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Some quality time with Werner Herzog

Times Staff Writer

GERMAN director Werner Herzog will be on hand for a four-day American Cinematheque retrospective of his films this weekend at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica. The showcase starts tonight with Herzog’s visually arresting “Nosferatu: The Vampyre,” his 1978 take on the F.W. Murnau vampire classic. It stars frequent Herzog collaborator and bete noire Klaus Kinski as the sensual bloodsucker.

Screening Friday will be “The Mystery of Kaspar Hauser,” the seminal 1974 drama based on the true story of a wild young man found wandering the streets of Nuremberg in 1828. Herzog gets an evocative performance from Bruno S., a former mental patient and street musician discovered by the director. The second film Friday is 1976’s abstract “Heart of Glass.”

For the record:

12:00 a.m. March 30, 2007 For The Record
Los Angeles Times Friday March 30, 2007 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 0 inches; 32 words Type of Material: Correction
‘Grizzly Man’: The Screening Room column in the March 22 Calendar Weekend said that the Werner Herzog film “Grizzly Man” was nominated for an Oscar. The documentary did not receive a nomination.

Saturday night features the landmark 1972 epic “Aguirre, the Wrath of God,” starring a wild-eyed Kinski as a power-mad man leading a Spanish military expedition down the treacherous Amazon in hopes of finding El Dorado and its legendary gold. The film is paired with 1982’s “Fitzcarraldo,” in which Kinski stars as a rubber baron and music aficionado who travels the Amazon in hopes of building an opera house amid the rain forest.

The series concludes Sunday with Herzog’s avant-garde 1992 short “Lessons of Darkness” and his Oscar-nominated 2005 documentary, “Grizzly Man,” chronicling the ill-fated grizzly bear activist Timothy Treadwell.

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The Beat goes on

Next weekend, the Cinematheque’s Egyptian Theatre returns to the era of Jack Kerouac and the beatniks with its Movies & the Beats festival, subtitled “Part 1 -- Venice Beach, Hollywood, New York & Beyond.” The series opens March 30 with the groovy 1961 thriller “Night Tide,” directed by Curtis Harrington. This low-budget, atmospheric indie, shot in and around Santa Monica and Venice Beach, stars Dennis Hopper as a young sailor who falls in love with a sideshow mermaid named Mora (Linda Lawson), only to discover she might be the real thing.

Scheduled for March 31 is 1959’s hepcat film noir “The Beat Generation,” starring Steve Cochran as a tough L.A. detective hunting a serial rapist named the Aspirin Kid (Ray Danton). The film, co-written by Richard Matheson, also stars Mamie Van Doren (who is scheduled to appear at the screening), Louis Armstrong, Jackie Coogan, Vampira and even boxer “Slapsy Maxie” Rosenbloom.

It’s a Grindhouse

Quentin Tarantino Presents the Los Angeles Grindhouse Festival 2007 continues at the New Beverly Cinema. Among the highlights of the exploitation retrospective is Roger Vadim’s 1971 black comedy “Pretty Maids All in a Row,” screening Sunday through Tuesday. Rock Hudson -- far from his Doris Day “Pillow Talk” days -- goes the R-rated nudie route in this tale of a high school coach who has flings with several nubile students, then ends up killing the girls to keep them quiet. “Revenge of the Cheerleaders” rounds out the bill.

John Sayles penned the screenplay for the 1979 Roger Corman production “The Lady in Red,” screening April 1-3. Robert Conrad stars as John Dillinger, and Pamela Sue Martin plays his last girlfriend.

Godard originals

Jean-Luc Godard came to fame as one of the founders of France’s New Wave cinema in the late 1950s. Godard has defied description over the last 50 years, continuing to reinvent himself and never kowtowing to the conventions of commercial cinema.

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The UCLA Film & Television Archive at the Billy Wilder Theater commences its two-month “For Ever Godard” retrospective March 31 with 1954’s “Operation Beton,” his first short film -- an industrial documentary chronicling the construction of the Grande Dixence dam in Switzerland; 1958’s “Une Historie D’Eau,” co-directed by Francois Truffaut; 1960’s “Breathless,” the film that put him on the map, starring Jean Paul-Belmondo and Jean Seberg; and his 1994 self-portrait, “JLG by JLG.”

On tap for April 1 is his second feature, 1960’s “Le Petit Soldat,” a thriller set in Geneva during the French-Algerian conflict, starring Michel Subor and soon-to-be Mrs. Godard, Anna Karina, and his 1963 war satire, “Les Carabiniers.”

It’s just ducky

The Cinema’s Legacy series, put on by the Skirball Cultural Center and American Film Institute, continues after a three-month break with producer-director Ivan Reitman (“Ghostbusters,” “Stripes” and “Twins”) presenting and discussing the 1933 Marx Brothers comedy “Duck Soup,” next Thursday at the Skirball. The final film the brothers made at Paramount -- and the last movie featuring youngest brother Zeppo -- was not well received by critics at first and was such a commercial disaster that Paramount didn’t renew their contract. But film historians and fans cite the surreal farce as one of the team’s best.

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susan.king@latimes.com

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Screenings

Herzog tribute

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* “Nosferatu: The Vampyre”: 7:30 p.m. today

* “The Mystery of Kaspar Hauser” and “Heart of Glass”: 7:30 p.m. Friday

* “Aguirre, the Wrath of God” and “Fitzcarraldo”: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

* “Lessons of Darkness” and “Grizzly Man”: 7:30 p.m. Sunday

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Where: Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica

Info: (323) 466-3456, americancinematheque.com

Movies & the Beats

* “Night Tide”: 7:30 p.m. March 30

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* “The Beat Generation”: 7:30 p.m. March 31

Where: Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood

Info: (323) 466-3456, americancinematheque.com

Godard retrospective

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* “Operation Beton,” “Une Historie D’Eau,” “Breathless” and “JLG by JLG”: 7:30 p.m. March 31

* “Le Petit Soldat” and “Les Carabiniers”: 7 p.m. April 1

Where: Billy Wilder Theater, Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood

Info: (310) 206-8013, www.cinema.ucla.edu

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Grindhouse Festival

* “Pretty Maids All in a Row”

and “Revenge of the Cheerleaders”: 3:25 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, 7:30 p.m. Monday and Tuesday

* “The Lady in Red” and “Bare Knuckles”: 3:50 and 7:30 p.m. April 1, 7:30 p.m. April 2 and 3

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Where: New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Blvd., L.A.

Info: (323) 938-4038, newbevcinema.com

Cinema’s Legacy

* “Duck Soup”: 7:30 p.m. next Thursday

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Where: Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., L.A.

Info: (310) 440-4500, skirball.org


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