This Week's Revivals
By Richard von Busack
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
(2001) She (director/co-writer John Cameron Mitchell)—punk rock's answer to The Sun Also Rises' Jack Barnes—loses all but an inch of the Johnson, thanks to inept plastic surgery. The Gummy Bear-crazed East German makes it across the wall to be smitten by his platonic other half, "the artist formerly known as my butt boy, Tommy Gnosis," played by Michael Pitt. The cult hit has a serious undertone beneath the uproariousness. It's a lament for how money and ambition leach out the tricky gender-bent strain in rock—it's a lament for that lost androgynous element from Little Richard's falsetto to Elvis' bruised kisser to Joan Jett's mannishness. (Plays in Campbell midnight Jun 29 at Camera 7 and midnight Jun 30 at Camera 12 in San Jose.)
North by Northwest
1959) The grandfather of the James Bond adventures, with ever-traveling hero, gentlemanly villain and untrustworthy woman—and smashing set pieces scored to ominous music (by Bernard Herrmann). When an ad man (Cary Grant) stands up at the wrong moment at the Plaza Hotel, he's mistaken for an American superagent. He is pursued by the spymaster Van Damm (James Mason at his silkiest). The movie summed up Alfred Hitchcock's American films, according to the director. It is a surreal version of the pioneer's American journey, full of frontier tall-tale elements: from the Temperance fantasy of the city villains who force you to drink to the perilous train trip to the prairies, where a single biplane stands in for thousands of locusts. (Plays Jun 27 at 8:45pm in Redwood City at Courthouse Square; free.)
(1954) Photographer L.B. Jefferies (James Stewart) is laid up in a wheelchair in his studio apartment, recovering from a broken leg. One day, he sees evidence in a neighboring apartment that a husband has murdered his wife. The movie's boundlessly clever techniques come to a terrifically simple point: In an instant, Jefferies is transformed from a watcher to a watched, the focus of all eyes in his courtyard. This gorgeous Hitchcock thriller boasts a strong subplot about a man who has had one leg in a trap for weeks and is anxious not to get the other one caught. He is under pressure to marry his affluent girlfriend, Lisa (Grace Kelly). Raymond Burr was never better than he was as hulking Lars Thorwald—no diabolical killer but a shabby, depressed man with gold-rimmed spectacles. (Plays Jun 27 at sundown in San Jose at San Pedro Square; free; www.cinequest.org)
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