For many years, I kept getting the same advice: Never watch Terrence Malick's "Days of Heaven" on home video — wait to see it on the...
For many years, I kept getting the same advice: Never watch Terrence Malick’s “Days of Heaven” on home video — wait to see it on the big screen. So I waited patiently, until it screened at the Seattle International Film Festival a few years ago, and the result was a moviegoing experience I’ll never forget.
This week, the Northwest Film Forum is providing the same opportunity, screening “Days of Heaven” through Thursday in a new 35mm print. The light Malick and the great cinematographer Néstor Almendros capture on endless wheat fields is magical; the early-morning and twilight shadows seem put there by a master’s paintbrush. The story, much told in enigmatic voiceover by teen actor Linda Manz, is a pre-World War I romantic triangle, set on a Texas farm. Go and see for yourself why so many call this 1978 film one of the most beautiful pieces of cinema ever made. Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., Seattle; 206-267-5380 or www.nwfilmforum.org.
And across town, another 1970s classic screens this week in a new 35mm print, but this one’s rather sillier: “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” complete with killer rabbits, singing minstrels, French soldiers and knights who say “Ni!” Python fans should note that this print includes 24 seconds (!) of footage removed just before the original U.S. release in 1975. At the Varsity, 4329 University Way N.E., Seattle; 206-781-5755 or www.landmarktheatres.com. Come on, say it with me: “Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries … “
The Grand Illusion continues its Humphrey Bogart/Lauren Bacall series with “The Big Sleep,” the 1946 screen version of Raymond Chandler’s first novel. In a famously convoluted plot (supposedly even Chandler wasn’t entirely clear on the details), Bogie plays gumshoe Philip Marlowe, called in to investigate the affairs of a rich old general and eventually finding himself in the arms of the general’s daughter (Bacall). The film was a reunion of sorts for director Howard Hawks and the two actors, who previously collaborated for “To Have and Have Not” — and, by this time, Bogie and Bacall were offscreen newlyweds. Watch it at the Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., Seattle; 206-523-3935 or www.grandillusioncinema.org.
Filmmaker Jen Marlowe will be in town Saturday for a special 7 p.m. screening of the documentary “Darfur Diaries: Message from Home,” which Marlowe co-directed with Aisha Bain and Adam Shapiro. The three filmmakers traveled to Chad and Darfur two years ago, hoping a film could help raise awareness of the plight of the refugees and displaced people of the region. Marlowe will speak before and after the film about her experiences. Tickets are $7, which will benefit education programs in Darfur, and can be purchased at the door of the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center, 104 17th Ave. S., Seattle. Marlowe will also be at Elliott Bay Book Co. on Dec. 2 to sign copies of the book “Darfur Diaries: Stories of Survival.” For more information, see www.darfurdiaries.org.
Tickets go on sale Tuesday for a tribute Billy Wilder series, presented by Seattle Art Museum. Ten films in all — some rarely shown in theaters — will mark the director’s centennial. The Thursday-night series begins Jan. 11 with the classic noir “Double Indemnity” and includes such gems as “The Apartment” and “Some Like it Hot.” A series pass is $65 ($58 for SAM, Museum of History & Industry, Frye Museum and Cinema Seattle members) and would make a splendid holiday gift for any film buff. To purchase, call SAM’s box office at 206-654-3121, or see www.seattleartmuseum.org. All screenings will take place at MOHAI, 2700 24th Ave. E., Seattle.
And finally, if all those Thanksgiving leftovers haven’t made you sleepy, play a game of “Clue” at the Egyptian at midnight tonight and Saturday. The 1985 film, inspired by the board game and starring Tim Curry, Michael McKean, Lesley Ann Warren and Madeline Kahn, is screening with all three endings to choose from (as in its original release). Personally, I think it was Colonel Mustard in the library with the wrench. Egyptian, 805 E. Pine St., Seattle; 206-781-5755 or www.landmarktheatres.com.
Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725