Friday, Nov. 16
Believe it or not, Planes, Trains and Automobiles is one of the only authentic Thanksgiving movies, and the season would be poorer without it. A John Hughes road comedy that pairs a fussy Steve Martin with a slovenly John Candy, the movie scores points with its broad (not too crass) sense of humor and big (not too mushy) heart. “Those aren't pillows!” Vista Theatre, 4473 Sunset Drive, Los Feliz; Fri., Nov. 16, 11:59 p.m.; $11. (323) 660-6639, vintagecinemas.com/vista.
Saturday, Nov. 17
UCLA's Down and Dirty in Gower Gulch series continues to celebrate the treasures of Hollywood's “Poverty Row” with a screening of Damaged Lives. This 1933 Edgar G. Ulmer quickie was the German director's first film in America, and it tackles a taboo subject — venereal disease — with sincerity and an occasional flourish of cinematic intelligence. Preceding the film is a Hearst Metrotone newsreel and Dancing on the Moon, a Dave Fleischer short. Raleigh Studios, 5300 Melrose Ave., Larchmont; Sat., Nov. 17, 7 p.m.; $10. (310) 206-8013, cinema.ucla.edu.
Retroformat, a semi-regular series that screens silent films on 8mm or 16mm with live musical accompaniment, has curated a program of lost or forgotten goodies from the Golden Age of Comedy. The evening features a trio of Hal Roach shorts loosely themed around the Thanksgiving holiday: I'm on My Way (featuring a young and dapper Harold Lloyd), A Man About Town (with James Finlayson and a pre-Ollie Stan Laurel) and The Courtship of Myles Sandwich (starring the cross-eyed comic Snub Pollard). Cliff Retallick will be there as usual to add invaluable musical support on the piano. The event is sponsored by the George Lucas Family Foundation. Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Sat., Nov. 17, 7:30 p.m.; $12. americancinematheque.com.
Monday, Nov. 19
Out of the Past, Jacques Tourneur's essential 1947 noir, screens as part of CSUN's Poster Gallery Series, a festival built around classic motion picture posters displayed in the university's Gallery of Film Poster Art's “Hollywood Worldwide” exhibition. See the Spanish poster — with Robert Mitchum's dangling cigarette still intact — in the main corridor of Manzanita Hall before heading over to the Armer Screening Room for the main feature. CSUN, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge; Mon., Nov. 19, 7 p.m.; free. (818) 677-1200, csun.edu.
Tuesday, Nov. 20
Jean Harlow, whose star burned briefly but furiously throughout the 1930s, is the star of the month at LACMA'S Tuesday Matinees series. In Red Dust, the platinum blonde bombshell plays a prostitute stranded on a rubber plantation in Indochina. Clark Gable is the object of her affections and Mary Astor is her rival. Directed by Victor Fleming (Gone With the Wind, The Wizard of Oz), this 1932 melodrama shows Harlow at her sultry best. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., Nov. 20, 1 p.m.; $4. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org.