Few actresses could move as effortlessly from comedy to drama as Barbara Stanwyck, whose centennial the American Film Institute is celebrating with a 12-film salute beginning today at its Silver Theatre, 8633 Colesville Road in Silver Spring. Stanwyck got her start playing street-smart, sexually adventurous opportunists in the days before Hollywood's censors effectively eliminated such characters. She became a favorite of directors in every genre, from film noir (Double Indemnity) to screwball comedy (Ball of Fire). The AFI's retrospective opens today with a double feature of 1931's Night Nurse (6 p.m.) and 1933's The Bitter Tea of General Yen (7:30 p.m.). Tomorrow brings one of the series' highlights, the restored version of 1933's Baby Face, with Stanwyck starring as a hardscrabble woman unafraid to sleep her way to the top - literally! - of a New York City bank. Showtime is 3 p.m. Tickets and additional information: 301-495-6720.
Writer-director Kelly Reichardt's Old Joy is this weekend's scheduled film for Cinema Sundays at the Charles. The movie stars Will Oldham and Daniel London as old friends going camping in the mountains and using the trip as a chance to reflect on the divergent paths their lives have taken. Showtime is 10:30 a.m. Sunday at the Charles, 1401 N. Charles St., preceded by 45 minutes of coffee and bagels. Tickets are $15. Information: 410-727-3456 or cinemasundays.com.
First Thursdays at BMA
Melvin Van Peebles' rarely seen 1968 film, The Story of a 3-Day Pass, is this month's offering in the Baltimore Museum of Art's First Thursday film series. The film, van Peebles' first feature-length directing effort, stars Harry Baird as a black American soldier in France who enters into a doomed relationship with a white woman. Showtime at the BMA, 10 Art Museum Drive, is 8 p.m. Thursday. Admission is free. Information: artbma.org or 443-573-1700.
Jean Renoir's The Grand Illusion (1937), a classic of pacifist cinema that was the first foreign-language film to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, will be the subject of this month's Filmtalk at the Pratt Library, 400 Cathedral St. More than an anti-war film, The Grand Illusion (which wasn't released in this country until 1939) is about the passing of an age, a way of looking at the world. Showtime is 10 a.m. in the library's Wheeler Auditorium. Admission is free. Information: 410-396- 5430 or epfl.net/events/films.
Labor films at CCBC
Instructor Bill Barry will teach the course "Labor in the Movies" on Tuesday nights through April 3. Visitors are welcome to sit in on the classes or watch the films, which will be shown in room J-202 of the Community College of Baltimore County's Dundalk campus. Classes run from 6 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. This week's film is 10,000 Black Men Named George (2002), Robert Townsend's drama based on efforts to unionize black porters working on Pullman rail cars in the 1920s and 1930s. Call: 410-285-9563.
Videographers looking to improve the sound on their productions can check out tomorrow's "Audio Boot Camp," 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Creative Alliance, 3134 Eastern Ave. Participants should take lunches, as well as their cameras and sound equipment; topics include mikes, booms, wireless gear and sound mixing. The cost is $85, $70 for CA members. Information: 410-276-1651 or creativealliance.org.
Teachers get in free
AMC Theatres is offering free admission through Thursday to teachers in grades K-12 who want to see Freedom Writers, starring Hilary Swank as a teacher struggling to get through to her students, who initially want nothing to do with her. Teachers must present a school ID, a pay stub or a photo ID at the box office to receive their free ticket. AMC Theatres in the area include White Marsh, Owings Mills Town Center, Towson Commons 8, Security Square 8, Columbia 14 and Valley Centre; check theater listings to see which are playing Freedom Writers.
`An Inconvenient Truth'
A free showing of the Oscar-nominated documentary An Inconvenient Truth has been set for 8 p.m. Tuesday in Shriver Hall on the Johns Hopkins University's Homewood Campus, 3400 N. Charles St. The screening is sponsored by HEAT, a coalition of 12 Hopkins student groups committed to addressing global climate change.