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Critic's Picks: 'Pompeii,' 'German Expressionism'

The Getty Villa screens two takes on the evocative title 'The Last Days of Pompeii,' while the film series 'Masterworks of German Expressionism" is at LACMA.

October 10, 2012|By Kenneth Turan
  • Steve Reeves stars in "The Last Days of Pompeii."
Steve Reeves stars in "The Last Days of Pompeii." (United Artists / Photofest )

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

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.

Friday night features both 1920's groundbreaking "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" and a newly restored print of the horror classic "Waxworks," both with live music by Robert Israel. Saturday night has Emil Jannings starring in F.W. Murnau's version of "Faust" plus, for those with real stamina, the complete "Metropolis," clocking in at four-hours-plus. No chocolate lava cake here, but you can't have everything. Call (323) 857-6010 or visit


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