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SCREENING ROOM

Christmas in the air at Egyptian, Aero theaters

Also: New Beverly spotlights Billy Wilder; Silent Movie Theatre hosts Christmas cartoons program.

December 17, 2009|By Susan King
  • The Aero and Egyptian screen "It's a Wonderful Life," starring James Stewart, Donna Reed and Thomas Mitchell.
The Aero and Egyptian screen "It's a Wonderful Life,"… (File photo )

The American Cinematheque's Egyptian and Aero theaters are getting in the yuletide spirit this week with some venerable holiday movies and TV specials.

Kicking off the festivities at the Egyptian this evening are the 1955 comedy "We're No Angels," starring Humphrey Bogart, Aldo Ray and Peter Ustinov, and John Ford's sentimental 1948 western, "3 Godfathers," starring John Wayne, Pedro Armendariz and Harry Carey Jr.

Two treasured musicals, 1954's "White Christmas" and 1944's "Meet Me in St. Louis" screen Friday at the theater.

The Aero presents a Saturday matinee of the first animated Christmas special, 1962's "Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol," a surprisingly faithful adaptation of the Dickens classic with a terrific score by Jule Styne and Bob Merrill. Following the screening is a panel discussion on the classic.

On tap for Saturday at the Egyptian is the ultimate Christmas movie, Frank Capra's 1946 fantasy, "It's a Wonderful Life." The Aero follows on Sunday with two screenings of the movie.

Sunday's matinee offering at the Egyptian is a live comedy performance of "Charles Phoenix's Retro Holiday Slide Show!" The "King of Retro" celebrates the holiday life and style of the 1950s and '60s through a collection of found Kodachrome slides.

And for those who like unusual Christmas movies, the Egyptian presents a Sunday double bill of 1988's "Die Hard" and 1990's "Die Hard 2," both of which are set during the Christmas holidays. www.americancinematheque.com

Wilder gems

Two rarities from director Billy Wilder will be shown at the New Beverly on Friday and Saturday: the gripping 1943 World War II thriller, "Five Graves to Cairo" and the 1948 Technicolor Bing Crosby musical, "The Emperor Waltz." Also scheduled for the holidays at the New Beverly on Sunday through Tuesday are 1977's brutal "Rolling Thunder," co-written by Paul Schrader and starring William Devane and Tommy Lee Jones, and 1985's bloodthirsty "Death Wish 3" with Charles Bronson. www.newbevcinema.com

Animated spirit

The Silent Movie Theatre heralds the holidays on Tuesday with "Christmas Cartoon Chaos!," a program of Christmas cartoons hosted by animation historian Jerry Beck. www.cinefamily.org

susan.king@latimes.com

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