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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

April Classic Film Screenings in Greater Boston

Another month has nearly passed, and April promises to bring an enticing assortment for classic film fans in and around the Hub.  Check these out!

Coolidge Corner Theatre
As part of their "Cinema Jukebox" series, in which films with compelling soundtracks are presented, this month it's the Sharks & Jets in WEST SIDE STORY (1961) on Wednesday April 11.

And on April 25, Chaplin's later masterpiece THE GREAT DICTATOR (1940) in which Chaplin satirizes Hitler, comes to the big screen as part of the "Big Screen Classics" series.  This is a favorite of mine, and I must say, somewhat timely. My favorite scenes are those with Jack Oakie as Mussolini knock-off "Napoloni".   You Must Remember This podcast series is featuring two episodes on Chaplin, his life during WWII and the making of his film.  Also well worth spending the time.

Somerville Theatre
Next weekend, on Sunday April 3rd, grab a big box of popcorn and sit back (because it will be a while--nearly 3 hours) to view D.W. Griffith's INTOLERANCE.  I will admit to not yet making it through an entire screening but perhaps this time will be the charm.  Pianist Jeff Rapsis will provide live accompaniment for this installment of the 'Silents, Please' film series.

Then, on April 21 a double feature of two films marking 60 years since they first premiered:  A FORBIDDEN PLANET and THE SEARCHERS (both 1956).  I've not seen the former film, and since it's first on the bill, co-presented with the Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival, I will put it on my calendar.  Walter Pidgeon in color, in a sci-fi!

Finally, the Somerville brings a 70mm version of  Hitchcock's VERTIGO to the big screen, playing three consecutive evenings on April 22, 23, and 24th.  I had a chance to catch this at the Harvard Film Archive a couple years ago, so I don't think I'll make this one, but I'm sure it will be a treat.

Harvard Film Archive
Starting in March, the HFA engaged current director Guy Maddin to program an extensive series of films and write up notes for each.  All of this can be found here "Guy Maddin Presents".  His film choices have ranged from silents, pre-codes, through to films made much later in the 20th century.  Even if you don't go to any of these, check out the series online to read Maddin's entertaining film notes for a couple of dozen films. The series sponsors the following screenings in April:

April 1, 7 PM: CHILDREN OF MONTMARTRE (LA MATERNELLE) -- a French film from 1933 that Maddin describes as incredibly movingly as directed by Marie Epstein & Jean Benoit-Levy, and "a little masterpiece".   At 9 PM is THE FACE BEHIND THE MASK (1941), which Maddin says is his favorite Peter Lorre film, a "B-movie wonder!"

April 2, 9 PM is THE THREAT (1949) is a noir starring Michael O'Shea, Virginia Grey, and Charles McGraw.  Maddin says this one "is hilariously mean, raw-boned and brawny and absolutely delightful."

On Sunday April 3 at 5 PM is a late silent with Loretta Young and Lon Chaney called "LAUGH, CLOWN, LAUGH."  One guess as to who plays the clown.  Maddin claims this has the "oddest love triangle in film history."  Hmmm.  Martin Marks will provide live musical accompaniment.

Finally on April 10 at 5 PM is WICKED WOMAN (1953) starring Beverly Michaels, for which this apparently was her most memorable role, according to Maddin.  He also says this is a good companion piece for the B-noir Poverty Row classic DETOUR.  Sounds like fun.  (Shhhh, this film is also on YouTube right now, so see it there if you can't get to the Archive, that being your first choice of course!)

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