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Dennis Hopper in WaterworldEXPAND
Dennis Hopper in Waterworld
Universal Pictures

Your Weekly Movie To-Do List: Nitrate Treasures and Holiday Pleasures

Saturday, Dec. 16

UCLA continues its magnanimous Nitrate Treasures series with Jules Dassin's archetypal film noir Night and the City. Richard Widmark plays Harry Fabian, a two-bid hustler trying to navigate London's underworld and, like all noir antiheroes, falling pitifully short of his dreams. Superb nightscapes and a tense wrestling match highlight this artful exercise in postwar fatalism. The rare 35mm nitrate print will be preceded by a newsreel and a Paramount cartoon, Teacher's Pest. UCLA's Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Sat., Dec. 16, 7:30 p.m.; $10. (310) 206-8013, cinema.ucla.edu.

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Sunday, Dec. 17

The holiday spirit lives on with two musical favorites presented by the American Cinematheque. Leading off the night is White Christmas, Michael Curtiz's pleasant Technicolor musical starring a subdued Bing Crosby and a rambunctious Danny Kaye as soldiers who rescue a beloved general's failing nightclub. Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen provide solid female support, but it's Irving Berlin's song score that keeps folks coming back year after year. The soundtrack includes "Sisters," "Snow" and the classic title tune. Holiday Inn, the 1942 musical from which the Curtiz film draws its inspiration, and which pairs Crosby with Fred Astaire, closes the night. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Sun., Dec. 17, 7:30 p.m.; $12. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com.

Tuesday, Dec. 19

LACMA's Tuesday Matinees series offers a rare 35mm screening of Ride the Pink Horse, one of the strangest and most compelling of the postwar film noir cycle. Robert Montgomery directs and stars as an army veteran visiting a Southwestern town in search of the gangster who offed his pal. In addition to its socially progressive view of Mexicans (represented by Thomas Gomez in an Oscar-nominated supporting performance), the film contains several impressive stylistic flourishes, including a stunning long take that tracks the protagonist through a sleepy desert bus stop. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., Dec. 19, 1 p.m.; $4. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org.

A decade before Bob Clark coached Peter Billingsley to an immortal performance in A Christmas Story, he directed the influential anti-holiday classic Black Christmas, one of the best horror flicks made in Canada. Sympathies are firmly established as members of a sorority (headed by Olivia Hussey and Margot Kidder) are terrorized by an obscene voice over the telephone while a stranger — creepily represented by a bulbous subjective camera — takes up residence in the attic, unseen. The New Beverly Cinema presents a 35mm print of this chilly nail-biter followed by the 1987 slasher Silent Night, Deadly Night. New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Blvd., Fairfax; Tue., Dec. 19, 7:30 p.m.; $8. (323) 938-4038, thenewbev.com.

Thursday, Dec. 21

Kevin Costner's Waterworld was the most expensive flop of its era and a timely wakeup call to an overconfident Hollywood. Now it plays more like a fictionalized, moderately campy remake of An Inconvenient Truth. Costner stars as a brooding mariner trying to survive on a drowned planet years after the polar icecaps have melted, only to be softened by a fetching stowaway (Jeanne Tripplehorn) and her 10-year-old daughter (Tina Majorino) with a map to Dryland tattooed on her back. Dennis Hopper shows up attired in pirate paraphernalia (eye patch, cutlass) to enliven the proceedings. Even back in 1995, the film cost a mint — about as much as your average Marvel movie — and lost a ton. Laemmle's Throwback Thursday series offers audiences a chance to savor the spectacle all over again. Laemmle NoHo, 5420 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood; Thu., Dec. 21, 7:30 p.m.; $12. (310) 478-3836, laemmle.com. —Nate Bell

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