Friday, March 16
The Fallen Idol may not be quite as well known as director Carol Reed's postwar masterpiece, The Third Man, but it has an even stronger emotional pull. The Graham Greene screenplay dramatizes — with heartbreaking authenticity — the confusion of a little boy who believes his beloved butler (the great Ralph Richardson) has committed murder. A 35mm nitrate print courtesy of the George Eastman Museum presages the upcoming annual edition of Nitrate Picture Show in May. If you've never experienced the magic of cellulose nitrate, prized among movie buffs for its lustrous, high-contrast image, this would make a splendid introduction. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Fri., March 16, 7:30 p.m.; $15. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com.
Before Spielberg turned it into a post-9/11 allegory, H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds had its most famous screen analogue in the 1953 version produced by George Pal. Shot in Technicolor and featuring Oscar-winning special effects, the film is a classy, A-list space invasion thriller that cleverly exploits Cold War anxieties. Laemmle's Ahrya will screen The War of the Worlds to open its Anniversary Classics Sci-Fi Weekend, with co-star Ann Robinson set to appear in person. Laemmle Ahrya Fine Arts Theatre, 8556 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills; Fri., March 16, 7:30 p.m.; $13. (310) 478-3836, laemmle.com.
Saturday, March 17
UCLA closes its epic Michael Curtiz retrospective with two of the legendary studio director's WWII-era pictures. Yankee Doodle Dandy is a brisk salute to George M. Cohan, the American entertainer responsible for some of this country's most patriotic tunes. Ignited by James Cagney's Oscar-winning performance, the film is simply too good to be watched only on the Fourth of July. Edward G. Robinson's brooding performance as an unhinged freighter captain highlights The Sea Wolf, Curtiz's adaptation of Jack London's novel. UCLA will bring out a newly restored DCP to mark the occasion. Look for Alan K. Rode in the lobby signing copies of his book, Michael Curtiz: A Life in Film. UCLA's Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Sat., March 17, 7:30 p.m.; $10. (310) 206-8013, cinema.ucla.edu.
Sunday, March 18
Possibly the best film ever made about nuns on the verge of a nervous breakdown — and there are some real contenders — Black Narcissus is regularly cited as one of the most gorgeous of all color films. Directed by The Archers (Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger), this heated drama set high in the Himalayas is a favorite of Martin Scorsese's and one of the most erotic films made in England at the time. The American Cinematheque has partnered with AMPAS to bring a 35mm nitrate print to the Egyptian so that audiences can enjoy Jack Cardiff's Oscar-winning cinematography the way it was originally shown. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Sun., March 18, 7:30 p.m.; $15. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com.
Tuesday, March 20
LACMA continues its tribute to centenarian movie star Marsha Hunt with a screening of Pride and Prejudice. In this respectable 1940 Jane Austen adaptation, Hunt plays Mary (the plainest and most sensible of the Bennet sisters) and radiates her trademark warmth and kindness. Laurence Olivier and Greer Garson star; Aldous Huxley worked on the screenplay. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., March 20, 1 p.m.; $4. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org. —Nathaniel Bell