The best film in Cambridge this weekend is at the Harvard-Epworth Church. There are many weekends when this statement could be made, since their programmers are so solid, but this time it is especially true. Strangers on a Train. Wow! It's malicious, it's visually stunning, and in none of Hitchcock's American films does he etch his characters with such trenchant economy. Best scene: Robert Walker obsessively watches a tennis game with murder on his mind. Everyone else's eyes follow the ball; Walker's follow Farley Granger. (This scene was shot, by the way, on location in the fashionable suburn of South Orange, New Jersey.)
The Church (not Rome, but H-E) rounds out the weekend with a far less perfect, but still fascinating movie, Hallelujah, I'm a Bum! If you're interested in the Depression film, hit this. And if you're interested in Harry Langdon, hit this. And if you're interested in the musical comedy form, likewise. Rodgers and Hart did the music and lyrics, and the whole picture is done in talking rhyme, which you will either find maddening or charming. Wonderful montage touches from a usually staid director, Lewis Milestone. It's all right to confuse this with Hallelujah, because that too is a period piece and worth seeing. King Vidor's 1929 all-black film was the first studio production not to jes have'em singin' and dancin' away.
Some hate King of Marvin Gardens Go suck an egg. It is a great find if you haven't found it yet. Nicholson, Bruce Dern, Ellen Burstyn and a smashingly beautiful girl (whose name we can't come up with but who does the sexiest tap-dance ever) make up the small society in this Rafelson risk.
Truffaut's Jules and Jim is probably many people's favorite movie, and one of the great Cambridge perennials. But as far as we're concerned, the film's cloying romanticism and insipidly dreamy camera shots make this precursor of the Gatsby revival the best possible excuse to ban the Concorde and in fact all transatlantic traffic. In other words, what's small, green, croaks and hops? Now that La Crepe has left Cambridge, maybe this little pancake should take the hint and roll out for good.
Our critic's review of Martin Scorcese's new film, Taxi Driver, so galvanized us that we rushed out toward the Cheri II to see it. Unfortunately our taxi driver had a flat (which we fixed) and then another. Having heard about DeNiro's violent tendencies in the movie, we paid his real-life counterpart anyway. By all means, go, but take the subway.
King Vidor's Hallelujah, Friday and Saturday at 8 and 10 p.m.
Harry & Tonto and Harold and Maude, Friday and Saturday at 7, 9:15 and 11 p.m.
The General (Keaton) and The Music Box (Laurel and Hardy), Saturday at 8 and 10 p.m.
The Bridge, tonight at 8 p.m.
Blow for Blow (from the French women's movement) and My Country Occupied (Guatemalan), Friday and Saturday, 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.
Odd People (In Rooskie, that's "Chudaki"), Friday at 8 p.m.
The Ugly American (Brando in Viet Nam), Friday and Saturday at 8 and 10:15 p.m.
"A Program of Women's Films," Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.
CARPENTER CENTER BASEMENT
Richard Leacock with some of his pioneer documentaries, Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Strangers on a Train, tonight at 7:30 p.m.
Hallelujah, I'm a Bum! with shorts, Sunday at 7:30 p.m.
8 1/2 at 5:30 and 9:30 p.m. and Toni at 7:50 p.m.
Swept Away at 1, 3:10, 5:20, 7:30, 9:45 p.m.
Five Easy Pieces and King of Marvin Gardens (call theater for times)
ORSON WELLES II
All Screwed Up at 4, 6, 8 and 10 p.m.
ORSON WELLES II
Jules and Jim at 5:45 and 9:25 p.m. and Knife in the Water at 4 and 7:40 p.m.
ORSON WELLES III
Hitchcock's Murder at 6:10 and 9:40 p.m. and The Killers (Hem and Burt Lancaster) at 4:15 and 7:45 p.m.