With its promise of destruction and chaos, of the mighty brought low, "The Last Days of Pompeii" is such an irresistible cinematic title it's been used time and time again. Two of the resulting films can be enjoyed in ideal surroundings in the Getty Villa's Outdoor Classical Theater this weekend in a miniseries accompanying the museum's engaging exhibition on the same subject.
Playing Friday at 7:30 p.m. is the 1913 Italian silent directed by Mario Caserini and released in this country with a poster proclaiming it "A Spectacular Photo-Drama." Michael Mortilla provides the live musical accompaniment.
On Saturday at the same time, escape into the 1959 version, starring the enviably muscular Steve Reeves, directed by Mario Bonnard and Sergio Leone, and apparently filmed in something called SuperTotalScope. Enjoy some takeout chocolate lava cake from the Villa Café and dig right in. For information and tickets, call (310) 440-7300 or visit http://www.getty.edu.
This weekend also offers treats for those whose tastes run to the Germanic. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is hosting a series, "Masterworks of German Expressionism," that is as good as its title.