What’s Screening: May 18 – 24

Indiana Jones, Douglas Fairbanks, Mitchum vs. Peck, triple Vertigo, and a movie Beyond the Infinite – and all on Bay Area movie screens this week.

Also, one film festival.


Vertigo, Vertigo, & Vertigo

Over the weekend, three movie theaters will present special screenings of most people’s favorite Alfred Hitchcock movie, Vertigo (I don’t care for it, much). And all of these events will be more than a single screening of a single feature.

Sunday at the Castro, Marc Huestis will present a tribute to Kim Novak. The event, which starts at 7:00, includes a clip reel of Novak’s work, a discussion with Noir City’s Eddie Muller, and, of course, a screening of Vertigo. Seven hours before the big event, at noon, the Castro will offer a free screening of another Novak classic, Picnic. I haven’t seen that one in decades, and never saw it properly, so this one excites me much more than Vertigo.

Friday through Sunday at the Stanford, Vertigo will play on a Hitchcock double bill with Dial “M” for Murder. Unfortunately, the later will not be screened in 3D. it’s all part of the series Hitchcock and Other Masters of Suspense. You can read my Dial M For Murder Report.

Finally, the Balboa is running an Alfred Hitchcock Weekend Friday through Sunday. Vertigo is one of the four movies to be screened. It’s showing Saturday at 4:30 and Sunday at 7:00.

Recommended revivals

A- Thief of Bagdad (1924 version), Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, Saturday, 7:30

What’s more fun than state-of-the-art special effects? State-of-the-art special effects circa 1924. Douglas Fairbanks’ massively spectacular Arabian Nights fantasy never actually fools you into thinking a horse can fly, but the clever effects and imaginative set design inspire awe and delight all the same. As does Fairbanks’ performance as the energetic and happily ambitious thief. Don’t expect actual Arabian flavor here; this is pure early Hollywood fancy. And don’t expect 21st century racial attitudes in Fairbanks’ treatment of the Chinese. A lot of fun, but not up to the 1940 Technicolor remake. Musical accompaniment by Jon Mirsalis.

A- Bound, New Parkway, Thursday, 9:30

Before The Matrix, the Wachowski brothers created a stylish and fun crime thriller about a lesbian couple that go up against the mob. Jennifer Tilly hooks up with Gina Gershon, both sexually and in crime, to steal from her gangster husband (Joe Pantoliano). A very sexy, violent, and suspenseful thriller which adds new meaning to the phrase “money laundering.”

A- Raiders of the Lost Ark, New Mission, Monday, 7:00

The original Indiana Jones movie is, in most people’s eyes, the best, even if I disagree. But it’s still a wonderful (if somewhat racist) roller coaster of a movie, giving you one fun, and usually funny, thrill after another. For this this Big Screen Science presentation, Kishore Hari and Jeff Silverman will discuss the alleged science in the story. read my thoughts on the film.

A Cape Fear (original 1962 version), Stanford, Wednesday and Thursday

Robert Mitchum plays a wretchedly horrible human being who stalks and threatens a reasonably healthy family, with extremely dishonorable intentions. Gregory Peck places the loving patriarch who must protect his wife and daughter from this human monster. An exceptionally suspenseful noir thriller, largely set in a wilderness where one could easily die, and just as easily hide a body. On a double bill with The Desperate Hours.

B+ 2001: A Space Odyssey, Castro, Friday, Saturday, and Monday

New 70mm print. I used to worship Stanley Kubrick’s visualization of Arthur C. Clarke’s imagination, but I don’t think it has aged all that well. We’ve seen the actual year and now know that Clarke and Kubrick got almost everything wrong in the prediction department. And yet there’s no denying the pull of 2001‘s unorthodox storytelling and visual splendor–especially if you can see it properly presented. 2001 works best on a giant, curved screen, but we’ll have to make do with the Castro’s large, flat one. See my article on the new “unrestoration.”

Lebowskies (frequently-revived classics)