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May 24-30, 2006

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What, Me Surrey?: The original 70mm version of 'Oklahoma' will be screened at downtown San Jose's California Theater.

This Week's Revivals

By Richard von Busack

Movie Times Bulldog Drummond Strikes Back
(1934) "As awkward a situation, you Highness, as any I can remember. Empty-handed, entirely surrounded by villains armed to the teeth and thirsting for my blood. ... You'll notice that, uh, in spite of danger, I still remain calm and collected, keen and alert for the next move. What will it be ..."—Captain Hugh "Bulldog" Drummond, D.S.O., M.C. (Ronald Colman) to the sinister Prince Achmed (Warner Oland), as quoted in Ronald Colman: Gentleman of the Cinema by R. Dixon Smith. Here, Colman reprises his role as free-lance adventurer Hugh "Bulldog" Drummond, up against Prince Achmed, who menaces London with an early application of biological terror. Loretta Young is the female lead; the director is the brisk Warner Bros. workhorse Roy Del Ruth. (Plays May 24-27 in Palo Alto at the Stanford Theatre.) (RvB)

Movie Times Lady Windermere's Fan
(1925) Ronald Colman in the silent version of Oscar Wilde's play. Although the epigrams are deleted, Colman is said to have handled himself well in the part of the scheming cad Lord Darlington. And the director is Ernst Lubitsch—Wilde and Lubitsch are made for each other. With Jim Riggs at the Stanford's Wurlitzer. (Plays May 27-28 in Palo Alto at the Stanford Theatre.) (RvB)

Movie Times Clive of India
(1939) Ronald Colman stars as Robert Clive, in an empire-friendly view of how the English conquered the subcontinent; includes elephants, Cesar Romero in a turban, and the Black Hole of Calcutta (the atrocity is presided over by all-purpose Hollywood ethnic Mischa Auer). (Plays May 17-19 in Palo Alto at Stanford Theatre.)

Movie Times The Late George Apley
(1947) A Boston patriarch (Ronald Colman) is dragged into the 20th century, thanks to his daughter Eleanor (Peggy Cummings). Director Joseph Mankiewicz (All About Eve) claimed a technical innovation here that's been used in many films since: a 360-degree panning shot that takes in the inertia of the Apleys right before they're about to tuck into Thanksgiving dinner. (Plays May 24-26 in Palo Alto at the Stanford Theatre.)

Movie Times Lawrence of Arabia
(1962) David Lean's epic is a reminder of an age when movies weren't just big, but smart, too. It tells of Col. T.E. Lawrence, the British agent provocateur who stirred up nationalist revolt in "Mesopotamia" during World War I. The plan was to protect both the Suez Canal and the oil supply from the hostile Ottoman Empire of the Turks. The Arab world as we know it was precipitated by Lawrence, and the world has been reaping the benefits and suffering the consequences ever since. What this movie is about is a man, played by the messianically beautiful young Peter O'Toole, and his friend Ali (another looker, Omar Sharif). The two battle against the sadistic Turks, particularly the Bey Jose Ferrer, whose mistreatment of Lawrence is a little more clear in the uncensored versions. The photography in Super Panavision 70 by Freddie Young made this a monster hit. The ultrawidescreen technique is given a rare demonstration in the splendid California Theatre in downtown San Jose for a paltry $7. (Plays through May 27 at 7pm in San Jose at the California Theatre; additional shows at 2 and 5 on May 27 only.)

Movie Times Oklahoma!
(1955) See story.

Movie Times Some Came Running/Home From the Hill
(1958/1960) Frank, Dino and Shirley MacLaine in a tale of post-World War II discontent, wrought from James Jones' 1,266-page novel of tank-town trouble. Filmed on location in Madison, Ind. The always-ingratiating Sinatra claimed that the Hoosier town was more squalid than L.A.'s skid row. BILLED WITH Home From the Hill. Robert Louis Stevenson's self-written epitaph is the title source; Irving Ravetch and Harriet Frank (Hud) wrote the script from William Humphrey's novel for this shot-in-Oxford, Miss., story of a Texas dynasty split over the issue of the line of succession: the illegitimate George Peppard jockeys for control against his half-brother (sun-tan king George Hamilton). Robert Mitchum is the father of the family, married to a wife (Eleanor Parker) who never forgave him for the indiscretion. The as-always nonplussed Mitchum said, "The sets got a lot of fan mail." Still, director Vincente Minnelli was particularly proud of the boar-hunt sequence he shot in the sulfur flats near Paris, Texas. (Plays May 28-30 in Palo Alto at the Stanford Theatre.) (RvB)

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