Chris Hicks: Classic films, including 'Lawrence,' 'Casablanca,' to grace theater screens

Published: Thursday, Feb. 28 2013 3:25 p.m. MST

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)

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