What’s Screening: April 6 – 12

Robert Redford, Ingrid Bergman, Laurel and Hardy, and a week of animation…if you’re not planning on attending the big festival in San Francisco.


Promising events

All the President’s Men, New Mission, Tuesday, 7:30

I’ve only seen this film once in the last 40 years, and the acoustics were so bad I hesitate to give it a grade. But from what I could tell, it’s pretty good. William Goldman’s screenplay focuses entirely on the early Watergate investigation, without subplots or significant character development. We never learn anything about the reporters’ private lives, and very little about how they felt about each other. Both Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman give good performances.

Great double bills

A+ Casablanca & A- Gaslight; Stanford, Friday through Sunday

No one involved in making Casablanca thought it was anything but another modest A picture coming out of the Warner assembly line. And yet, conventional as it was in every way, and despite the massive plot holes, this war-time melodrama starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman turned out a masterpiece. Read my essay. In Gaslight, a Victorian bride (Bergman, again) seems happy in her new marriage. But her husband (Charles Boyer) keeps insisting that his lies are true, to the point where he appears to be intentionally driving her insane. Now you know why they call it gaslighting.

Recommended revivals

B+ Laurel & Hardy Talkie Matinee, Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, Sunday, 4:00

This should really be called the “Laurel & Hardy and Our Gang Talkie Matinee.” The two Laurel and Hardy shorts, Helpmates and Busy Bodies, are among their best – perfect examples of how Stan and Ollie could set out to do a simple job and turn it into disaster. I haven’t seen the two Our Gang shorts, Bargain Day and Washee Irone; if they’re as good as the Laurel and Hardy shorts, I would give this collection an A+.

Continuing Engagements

Lebowskies (frequently-revived classics)