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August 29-September 4, 2007

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This Week's Revivals

By Richard von Busack


Movie Times The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
(2005) The Lord of the Rings drops you into Middle-earth like a paratrooper. Here's your map—in you go. Twenty long minutes go by in The Chronicles of Narnia until the characters are in the fairy-land Narnia, which is under the grip of eternal winter by command of a royal White Witch, Queen Jadis (Tilda Swinton). Plotwise, the film is simple and uninflected; a quartet of children's long march to join Aslan the Lion (voiced by Liam Neeson), who leads the resistance against the witch and her 100-year-long winter. The final battle is done in flawless but horribly literal computer animation. (Plays Aug 29 at 8:45pm in Redwood City at Courthouse Square; free.)

Movie Times I'll Show You the Town/That's My Daddy
(1925/1928) Two starring the light comedian Reginald Denny. I'll Show You the Town—the first movie to play the Stanford Theatre, June 9, 1925—has Denny as a professor distracted by three ladies. That's My Daddy shows the consequences of a convenient lie; ticketed for speeding by the police, a man about town claims he has a sick child to visit at the hospital. Once there, the child (Jane La Verne) ends up claiming him. Dennis James at the Stanford's Wurlitzer. (Plays Aug 29 in Palo Alto at the Stanford Theatre.)

Movie Times Risky Business
(1983) Chicago student (Tom Cruise) gets into the flesh trade with the help of a working girl (Rebecca de Mornay). (Plays Aug 29 at sundown in San Jose at San Pedro Square; free.)

Movie Times Sabotage/Green for Danger
(1936/1946) A harrowing Hitchcock thriller about anarchist bombers in London, based on Conrad's The Secret Agent (which always causes confusion, because in the same year Hitchcock made a completely different movie called Secret Agent). Oscar Homolka plays a plodding, bearish movie-theater owner who secretly plots explosions, unbekownst to his wife (hence the alternative title, I Married a Murderer), played by Sylvia Sydney. John Loder shows up an investigator. The film is rich with troubling ambiguity, and bears more than a passing resemblance to one of Robert L. Stevenson more underrated stories, found in the The Dynamiter, which begin the modern literature about terrorist with explosives. BILLED WITH Green for Danger, starring Alistair Sim as a Scotland Yard man trying to track down murderers in the countryside. (Plays Aug 30-31 in Palo Alto at the Stanford Theatre.) (MSG)

Movie TimesAll About Eve
(1950/1942) Bette Davis plays veteran theater actress Margo Channing, stalked by a disingenuous ingénue (Anne Baxter). George Sanders plays vinegar-blooded critic Addison De Witt, who introduces himself with the first of a series of impieties, paraphrasing Matthew 6:28: "I toil not, nor do I spin." Marilyn Monroe has a small part as a naif ready for the picture business, and four-time Oscar nominee, always-a-bridesmaid Thelma Ritter co-stars as the moral center of the film, a maid who sees through the false lovey-doveyness of the theatrical crowd. (After Baxter tells her sad, sad life story, Ritter snaps, "What a performance. Everything but the bloodhounds snapping at her rear end.") BILLED WITH Now, Voyager. Bette Davis and Paul Henreid—two cigarettes, one match. Also stars Claude Rains and features a romantic score in excess by Max Steiner. (Plays Sep 1-4 in Palo Alto at the Stanford Theatre.)

Movie Times Winchester '73/Destry Rides Again
(1950/1950) "Man gets gun, man loses gun, man gets gun"—Clive Hirschhorn. James Stewart wins a state-of-the-art rifle at a shooting contest in Dodge City. But the weapon has a life of its own, ending up in the possession of robbers (Dan Duryea plays one of the gang), Indians and Stewart's own crooked brother (Stephen McNally). Anthony Mann's Western goes for frontier slices of life: Shelley Winters plays a dance-hall girl; political activist Will "Grandpa Walton" Geer is a sheriff, Rock Hudson is an Indian and Tony Curtis is a soldier. BILLED WITH Destry Rides Again. Jimmy Stewart meets Marlene Dietrich in this thrilling yet half-serious Western about the gentle sheriff of Bottleneck. Dietrich sings "See What the Boys in the Back Room Will Have." (Plays Sep 5-7 in Palo Alto at the Stanford Theatre.)


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