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October ‘classic’ movies in theaters very much a mixed bag

Published: Thursday, Oct. 3 2013 3:30 p.m. MDT

John Wayne travels to Ireland and falls for a fiery Irish woman (Maureen O'Hara) in John Ford's classic John Wayne travels to Ireland and falls for a fiery Irish woman (Maureen O'Hara) in John Ford's classic "The Quiet Man," playing at Jordan Commons for a week beginning Oct. 18. (Republic Pictures)

This month's various “classic movie” series at local theaters include some great selections, led by John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara in “The Quiet Man,” Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn in “The African Queen,” James Stewart and Doris Day in “The Man Who Knew Too Much,” Cary Grant in “Arsenic and Old Lace” and the Organ Loft’s annual Halloween screening of Lon Chaney’s silent masterpiece, “The Phantom of the Opera.”

To compete with Cinemark’s national self-titled “Classic Series,” the local Megaplex chain has thrown its hat in the ring and upped the ante a bit. Instead of showing one movie twice a week, as Cinemark does, the Jordan Commons multiplex is showing a pair of older movies each week; both will run for seven days (not double-features; they require separate admissions). It’s an experiment to continue through Nov. 7, but if the films are well attended, more will follow.

During World War I, Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn try to get his battered boat through murky African waters without running into Germans in John Huston's classic During World War I, Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn try to get his battered boat through murky African waters without running into Germans in John Huston's classic "The African Queen." (United Artists)

There are also, however, some unexpected titles in the mix. Cinemark is showing “The Matrix,” and “Top Gun” will play at Jordan Commons, and they're both obviously more fan favorites than vintage classics. And the latest cycle of Cinemark’s series is entirely composed of R-rated movies!

Things kick off today, with some great Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin silent shorts at the Organ Loft and “Raiders of the Lost Ark” at Jordan Commons.

“Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981, PG). Steven Spielberg’s funny, action-filled homage to cliff-hanger serials is about as good as it gets, with Harrison Ford perfect as archaeologist/adventurer Indiana Jones. (Today-Thursday, Oct. 7, various times, Jordan Commons, http://www.megaplextheatres.com/D-Theatre_Movietimes/Sandy_Jordan_Commons_UT)

“Forrest Gump” (1994, PG-13). Tom Hanks won the best-actor Oscar for this special effects-laden look at the Baby Boomer generation. (Today-Thursday, Oct. 7, Jordan Commons, various times, http://www.megaplextheatres.com/D-Theatre_Movietimes/Sandy_Jordan_Commons_UT)

“The Kings of Comedy” (1920s, b/w). Some of the best silent short films of Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin and Charley Chase will be shown with live musical/sound effects accompaniment by Blaine Gale on the Wurlitzer Organ. (Tonight, 7:30 p.m., The Organ Loft, www.edisonstreetevents.com/silent-movies)

“Arsenic and Old Lace” (1944, b/w). Cary Grant gives the over-the-top comic performance of his career in this hilarious farce about a pair of little old ladies poisoning their lonely tenants. (Tuesday, Oct. 8, 10 a.m., SCERA Center, Orem, www.scera.org/events/view/322)

“Major League” (1989, R for language). Hardly a classic but a funny baseball comedy about cockeyed misfits joining the Cleveland Indians, with a good cast led by Tom Berenger. (Friday, Oct. 11-Thursday, Oct. 17, various times, Jordan Commons, http://www.megaplextheatres.com/D-Theatre_Movietimes/Sandy_Jordan_Commons_UT)

“Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” (2004, PG-13). Popular raunchy comedy with Will Ferrell is probably only here because the sequel opens in December. (Friday, Oct. 11-Thursday, Oct. 17, various times, Jordan Commons, http://www.megaplextheatres.com/D-Theatre_Movietimes/Sandy_Jordan_Commons_UT)

“Charlie Chan at the Opera” (1936, b/w). Warner Oland is the Chinese detective and Boris Karloff plays an escaped mental patient and former opera star in what is generally considered the best of the Chan franchise. (Friday, Oct. 11, 7 p.m., free, BYU Harold B. Lee Library Auditorium, Provo, http://lib.byu.edu/sites/artcomm/)

“Bonnie and Clyde” (1967, R for violence, sex, partial nudity). To be fair, in 1969 this film was rated “M,” the equivalent at the time of a PG, then re-rated R in 2007. Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway and Gene Hackman star in this true story, mixing startling violence with raucous comedy. (Sunday, Oct. 13, 2 p.m., and Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2 and 7 p.m., Cinemark Theatres, www.cinemark.com/cinemark-classic-series)

“The African Queen” (1951). John Huston directed this colorful yarn about a drunken boat skipper (Oscar-winner Humphrey Bogart) and a middle-aged spinster (Katharine Hepburn) on a harrowing African river journey during World War I. (Tuesday, Oct. 15, 10 a.m., SCERA Center, Orem, www.scera.org/events/view/322)

“Dr. Jack” (1922, b/w). Harold Lloyd stars as a country physician in this funny and warm but for some reason generally overlooked comedy. To be shown with live musical/sound effects accompaniment by Blaine Gale on the Wurlitzer Organ. (Thursday-Friday, Oct. 17-18, 7:30 p.m., The Organ Loft, www.edisonstreetevents.com/silent-movies)

“The Quiet Man” (1952). John Ford’s colorful variation on “The Taming of the Shrew” has John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara in a rocky romance on location in Ireland. And grand fun ’tis. (Friday, Oct. 18-Thursday, Oct. 24, various times, Jordan Commons, http://www.megaplextheatres.com/D-Theatre_Movietimes/Sandy_Jordan_Commons_UT)

“Top Gun” (1986, PG). The movie that made Tom Cruise a star is still more or less a big-screen video game. (Friday, Oct. 18-Thursday, Oct. 24, various times, Jordan Commons, http://www.megaplextheatres.com/D-Theatre_Movietimes/Sandy_Jordan_Commons_UT)

“The Matrix” (1999, R for violence, language). Hugely popular sci-fi thriller with Keanu Reeves discovering that the world is a computer-generated illusion and he has been chosen to “save” his species. (Sunday, Oct. 20, 2 p.m., and Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2 and 7 p.m., Cinemark Theatres, www.cinemark.com/cinemark-classic-series)

“The Sons of Katie Elder” (1965). Enjoyable Western romp has John Wayne reuniting with brothers Dean Martin, Earl Holliman and Michael Anderson Jr. at their mother’s funeral and then looking into their father’s murder. (Tuesday, Oct. 22, 10 a.m., SCERA Center, Orem, www.scera.org/events/view/322)

“The Phantom of the Opera” (1925, b/w). Lon Chaney stars in this classic. Wednesday is the original 1925 version on 16mm; Thursday-Friday is the 1929 reissue from a 35mm restoration. Live musical/sound effects accompaniment by Blaine Gale on the Wurlitzer Organ. (Wednesday-Friday, Oct. 23-25, 7:30 p.m., The Organ Loft, www.edisonstreetevents.com/silent-movies)

“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” (1986, PG-13). Hugely popular John Hughes teen comedy starring Matthew Broderick. (Friday, Oct. 25-Thursday, Oct. 31, various times, Jordan Commons, http://www.megaplextheatres.com/D-Theatre_Movietimes/Sandy_Jordan_Commons_UT)

“Grease Singalong" (1978, PG). John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John as 1950s teens, and, as the title suggests, this is the singalong version with lyrics printed on the screen. (Friday, Oct. 25-Thursday, Oct. 31, various times, Jordan Commons, http://www.megaplextheatres.com/D-Theatre_Movietimes/Sandy_Jordan_Commons_UT)

“Arsenic and Old Lace” (1944, b/w). Your second chance this month to catch this hilarious Halloween comedy starring Cary Grant. (Friday, Oct. 25, 7 p.m., free, BYU Harold B. Lee Library Auditorium, Provo, http://lib.byu.edu/sites/artcomm/)

“The Shining” (1980, R for violence, nudity, language). If you want a Halloween flick with more scares and fewer laughs, there’s Stephen King’s horror novel adapted by Stanley Kubrick and starring Jack Nicholson. (Sunday, Oct. 27, 2 p.m., and Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2 and 7 p.m., Cinemark Theatres, www.cinemark.com/cinemark-classic-series)

“The Man Who Knew Too Much” (1956). Alfred Hitchcock’s enjoyable remake of his 1930s thriller stars James Stewart and Doris Day as an innocent couple caught up in intrigue in Morocco and London. (Tuesday, Oct. 29, 10 a.m., SCERA Center, Orem, www.scera.org/events/view/322)

Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones in Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones in "Raiders of the Lost Ark." (Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Chris Hicks is the author of "Has Hollywood Lost Its Mind? A Parent’s Guide to Movie Ratings." His website is www.hicksflicks.com Email: hicks@deseretnews.com

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