Laurel & Hardy silents, Redford & Newman in 'The Sting' among classics in theaters

Published: Thursday, Nov. 1 2012 6:57 p.m. MDT

Oliver Hardy, left, and Stan Laurel, center, go to war with James Finlayson in the classic silent comedy short "Big Business," playing this month at the Organ Loft.

The Organ Loft

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There are some wonderful classic movies scheduled to pop up for one-day-only showings at local theaters in November, ranging from the delightful con-artist comedy "The Sting" at several local Cinemark theaters to a riveting adaptation of "Les Miserables" at BYU.

Also, Laurel & Hardy show up for a two-day run at the Organ Loft and the Tower Theater will have weeklong showings of "The Wizard of Oz" and "Casablanca."

"Why Worry?" (1923, b/w). Harold Lloyd's last film for Hal Roach was this very funny feature about a wealthy hypochondriac who travels to the tropics to relax but finds himself caught up in a revolution, though it takes him awhile to figure it out. His encounter with a giant who needs a tooth pulled is just one of many hysterically funny moments. (Thursday and Friday, The Organ Loft, 7:30 p.m., www.edisonstreetevents.com/silent-movies)

"Mr. Deeds Goes to Town" (1936, b/w). Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur star in Frank Capra's hilarious tale of a simple man who inherits $20 million and decides to give it all away. Naturally, everyone thinks he's crazy. (Preceded by a chapter of the 1939 serial "Dick Tracy's G-Men.") (Friday, BYU, Provo, 7 p.m., free, lib.byu.edu)

"The Great Escape" (1963). One of the great World War II adventure films, based on a true story and laced with humor and irony, has Allied POWs mounting an elaborate plan to break out of a new, supposedly escape-proof Nazi camp. The cast includes an amazing array of stars and stars-to-be, sending Steve McQueen into superstar status and bolstering the careers of James Garner, Richard Attenborough, David McCallum, Donald Pleasence, and McQueen's "Magnificent Seven" co-stars Charles Bronson and James Coburn. (Wednesday, Cinemark Theatres, 2 and 7 p.m., www.cinemark.com/cinemarkclassic-series)

"The Sting" (1973). Alternately hilarious and startling, this is the ultimate caper comedy with Paul Newman and Robert Redford at the peak of their considerable powers. They develop an intricate scam with every con artist they can round up to get revenge on a high-rolling gangster, played with vicious aplomb by Robert Shaw two years before his success as Quint in "Jaws." A great supporting cast filled with familiar character actors. (Nov. 14, Cinemark Theatres, 2 and 7 p.m., www.cinemark.com/cinemark-classic-series)

"To Kill a Mockingbird" (1962, b/w). This adaptation of Harper Lee's book is as wonderful a classic as its inspiration, and the film remains every bit as moving as it was 50 years ago. Gregory Peck is pitch-perfect in his Oscar-winning role as Atticus Finch, the small-town Southern lawyer defending an innocent black man (Brock Peters) against a rape charge in a hostile, racist environment. (Nov. 15, Cinemark Theatres, 2 and 7 p.m., www.cinemark.com/cinemark-classic-series)

"Laurel & Hardy & Friends" (1922-29, b/w). Four riotous comedy shorts make up this program, led by a pair of Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy's classic silents, "Big Business," which famously has them selling Christmas trees door to door in summer and eventually destroying a home, and "You're Darn Tootin'." Also showing are Buster Keaton's "The Electric House" and Snub Pollard's "It's a Gift." (Nov. 15-16, The Organ Loft, 7:30 p.m., www.edisonstreetevents.com/silent-movies)

"Les Miserables" (1935, b/w). Before it was a popular Broadway musical (to be released as a film on Christmas Day), "Les Miserables" was a celebrated French novel by Victor Hugo that was adapted many times for the big screen. But the best by far is this version starring Fredric March as escaped criminal Jean Valjean and Charles Laughton as his dogged pursuer, Inspector Javert. (Preceded by a chapter of the 1939 serial "Dick Tracy's G-Men.") (Nov. 16, BYU, Provo, 7 p.m., free, lib.byu.edu)

"The Wizard of Oz" (1939). The classic MGM musical starring Judy Garland as Kansas farmgirl Dorothy, who is whisked away by a tornado to the colorful land of Oz, where she meets up with a scarecrow (Ray Bolger), a tin man (Jack Haley) and a cowardly lion (Bert Lahr), all of whom vow to help her get home. That is, if the Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton) doesn't stop them. Great songs, great laughs, great fun. (Opens Nov. 23, Tower, saltlakefilmsociety.org)

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