A weekly roundup of what else is screening around town.
North by Northwest
(1959) (Shown on film): After Vertigo, Alfred Hitchcock apologized to a freaked-out world with the most purely entertaining movie he could make. New York ad director Cary Grant finds himself mistaken for a secret agent and pursued by both the cops and baddie James Mason, in between putting the fully clothed moves on Eva Marie Saint. It ain't just the crop-duster scene, folks. A Thurs., June 12, 7:30pm.
Wittgenstein/The Thief/ Desperate Remedies
(1993/1952/1993) (Shown on video): A triple feature of utter stylization, the latest AVV starts things off right with the penultimate film from late filmmaker and gay rights activist Derek Jarman. Ostensibly a biopic on the Austrian philosopher (played by Karl Johnson), Wittgenstein presents his life and work on a darkened stage populated only by actors (including Tilda Swinton and Batman's Michael Gough as a blustery Bertrand Russell) and the occasional set or prop. Despite the minimalism (and bits like a dwarf dressed as a green alien), the film doesn't stray too far from biopic conventions, though it also doesn't betray its subject's work, presenting his evolving theories on logic and language with respectable complexity. The Thief goes even further into the brink. A low-budget noir, it has the rare distinction of being a synch sound film made with not one instance of spoken dialogue. (That is, not a silent per se.) Russell Rouse's slice of Cold War propaganda follows Ray Milland's nuclear physicist as he sells secrets to the Commies. The Thief isn't much more than that one trick, but it's quickly clear that its gimmick is meant to reflect Milland's guilt and isolation, with a ringing, unanswered phone being one of the film's favorite devices. Jumping forward to 1993, Desperate Remedies, from New Zealand, has no stylish limitations, or any limitations at all. A Middlemarch-esque melodrama with a lesbian twist, it's arguably the purplest filmmaking I've ever seen. Imagine a collaboration between Ken Russell, Baz Luhrmann and Guy Maddin, and you may have an inkling of the overcooked, lip-smacking, camera-constantly-moving, what-the-holy-hell fireworks on display in this inexplicably forgotten Kiwi import that has to be seen to be believed--if, apart from this screening, you actually have the opportunity to see it. All: B Thurs., June 12, 8pm.
Cyrano de Bergerac
(1950) (Shown on film): Jose Ferrer infamously stole Marlon Brando's A Streetcar Named Desire Oscar as the rubber-nosed would-be lothario in Michael Gordon's adaptation, delivering a performance Dave Kehr described as "easily the worst performance to ever win an Academy Award." (Not reviewed.) Mon., June 16, 1pm.
Treasure of the Sierra Madre
(1948) (Shown on film): With John Huston's appropriately seedy tale of obsession, Humphrey Bogart did something truly brave for a star of his caliber: He played wildly unlikable as the most gold-fever-infected of a trio of prospectors in central Mexico. His turn in In a Lonely Place goes to even darker places, but why rank two freak occurrences? A Wed., June 18, 7:30pm.
The Dirty Dozen
(1967) (Shown on film): Lee Marvin, freshly graduated to lead status thanks to his Cat Ballou Oscar, brought a laid-back wit to Robert Aldrich's silly, laddish WWII saga, whose ballsy (and highly controversial) gimmick is to make the good guys a troupe of criminals. Never mind that they've been rounded up for a suicide mission, or that one of them is giggling sex fiend Telly Savalas. With John Cassavetes (saving up for Faces) and several other alpha male types. B+ Sun., June 15, 2pm.