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October 11-17, 2006

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This Week's Revivals

By Richard von Busack

Movie Times A Clockwork Orange
(1971) In the near future, a violent, raping juvenile delinquent (Malcolm McDowell) becomes a subject in a government experiment, which uses aversion therapy to curb his behavior. However, the therapy suppresses the good in him, as well—his lyrical side: the part of him that loves Beethoven. Stanley Kubrick's extremely violent film has an expensive futuristic look that's kept it alive over the years—or is it just that violence is a universal language? At best, A Clockwork Orange seems to be a film about the futility of the urge for revenge. Yet this film doesn't have much regret in it, or much of the tangled feelings a civilized person has when savagery intrudes into his life. In this film, people who are brutalized turn into brutes, instantly. Kubrick sees the injuries we inflict on each other as one sick joke. Thus, A Clockwork Orange is most popular with nihilists: no shortage of them at a midnight show. (Plays Oct 13 at midnight in Campbell at Camera 7 and Oct 14 at midnight in San Jose at Camera 12.)

Movie Times Election
(1999) Alexander Payne's nigh-screwball comedy, an opening act for Sideways; about an amoral climber, Tracy Flick (Reese Witherspoon, never better), who has fire enough in her belly to immolate her own high school. The ruthless girl is thwarted, but not for long, by a runty teacher (Matthew Broderick) with a hidden agenda. Based on a novel by Tom Perrotta (Little Children). (Plays in San Jose Oct 12 at sunset in St. James Park. Free. Bring lawn chair or blanket.)

Movie Times The Goonies
(1985) Children find a pirate map and start a quest for a treasure guarded by a gross family. Stars Josh Brolin, Sean "Samwise" Astin, Corey Feldman, Martha Plimpton and Ke Huy "Short Round" Quan, co-star of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. It's based on a story by Steven Spielberg, and the screenplay was written by Chris Colombus, the semi-Spielberg director of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. It has developed a considerable following over the last 18 years among those who saw it as children and have never forgotten the experience. (Plays Oct 13 at midnight, Oct 14 at noon and midnight and Oct 15 at noon in Palo Alto at the Aquarius Theater.)

Movie Times How to Marry a Millionaire/Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
(Both 1953) Three women get together to rent a penthouse in hopes of finding an affluent beau. Lauren Bacall, Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable are the schemers; William Powell (as a rancher), Cameron Mitchell (playing a poor but honest chap) and the ever-supercilious David Wayne are the men they attract. BILLED WITH Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Howard Hawks' brash musical about "two little girls from Little Rock": half-bright golddigger Lorelei Lee (Marilyn Monroe) and her shrewder, more macha pal Dorothy (Jane Russell). (Plays Oct 14-15 in Palo Alto at the Stanford Theatre.)

Movie Times In Old Chicago/Ladies in Love
(1937/1936) How Chicago burned, with Alice Brady as Mrs. O'Leary, and Tyrone Power as her wayward son (one can presume Power's sins were as much cause for the fire as the cow kicking over the lantern). Don Ameche is the mayor; Alice Faye belts a few songs as an opening act for the big blaze. Rondo Hatton is in it somewhere. A $2 million production when $2 million bought you something; Henry King directs. Original nitrate print. BILLED WITH Ladies in Love. Not with each other, mind. In Budapest, three working girls (Loretta Young, Janet Gaynor and Constance Benning) splurge to rent a fancy place in hopes of attracting high-class men. Tyrone Power is one such, a blueblood; Don Ameche is a warm-hearted doctor with eyes for Benning. (Plays Oct 11-12 in Palo Alto at the Stanford Theatre.)

Movie Times Leave Her to Heaven/Niagara
(1945/1953) What men call a melodrama, women call their everyday lives; consider this artifact from the day when women had to apologize for wanting their space. Despite the reference to Hamlet (the title comes from the Ghost's advice to Hamlet), Leave Her to Heaven is actually like a chick's version of Richard III. It's so well aged that our sympathies aren't with the "sensitive" novelist husband (Cornell Wilde). Rather, it's with the furious woman who won't let any one near her man. A half-crazed Gene Tierney moves around the map from one piece of expensive real-estate to another: But wherever she goes, her relatives are trying to muscle in on her, and she won't have it. Clad in a variety of vaguely Oriental clothes, Tierney plots her way out of entanglements by self-destructive means. And considering how hot-button abortion is now, her address to the unborn child within her ("This baby is making a prisoner of me. I hate the little beast, I wish it would die!") still has a punch. Original Technicolor nitrate print. BILLED WITH Niagara. Another example of how film noir encompasses color movies. Impatient wife Marilyn Monroe decides that her peevish husband (Joseph Cotten) needs a bath, and she knows just where she can give him one. Jean Peters and Richard Allen co-star. Restored print. (Plays Oct 13 in Palo Alto at the Stanford Theatre.)

Movie Times The Pied Piper/A Bell for Adano
(1942/1945) Old duffer (Monty Wooley) ends up in the refugee business in spite of himself, bringing a group of French children to safety. Wooley was in real life the character he played in Night and Day, an Ivy League law professor who ditched academia in favor of performing whiskered curmudgeons on screen. BILLED WITH A Bell for Adano. American Army Major John Hodiak, occupying the town of Adano in Italy, finds the church bell previously stolen by the Germans. (Plays Oct 18-19 in Palo Alto at the Stanford Theatre.)

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