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August 1-7, 2007

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This Week's Revivals

By Richard von Busack

Movie Times Going My Way/Yolanda and the Thief
(1944/1945) Bing Crosby as a priest whose new post is a church with a heap of problems; using music and craft he sets it straight. BILLED WITH Yolanda and the Thief. Fred Astaire and Frank Morgan are American con men hiding from the law in South America who decide to fleece a convent-reared heiress (Lucille Bremer). In what director Vincente Minnelli described as "the first surrealistic ballet ever used in pictures," Astaire does a pas de deux with his guilty conscience in front of stylized South American props (llamas, women washing clothes on rocks). (Plays Aug 2-3 in Palo Alto at the Stanford Theatre.)

Movie Times My Big Fat Greek Wedding
(2002) Writer Nia Vardalos stars as Toula, the slightly disobedient daughter of firstgeneration Greek immigrants Michael Constantine and Lanie Kazan. Based on Vardalos' one-woman show, the movie hit a nerve with second-generation immigrants, Greek or otherwise. (Plays Aug 3 at sundown in San Jose at St. James Square; free.)

Movie Times Niles Essanay Film Museum
Regularly programmed silent films. Tonight: Wagon Tracks (1919) starring William S. Hart and San Jose's own Lloyd Bacon. Plus Koko the Clown in Modeling (1921) and Charlie Chaplin as an intrepid but clumsy waiter in The Rink (1916). (Plays Aug 4 at 7:30 in Fremont at the Edison Theater, 37417 Niles Blvd, Fremont.)

Movie Times The Omen
(1976) The other religious-themed horror hit of Those Fabulous '70s besides The Exorcist; and such a box-office success that no doubt nine out of 10 people will tell you that this story is actually in the Bible. Harvey Stevens plays the little brat with the unusual birthmark. Lee Remick is the haunted mother, as the father, Gregory Peck mulls over the implications when those around him get decapitated, hit with lightning, strung up, etc. (Plays Aug 1 at sundown in San Jose at San Pedro Square; free.)

Movie TimesOver the Hedge
(2006) Forest creatures migrate to the suburbs and cutely terrorize homeowners in CGI kid fest. (Plays Aug 8 at 8:45pm in Redwood City at Courtyard Square; free.)

Movie Times Serenity
(2005) A high-spirited and very funny space Western by Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), including insouciant dialogue, cost-effective surroundings and impressive villainry by government samurai Chiwetel Ejiofor, half-assassin, half-therapist. (Plays Aug 3 at midnight in San Jose at Camera 7 and Aug 4 at midnight in Campbell at Camera 12.)

Movie Times The Sky's the Limit/I'll Be Seeing You
(1943/1944) Fred Astaire in the typical Fred Astaire role in The Sky's the Limit, modifi ed slightly for wartime. In the past, he's been a song-and-dance man mistaken for a gigolo. Here, he's a Flying Tiger pilot who poses as a civilian slacker to avoid all the fuss and adulation. Joan Leslie co-stars. BILLED WITH I'll Be Seeing You. What happened when David O. Selznick tried to go smallscale. Ginger Rogers stars as an essentially nonviolent murderess paroled from jail; Joseph Cotton is a shell-shocked soldier who doesn't want to talk about the war: together they fi nd a bit of understanding. (Plays Aug 8-10 in Palo Alto at the Stanford Theatre.)

Movie Times Stagecoach
(1939) A stagecoach travels through the wastes of Arizona and New Mexico, carrying with it the DNA of the frontier: a hooker, an outlaw, a doctor, a gambler, a booze salesman. John Ford's Western was the first movie that convinced everyone that Westerns weren't just kid-fodder, but there was still enough action under the characterization to dazzle the constant fans. A couple of cautions: This is a classic, but the treatment of Native Americans isn't exactly Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, and the "Running W" trip wires used to create the sometimes lethal horse stunts are part of the reason the seals on today's movies read: "No animals were injured in this production." (Plays Aug 3 at sundown in Campbell, 247 E. Campbell Ave; free.)

Movie Times Three Coins in the Fountain/ Daddy Long Legs
(1954/1955) Three American secretaries (Dorothy McGuire, Jean Peters and Maggie McNamara) make a wish in the Trevi Fountain in Rome: for love, marriage and money. The wishes come true but not exactly as they had in mind. BILLED WITH Daddy Long Legs. Fred Astaire plays the benefactor of an orphan, who grows up to be Leslie Caron. There's an unignorable gap in age of about 30 years between the leads, but the fi lm includes a few sharp wisecracks by the team of Henry and Phoebe Ephron, Thelma Ritter as Astaire's secretary and the debut of "Something's Gotta Give." (Plays Aug 4-7 at the Sanford Theatre in Palo Alto.)

Movie Times Whirl of Life/The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle
(1915/1939) Irene and Vernon Castle, the popular society dance, star in a semiautobiographical fi lm based on their own career. Silent. BILLED WITH The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle, based on Irene Castle's memoir Castles in the Air. This last Rogers and Astaire musical is set in the years before the Great War, where the dance team has triumphs and tragedy. Edna May Oliver plays their agent; the songs are all revivals of turn-of-the-century popular hits. (Plays Aug 1 in Palo Alto at the Stanford Theater.)

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