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Chris Hicks: Big-screen classics in April include ‘The Sound of Music,’ film noirs

SHARE Chris Hicks: Big-screen classics in April include ‘The Sound of Music,’ film noirs

From Easter-themed epics to silent favorites, and from classics of the 1940s and ’50s to the 50th anniversary of “The Sound of Music,” local theater screens will be showing a wide variety of Golden Oldies throughout April.

“The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” (1919, b/w). This silent horror yarn is one of the all-time great fright flicks and a sterling example of German Expressionism with its stylized, hallucinatory set design and the spooky story of a hypnotist using a somnambulist to commit murder. (Friday, March 27, The Organ Loft, 7:30 p.m., with live organ accompaniment, edisonstreetevents.com)

“Gigi” (1958). Vincente Minnelli conjured up this delightful musical, a sanitized adaptation of Colette’s story of a young woman being groomed as a courtesan, laced with memorable Lerner & Loewe songs and bolstered by support from Maurice Chevalier, Louis Jourdan, Hermione Gingold and Eva Gabor. Filmed on location in Paris. (Sunday, March 29, 2 p.m., and Wednesday, April 1, 2 and 7 p.m., Cinemark Theatres, www.cinemark.com/cinemark-classic-series)

“High Noon” (1952, b/w). Gary Cooper won the best-actor Oscar as a veteran marshal in the New Mexico Territory who marries a Quaker (Grace Kelly), turns in his badge and plans to be a shopkeeper. But when he learns that a killer and his gang are gunning for him, he takes back the badge and asks for help. But there are no takers. Lloyd Bridges, Katy Jurado and a bevy of familiar character actors co-star. (Tuesday, March 31, 10 a.m., SCERA Center, Orem, scera.org)

“The Robe” (1953). Richard Burton, Jean Simmons and Victor Mature star in this cast-of-thousands epic adaptation of the Lloyd C. Douglas novel about a Roman tribune who commands the soldiers who crucify Jesus, and how the event changes him. The first film in CinemaScope, the widescreen process that paved the way for modern aspect ratios. (Friday, April 3, 7 p.m., free, BYU, Provo, lib.byu.edu)

“The Passion of the Christ” (2004, R for violence, in Aramaic with English subtitles). The final 12 hours in the life of Jesus (Jim Caviezel) are depicted in vivid and gruesome detail in Mel Gibson’s enormously popular film. (Sunday, April 5, 2 p.m., and Wednesday, April 8, 2 and 7 p.m., Cinemark Theatres, cinemark.com/cinemark-classic-series)

“Laura” (1944, b/w). Great film noir mystery with Dana Andrews as a cop investigating a murder who finds himself entranced by a painting of the victim (Gene Tierney) and then discovers she’s not dead after all. Co-stars include scene-stealing Clifton Webb, Vincent Price and Judith Anderson. (Tuesday, April 7, 10 a.m., SCERA Center, Orem, scera.org)

“Broken Blossoms” (1919, b/w). D.W. Griffith’s silent tragedy stars Lillian Gish as an abused young woman whose father (Donald Crisp) is prone to drunken rages. Another outcast, a Chinese refugee (Richard Barthelmess), rescues her one night, but only until her father discovers where she’s gone. (Wednesday, April 7, 7 p.m., free, Tower Theater, saltlakefilmsociety.org)

“The Maltese Falcon” (1941, b/w). Another great film noir thriller is this classic adaptation of Dashiell Hammett’s novel about Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart, whose performance sealed his rise from B-crime melodramas to A-list stardom) mixing it up with femme fatale Mary Astor and thugs Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre and Elisha Cook Jr. (Wednesday, April 8, 2 p.m., free, Salt Lake City Library, www.slcpl.lib.ut.us)

“Buster Keaton Cavalcade: The Playhouse/Sherlock Jr.” (1921/1924, b/w). It’s an evening of hilarity and trickery with two special effects-laden comedies. “The Playhouse” has Keaton (in several roles) romancing a twin he confuses with her sister. “Sherlock Jr.” is an influential classic about a movie-theater projectionist who becomes part of the movie he’s showing. (Thursday and Friday, April 9 and 10, The Organ Loft, 7:30 p.m., with live organ accompaniment, edisonstreetevents.com)

“Last of the Dogmen” (1995, PG). Tom Berenger is an alcoholic bounty hunter grieving over the death of his wife. So when he says he has found evidence of a lost American Indian tribe that may be living in the secluded wilds of Montana, his credibility is suspect. But before you can say “Lost Horizon,” anthropologist Barbara Hershey helps him prove it. (Tuesday, April 14, 10 a.m., SCERA Center, Orem, scera.org)

“Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” (1989, PG). Zany teen comedy riffs on “Time Bandits” and “Doctor Who” as the title characters (Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter), whose vocabulary consists primarily of variations on “dude” and “totally,” use a phone-booth time machine to visit the past so they can pass their high school history class. (Tuesday, April 14, 7 p.m., free, Salt Lake City Library, www.slcpl.lib.ut.us)

“The Sound of Music” (1965, G). One of the most popular films of all time, this tuneful adaptation of the Broadway musical by Rodgers & Hammerstein is about the romance between a free-thinking postulant nun (Julie Andrews) and a rigid Austrian naval captain (Christopher Plummer), as well as the formation of his children as a singing group and their eventual escape from Nazis. And, of course, it’s a true story. (Sunday, April 19, 2 p.m., and Wednesday, April 22, 2 and 7 p.m., Cinemark Theatres, cinemark.com)

“To Sir, With Love” (1967). One of Sidney Poitier’s biggest hits is this drama about an unlikely teacher in a rough-and-tumble London high school and his ups and downs with the disenfranchised students. Co-stars include Judy Geeson, Suzy Kendall and Lulu, who also had a hit record with the film’s title song. (Tuesday, April 21, 10 a.m., SCERA Center, Orem, scera.org)

“Bullitt” (1968, PG). This police procedural thriller — highlighted by a justly famous car chase — provided Steve McQueen with an iconic role as a San Francisco detective protecting a mobster scheduled to testify against his associates. But something ain’t right. Great cast includes Robert Vaughn, Jacqueline Bisset and, in a small but pivotal role, a young Robert Duvall. (Wednesday, April 22, 2 p.m., free, Salt Lake City Library, www.slcpl.lib.ut.us)

“7th Heaven” (1927, b/w). Janet Gaynor won the first best-actress Oscar for three performances, including her role as a young Parisian waif in this silent classic. When she is falsely arrested, a selfless stranger (Charles Farrell) claims to be her husband. To keep up the façade, she moves in with him and they gradually fall in love, but the specter of World War I threatens to separate them. (Thursday and Friday, April 23 and 24, The Organ Loft, 7:30 p.m., with live organ accompaniment, edisonstreetevents.com)

“Tea for Two” (1950). In one of her earliest roles, Doris Day stars as a socialite who wants to star on Broadway by investing in a show. But to get the cash from her uncle (S.Z. Sakall), she must agree to a bet: Can she say “no” to every question she’s asked over a weekend? Light reworking of the Broadway musical “No, No, Nanette” has a fine cast (Gordon MacRae, Gene Nelson, Eve Arden) and memorable tunes (“I Only Have Eyes for You,” “I Want to Be Happy”). (Tuesday, April 28, 10 a.m., SCERA Center, Orem, scera.org)

Chris Hicks is the author of "Has Hollywood Lost Its Mind? A Parent’s Guide to Movie Ratings." He also writes at www.hicksflicks.com and can be contacted at hicks@deseretnews.com.