The Hitch-Hiker
The Hitch-Hiker
Wikimedia Commons

Your Weekly Movie to-Do List: TCM Film Festival Kicks Off

Friday, April 27

UCLA's tribute to Ida Lupino concludes with a classic film noir double feature. The Hitch-Hiker is a tense B-thriller recently restored by the Library of Congress. William Talman plays the titular psychopath (based on serial killer Billy Cook); Frank Lovejoy and Edmond O'Brien are his quarry. Suspenseful but also unusually sensitive (the killer is self-conscious about his looks), it stands as the first noir directed by a woman. In the second feature, Nicholas Ray's On Dangerous Ground, Lupino plays a blind woman and transforms a bleak thriller into a metaphysical drama worthy of Frank Borzage. UCLA's Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Fri., April 27, 7:30 p.m.; $10. (310) 206-8013, cinema.ucla.edu.

Seven ChancesEXPAND
Seven Chances
Wikimedia Commons

No establishment in Los Angeles loves silent cinema quite like the Old Town Music Hall in El Segundo. Home to a genuine Wurlitzer pipe organ, the 188-seat theater screens classic movies all year round, with a special emphasis on silent comedy. This weekend, the theater will host four showings of Seven Chances, Buster Keaton's 1925 thigh-slapper in which the director-star must marry post-haste in order to inherit a fortune. The famous climax finds him fleeing a throng of available women while dodging an avalanche of bouncing boulders. Arrive on time for the sing-along that usually precedes the main event, featuring a demonstration of the Mighty Wurlitzer's array of 2,600 pipes. Old Town Music Hall, 140 Richmond St., El Segundo; Sat., April 27, 8:15 p.m.; $10. (310) 322-2592, oldtownmusichall.org.

World's Greatest SinnerEXPAND
World's Greatest Sinner
Wikimedia Commons

The TCM Classic Film Festival rolls into town this weekend with a wide selection of movies "celebrating the presentation of the written word on the silver screen." Of the many cinematic truffles on display, none may be more enticing than The World's Greatest Sinner, written, produced, directed and starring Timothy Carey. One of the most eccentric actors of his — or any — generation, Carey plays an insurance salesman who changes his name to God, creates a religious cult called the Eternal Man's Party and eventually runs for president. Shot over several years in the early 1960s, this one-of-a-kind underground classic is a surprisingly lithe social satire, with a score by Frank Zappa and endorsements from John Cassavetes and Martin Scorsese. Grauman's Chinese Theatre (House #6), 6925 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Friday, April 27, 11:59 p.m.; $20. filmfestival.tcm.com.

The Lady VanishesEXPAND
The Lady Vanishes
Wikimedia Commons

Saturday, April 28

Do you know about the Secret Movie Club screenings at the Vista? Shhh ... try to keep it under your hat. Most weekends feature a 35mm presentation — usually at midnight — of crowd favorites both old and new. On Saturday, they kick off an Alfred Hitchcock series with a screening of The Lady Vanishes, Hitch's archetypal locked-room thriller. Along with The 39 Steps, it's the master's most enduring film from his English period, with generous doses of humor cut into the taut storyline. Vista Theatre, 4473 Sunset Drive, Los Feliz; Saturday, April 28, 11 a.m.; $11. (323) 660-6639, vintagecinemas.com/vista.

Summer With MonikaEXPAND
Summer With Monika
Janus Films

Tuesday, May 1

Summer With Monika initiates a month of Bergman (as in Ingmar) throughout Los Angeles on the centennial of the Swedish filmmaker's birth. Harriet Andersson stars as a teenager who falls into a passionate affair with a young man, only to abandon him and their baby. This is the film that put Bergman on the international map, and it's a great introduction for those curious to know why folks in the 1950s who didn't take film seriously as an art form made an exception for Bergman. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., May 1, 1 p.m.; $4. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org

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