One Night Stands for the week of January 17-23, 2007 

In this week's rep picks: Orson Welles, the Beatles, and Yoko Ono.

Reviews by Bill Gallo, Kelly Vance, and Naomi Wise

Thu., Jan. 18

Environmental Film Festival — Documentaries on caribou and organic farming, global warning and energy waste, the San Joaquin River and Native American rights, in this three-day festival (total running time unknown). (Laney College Theater, 900 Fallon St., Oakland, 6:00, 7:15)

Touch of Evil — Arguably, the crowning glory of Orson Welles' career , but still somewhat underrated as a result of its brazenly pulpy surface, re-emphasized by its soul-penetrating, darkly baroque images. This tale of a rotten little Southwestern border town, ruled by a grossly obese, grossly corrupt policeman, is toughly coherent, toughly compassionate even to its villains, and filled with brilliantly bizarre characters, tour-de-force set pieces, and cogent, offbeat dialogue. A very great movie. — N.W. (113 min., 1958) (PFA, 7:30)

Fri., Jan. 19

Angel — Marlene Dietrich, Herbert Marshall, and Melvyn Douglas head the cast of this 1937 Ernst Lubitsch comedy about the wife of an English Cabinet member whose wife falls in love with an upper-class Englishman (98 min.). (PFA, 9:15)

Chicago — The bawdy Kander and Ebb musical has been charming theater audiences since 1975, and Rob Marshall's inventive movie version will likely win a lot of new friends for the stagestruck Jazz Age murderess Roxie Hart (Renée Zellweger), her sharpie lawyer (agile Richard Gere), and her cunning vaudeville rival, Velma Kelly (Catherine Zeta-Jones). Marshall and uncommonly clever screenwriter Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters) give the old warhorse a terrific makeover without compromising its classic poses. If anything, choreographer Bob Fosse's splay-legged chorines look even better in close-up than they did onstage. The hardworking cast (including hip-hop icon Queen Latifah as the graft-ridden prison matron) is ideal, and Marshall retains the show's gleefully jaundiced views about the art of publicity and the going price of justice in a society where murder is reduced to tabloid entertainment. A sparkling new take on an old favorite (2002). — B.G. (Movies That Matter, Neumayer residence, 565 Bellevue St., Oakland, 6:30)

Madame Dubarry — Emil Jannings is Louis XV and Pola Negri is the country girl who became his mistress in this sweeping 1919 historical drama that established the reputation of director Ernst Lubitsch (120 min.). Judith Rosenberg on piano. (PFA, 7:00)

Palestine Blues — A documentary on the Israeli Security Wall and settlement expansion in the West Bank and Gaza, directed by Nida Sinnokrot (72 min., 2006). Presented by the Arab Film Festival. (CA, 7:00)

Sat., Jan. 20

Environmental Film Festival — See Thu. (Laney College Theater, 5:00, 6:45)

A Hard Day's Night — This is the film that made it okay to like the Beatles and to do crazy things with a camera in an "overground" production. If you don't like where John, Paul, George, and Ringo ended up, this film provides the closest and most accurate look at why they went there: Four stained-tooth Orpheuses try to retain their perspective in the face of their fans' worshipful but relentless Maenadic frenzy. Directed by Richard Lester (91 min., 1964). — N.W. (PFA, 3:00)

North by Northwest — Hitchcock's funniest comedy-thriller, and the most American of his Hollywood films, with its central chase stretching across the wide-open spaces of the rural Midwest as though Hitch had just discovered the USA and was pleased with its sinister potential. Typically, it starts with a case of mistaken identity: an innocent executive (Cary Grant) is mistaken for a spy; typically, he gets involved with a woman (Eva Marie Saint) who may or may not be on the side of the angels; and typically, it's brilliant filmmaking, with two of the finest, most bizarre thriller sequences ever made. By the end, the executive might as well be a spy — he's learned all their tricks of the trade. And by the end, Mount Rushmore is exposed for the absurdity it is (136 min., 1959). — N.W. (Cerrito, 6:00)

The Rocky Horror Picture Show — The original 1975 British rock music horror spoof, starring Tim Curry as the androgynous Dr. Frank N. Furter, with Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick. Directed by Jim Sharman (95 min.). (PW, midnight)

Sumurun — Ernst Lubitsch's 1920 silent Arabian Nights fantasy stars Pola Negri as a dancer and Lubitsch himself as the hunchback who falls in love with her (105 min.). Donald Sosin on piano. (PFA, 6:30)

Trouble in Paradise — Ernst Lubitsch's sophisticated romantic comedy details the adventures of two thieves, played by Herbert Marshall and Miriam Hopkins, who meet and fall in love while hoodwinking their employer, the owner of a perfumery (Kay Francis) (83 min., 1932). (PFA, 8:40)

Sun., Jan. 21

Die Flamme — This illustrated lecture on the career of director Ernst Lubitsch, by archivist Stefan Drössler, organizes around a reconstruction of Lubitsch's 1922 drama about a woman of Montmartre (Pola Negri) and her unhappy married life (60 min. total running time). Donald Sosin on piano. (PFA, 2:00)

Environmental Film Festival — See Thu. (Laney College Theater, 4:15, 5:15)

North by Northwest — See Sat. (Cerrito, 5:00)

The Oyster Princess — Early Ernst Lubitsch silent is a very broad satire on money and manners, as the daughter of an American "oyster king" contracts for a penniless European prince to be her husband (60 min.). Donald Sosin on piano. (PFA, 4:15)

Tue., Jan. 23

Rape — Cameraman Nic Knowland zeroes in on an unwitting woman in a London cemetery and pursues her through the streets to a friend's flat, and then to her own place. The woman doesn't speak English, and the cameraman doesn't speak. Directed by John Lennon and Yoko Ono )77 min., 1969). Preceded by two Ono shorts: Freedom (1 min., 1970) and Fly (25 min., 1970). (PFA, 7:30)

Wed., Jan. 24

Eternity and a Day — Greek director Theo Angelopoulous made this drama about a dying writer (Bruno Ganz) who befriends an Albanian immigrant boy (132 min., 1998). (JCCEB, 7:00)

From the Cinema of Attractions to Narrative Illusionism — A film lecture by Marilyn Fabe, with piano accompaniment by Bruce Loeb (running time unknown). (PFA, 3:00)

Generic Remix Project — Curator Nancy Buchanan assembled this montage of copyright-free stock footage (43 min. total running time). Preceded by a short: Exquisite Corpse by Rachel Cornish (20 min., 2004). (PFA, 7:30)

Rito y Geografia del Cante — A selection of footage from a Spanish TV documentary on flamenco, with live discussion (running time unknown).(LP, 7:00)


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