What’s Screening: March 29 – April 4

A three-day celebration of Stanley Donen, a continual celebration of Alfred Hitchcock, some Harold Lloyd, but no film festivals this week.

Great double bills

A+ Singin’ in the Rain & A- On the Town, Castro, Sunday

Just a third of the Castro’s three-day celebration of the recently-deceased director and choreographer Stanley Donen.
Singin’ in the Rain: You will not learn anything by watching Hollywood’s greatest musical. It will not make you a better person or help you understand the human condition. But for 103 exhilarating minutes, you’ll be thoroughly entertained. Read my A+ report.
A- On the Town:
Three sailors on 24-hour leave, looking for girls, and three girls are looking for sailors. Great songs, terrific choreography, a witty script, and a prevailing sense of friendship and camaraderie. It’s also surprisingly sex-positive for a 1940s movie.

Recommended revivals

A+ Notorious, Stanford, Friday through Sunday

Few filmmakers could make a thriller that has the audience biting their nails about whether the champagne will run out – or a romance where the hero treats the heroine with contempt, but the villain truly and tenderly loves her. A scandal-ridden Ingrid Bergman proves her patriotism by seducing and marrying Claude Rains’ Nazi industrialist while true love Cary Grant grimly watches. Sexy, romantic, thought-provoking, and scary enough to shorten your fingernails. Read my Blu-ray Review. As part of the Stanford’s current Hitchcock, Master of Suspense series, Notorious is double-billed with the not-so-good Under Capricorn.

B+ Detour, BAMPFA, Saturday, March 30, 8:15

If Double Indemnity, shot on a comfortable if not extravagant budget, helped start the trend now called film noir, this quick cheapie proved that the genre didn’t need production values. Tom Neal plays a broke musician who hitchhikes across the country and runs into some very bad luck. So bad, in fact, that a wicked woman (Ann Savage–what a name for an actress playing a femme fatale) can blackmail him for murder. Short, quick, and deeply disturbing, Detour provides 67 minutes of dark entertainment. New digital restoration.

B+ Why Worry, Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, Saturday, 7:30

One of Harold Lloyd’s just-plain-funny movies (as opposed to the ones that tug on your heartstrings). He plays a rich, spoiled hypochondriac who goes to a small South American country for his health and ends up stopping a coup. Of course, he couldn’t have done it without the help of his girl (Jobyna Ralston) and his very big friend (John Aasen). Jon Mirsalis will accompany the film (and a couple of shorts), on the Kurzweil keyboard. Sold out, but who knows, someone may not make it.

Frequently-revived classics