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12.12.07

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This Week's Revivals

By Richard von Busack


Movie Times Arsenic and Old Lace/Dirigible
(1944/1931) In a decrepit Brooklyn Victorian, a pair of sweet old ladies follow the serial killer's trade. Like some of George S. Kaufman's popular comedies, the forced drollery of Arsenic and Old Lace (written by Joseph Kesselring and adapted for the screen by Julius and Philip Epstein) has aged badly, and star Cary Grant was never himself in this kind of desperate laugh-seeking venture. Some help comes from Peter Lorre and Raymond Massey, the latter in the part Karloff played on Broadway. BILLED WITH Dirigible. Gasbags on parade, in a mostly shot in Lakehurst, N.J., drama of adultery and arctic adventure. Fay Wray plays the contended-for wife of biplane pilot "Frisky" Pierce (Ralph Graves). Frisky gets stranded at the South Pole (faked at the U.S. Army Balloon School in Arcadia, Calif). Putting duty before love, blimponaut Jack Holt comes to rescue in the 650-foot dirigible Los Angeles. (Plays Dec 15-18 in Palo Alto at the Stanford Theatre.) (RvB)

Movie Times Niles Film Museum
Regularly scheduled program of silent films. Tonight: The Three Ages (1923). Buster Keaton goes after Intolerance in his first feature film, a three-part opus set in the Stone Age, Rome and Modern Times. Wallace Beery is the blowhard villain in all three sections. Caught in the Rain (1914) is the film Charlie Chaplin claimed as his first film as director. It may not be (since he seems to have directed part of an earlier film), but it was a success and an indication of successes to come. Also: His Wooden Wedding (1925) with Charley Chase. Molly Axtmann at the piano, Stephen Spies on the violin. (Plays Dec 15 at 7:30 pm in Fremont at the Edison Theater, 37417 Niles Blvd; www.nilesfilmmuseum.org.) (RvB)

Movie Times Why We Fight
(1942-45). A selection from "Why We Fight," Frank Capra's series of wartime propaganda films. The titles include Prelude to War, Divide and Conquer, Battle for Britain and Battle for Russia. See the Dec. 4 Metro's Cult Leader column at www.metroactive.com for more. (Plays Dec 14 in Palo Alto at the Stanford Theatre.) (RvB)


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