An array of golden oldies, ranging from obscure silent films to some of the best-loved classic movies of all time, will grace local theater screens from Ogden to Provo throughout the month of March and beyond.
Of particular note are the 1927 “King of Kings,” the epic masterpiece “Lawrence of Arabia,” the still relevant “Man for All Seasons” and the wonderfully entertaining “Casablanca.”
Stars on display will include Peter O’Toole, Omar Sharif, Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, James Stewart, Gregory Peck, Charlton Heston, Esther Williams, Fred Astaire and Judy Garland.
If you find these names more intriguing than last Sunday’s Oscar contenders, these film series are for you. And if you don’t, revivals of “The Blind Side” and “Forrest Gump” may grab your interest.
• “The Blind Side” (2009, PG-13). Sandra Bullock won her Oscar for playing feisty, real-life Leigh Ann Tuohy, who, with her husband, adopted an impoverished black youth (the equally excellent Quinton Aaron) and saw him blossom to become a sought-after NCAA prospect and eventually an NFL star. Solid support from Tim McGraw, Kathy Bates, etc. (Tuesday, March 5, 10 a.m., SCERA Center, Orem, www.scera.org/events/view/322)
“Forrest Gump” (1994, PG-13). Multiple Oscar-winning bit of whimsy manages both humor, horror and genuine emotion in the tale of a simple young man (Tom Hanks) unwittingly thrust into myriad historically significant baby-boomer events, thanks to, at the time, groundbreaking special effects. Co-stars include Sally Field, Gary Sinise, Robin Wright and Mykelti Williamson. One significant sequence was filmed in southern Utah. (March 6, Cinemark Theatres, 2 and 7 p.m., www.cinemark.com/cinemark-classic-series)
“The 3-Must-Get-Theres” (1922, b/w). Lampoon of Douglas Fairbanks’ “The Three Musketeers” (released the previous year) by French filmmaker/star Max Linder is an off-the-wall, anachronistic, occasionally surrealistic farce in the tried-and-true slapstick fashion of the silent era. (March 7-8, The Organ Loft, 7:30 p.m., www.edisonstreetevents.com/silent-movies)
“The Naked Jungle” (1954). Charlton Heston, a cocoa magnate in South America, rebuffs his new wife (Eleanor Parker), despite her overtures, until his plantation is threatened by legions of army ants on the march. Glossy soap opera benefits from Heston’s stalwart performance. (Preceded by a chapter of the 1939 serial “Dick Tracy’s G-Men.”) (March 8, BYU, Provo, 7 p.m., free, http://lib.byu.edu/sites/artcomm/)
“Million Dollar Mermaid” (1952). Biography of Australian swimming star Annette Kellerman is reshaped as an aquatic romantic musical (complete with elaborate Busby Berkeley choreography), providing a vehicle for MGM star Esther Williams. Victor Mature co-stars as a promoter who brings her to America; Walter Pidgeon plays her father. The title became a nickname for Williams and the title of her autobiography. (Tuesday, March 12, 10 a.m., SCERA Center, Orem, www.scera.org/events/view/322)
“West Side Story” (1961). Location filming in New York, many memorable songs and Oscar-winning supporting performances by Rita Moreno and George Chakiris bolster this adaptation of the wildly popular stage musical, an updated variation on “Romeo and Juliet” set against gang rivalries in 1950s New York. Winner of 10 Academy Awards, including best picture and director. Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer star. (March 13, Cinemark Theatres, 2 and 7 p.m., www.cinemark.com/cinemark-classic-series)
“Captain Horatio Hornblower” (1951). Gregory Peck is authoritative and commanding as the tactically clever title character in this action-filled swashbuckler, faithfully adapted from C.S. Forester’s novels. Hornblower is on an 1807 mission to Central America during the Napoleonic Wars when his ship’s decorum is disrupted by the arrival of an unwanted passenger (Virginia Mayo). (Tuesday, March 19, 10 a.m., SCERA Center, Orem, www.scera.org/events/view/322)
“Lawrence of Arabia” (1962). The superb David Lean classic gets an encore performance after being part of this series last October. Entertainment of the highest order with thrills, excitement, comedy and many memorable set pieces, along with a perfect cast led by Peter O’Toole and Omar Sharif. If you’ve never seen this one in a theater, don’t miss it. (March 20, Cinemark Theatres, 2 and 7 p.m., www.cinemark.com/cinemark-classic-series)
“The King of Kings” (1927, b/w). Cecil B. DeMille’s silent epic is still quite compelling as it relates the life of Jesus during the period leading up to his crucifixion (depicted in a Technicolor sequence at the end of the film). Unfolds in a series of episodic vignettes, gathering momentum as it goes. Reverent, most entertaining. (March 21-22, The Organ Loft, 7:30 p.m., www.edisonstreetevents.com/silent-movies)
“A Man for All Seasons” (1966). Wonderfully realized story of a man of faith refusing to bow down to his king, literally. In 16th century England, Sir Thomas More (Paul Scofield) is Lord Chancellor when, to his own peril, he declines to pressure the pope into annulling King Henry VIII’s marriage so he can wed another. Winner of several major Oscars, including Robert Bolt’s adaptation of his play. (Preceded by a chapter of the 1939 serial “Dick Tracy’s G-Men.”) (March 22, BYU, Provo, 7 p.m., free, http://lib.byu.edu/sites/artcomm/)
“Easter Parade” (1948). Winning, colorful, funny and utterly enchanting musical with delightful Irving Berlin songs and fabulous choreography has many highlights for fans of Fred Astaire and Judy Garland. Story has him plucking her from the chorus line to be his new stage partner but making the mistake of giving her a makeover in the image of his former partner (Ann Miller). (Tuesday, March 26, 10 a.m., SCERA Center, Orem, www.scera.org/events/view/322)Comment on this story
“Ben-Hur” (1959). Winner of 11 Oscars, including best picture, director and actor, this biblical-era classic holds up wonderfully as one of the best epic films of the 1950s and ’60s, with Charlton Heston at his best in the title role and many memorable moments, capped by the still thrilling chariot race. Deserves to be seen on the big screen. (Thursday, March 28, 6:30 p.m., Peery’s Egyptian Theater, Ogden, http://egyptiantheaterogden.com/node/231)
“To Have and Have Not” (1944. b/w). The film that brought Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall together is filled with lively, witty banter and tension in the air. Bogart’s blurry-eyed fishing-boat captain in Martinique circa 1940 is uninterested in helping the French Resistance until a killing prompts a change of heart. Walter Brennan and Hoagy Carmichael shine in support. (Tuesday, April 2, 10 a.m., SCERA Center, Orem, www.scera.org/events/view/322)
“Casablanca” (1942, b/w). The classic World War II romance with Humphrey Bogart as a nightclub owner coerced by his conscience into helping his former lover (Ingrid Bergman) and her husband (Paul Henreid) elude Nazis has stood the test of time and remains one of the best films ever made. Wonderful mix of action, suspense and comedy, and packed to the hilt with oft-quoted dialogue. Co-stars include Claude Rains, Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet and Dooley Wilson. (April 3, Cinemark Theatres, 2 and 7 p.m., www.cinemark.com/cinemark-classic-series)