One-Night Stands 

Repertory film listings for August 28-September 3, 2008.

Thu., August 28

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. (PFA, 7:00)

Fri., August 29

Bells Are Ringing Judy Holliday, in her last film, stars as a naive answering-service operator in Manhattan who falls in love with one of her clients in this delightful 1960 Julie Styne musical comedy directed by Vincente Minnelli. Eddie Fay Jr. gives a gem of a performance as a crook, as does Dean Martin as an uninspired playwright. "The Party's Over" and "Just in Time" are among the sprightly tunes featured. With Fred Clark (127 min.). (PFA, 6:30)

Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? It already has, says Frank Tashlin in his brilliant satire of the age of Eisenhower — even before Rockwell Hunter (Tony Randall) becomes the hottest ad executive in town by signing up a bosomy movie star (Jayne Mansfield) to promote Stay-Put Lipstick ("For those oh-so-kissable lips!"). As Ernst Lubitsch was to the '30s, so Tashlin was to the '50s: a filmmaker gifted with uncanny insight into the ruling delusions of his day. Loud and beautifully vulgar in Deluxe-Color and CinemaScope, Rock Hunter is hilarious literally from the first frame (94 min., 1957). — D.D. (PFA, 9:00)

Sat., August 30

Yojimbo Akira Kurosawa's murderous comic masterpiece about an unemployed samurai (hammed up beautifully by Toshiro Mifune) who hires out his sword first to one faction in a town business dispute, then to the other, and then back again, gallops along at a breakneck pace. It is a Japanese Wild Western, and just incidentally this movie provided the model for the first Sergio Leone-Clint Eastwood Italian Western, A Fistful of Dollars. Cynical perhaps, but valuable in its demolition of the heroic mold, and in the last issue too exhilarating to be truly cynical. The movie ends with Mifune looking up and down the street, which is littered with corpses, and saying, "Now we'll have a little quiet around here" (110 min., 1961). — M.C. (PFA, 6:00)

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly More elaborate than the first two films of the Man with No Name trilogy, this movie uses the Civil War as a rather expensive backdrop for the antics of Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, and Lee Van Cleef, who are all trying to kill each other. As the original posters said, "For these three men the Civil War wasn't hell. It was practice." Contains what are probably Ennio Morricone's finest compositions: "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" with its hoofbeat drums and comic trills; "The Ecstasy of Gold," which dovetails so beautifully with the 360-degree zip pans of Tuco running around the graveyard; and "The Trio," which enables director Sergio Leone to build the tension for an incredible five or so minutes through formalistic cross-cutting during the final showdown in the circular cemetery (161 min., 1966). — M.C. (PFA, 8:10)

Sun., August 31

Francisca The final film in Manoel de Oliveira's "Tetralogy of Frustrated Love" is a dark tale, based on a true story, of a young man whose love for a woman leads to disgrace (166 min., 1981). (PFA, 4:00)

Viva Las Vegas The King rocks 'n' rolls the dice in this better-than-average 1964 Elvis Presley vehicle that also features booty-shakin' mama Ann-Margret (in the days before anyone knew she could really act). The chemistry between the two stars sparkles almost as much as the lights on Vegas' Strip and is fun to watch, especially since the latter revealed in her autobiography that they were indeed doing the wild thing offscreen. Not that the plot matters, but Presley is a race-car driver in this one (how original!) who goes head-to-head with swimming instructor Ann-Margret (yeah, right) in a talent contest. As usual, the script only serves to fill the gaps between songs, which include "The Lady Loves Me," "C'mon, Everybody," "The Yellow Rose of Texas," and the now-classic title tune, which I defy you not to sing when leaving the theater. Directed by George Sidney (85 min.). — V.C. (PFA, 7:10)

Tue., September 2

Mock Up on Mu This new work from Bay Area filmmaker Craig Baldwin skewers California's major industries — military, entertainment, religion — in an innovative documentary-collage format. Baldwin in person (114 min., 2008). (PFA, 7:30)

Wed., September 3

The Cannibals A depressed viscount marries a beautiful younger woman while a Don Juan type enviously watches. Tedious opera conventions in this anarchic send-up by Portuguese writer-director Manoel de Oliveira. Music and libretto by João Paes. With Leonor Silveira, Luis Miguel Cintra, Diogo Dória, and Oliveira Lopes (99 min., 1988). (PFA, 7:00)

A Really Inconvenient Truth Filmmaker Joel Kovel believes Al Gore didn't go far enough, and points the finger at the world capitalist system in this follow-up documentary. (Humanist Hall, Oakland, 7:30)


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