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Around Town: Classic films from Capra, Hawks and Ford

September 15, 2011 |  6:00 am


Jimmy Stewart
Several classic films starring luminaries of the golden age of cinema, including Jimmy Stewart, Jean Arthur, Lon Chaney, Gary Cooper, William Powell, Jean Harlow and John Garfield will be unspooling this week.

Two of Frank Capra’s Depression-era classics screen Thursday evening at the American Cinematheque’s Aero Theatre. In 1939’s "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,"  Stewart stars as an idealistic young congressman, and in 1936’s "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town," for which Capra won the directing Oscar, Cooper plays a naive small-town poet who inherits a fortune and moves to New York. Both films also star Arthur.

The Aero screens another Depression-era hit, the 1936 best picture Oscar-winner "The Great Ziegfeld," Saturday evening. Powell plays the famed showman Florenz Ziegfeld in this lavish musical-drama that also stars Myrna Loy as his second wife, Billie Burke, and Luise Rainer in her first lead actress Oscar-winning role, as his first wife, actress Anna Held.

The Egyptian’s intimate Spielberg Theatre will show 8mm prints Saturday evening of two melodramas starring the silent vamp Theda Bara: 1915’s "A Fool There Was" and her last movie, 1925’s “The Unchastened Woman.” www.americancinematheque.com

The New Beverly Cinema offers a double bill of 1941 Robert Montgomery comedies Friday and Saturday: "Here Comes Mr. Jordan," which was later remade in 1978 by Warren Beatty as "Heaven Can Wait," and "Mr. & Mrs. Smith," with Carole Lombard, which was, surprisingly, directed by the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock. The Al Pacino 1983 "Scarface" may be a cult sensation but it doesn’t hold a candle to Howard Hawks and Richard Rosson’s 1932 gangster classic "Scarface," starring Paul Muni. The film screens Sunday and Monday, along with the 1930 World War I epic "Hell’s Angels," directed by the infamous Howard Hughes and featuring Harlow in one of her first major roles.

Two rarely screened film noirs from the 1950s starring Shelley Winters are on tap for Wednesday: 1959’s "Odds Against Tomorrow," directed by Robert Wise and also starring Robert Ryan and Harry Belafonte, and 1951’s "He Ran All the Way," which marked the last screen appearance of John Garfield, who was a victim of the era's anti-Communist blacklist. www.newbevcinema.com

Culver City's  "Made in Culver City" free-screening series presents the 1941 MGM version of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" Saturday evening at the City Hall's courtyard in honor of the city's 94th anniversary. Spencer Tracy, Ingrid Bergman and Lana Turner star in Victor Fleming's version of the Robert Louis Stevenson classic tale. www.culvercity.org

The Alex Film Society at the Alex Theatre in Glendale presents the 1920 Lon Chaney thriller "The Penalty," Sunday afternoon. The silent film, in which the "Man of a Thousand Faces" plays a legless criminal mastermind, even features nudity. The film society is asking that parents leave their kiddies at home. The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County will also be displaying Chaney’s makeup kit, props and costume from the film. Speaking at the event will be Chaney’s biographer, Michael F. Blake, and costar Claire Adams’ biographer, Heather Robinson Long. www.alexfilmsociety.org

Stewart, Richard Widmark and Shirley Jones headline the 1961 John Ford western "Two Rode Together," Tuesday afternoon at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. www.lacma.org

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences celebrates the 40th anniversary of Stanley Kubrick’s controversial masterwork " A Clockwork Orange" and pays tribute to the film’s star, Malcolm McDowell, Friday evening at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater. The sold-out evening is moderated by The Times’ Geoff Boucher. There will be a standby line before the event.

The academy presents Steven J. Ross, a recipient of Academy Film Scholars grants, Monday evening at the Linwood Dunn Theater, discussing aspects of his book "Hollywood Left and Right: How Movie Stars Shaped American Politics." www.oscars.org

The Cinematheque’s Egyptian Theatre celebrates "Quebec in Hollywood" on Friday evening with the international premiere of the recent Canadian release of the comedy "Starbuck" with Patrick Huard. Other films in the festival, which continues through Sunday, are the international premiere of the comedy "A Sense of Humor," the California premiere of the box-office hit "Funkytown," the award-winning black comedy "Curling" and the drama "The Salesman."

On Wednesday evening, the Egyptian kicks off its weeklong "A Production of the Archers: The Films of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger." The series opens with the rarely seen 1944 World War II drama "A Canterbury Tale."

Sunday’s offering at the Aero is a Peter Bogdanovich double bill -- the 40th anniversary of his acclaimed "The Last Picture Show," for which Ben Johnson and Cloris Leachman each earned Academy Awards for their supporting roles, and the poorly received 1990 sequel "Texasville." The dramas are based on the novels by Larry McMurtry.

The Aero’s "The Best of Recent Belgian Cinema" continues Wednesday with the 2010 mockumentary "Hitler in Hollywood." www/americancinematheque.com

Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theater presents a Bill Douglas trilogy Thursday evening. The Scottish filmmaker’s three autobiographical films from the 1970s are "My Childhood," "My Ain Folk" and "My Way Home." Friday is a celebration the acting prowess of Spanish former child performer Ana Torrent with screenings of 1973’s "The Spirit of the Beehive" and 1976’s "Cria Cuervos."

On tap for Saturday is the latest "Pajama Party" extravaganza featuring Brazilian entertainer Xuxa in 2008’s "Superxuxa vs. Satan." Chuck Barris’ 1976-80 NBC and syndicated game show "The Gong Show" is set for a celebration at Cinefamily on Tuesday with a screening of the poorly received 1980 film "The Gong Show Movie," which was directed by Barris.

And on Wednesday, the theater presents an evening with Frank Mouris, the director of the 1973 animated short "Frank Film," which won the Academy Award. www.cinefamily.org

The Burbank International Film Festival 2011 kicks off Thursday evening at the AMC 16 and continues through Sunday at Flappers and the AMC Six. Among the films being screened are "Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest" and "Star Trek: Of Gods and Men." Among the honorees this year are producer Roger Corman and animator Bill Plympton. www.burbankfilmfestival.org

UCLA Film & Television Archive's "Slovenia Begs to Differ" continues Friday at the Billy Wilder Theatre with 1961’s "Dance in the Rain" and 1962’s "A Sand Castle." Scheduled for Sunday evening are 1967’s "Stronghold of Toughs" and "Paper Planes."

On Saturday evening, the Archives Documentary Spotlight features a free screening of the new documentary "The Learning," directed by Ramona Diaz. www.cinema.ucla.edu

Cinespia at Hollywood Forever features a special Friday evening screening of Dario Argento’s 1977 thriller "Suspiria" starring Jessica Harper. On tap for Saturday evening is Amy Heckerling’s 1982 teen comedy "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," with Sean Penn’s scene-stealing turn as surfer dude Jeff Spicoli. www.cinespia.org

The Autry Center’s Saturday matinee at the Wells Fargo Theater is the 1993 box-office hit western "Tombstone" starring Kurt Russell as Wyatt Earp and Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday. www.autry.org

Echo Park Film Center presents the documentary "Scrappers," on Saturday. The 2010 doc follows the lives of two scrap-metal scavengers in Chicago. www.echoparkfilmcenter.org


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-- Susan King

Photo: Jimmy Stewart in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." Credit: Reuters

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