Chris Hicks: More classic movies are scheduled for local theaters, led by biblical epics

Published: Thursday, April 10 2014 4:50 p.m. MDT

Gregory Peck, left, David Niven, Anthony Quinn and James Darren star in "The Guns of Navarone," which will receive rare theatrical play locally next week.

Columbia Pictures

If you are one of those old-movie fans — whether or not you are an old fan of movies — that has been taking advantage of the surprising number of vintage classics showing up in local theaters each month, April and May offer a particular barrage of riches.

Would you believe biblical epics, gladiator combat, wartime thrillers, contemplative science fiction, a Down Under cowboy, romantic comedies and classical slapstick?

Charlton Heston, Kirk Douglas, Bogie & Bacall, Russell Crowe, Gregory Peck, Errol Flynn, Tom Selleck, Rock Hudson, Laurel & Hardy and Charlie Chaplin, among others, will be lighting up movie screens throughout northern Utah over the next couple of months.

Here, in chronological order according to play dates, is the rundown.

“Way Out West” (1937, b/w). Considered by critics to be one of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy’s seminal features (along with “Sons of the Desert”), this hysterical Western farce has the boys trying to deliver a gold-mine deed to the right party. The very funny Laurel & Hardy short “Dirty Work” (1933), in which they are chimney sweeps, will also be shown. (Friday, April 11, 7 p.m., free, Harold B. Lee Library, BYU, Provo, http://lib.byu.edu/sites/artcomm/)

“Tol’able David” (1921, b/w, silent). Richard Barthelmess stars as the title character in this silent drama that updates the David and Goliath biblical story. After his brother and father fall victim to a family of bullies at a nearby farm, young David wants revenge but instead steps up to care for his family. But when he falls victim to the clan himself, he refuses to knuckle under. It's a sturdy, compelling story directed by Henry King. (Friday, April 11, 7:30 p.m., The Organ Loft, with live organ accompaniment, edisonstreetevents.com/silent-movies)

“The Guns of Navarone” (1961). Allied commandos team up to go after an “indestructible” German fortress during World War II in this adaptation of the Alistair MacLean best-seller. Gregory Peck, David Niven and Anthony Quinn star and are great in this popular effort (the third biggest hit of 1961, after “101 Dalmatians” and “West Side Story”). (Tuesday, April 15, 10 a.m., SCERA Center, Orem, scera.org/events/view/3

“And the Oscar Goes To … ” (2014). It may seem like an odd choice to kick off Cinemark’s latest classic-movies series, but this documentary on the history of the Oscars does include a lot of vintage clips dating back to the earliest Academy Awards. Produced by Turner Classic Movies. (Sunday, April 13, 2 p.m., and Wednesday, April 16, 2 and 7 p.m., Cinemark Theatres, cinemark.com/cinemark-classic-serie

“2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968, G). This 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. (Thursday, April 17, 7 p.m., Peery’s Egyptian Theatre, Ogden, http://egyptiantheaterogden.com/)

“The Ten Commandments” (1956). Cecil B. DeMille’s classic retelling of the biblical story of Moses, from his birth and adoption as an Egyptian prince through his embracing his Hebrew heritage, delivering his people and bringing the tablets down from the mount. Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner and others are terrific and the film holds up as a genuine, if somewhat old-fashioned, cinematic spectacle. (Sunday, April 20, 2 p.m., and Wednesday, April 23, 2 and 7 p.m., Cinemark Theatres, cinemark.com/cinemark-classic-series)

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