Sometimes when they say classics, they really mean classics.
Vintage movies scheduled to play in theaters across northern Utah from Ogden to Provo this month are led by a trio of Oscar-winners at the Broadway Centre Cinemas in downtown Salt Lake City — "Lawrence of Arabia," "From Here to Eternity" and "2001: A Space Odyssey."
And among the other genuine bona fide classics are “Casablanca,” “The Grapes of Wrath,” “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” and “An American in Paris,” along with many more.
I know where I’m going to be this month. Don’t call me till April.
Without further ado, here’s the rundown:
• “Lawrence of Arabia” (1962, PG). This digital upgrade of the superb David Lean epic looks and sounds better than ever. Based on the true story of T.E. Lawrence, the film delivers entertainment of the highest order with thrills, excitement, comedy and many memorable set pieces. Peter O’Toole and Omar Sharif are perfect. If you’ve never seen this one in a theater, don’t miss it. (Saturday-Thursday, March 8-13, various times, Broadway, http://saltlakefilmsociety.org/category/events/)
• “From Here to Eternity” (1953, b/w). Vividly portrayed adaptation of James Jones’ military novel set in 1941 Hawaii during the months leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor. Montgomery Clift is a former boxer who refuses to fight, Frank Sinatra is his only friend and Burt Lancaster is the first sergeant trying to help. Deborah Kerr, Donna Reed and an especially good Ernest Borgnine co-star. Reed and Sinatra won Oscars. (Saturday-Thursday, March 8-13, various times, Broadway, http://saltlakefilmsociety.org/category/events/)
• “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968, G). Visually stunning, poetic art film by Stanley Kubrick was embraced by the masses in 1968 and remains a singular work. The fragile science-fiction narrative begins with a strange monolith encountered by early man, then shows a similar monolith discovered by astronauts on the moon, then switches to a flight to Jupiter with a threatening computer. (Saturday-Thursday, March 8-13, Broadway, various times, http://saltlakefilmsociety.org/category/events/)
• “Chicago” (2002, PG-13). Miscast Renee Zelwegger and Richard Gere hamper but don’t ruin this Academy Award-winning musical about corruption and celebrity in 1920s Chicago. But Catherine Zeta-Jones is wonderfully matched to her character and delivers a fiery performance that won a much-deserved Oscar. (Sunday, March 9, 2 p.m., and Wednesday, March 12, 2 and 7 p.m., Cinemark Theatres, www.cinemark.com/cinemark-classic-series)
• “An American in Paris” (1951). Gene Kelly is a World War II vet/starving artist in Paris torn between two women (Nina Foch, Leslie Caron). But forget the plot and enjoy the colorful song-and-dance numbers that are alternately funny and enchanting, with gorgeous Technicolor visuals on display. Kelly is at his best, Oscar Levant and Georges Guitary are very good, and there’s a great Gershwin score. (Tuesday, March 11, 10 a.m., SCERA Center, Orem, www.scera.org/events/view/322)
• “The Squaw Man” (1914, b/w, silent). Cecil B. DeMille’s first directing assignment and the first Hollywood feature-length motion picture is this tale of a disgraced Englishman taking the blame for a crime he did not commit. So he heads to America and the rural West, eventually marrying an Indian woman. But tragedy looms. (Thursday-Friday, March 13-14, 7:30 p.m., The Organ Loft, with live organ accompaniment, www.edisonstreetevents.com/silent-movies)
• “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” (1966, R for violence). The final film in the Sergio Leone-Clint Eastwood “Dollar Trilogy” is a Civil War epic with Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef and Eli Wallach searching for lost treasure. Long but never dull, with action, comedy and Leone’s signature style in peak form. (Rated M for theaters in 1969, the equivalent of a PG, then re-rated 20 years later for video, since the M was obsolete. A PG-13 was expected but the MPAA instead gave it an R. Go figure.) (Friday, March 14, 7 p.m., Peery’s Egyptian Theatre, Ogden, http://egyptiantheaterogden.com/calendar/2014-03-14)
• “The Last Days of Pompeii” (1935, b/w). Coinciding with the current theatrical film “Pompeii,” this one builds toward the A.D. 79 eruption of Mount Vesuvius with a reluctant gladiator-turned-slave-trader (Preston Foster) having an encounter with Jesus just before the latter’s crucifixion. Groundbreaking epic in its day and still entertaining. Basil Rathbone plays a surprisingly remorseful Pontius Pilate. (Friday, March 14, 7 p.m., free, BYU, Provo, http://lib.byu.edu/sites/artcomm/)
• “The Grapes of Wrath” (1940, b/w). John Ford’s sterling adaptation of the John Steinbeck novel about poverty-stricken Oklahoma farmers headed for California during the Depression. Henry Fonda is perfect in what is arguably his most significant everyman role as an ex-con with a conscience. (Sunday, March 16, 2 p.m., and Wednesday, March 19, 2 and 7 p.m., Cinemark Theatres, www.cinemark.com/cinemark-classic-series)
• “Hachi — A Dog’s Tale” (2010, G). A completely winning man-and-his dog story has music-professor Richard Gere greeted by his pooch daily at the train station in his small town until tragedy separates them. Ingratiating family film of the type they don’t often make anymore. (Tuesday, March 18, 10 a.m., SCERA Center, Orem, www.scera.org/events/view/322)
• “Casablanca” (1942, b/w). Perfect cast, great script, solid direction. Former lovers Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman are reunited in the title city during World War II. One hitch: She’s now married. Wonderful dialogue contains many recognizable quips and the supporting cast is first-rate, led by Claude Rains, Paul Henreid, Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet. (Tuesday, March 25, 10 a.m., SCERA Center, Orem, www.scera.org/events/view/322)
• “Ivanhoe” (1952). Vividly and colorfully photographed on British locations, this adaptation of Sir Walter Scott’s novel set in the Middle Ages is exciting stuff, with that MGM sheen and a rich cast led by Robert Taylor, Joan Fontaine and Elizabeth Taylor. (Friday, March 28, 7 p.m., free, BYU, Provo, http://lib.byu.edu/sites/artcomm/)
• “McLintock!” (1963). In a way, this broad comedy reworks both “The Quiet Man,” which also starred John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara nearly a decade earlier, and Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew.” Cattle-baron Wayne is estranged from his wife (O’Hara), who shows up asking for a divorce when their daughter (Stefanie Powers) comes home from college. Sparks will fly. (Tuesday, April 1, 10 a.m., SCERA Center, Orem, www.scera.org/events/view/322)
Chris Hicks is the author of "Has Hollywood Lost Its Mind? A Parent’s Guide to Movie Ratings." His website is www.hicksflicks.com