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Screening Room

January 17, 2008|Susan King

Baby boomers know Otto Preminger, right, as the bald Mr. Freeze on the old "Batman" TV series and as William Holden's nemesis in "Stalag 17," but his acting took a back seat to his long career as a director and producer who was a staunch advocate of free speech, tackling topics such as homosexuality, rape and drug addiction in his films. "He was the gadfly of American cinema," says Drew Casper, a professor at USC's School of Cinematic Arts. "He educated American audiences." The American Cinematheque is paying tribute to Preminger, the filmmaker, with a two-week festival at the Aero and Egyptian theaters: "Otto Preminger: The Man Who Would Be King." The retrospective kicks off tonight at the Aero with his 1959 courtroom drama "Anatomy of a Murder," with Jimmy Stewart, George C. Scott, Lee Remick and Ben Gazzara (americancinematheque.com). . . . The UCLA Film & Television Archive shines the spotlight on "Korean Cinema Now (And Then)," starting Friday with 1958's seminal "A Flower in Hell," about two brothers who battle over a prostitute. On Sunday are 2006's "The City of Violence" and the 2000 dark comedy "Barking Dogs Never Bite," which marked the film debut of Bong Joon-ho ("The Host") (cinema.ucla.edu).

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-- Susan.King@latimes.com

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