THE UCLA Film & Television Archive presents a rich array of movies -- including westerns, pre-Code melodramas, horror flicks and musicals -- that Sony/Columbia has restored to their original glory in the annual "Recent Columbia Restorations" festival.
The eclectic, two-month-long showcase begins Friday at the Billy Wilder Theater with two rarities: 1934's "No Greater Glory," directed by Frank Borzage and based on a fable from Ferenc Molnár about gangs in the Hungarian countryside; and 1943's "The Boy From Stalingrad," a World War II drama revolving around Russian kids who outwit a Nazi battalion and end up saving Stalingrad.
Roman Polanski's 1965 chiller "Repulsion" screens Sunday. The Polish-born filmmaker's first English-language film stars Catherine Deneuve as a young Frenchwoman who descends into madness while left alone at her sister's London apartment. Rounding out the bill is "See No Evil," a nifty, underrated thriller from 1971, starring Mia Farrow as a blind woman who wakes up one morning to find that a serial killer has massacred her family.
The Moondance International Film Festival -- whose primary goal is to "present films and scripts which have the power to raise awareness about vital social issues, educating writers and filmmakers" as well as the festival audience -- arrives Friday and continues through Sunday at Universal CityWalk. Among the films are the documentary "Dalai Lama Resistance," narrated by Harrison Ford; "Blind Spot," with Sally Kellerman; and "Steel Toes," starring David Strathairn about a neo-Nazi skinhead on trial for murder who is represented by a liberal Jewish attorney.
The American Cinematheque's action-packed "Japanese Outlaw Masters Return 2007" retrospective at the Egyptian Theatre begins on a high note this evening with the legendary, rarely screened 1966 "Sword of Doom," directed by Kihachi Okamoto. Tatsuya Nakadai headlines this gem as a suspicious killer -- an outcast from his family -- who is hired by a band of assassins. The second feature is 1964's "The Great Melee," Eiichi Kudo's samurai allegory set during the radical student movement in Japan in the early 1960s.
Scheduled for Friday is a double bill of director Shohei Imamura's films: the 1961 yakuza thriller "Pigs and Battleships" and 1964's "Intentions of Murder." Ken Ogata stars as a sociopath killer in Imamura's 1979 "Vengeance Is Mine," screening Saturday along with Kon Ichikawa's 1956 restless youth drama "Punishment Room." And a double dose of Seijun Suzuki's action films, 1963's "Detective Office No. 23 -- Go to Hell, Bastards!" and 1964's "Flower and the Angry Waves" are featured Sunday.
On Wednesday, the Cinematheque at the Egyptian commemorates the life and career of seminal cinematographer Laszlo Kovacs, who died recently at 74, with a screening of Peter Bogdanovich's delightful 1973 comedy "Paper Moon," for which Kovacs supplied the flawless black-and-white visuals.
Meanwhile, the Cinematheque's "Swing Time: Musicals From the 1930s" waltzes into the Aero Theatre Friday evening with a Josephine Baker double feature. She makes her talkie debut in the 1934 French musical "Zouzou," in which she plays a spunky Creole girl who carries a torch for her adoptive brother, played by the inimitable Jean Gabin. And in 1935's "Princess Tam-Tam," a clever little "Pygmalion"-esque farce with plenty of music, Baker shows her comedic side.
Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers star in arguably their best vehicle, 1936's "Swing Time," screening Saturday evening. Rogers also appears in 1933's "42nd Street," which features eye-popping numbers choreographed by Busby Berkeley. There's more Astaire and Rogers on the menu Sunday with the 1934 screwball romantic farce "The Gay Divorcee" and the scrumptious 1935 "Top Hat." --
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Recent Columbia Restorations
* "No Greater Glory" and "The Boy From Stalingrad": 7:30 p.m. Friday
* "Repulsion" and "See No Evil": 7 p.m. Sunday, Billy Wilder Theater, www.cinema.ucla.edu
* Friday to Sunday, Universal City-
* "Japanese Outlaw Masters Return 2007": Begins 7:30 tonight, through Sunday, Egyptian Theatre
* "Paper Moon": 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Egyptian Theatre
* "Swing Time: Musicals From the 1930s": Begins 7:30 p.m. Friday, through Sunday, Aero Theatre, www.american cinematheque.com