UCLA’s Festival of Preservation keeps plugging away, starting with He Walked by Night (1948, 35mm) and Open Secret (1948, 35mm) on Friday. He Walked by Night is one of the many luminous collaborations between director Anthony Mann and cinematographer John Alton, and stars the absolutely superb Richard Basehart, but I gotta say, aside from the beat-The-Third-Man-down-the-drain finale, I don’t think very highly of it. It sort of feeds this weird postwar appetite audiences must have had for laborious explorations of how cops go about catching a criminal. Might go over better if you’re really into procedurals. I will be arriving late to catch Open Secret, a long-forgotten film noir tackling anti-semitism and starring the no-slouch-himself John Ireland.
UCLA must have a thing for Spencer Tracy (and who doesn’t), because they presented like four of his films at the last Pres Fest, and are back at it again with The Mad Game (1933, 35mm), a gangster melodrama in which he stars alongside Claire Trevor (the top-billed star of Stagecoach, don’tcha know). It screens on Saturday afternoon with the Alice Faye/James Dunn musical 365 Nights in Hollywood (1934, 35mm). That night, and again on Sunday morning, UCLA presents an hour of Paramount animated shorts. Now obviously Disney and Warner Brothers sort of had the market cornered on these sorts of things, but Paramount was no slouch either, as this Dave Fleischer-stacked program should demonstrate. Sunday evening brings us anxieties war and medical with S.O.S. Tidal Wave (1939, 35mm) and False Faces (1932, 35mm). We just don’t have enough of either!
The New Beverly has its own manner of big-scale thrills with Jerry Jameson’s Raise the Titanic (1980, 35mm) and Airport ‘77 (1977, 35mm) on Friday and Saturday. I haven’t seen either, but I take it the premises and approach are pretty self-explanatory, and I gotta say, the trailers the showed for each the other night looked fucking awesome. The Saturday show adds his Bat People (1974, 35mm) at midnight, ‘cause why not.
Their kiddie matinee on Saturday and Sunday is Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1992, 35mm), which to my mind is up there with The Dark Knight as the best Batman film.
They’re also continuing their tribute to Frank Perry with Diary of a Mad Housewife (1970, 35mm) and Play It As It Lays (1972, 35mm). Last week’s Perry double bill was outstanding, and I cannot wait to check out these two. Tuesday Weld, baby!
Cinefamily has an outstanding slate this weekend, starting Friday with Elia Kazan’s A Face in the Crowd (1957, 35mm) – I think it’s one of Kazan’s weaker, more smug films, but you can’t deny that Andy Griffith is out of his mind in it. The lectures on big-media influence don’t get any less obvious, just more compelling, with They Live (1988, 35mm) at midnight that night, and repeating again Saturday and Sunday evenings.
The Silent Treatment invades Cinefamily on Saturday with Josef von Sternberg’s debut feature The Salvation Hunters (1925, 35mm), itself previously an inclusion in UCLA’s Pres Fest. Then that afternoon is Chris Marker’s A Grin Without a Cat (1977, 35mm). This is the slightly-shorter cut (three hours as opposed to four!). So between those two and a They Live repeat, the local cinephile would have good cause to just stay at Cinefamily all day. Neglect your friends or bring them, either seem tenable.
The American Cinematheque’s website is temporarily down as of this writing, so I can’t bring you links and I’m working purely from memory for formats, but through Fandango I can tell you the Egyptian has Malick’s Badlands (1973, DCP) and Days of Heaven (1978, DCP) on Friday, and Tree of Life (2011, DCP) on Sunday.
The Aero is rocking a weekend of women-starring psychological thrillers with Gaslight (1944) and Sudden Fear (1952) on Friday, Rosemary’s Baby (1968) and Diabolique (1955) on Saturday, and Dial M for Murder (1952, DCP) and Shadow of a Doubt (1944, 35mm) on Sunday. If you have peace of mind by the end of it all, that might just be the insanity talking.
Then they have Inherent Vice (2014) in mighty 70mm on Thursday!