Calling back ‘The Telephone Book’

When the X-rated sex comedy “The Telephone Book” was released in 1971, it was called pornographic and obscene. But now, 38 years later, it’s considered a neglected masterpiece.

You can decide for yourself tonight as the American Cinematheque’s Egyptian Theatre screens the risque farce about a woman (Sarah Kennedy) who falls in love with the world’s greatest obscene telephone caller. It’s the first time the film has played in L.A. since its engagement in 1971 at the old Vogue Theatre. Producer Merv Bloch, writer-director Nelson Lyon and animator Len Glasser will discuss the film after the screening.

“The AniMazing Spotlight: Weekend of Animation Shorts” visits the Egyptian this weekend. In addition to the animated shorts, activities will include seminars and a “Meet the Professionals” mixer.

Beginning Tuesday, the Egyptian presents “Cinema Italian Style,” its annual celebration of contemporary Italian films. The series kicks off with “Baaria,” the official Italian entry in the foreign language film Oscar category. The festival moves Wednesday to the Cinematheque’s Aero with the L.A. premieres of “The Brave Men” and “Freedom.”

The Egyptian also is paying a centennial tribute Wednesday to the great character actor Robert Ryan with a double bill of two of his acclaimed films -- 1949’s boxing drama “The Set-Up,” directed by Robert Wise, and 1953’s gritty Anthony Mann western, “The Naked Spur.”


Kershner, auteur

The Silent Movie Theatre shines the spotlight on Overlooked Auteurs every Friday through November.

On tap this week is a terrific double bill from Irvin Kershner, 1970’s “Loving” with George Segal and Eva Marie Saint and 1972’s comedy “Up the Sandbox” with Barbra Streisand.

Pick his numbers

The UCLA Film and Television Archive presents the first West Coast retrospective of films by renowned Dutch filmmaker and installation artist Joost Rekveld on Sunday at the Billy Wilder Theatre. Rekveld will attend the program, which features several of his works, including "#3,” “23.2 Book of Mirrors” and "#7.”