A celebration of a classic TV series, a screen movie team and contemporary Irish cinema are among the eclectic movie offerings this week.

The American Cinematheque’s Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood pays tribute Saturday evening to the 50th anniversary of the seminal 1961-66 CBS comedy series “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” Van Dyke and Carl Reiner, who created the series and played the egomaniac TV star Alan Brady, will be on hand to discuss the show with comedy writer/director Garry Marshall, who worked on the series. Three episodes from the Emmy-winning series will be screened.

On Sunday, the magic of Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn will be celebrated with a double bill of two of their films: 1967’s “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” which was Tracy’s final film, and 1949’s “Adam’s Rib.” “Dinner” costar Katharine Houghton will be on hand, as well as Tracy biography James Curtis.

The Cinematheque’s Aero Theatre in Santa Monica kicks off the Los Angeles Irish Film Festival on Friday with the new documentary “The Swell Season” and Alan Parker’s vibrant 1991 musical-drama “The Commitments.” Music arranger Paul Bushnell and writers Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais will introduce “The Commitments.” On tap for early Saturday evening is the 2010 documentary “The Pipe,” followed by a discussion with its producer, Rachel Lysaght. Screening later that evening is the 2010 documentary, “Dreaming the Quiet Man,” which looks at director John Ford’s decision to film his 1952 classic in Ireland, and “The Quiet Man,” starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara, for which Ford earned his fourth best director Oscar. Sunday’s late afternoon offering is the 2011 documentary “Knuckle,” followed by a Q&A with the director, Ian Palmer, and subject, James Quinn McDonagh. The series concludes Sunday evening with two 2010 narrative features: “Parked” and “The Runway.” http://www.americancinematheque.com

Doug Benson and his friends will be waxing comedic during a screening of M. Night Shyamalan’s 2008 box- office bomb “The Happening,” Thursday evening at the Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre. Scheduled for Saturday are two entries in Satyajit Ray’s “Apu Trilogy”: 1955’s “Pather Panchali” and 1956’s “Aparajito.” Both films were preserved by the Academy Film Archive. Animation historian Jerry Beck presents a selection of creepy, scary and quirky Halloween-themed cartoons on Tuesday evening.  And set for Wednesday is Roland West’s 1926 chiller “The Bat.” http://www.cinefamily.org

The Echo Park Film Center has a new artist-in-residence project, LA AIR, which gives local filmmakers the opportunity to use the film center’s resources to create a new piece of work during a four-week period. The first project, Kate Lain’s “Field Notes: Processing the Idea of the Nature in Los Angeles in 2011," screens Thursday evening. Filmmaker Emett Casey will be at the film center Friday for a screening of his low-budget, campy sci-fi thriller “Well of the Beast,” which was shot on VHS and a toy camera. http://www.echoparkfilmcenter.org

The 7th Annual SoCal Film Festival opens Thursday and continues through Sunday at the Huntington Beach Public Library and Cultural Center Theatre. The festival features screenings of more than 100 films, as well as script readings, Q&As and workshops. http://www.socalfilmfest.com

Shreikfest 2011, which opens Friday and continues through Sunday at the Raleigh Theatre, is a combination screenplay competition/international horror film festival. Among the scary movies being screened is “Absentia.” http://www.shriekfest.com

The Egyptian Theatre celebrates the 30th anniversary of Ivan Reitman’s popular comedy “Stripes,” which stars Bill Murray and Harold Ramis, on Friday evening. The 1980 comedy fave “Caddyshack,” directed by Ramis, starring Murray, Rodney Dangerfield and Chevy Chase, rounds out the evening.

On Wednesday, the Aero kicks off “Mad As Hell: Sidney Lumet’s Cinema of Fighting Back,” a retrospective of several of the notable films helmed by Lumet, who died last April at the age of 86. The series begins with 1982’s Oscar-nominated redemption drama “The Verdict,” starring Paul Newman, James Mason and Charlotte Rampling. Screenwriter David Mamet will appear after the screening. http://www.americancinematheque.com

UCLA Film & Television Archive presents a free screening Sunday evening at the Billy Wilder Theater of the 2011 documentary “A Bitter Taste of Freedom.” Marina Goldovskaya, who will appear at the screening, directed this documentary on Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya. And on Wednesday, the archive kicks off a weekly screening series at the venerable Million Dollar Theatre in downtown Los Angeles with a John Belushi double bill: 1980’s “The Blues Brothers” and 1981’s “Neighbors,” which was the funnyman’s last movie. http://www.cinema.ucla.edu

LACMA’s Tuesday matinee series features the 1954 George Cukor comedy “It Should Happen to You,” starring Judy Holliday, Peter Lawford and Jack Lemmon in his acclaimed film debut. The Skirball continues its Tuesday Alfred Hitchcock matinee series with a free screening of his 1959 classic “North by Northwest,” starring Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint. http://www.lacma.org; http://www.skirball.org


What a year 1961 was for TV

A step in time with Dick Van Dyke

-- Susan King

Photo: Dick Van Dyke. Credit: Gary Friedman/Los Angeles Times.

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