A March To-Do List for Film Buffs in Los Angeles
Good movies are scarce at the multiplex these days; luckily, Los Angeles cinephiles can pick from retrospectives and revivals of Sterling Hayden films, 80s indie classics and more.
'80s INDIES AT CINEFAMILY | 611 N. FAIRFAX AVE.
A majority of Cinefamily’s March calendar is given over to “Underground USA: Indie Cinema of the ‘80s,” an expansive survey of independent and DIY films made against the backdrop of the Reagan era. Highlights arrive weekly — almost daily — and they include (but are certainly not limited to) Joel DeMott and Jeff Kreines’ seminal coming-of-age documentary Seventeen (March 2); Susan Seidelman’s tale of urban isolation and self-obsession, Smithereens (March 11); an evening of nonfiction filmmaker Ross McElwee’s early short films (March 12), followed two nights later by the director’s touchstone feature, Sherman’s March (March 13); Alex Cox’s sci-fi punk screed Repo Man (March 18); a double feature of Charles Burnett and Julie Dash’s L.A. Rebellion classics My Brother’s Wedding and Illusions (March 20); Lizzie Borden’s radical afro-dystopian quasi-musical Born in Flames (March 25); and, last but not least, a double bill of Sara Driver’s singularly haunting Sleepwalk and You Are Not I (March 27).
STERLING HAYDEN TRIBUTE AT THE EGYPTIAN | 10899 WILSHIRE BLVD.
A short series dedicated to the career of actor Sterling Hayden highlights a rather thin month at Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre. Hayden’s very different roles in Dr. Strangelove (March 25) and The Godfather (March 26) will, of course, be known to most film fans. But amidst these classics lie a quartet of studio-era auteurist delights. Bookending the series on March 24 is a double bill pairing the rare Jerry Hopper revenge flick Naked Alibi (staring Hayden alongside Gloria Grahame) with Lewis Allen’s assassination thriller Suddenly (pitting Hayden against a sinister Frank Sinatra), followed on March 27 by an unmissable evening that brings together Nicholas Ray’s proto-feminist Western Johnny Guitar and John Huston’s neorealist noir The Asphalt Jungle, each a vehicle for Hayden as much as his respective female co-stars Joan Crawford and Marilyn Monroe.
ICONIC ACTORS AT THE NEW BEV | 7165 BEVERLY BLVD.
The New Beverly’s typically unpredictable monthly slate features a handful of under-appreciated titles by and starring a number of internationally recognized icons. On the first half of a Marcello Mastroianni double bill with Divorce Italian Style on March 2 and March 3 is Big Deal on Madonna Street, a freewheeling crime comedy which should more than testify to the actor’s boundless onscreen charisma. Similarly, on March 4 and March 5, the pairing of Clint Eastwood’s mid-period curiosities Firefox and The Eiger Sanction should further reinforce the actor-director’s adventurousness both in front of and behind the camera. And, later in month, the beloved Bette Davis and Marlene Dietrich will share the marquee when William Wyler and René Clair’s Southern-set romances Jezebel and The Flame of New Orleans are paired on both March 30 and March 31.
STUDIO-ERA THRILLERS AT THE HAMMER | 10899 WILSHIRE BLVD.
Concluding in March at the Hammer Museum (host to the UCLA Film and Television Archive) are the previously recommended retrospectives dedicated to directors Cy Endfield and Seijun Suzuki. Also coming to an end is the Archive’s “Out of the Ether: Radio Mysteries and Thrillers On Screen” series, which over the last two months has featured numerous Hollywood noirs and crime thrillers originally translated from the airwaves to the silver screen. Three double features bring the series to a close: On March 11, there’s Sorry, Wrong Number, starring Barbara Stanwyck, alongside The Phantom of Crestwood; on March 20, a pair of fantastically titled Lon Chaney Jr. pictures, Calling Dr. Death and The Frozen Ghost; and, finally, on March 21, the mid-'40s features Bewitched, directed by radio writer Arch Oboler, and Crime Doctor’s Man Hunt, from genre figurehead William Castle.