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Screening Room: Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner at the Egyptian Theatre

Also: Billy Wilder retrospective at the Aero; 'High Noon' at Hollywood Forever

July 22, 2010|By Susan King, Los Angeles Times

Sixty years ago, Carl Reiner was a regular on Sid Caesar's legendary comedy-variety series, "Your Show of Shows," and Mel Brooks was one of the hungry young writers on the live NBC program. The pair became fast friends, and the comedy world has never been the same.

The American Cinematheque's Egyptian Theatre is saluting these two national treasures with "A Laugh-Out-Loud Weekend With Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner." The fun starts Thursday evening with 1982's "My Favorite Year," starring Peter O'Toole as an aging matinee idol guest starring on a fictionalized version of "Your Show of Shows," and Brooks' 1981 comedy "History of the World Part I." Between films will be a discussion with "My Favorite Year" director Richard Benjamin.

On Friday, Brooks and Reiner will appear in person between the screenings of "10 From Your Show of Shows," a 1973 compilation film of sketches from the series, and Reiner's 1967 "Enter Laughing." Saturday brings a Reiner double feature of 1979's "The Jerk" and the 1982 gumshoe spoof, "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid," with the director discussion between screenings. Brooks will appear Sunday between the screenings of his 1974 western farce "Blazing Saddles" and his inventive 1976 comedy "Silent Movie."

The retrospective concludes Wednesday with a double feature of Brooks' 1974 delight "Young Frankenstein" and Reiner's clever 1983 comedy "The Man With Two Brains."

Another genius, the late great Oscar-winning writer, director and producer Billy Wilder, is being honored at the Cinematheque's Aero Theatre beginning Thursday with his greatest film, 1950's darkly comic look at Hollywood "Sunset Boulevard," and his 1953 hit "Stalag 17," which brought William Holden a lead actor Oscar as an opportunistic sergeant in a German POW camp.

Scheduled for Friday is his funniest film, 1959's "Some Like It Hot," with Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe, and the underrated 1972 comedy "Avanti!," with Lemmon doing his first nude scene.

Two more Wilder/Lemmon collaborations are on tap for Saturday: the 1960 best picture Oscar winner "The Apartment" and 1963's "Irma La Douce," both of which also star Shirley MacLaine. Sunday's offering is his flawless 1944 film noir "Double Indemnity" and the terrific 1951 drama "Ace in the Hole."

It's "High Noon" at 9 p.m. this Saturday as Cinespia presents the 1952 Gary Cooper classic western at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

"The Lost Skeleton Returns Again" and "Dark and Stormy Night," two wild and wacky films from the folks who made the 2001 sci-fi spoof "The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra," screen Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Aug. 29.

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