Local Screenings

November 25, 2005

THE LUBITSCH TOUCH -- The second phase of the American Film Institute's tribute to the great German-American director Ernst Lubitsch (1892-1947), The Lubitsch Touch, kicks off tonight at the AFI's Silver Theatre in Silver Spring, 8633 Colesville Road, with Monte Carlo. Few directors of the late-silent, early-talkie era met with as much success as Lubitsch, who had an unerring ability to make even the most problematic situation seem both classy and funny; his To Be Or Not to Be, with Jack Benny as a hammy Shakespearean actor working his way through Poland, poked fun at the Nazis and was one of the great comedies of the 1940s. So successful was Lubitsch that he even ran Paramount Pictures for a time. Monte Carlo, released in 1930, stars Jeannette MacDonald as a countess fleeing what she was sure would be an unhappy wedding and Jack Buchanan as a nobleman (disguised as a barber) who woos her while she's in hiding. Showtime is 3 p.m. today and 8:25 p.m. Thursday; tickets are $6.75-$9.25. Other films in the series include 1934's The Merry Widow (3 p.m. tomorrow, 5:30 p.m. Dec. 3), with Maurice Chevalier and MacDonald; To Be Or Not to Be (12:20 p.m. Dec. 3, 9:40 p.m. Dec. 4 and 6:45 p.m. Dec. 8); and 1940's sublime The Shop Around the Corner, with Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan (2:30 p.m. Dec. 3, 1 p.m. Dec. 4), which was remade as You've Got Mail in 1998. Information: 301-495-6720 or afi.com.

OZU AT THE CHARLES -- Yasujiro Ozu's 1935 An Inn in Tokyo (Tokyo no yado) is this week's scheduled feature in the Charles' continuing revival series. Set in Depression-era Tokyo, the renowned Japanese director's last silent film follows a father and his two sons and a mother and daughter, as the elders desperately look for work while their children struggle to find whatever happiness they can. While the man experiences some small success, the woman doesn't, a situation he finds impossible to accept. "A great poem of light and courage," says filmmaker/critic Nathaniel Dorsky. Showtimes are noon tomorrow, 7 p.m. Monday and 9 p.m. Thursday. Admission is $6. Information: 410-727-FILM or thecharles.com.

SRAGOW ON AGEE -- Sun movie critic Michael Sragow will be at the Pratt Library's central branch Wednesday to read from and sign copies of a new two-volume set collecting the works of James Agee, one of the earliest and most influential American film critics, not to mention a writer of great overall power and insight. The set, for which Sragow served as editor, collects three of Agee's works: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (1941); the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel A Death in the Family (1957), and the novella The Morning Watch (1951), along with his film writings and other works of journalism. The 6:30 p.m. reading will take place in the Poe Room of the library, 400 Cathedral St. Free. Information: pratt.lib.md.us/events.


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