One Night Stands for the week of September 26 

Repertory film listings



Reviews by Michael Covino, Dave Kehr, Kelly Vance, and Naomi Wise

Thu., Sept. 27

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner — More allegory from the depths of the British kitchen sink school, with Tom Courtenay as a convict given a chance to participate in a cross-country race. Tony Richardson directed, with an unswerving instinct for art-house cliché. — D.K. (103 min., 1962). (PFA, 7:30)

Manhattan Short Film Festival — A traveling shorts show. (Cerrito, 7:00)

The Opening of Misty Beethoven — More softcore porn from director Radley Metzger. (85 min., 1976)

Sentenced Home — This documentary by David Grabias and Nicole Newnham profiles the unhappy lives of three young Cambodian men as they struggle with all sorts of issues, including gangs, in Seattle. (90 min., 2006). (Room 100, Boalt Hall, UCB, 4:00)

Fri., Sept. 28

Little Old New York — A young Irish immigrant named Pat acts queerly; turns out he's a she. Director Sidney Olcott's silent comedy stars Marion Davies as Pat. (110 min., 1923). Bruce Loeb on piano. (PFA, 6:30)

Queen Christina — Greta Garbo plays the 17th-century Swedish queen who dressed in men's clothes, wouldn't marry, and finally gave up the throne at age 28. Garbo's haunting, androgynous face is the real star of this witty film, which moves from comedy to something far deeper as Christina flees her palace duties for adventure in a country inn, where inclement weather forces her (disguised as a man) to share accommodation with Spanish ambassador John Gilbert. She makes the most of a delightful situation. Directed by Rouben Mamoulian. (97 min., 1933) Preceded by a short: Rowdy Ann by Al Christie. (15 min., 1919) (PFA, 9:00)

Safety Last — The famous shot of bespectacled comedian Harold Lloyd dangling from a clock tower is the payoff in this 1923 silent, directed by Fred Newmeyer and Sam Taylor (75 min.). Judith Rosenberg on piano. (PM, 1:00, 7:00)

The Sandlot — Unobjectionable, unremarkable kids' baseball movie, set in that magical year of 1962, about a bunch of neighborhood kids and a legendary, monstrous dog that lives just over the centerfield fence. Director David Mickey Evans' screenplay (written with Robert Gunter) owes a lot to both the Little Rascals and Jean Shepard, but it's slightly refreshing to see such innocent fun. Slightly. (101 min., 1993) — K.V. (PM, midnight)

Sat., Sept. 29

Little Lord Fauntleroy — Actress Mary Pickford takes on two roles — that of a poor young man elevated to English nobility, and that of the boy's mother — in this 1921 silent vehicle. It's directed by Alfred E. Green and Jack Pickford. (112 min.) Judith Rosenberg on piano. (PFA, 3:00)

A Fugitive From the Past — A businessman's guilty secret haunts him in this nourish character study by director Tomu Uchida, which stars Rentaro Mikuni and Sachiko Hidari (182 min., 1964) (PFA, 6:30)

His Girl Friday — Howard Hawks' 1940 adaptation of Ben Hecht's and Charles MacArthur's The Front Page. Cary Grant is the cynical editor who'll do anything for a story, Rosalind Russell the crime reporter who'll do anything for a crime. Hawks' overlapping dialogue keeps the picture moving at demon speed, and there are barely audible throwaway lines that are funnier than most strategically placed one-liners of other films. Paradoxically, the film's vitality becomes a celebration of the very corruption — press, political, prison, and otherwise — it so sharply satirizes, and the final effect is one of complacent cynicism (92 min.). (PM, 2:00, 7:00)

Locked — Two sisters deal with being victims of incest in this drama by Juli C. Lasselle. With Jonathan Firth, Brynn Horrocks, and Eugenia Yuan (running time unknown, 2006). (Catahoula Coffee, 12472 San Pablo Ave., Richmond, 7:00)

The Rocky Horror Picture Show — The original 1975 British rock music horror spoof (95 min.). (PW, midnight)

The Sandlot — See Friday. — K.V. (PM, midnight)

Sweet Smell of Success — Gossip columnists and press agents as we've always imagined them — vicious, scheming, and phonily ingratiating. Directed by Alexander Mackendrick. Written by Clifford Odets and Ernest Lehman from Lehman's novel. The strong cast includes Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis, Susan Harrison, Marty Milner, and Sam Levene. (96 min., 1957). (Cerrito, 6:00)

Sun., Sept. 30

Berkeley Art Center Film Festival — Four short films. (Total running time unknown) (BAC, 7:00)

Morocco — This is Josef von Sternberg's second vehicle for Marlene Dietrich, the one that made her a Hollywood star, and it's decidedly less flamboyant than those that followed. Dietrich is a cafe singer working in North Africa. Gary Cooper is the stoic legionnaire she meets while singing "What Am I Bid For My Apples?" As always with Sternberg, the real chemistry is visual, realized here with the help of photographers Lee Garmes and Lucien Ballard. — K.V. (93 min., 1930). (PFA, 5:00)

The Sandlot — See Friday. — K.V. (PM, midnight)

Shanghai'et! — When a Danish sailor is shanghaied, his fiancée disguises herself as a man and sets out to rescue him. The silent drama is directed by Eduard Schnedler-Sørensen (42 min., 1912). Judith Rosenberg on piano. Preceded by shorts: The Baby and the Stork by D.W. Griffith (18 min., 1912) and Lillian's Dilemma by Wilfred North (22 min., 1914). (PFA, 3:00)

Spellbound — "It's just another manhunt story wrapped up in pseudo-psychoanalysis," admitted Alfred Hitchcock. Despite the participation of Salvador Dalí in devising the "dream sequences," and Ingrid Bergman as a psychiatrist, the film is generally prosaic and talky, as though Hitch's imagination were frozen by the specter of Freud. Gregory Peck is disastrously flat as the analyst, and the film is mainly of historical interest to Hitchcock buffs. — N.W. (111 min., 1945). (PM, 2:00, 7:00)

Sweet Smell of Success — See Saturday. (Cerrito, 5:00)

An Unreasonable Man — Henriette Mantel and Stephen Skrovan's documentary profiles consumer advocate and presidential candidate Ralph Nader (122 min., 2006). (Hillside Community Church, 1422 Navellier St., El Cerrito, 2:00).

Mon., Oct. 1

West Side Story — Never mind the mediocre lead acting (Richard Beymer, Natalie Wood) or the fact that this Romeo and Juliet update set amid youth gang warfare in 1950s New York isn't exactly a gem of urban realism. It all melts away because you get to meet a girl named Maria. This adapted Broadway musical, one of the best, features Jerome Robbins' knockout choreography and the lovely Leonard Bernstein-Stephen Sondheim score. With George Chakiris, Rita Moreno, and Russ Tamblyn. Directed by Robert Wise and Robbins (151 min., 1961). — M.C. (PM, 1:00, 7:00)

Tue., Oct. 2

Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis — Mary Jordan's documentary profile of avant-garde New York filmmaker Smith (Flaming Creatures). (96 min., 2006). Followed by a short: Blond Cobra by Ken Jacobs (30 min., 1959-63). (PFA, 7:30).

Lawrence of Arabia — This restored version includes essential footage originally removed from the film in the movie's initial weeks of release in 1962. Watching Peter O'Toole's half-mad T.E. Lawrence dance and gallop and murder his way across the Sahara, one realizes — as do his Arab companions — that he is filled with his own desert places. As much as this is a powerful historical drama, it also is a scarily psychological one. With Alec Guinness, Omar Sharif, Anthony Quinn, Jack Hawkins, Jose Ferrer, Anthony Quayle, Claude Rains, and Arthur Kennedy. Written by Robert Bolt and Michael Wilson. — M.C. (218 min., plus intermission). (PM, 12 pm, 6:30)

Miss Navajo — Filmmaker Billy Luther's documentary looks at the Miss Navajo Nation beauty contest. (60 min., 2007). (Oakland Museum, 6:00).

Wed., Oct. 3

The Birds — Adamantly refusing to explain (or explain away) the horror of "Nature" suddenly turning on man, The Birds is one of Alfred Hitchcock's most perfect and perfectly terrifying works. Shot at Bodega Bay in truly glorious, cool color, it has Tippi Hedren, Rod Taylor, and Jessica Tandy as rather obnoxious, artificial, canary-fancying society types, besieged by our uncaged feathered friends in images of such superb, sardonic strength that no seagull will ever look innocent again. And while he terrifies us for our own precious selves, Hitch's camera soars with the terrorizers in his airiest, most spacious film since North by Northwest; another English view of the American West's perilous skies (120 min., 1963). — N.W. (Wente Vineyard Event Center, 5050 Arroyo Rd., Livermore, dusk)

The Darwin Awards — Directed by Finn Taylor. (At the Hillside Club, 2286 Cedar St., Berkeley; $5, 7:30 p.m.)

The Last Picture Show — Peter Bogdanovich's breakthrough film as a director (1971) stars Jeff Bridges, Timothy Bottoms, Cybill Shepherd, Cloris Leachman, Ellen Burstyn, Randy Quaid, and the wonderful Ben Johnson (he won an Oscar for his role) in a coming-of-age story set in a tiny Texas town in the '50s — courtesy of Larry McMurtry's novel, which he and Bogdanovich adapted (118 min.). (PM, 1:00, 7:00)

Séance on a Wet Afternoon — Richard Attenborough and Kim Stanley portray a middle-aged London suburban couple in Brian Forbes' excellent psychological thriller about a crazed medium (Stanley) and her husband (Attenborough), who become involved in the abduction of a child. Margaret Lacey and Patrick Magee so-star in this fascinating and acclaimed psychological study (115 min., 1964) (PFA, 7:30)


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