My daughter’s bat mitzvah is over, things are back to something resembling normal, and I have time to write again for Bayflicks.net. I’ve also added the 4 Star and Presidio Theaters to my coverage. In other news, the Castro has added live organ accompaniment to three films in their Harold Lloyd series.
I thought I’d spend my blog space this week talking about this site. As you go through the weekly listings, you may have noticed both black and green blocks in the calendar grid. A black block means the theater is closed that night, or not showing something I deem worthy of mentioning here. A green block is one that I hope to fill in as soon as I have the appropriate schedule..
What’s the difference between a movie I mark as Recommended () and as Noteworthy ()? Recommended is pretty explanatory: I’ve seen it, I liked it, and I can recommend it. Noteworthy means that I can’t recommend it, but I still want to talk about it. Perhaps the film has historical significance. Or everyone else loves it so much that I feel I need to justify my lack of enthusiasm. Maybe I saw it and liked it, but that was so long ago that I don’t trust my memory. Or perhaps I just find the description interesting.
With these and the other icons I use ( for a personal appearance, for a silent movie with live accompaniment, and if there’s something special about the print), there’s an extra message inside. Hover your mouse cursor over the icon for a pop-up caption. But and are also, usually, links that will take you to their descriptions here in the Lincoln Log.
Now that you know what Recommended and Noteworthy mean, here they are for this week:
Recommended: Girl Shy, Castro, Friday night. Harold knows all about seducing women; in fact, he’s written the book on it. Too bad that, in real life, he’s absolutely terrified of them. One of Harold Lloyd’s funniest films, the Castro is showing it on a double-bill with Safety Last!, the Lloyd vehicle with his most iconic image–hanging from the clock far above the street. Part of the Castro’s Harold Lloyd series, the movies will be shown with recorded, not live, accompaniment.
Noteworthy: The 400 Blows, Creek Park, San Anselmo, Friday night. When I saw FranÃ§ois Truffaut’s first feature back in college, it blew me away. But I haven’t seen this story of an alienated youth on the verge of delinquency in over 30 years and I don’t trust my memory enough to give it a wholehearted recommendation. Besides, this is a DVD, not a film, presentation.
Recommended: Au Revoir Les Enfants, Balboa, Friday and Saturday. Malle was one of the great directors of children–maybe as good as Spielberg but far more mature in his choice of stories. In this autobiographical tale, he tackles both the end of innocence and the Holocaust (without getting graphic). During the occupation, a young boy in a catholic boarding school (Gaspard Manesse) begins to suspect that his new friend is Jewish and in danger. Part of the Balboa’s Films of Louis Malle series, it’s on a double-bill with Lacombe, Lucien.
Recommended: The Freshman, Castro, Saturday. This very human and extremely funny tale of a young man who desperately craves popularityis Harold Lloyd’s best-known film after Safety Last. It’s by far the better of the two, and one of the great masterpieces of silent comedy. Part of the Castro’s Harold Lloyd series, The Freshman will be accompanied live by Warren Lubich on the Wurlitzer pipe organ. On a double-bill with Speedy, which use recorded, not live, accompaniment.
Recommended: Some Like it Hot, Old Oakland Outdoor Cinema, Saturday night at sunset. A few years ago, the American Film Institute called this the greatest American film comedy. I’m not sure I’d go that far, but it’s definitely in my top twenty. Warning: The presentation will be on DVD, not film.
Recommended: Bride of Frankenstein, Stanford, Saturday through Tuesday. If anyone ever tells you that sequels are always inferior to the originals, point them to James Whale’s masterpiece. Sticking close in spirit, if not in plot, to Mary Shelley’s novel, Whale paints Karloff’s great monster as a tragic figure–the ultimate outsider. The Stanford is showing this with Sunset Boulevard–another great film but a strange choice for a double bill.
Recommended: Sunset Boulevard, Stanford, Saturday through Tuesday. Billy Wilder’s meditation on Hollywood’s seedy underbelly is the flip side of Singin’ in the Rain (now that would make a great double bill). Norma Desmond is very much like Lena Lamont–after twenty-two years of denial and depression. And Gloria Swanson gives one of the great over-the-top performances in history. Showing with Bride of Frankenstein.
Noteworthy: Welcome Danger, Castro, Sunday. This 1929 comedy is best known as Harold Lloyd’s first talkie (well, part talkie, anyway), but the Castro will be showing a recently discovered silent version. Part of the Castro’s Harold Lloyd series, Welcome Danger will accompanied live by Warren Lubich on the Wurlitzer pipe organ. On a double bill with Why Worry?, which will have recorded accompaniment.
Recommended: The Kid Brother, Castro, Tuesday. This Harold Lloyd comedy was the first silent film I ever saw theatrically, and I even saw it with live musical accompaniment. More than 30 years later, it’s still one of the best; hilarious, exhilarating, and even mildly satirical. Part of the Castro’s Harold Lloyd series, this presentation will accompanied live by Warren Lubich on the Wurlitzer pipe organ. On a double bill with the talkie The Cat’s Paw.
Recommended: Nosferatu, Stanford, Wednesday. Now this would have made a good double bill with Bride of Frankenstein–the two best black-and-white horror films directed by European homosexuals. Okay, they also happen to be two of the best horror films ever made. F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu is the first (unauthorized) film version of Dracula, and you can forget about sexy vampires, here. Max Schreck plays Count Orlok (renamed in a failed attempt at lawsuit avoidance) as a reptilian predator in vaguely human form. This isn’t the scariest monster movie ever made, but it’s probably the creepiest. Not be confused with Werner Herzog’s 1979 remake. Accompanied by Dennis James on the Wurlitzer pipe organ.
Recommended: Grandma’s Boy, Castro, Thursday. Harold Lloyd found his character’s potential in what is, to my knowledge, the first feature-length film by any major comedian. This sweet fable about the power of self-confidence avoids excess sentimentality by the simple (but actually quite difficult) trick of never letting up on the laughs. This is one of the few films in the Castro’s Harold Lloyd series with live accompaniment, by Warren Lubich on the Wurlitzer pipe organ. On a double bill with the talkie The Milky Way.
Recommended: Employees’ Entrance, Stanford, Thursday and Friday. Like a good department store, this little-known pre-code gem serves up a little of everything–comedy, drama, ruthless capitalism, sexual harassment, and a lead character who’s both hero and villain. Two years later, a movie this honest about staying employed in the depression could not have been made. On a double bill with Baby Face.