The Best Classic Movies to See in L.A. This Week

Akira Kurosawa's High and LowEXPAND
Akira Kurosawa's High and Low

Friday, March 13

Hugely controversial when it was released in theaters, despite not getting MPAA approval, Leslie Stevens’ Private Property plays in UCLA’s Billy Wilder Theater at 7:30. The Outer Limits creator’s 1960 directorial debut was condemned by the National Catholic League of Decency due to its salacious content. This screening of the film about a woman in an unsatisfying marriage is particularly special because of the painstaking work that went into restoring the 35mm print. David J. Schow, who wrote The Outer Limits Companion, will appear to provide insight and answer questions from audience members.

The Aero’s weekend-long program of Buster Keaton comedies kicks off with The Navigator and Seven Chances at 7:30, both on 35mm. Cliff Retallick will be on hand to provide live musical accompaniment for the double feature, which finds the silent-era legend trapped on an empty passenger ship in one film and then being given the chance to inherit vast riches should he decide to get married that same day in the other. One could easily argue that we’ve never had a physical comedian quite like Keaton, who maximized the form’s potential like few others.

Saturday, March 14

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If tragedy + time = comedy, then flop + time = misunderstood masterpiece. Cinefamily presents a midnight screening of 1996’s ill-fated remake The Island of Dr. Moreau (on 35mm) hot on the heels of Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s The Island of Dr. Moreau, a making-of documentary about the notorious misfire, which starred Marlon Brando in one of his final roles. Pretty soon we’re going to run out of maligned films to re-evaluate.

Sunday, March 15

The Crest is paying tribute to Akira Kurosawa throughout the month, and one of the Japanese auteur’s best screens this afternoon at 5 p.m.: High and Low. Longtime Kurosawa collaborator Toshiro Mifune plays a well-off executive facing a moral crisis when his chauffeur’s son is kidnapped and he’s asked to pay the ransom. It’s as moving and involved a portrayal of both sides of the law as you’re ever likely to see, culminating in a brilliant shot that will be remembered for as long as movies themselves are.

As part of ATLAS IN LA, a nine-day event taking places all across town, Los Angeles Filmforum presents Dark Sides of Intimacy, with Charles Atlas at 7:30. Atlas (who will appear in person) is a multimedia artist whose genre- and medium-blurring work has been making waves in the film/video world for nearly half a century, and tonight’s program consists of two films running nearly 80 minutes altogether: AIDS epidemic allegory Son of Sam and Delilah and dance-based Superhoney.

Last Year at MarienbadEXPAND
Last Year at Marienbad

Two hypnotic films by the recently departed Alain Resnais at the Egyptian: Hiroshima, Mon Amour (in a new DCP restoration) and Last Year at Marienbad (on 35mm) at 7:30. Resnais was a key figure in French cinema from before the New Wave until his death last year, and these are two of his most entrancing works: a love story with nuclear overtones and one of the most puzzling, elliptical films ever made.

Tuesday, March 17

Action aficionados everywhere should be familiar with John Woo, the first great Hong Kong filmmaker to work stateside. Woo built up a formidable body of work long before his English-language debut, and two of those films will be at the New Beverly on 35mm: 1989’s The Killer and 1991’s Once a Thief. The double dose of Chow Yun-Fat flicks begins at 7:30 p.m. 

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