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11.28.07

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This Week's Revivals

By Richard von Busack


Movie Times Niles Essanay Film Museum
Regularly scheduled silent films. Tonight: The Iron Mask (1929). Douglas Fairbanks as the aged but still lethal D'Artagnan, in the case of the mysterious iron-masked prisoner whose identity threatens the throne of France. A sequel to The Three Musketeers it returns Marguerite de la Motte to the role of D'Artagnan's lover Constance. Also: The Great Train Robbery (1903) G. W. "Bronco Billy" Anderson stars in the primitive Western which contains much of the DNA of cinema in it, from the technical trick of matting shots to the full-frontal assault on the audience. And Shanghaied starring Charlie Chaplin. Charlie tries to round up a crew but ends up pressed into service himself. Jon Mirsalis at the piano. (Plays Dec. 1 at 7:30 in Fremont at the Edison Theater, 37417 Niles Blvd, Fremont. www.nilesfilmmuseum.org). (RvB)

Movie Times The Strong Man/The Strange Case of the Cosmic Rays
(1926/1957) BILLED WITH The Strange Case of the Cosmic Rays. A jury of Fyodor Dostoevsky, Edgar Allen Poe and Charles Dickens debate the existence of cosmic rays. The rays themselves are caricatured as alluring as Mae West and as stealthy as Dickens' own Fagin. Perhaps it's not a beaver co-hosting an all-night chat show with Abe Lincoln, but it's suitably hypnotic. The three renowned authors are puppets worked by the legendary Bil [stet] Baird, who furnished the "Lonely Goatherd" scene in The Sound of Music. Meanwhile Richard Carlson, scientist Dr. Frank Herbert and director Frank Capra lead us through another vintage Bell Telephone Hour science lesson. (Plays Dec. 30 in Palo Alto at the Stanford Theatre.) (RvB)

Movie Times You Can't Take It With You/The Younger Generation
(1938/1929) The wealthy Sycamore family enjoy themselves so much they get mistaken for communists. The popular but labored comedy—too friendly for wit, too simple-minded for drama—has an all-star cast, including Lionel Barrymore, James Stewart, Jean Arthur and Ann Miller; the comedy is keenest at the edges thanks to reliable types like Mischa Auer and Eddie "Rochester" Anderson. BILLED WITH The Younger Generation An early talkie—a silent reshot with speaking sequences—on the subject of assimilation. Ricardo Cortez plays a Jewish antiques dealer who hides his roots, as well as his old-country parents (Jean Hersholt, of the famous Hersholt Award) plays the pushcart-pushing immigrant father. (Plays Dec 1-4 in Palo Alto at the Stanford Theatre.) (RvB)


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