Friday, Dec. 19
If none of the endless opportunities to see It’s a Wonderful Life on TV or the big screen appeal to you but you’re still in a semi-festive mood, perhaps the Egyptian’s Ho Ho Hell! double feature of Silent Night, Deadly Night (on 35mm at 7:30 p.m.) and Christmas Evil (9 p.m. in a new 4K restoration) will be more to your liking. Silent Night was hugely controversial upon its initial release, while no less an authority on the outré and transgressive than John Waters has singled out Christmas Evil as the greatest Christmas movie ever made. For more, guide your sleigh to americancinemathequecalendar.com.
If you are in the mood for an unironic celebration of the impending holiday, head to El Segundo for Christmas at Old Town Music Hall. Enjoy the musical stylings of Bill Field on the Mighty Wurlitzer Theater Pipe Organ, plus classic comedy shorts, sing-alongs to Christmas carols and Scrooge, a silent adaptation of A Christmas Carol from 1922. Grinches need not apply to this family-oriented outing. (Note: The show repeats on Saturday at 2:30 and 8:15 p.m. and again on Sunday at 2:30.) More information at oldtownmusichall.org.
Saturday, Dec. 20
Rejoice, early-rising moviegoers who love anniversary screenings: The original Pink Panther plays the Regent Theatre at 10:30 a.m., with co-star Robert Wagner in person. Watching Inspector Clouseau as he tracks down the jewel-stealing Phantom in the original 1963 film may be a bit mind-blowing if your only exposure to the series comes in the form of cartoons and/or Steve Martin, but that’s half the fun. After the screening, Wagner will discuss his storied career and sign copies of his new book, You Must Remember This. Sleuth your way to landmarktheatres.com for full details.
Some appellations are unearned, while others hardly do their subject justice. Alfred Hitchcock belongs in the latter category — he truly is the master of suspense — and Notorious and Vertigo (which recently unseated Citizen Kane as the greatest film of all time on Sight & Sound’s once-per-decade poll of critics and filmmakers) demonstrate that about as well as any other two entries in his august filmography. LACMA is screening them at 6 and 8 p.m., respectively, with one ticket granting admission to both. More information may be found at LACMA.org.
Sunday, Dec. 21
Lurking somewhere beneath the deep-sea pantheon are Shark (5:30 & 10 p.m.) and The Deep (7:30), two low-rent excursions into the water that the New Beverly has seen fit to program as a double feature. Quentin Tarantino’s three-month reign as New Bev curator (with all prints coming from his own private collection) soon will come to a close, so come watch Burt Reynolds do battle with a shark in Sam Fuller’s B-movie classic before it’s too late. Full details at thenewbev.com.
Gluttons for holiday-season punishment, this one’s for you: A Video Nights Christmas Smorgasboard at Cinefamily at 10:30 p.m. embraces — nay, celebrates — the godawful seasonal TV specials, ads and “public-access freakouts” that make this the most stressful time of year. Cinefamily’s late-night grab-bag shows tend to be more about an enjoyable experience than “quality” programming, so know what you’re getting yourself into. For more, visit cinefamily.org.
Tuesday, Dec. 23
Anyone who has yet to check Gone With the Wind off their big-screen bucket list and needs a temporary break from the holiday season would do well to attend LACMA’s free 1 p.m. matinee of the David O. Selznick–produced, Victor Fleming–directed epic from 1939. Your mileage may vary on the racial politics and nearly four-hour runtime, but there’s no denying the antebellum epic’s place in film history — historical romances don’t get any more sweeping than this. You’ll never be hungry again if you go to LACMA.org for more details.
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