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Arts and Entertainment

Where To Watch Classic Christmas Movies On The Big Screen In L.A.

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What better way than to ring in Christmas than to silently sit in a dark room for about two hours with a bunch of strangers? Christmas inspires nearly as many movies as it does songs, and with the bevy of movie theaters we have in the Southland, there are plenty of screenings of popular (and some obscure) Christmas movies. Here's a round-up of screenings to get you into the holiday spirit:

You Can't Escape 'It's A Wonderful Life': Christmas just wouldn't be complete without this Frank Capra classic, so naturally there are plenty of chances to see it around town. The American Cinematheque presents the film during the weekend of Dec. 19 and 20 at both the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood and the Aero, with an introduction from the authors of Hollywood Celebrates The Holidays: 1920-1970. ArcLight Cinemas has screenings at each of their theaters across the region on Wednesday, Dec. 16. And even the Echo Park Film Center gets in on the action at their "microcinema" on Saturday, Dec. 19.

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Tradition: Going into its eighth year, Laemmle Theaters presents the Fiddler On The Roof Singalong on Christmas Eve. Screenings will take place at each of their theaters, including the newly opened Ahrya Fine Arts in Beverly Hills, and lyric sheets will be provided in case you forgot the lyrics to "If I Were A Rich Man."

We Love The '80s: Die Hard is now everybody's favorite answer to "What's your favorite Christmas movie?" so naturally Cinespia has it at downtown L.A.'s Million Dollar Theatre on Saturday, Dec. 12. There'll be a full bar, so you can get sloshed and yell out "Yippie-ki-yay motherfucker!" Cinespia follows that up the next Saturday with a screening of Joe Dante's cult classic Gremlins on 35mm at the Palace Theatre on Dec. 19.

Christmas With Quentin Tarantino: Unfortunately, the holiday-horror, double-feature of Black Christmas and Silent Night, Deadly Night on Saturday, Dec. 22, and the Christmas Day screening of the uncut Kill Bill have both sold out, but you can still get your kicks at Tarantino's New Beverly Cinema with screenings of Ahhnuld's Jingle All The Way on Wednesday, Dec. 23, a Marx Brothers triple-feature on Christmas Day, and weekend matinees of Elf on Dec. 5 and 6, and Eight Crazy Nights on Dec. 12 and 13. And of course, they'll be showing everybody's Christmas movie, Die Hard, on Christmas Eve. Of course, everything will be on 35mm.

Home For The Holidays: Here's the thing about the holidays: getting together with your extended family means everyone is just going to bicker and fight with each other. Arnaud Desplechin's modern French classic A Christmas Tale—starring the legendary Catherine Deneuve and Mathieu Almaric—poignantly captures this. Cinefamily's excellent French film series La Collectionneuse screens a 35mm print of this Palme d'Or contender on Wednesday, Dec. 23.

Silent Santa And Scrooge: Seeing silent films on the big screen—especially when projected on film—accompanied by a live score is increasingly a rare treat. Retro Format Films presents the 1917 Western The Silent Man on 8mm at The Egyptian on Saturday, Dec. 19, along with holiday flavor from the Thomas Edison film company's comedy short Santa Claus vs. Cupid (1915), where two Santa Clauses both vie for the affections of the same woman at a holiday party. Musical accompaniment comes courtesy of the always excellent Cliff Retallick.

Over at the under-appreciated Old Town Music Hall in El Segundo, they'll be ringing in Christmas family-style, with music from their Mighty Wurlitzer, comedy shorts and a rare screening of Scrooge from, and the rare 1922 silent adaptation of A Christmas Carol all from Dec. 18 to 20. The Old Town Music Hall also screens Laurel and Hardy's Babes In Toyland from Dec. 11 to 13.

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Stanwyck Season: Before there was Double Indemnity, Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray starred in the 1940 Christmas romcom Remember The Night, their first onscreen pairing. Scripted by the great Preston Sturges, Stanwyck portrays a shoplifting New Yorker who somehow winds up at the family home of the attorney (MacMurray) assigned to prosecute her. The Academy screens the film on 35mm at the Pickford Center in Hollywood on Thursday, Dec. 10, preceded by "festive trailers and holiday snipes" dug up from their archives.

It's Not A Christmas Movie But Who Cares Anyway: Somehow The Sound Of Music got lumped in with Christmas even though it's not a Christmas movie. Some people apparently feel quite strongly about this. However you feel about it, the UCLA Film & Television Archive presents a free matinee screening on Sunday, Dec. 13 at the Billy Wilder Theater in the Hammer Museum.

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