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American Cinematheque celebrates the 'Lubitsch touch'

March 28, 2013|By Susan King
  • Greta Garbo and Melvyn Douglas star in Ernst Lubitsch's "Ninotchka," screening Thursday at the Aero.
Greta Garbo and Melvyn Douglas star in Ernst Lubitsch's "Ninotchka,"…

German-born director Ernst Lubitsch, who came to Hollywood in the 1920s, had such a deft hand with comedies that it became known as "the Lubitsch touch."

The American Cinematheque's Aero Theatre in Santa Monica is to celebrate "A Touch of Laughter: The Films of Ernst Lubitsch" this weekend. The filmmaker's daughter, Nicola Lubitsch, is scheduled to be on hand Thursday evening to introduce the 1939 romantic comedy "Ninotchka," starring Greta Garbo in her first comedy -- the marketing tag line stated "Garbo Laughs" -- and Melvyn Douglas. Garbo received her final Oscar nomination for her performance.

On tap for Friday is the 1940 romantic comedy "The Shop Around the Corner," with Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan, and the 1934 operetta "The Merry Widow," with Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald.

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Nicola Lubitsch is to appear Saturday at the Aero for the double bill of 1942's "To Be or Not to Be," featuring Carole Lombard in her final performance, and the 1943 comedy "Heaven Can Wait."  The festival concludes Monday with two of Lubitsch's pre-Code comedies: 1933's "Design for Living" and the 1932 masterpiece "Trouble in Paradise."  Information: http://www.americancinematheque.com

Six Laemmle theaters are to be screening Norman Jewison's 1973 film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's and Tim Rice's rock opera "Jesus Christ Superstar" Thursday evening. Presented by the Agape International Spiritual Center's Youth and Family Ministry, the screenings will benefit Agape's Carl Anderson Memorial Scholarship Fund. Anderson, who played Judas in the film, died of leukemia in 2004.

"Jesus Christ Superstar" is to screen at Laemmle's Playhouse in Pasadena, Laemmle's Royal Theater in West Los Angeles, Laemmle's Monica 4-Plex in Santa Monica, Laemmle's Town Center 5 in Encino, Laemmle's NoHo7 in North Hollywood and Laemmle's Claremont 5 in Claremont. http://www.agapelive.com

The American Cinematheque is to continue its "On the Road: Cinematic Journeys" series Friday evening at the Egyptian in Hollywood with a Jim Jarmusch double bill: his 1984 feature debut "Stranger Than Paradise" and the 1995 Johnny Depp western, "Dead Man."

On Sunday night, the Egyptian is to present an 80th anniversary screening of the beloved "King Kong," starring Fay Wray and Robert Armstrong. http://www.americancinematheque.com

The Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre offers a 20th-anniversary screening Friday at midnight of John Woo's action-thriller "Hard Target," with Jean-Claude Van Damme.

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And on Wednesday, Cinefamily plans to celebrate Mary Pickford's 121st birthday with two of her silent classics: 1925's "Little Annie Rooney" and 1920's "Suds." Elaina Archer, director of the Mary Pickford Foundation, and Pickford historian Cari Beauchamp will introduce the screenings. http://www.cinefamily.org

The UCLA Film & Television Archive's Festival of Preservation is to present "Short Films of the 1910s" Saturday afternoon at the Billy Wilder Theater, followed that evening with two rarities: 1934's "Double Door" and 1933's "Supernatural," with Carole Lombard. http://www.cinema.ucla.edu

The New Beverly is scheduled to kick off the weekend with two enjoyable film noirs: 1946's "The Dark Corner," with Lucille Ball and Clifton Webb, and 1947's "Dark Passage," starring hubby-and-wife Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.

The theater also gets into the Lubitsch spirit Friday and Saturday with his classic 1931 comedy "The Smiling Lieutenant," starring Maurice Chevalier, Claudette Colbert and Miriam Hopkins. The program concludes with "Roxanne," Steve Martin's enjoyable 1987 re-envisioning of "Cyrano de Bergerac."

Three classic comedies from the '30s are on tap for Sunday through Tuesday: the Marx Brothers' "Horse Feathers" from 1932 and 1933's "Duck Soup," and W.C. Fields' beloved 1934 "It's a Gift." http://www.newbevcinema.com

Skirball is to present the 2010 Chilean documentary "Mi Vida con Carlos" Thursday evening. A conversation with director German Berger-Hertz is to follow. http://www.skirball.org

The Alex Theatre in Glendale kicks off its monthlong "James Bond 007 50th Anniversary" screening series Tuesday with 1989's "Licence to Kill," with guest David Hedison, who plays Felix Leiter in the film. http://www.alextheatre.org

LACMA's Tuesday matinee at the Leo S. Bing Theater is Douglas Sirk's 1958 melodrama "The Tarnished Angels," which reunited three of the stars from his 1956 hit "Written on the Wind": Rock Hudson, Dorothy Malone and Robert Stack. http://www.lacma.org

Los Angeles Filmforum is to present Pip Chodorov's documentary  "Free Radicals: A History of Experimental Film" Wednesday at the Glendale Central Library Auditorium. Filmforum's Adam Hyman is to lead a post-screening discussion. http://www.lafilmforum.org

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