What’s Screening: December 5-11

Metropolis, Stanford University’s Memorial Auditorium, Saturday, 8:00 (pre-performance discussion at 7:00). The first important science fiction feature film still strikes a considerable visual punch. The images–workers in a hellish underground factory, the wealthy at play, a robot brought to life in the form of a beautiful woman–are a permanent part of our collective memory. Even people who haven’t seen Metropolis know it through the countless films it has influenced. But the beautiful imagery only makes the melodramatic plot and characters seem all the more trite. Accompanied by the Santa Rosa Symphony, conducted by Bruno Ferrandis, in the west coast premiere of Martin Matalon’s 1994 score.

Rashômon, Rafael, Friday, 4:30, Saturday, 7:00, and Thursday, 7:00. I know that I’ve reviewed Kurosawa’s first masterpiece–the film that opened Japanese cinema to the world. But according to a search of my site, I’ve never reviewed it. How could I remember it one way, when the WordPress search engine remembers it differently? I could check Google, but what if its memory contradicts both? If you don’t understand what I’m talking about, you haven’t seen Rashomon, and that’s a real shame. Part of the Rafael series, Essential Art House: Four Treasures from Janus Films.

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Stanford, all week. Three down-on-their-luck Yankees (Humphrey Bogart, Tim Holt, and the director’s father, Walter Huston) prospect for gold in Mexico. They find and stake out a profitable mine before discovering that they don’t really trust each other. Writer/director John Huston, working from B. Traven’s novel, turned a rousing adventure story into a morality play about the corruption of greed. One of the all-time greats. On a double bill with High Sierra, which, if memory serves, is also pretty good, and helped turn Bogart into a first-class star.

Douglas Fairbanks: In the Beginning, Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, different shows Saturday, 7:30 and Sunday, 1:30. Swashbucklers didn’t make Douglas Fairbanks a star. Douglas Fairbanks was the star who, already famous for action comedies, created the movie swashbuckler. The Museum will screen two double bills of his pre-Zorro features, with David Shepard hosting and Frederick Hodges providing live accompaniment. The Saturday movies are The Matrimaniac and When the Clouds Roll By. Sunday, Wild and Woolly and Reaching for the Moon.

Let the Right One In, Cerrito, opens Friday. Better than Horror of Dracula, Interview with a Vampire, and The Lost Boys, and maybe better than Nosferatu, this is one of the great vampire movies. What better place for a vampire than a Swedish winter? The nights are very long, snow covers everything, and people drink heavily and seem depressed to begin with. It’s like Bergman, only with undead bloodsuckers. Let the Right One In is also a coming-of-age story, about first love between a boy about to turn 13 and a girl who has been 12 “for a very long time.” Read my full review.

DOUBLE BILL: Watch Horror Films, Keep America Strong & Nightmare In Blood, Balboa, Wednesday, 7:00. John Stanley, Ernie (Hardware Wars) Fosselius, and other guest stars will present this documentary on the old Creature Features TV show, plus Stanley’s feature film.

One thought on “What’s Screening: December 5-11

  1. Enjoyed your Rashomon capsule- very clever!

    But I might back away from the statement that the film is the one that opened Japanese cinema to the rest of the world. Maybe it was the first to open it up in a big way, but there were semi-successful attempts at exporting Japan’s films in the 20s and 30s as well.

Comments are closed.