Ethan Edwards (John Wayne) arrives at his brother's Texas ranch still wearing a faded Confederate jacket three years after the war has ended. He has been adrift since the fall of the South, and it's hinted he's robbed a few banks, but his family embraces him with open arms. Their reunion is short-lived, however, as a brutal Comanche raid decimates the family, and Debbie (Natalie Wood), Ethan's sweet little niece, is abducted. Ethan begins a search for her that lasts years. At first he wants to rescue her, but eventually he becomes convinced she's been “corrupted” by her years with the Comanche and must be killed. Debbie's foster brother (Jeffrey Hunter) joins the search, although he's not about to let Ethan kill Debbie. The two men are uneasy allies while the search is on, but they know that if they find Debbie, they will become enemies. Director John Ford doesn't completely condemn Ethan's racism, and early on the film depicts the Comanche as terrifying savages. But Ford examines and critiques Ethan's hatred, even suggesting that in his all-consuming thirst for vengeance, Ethan is perhaps not so different from the tribe's leader, Scar (honky actor Henry Brandon, dipped in a none-too-convincing copper coating). Ethan was Wayne's first deliberately anti-heroic role, and he excels at it, turning in what is arguably one of the best performances of his long career. Like Hunter, we are horrified by this man even as we feel a grudging admiration for his mad determination. Cinema City, 5635 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim Hills, (714) 970-6700. Wed., 7:30 p.m. $7.50.
American Gun. Director Aric Avelino hosts this screening of his drama starring Donald Sutherland, Forest Whitaker and Marcia Gay Harden. It's a Crash-y sounding affair about a group of disparate individuals thrown together by gun violence. Bowers Museum, 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 567-3642. Sun., 1:30 p.m. $8-$10.
Annie Hall. One of Woody Allen's most stylish and insightful dramadies, the tone of which is summed up reasonably well by the now-all-but-forgotten subtitle, A Nervous Romance. Bay Theatre, 340 Main St., Seal Beach, (562) 431-9988. Sun., 6 p.m.; Mon., 8 p.m.; Wed., 8 p.m. $6-$8.
The Blue Gardenia. Anne Baxter and Raymond Burr star in Fritz Lang's 1953 noir picture, with an appearance by classic crooner Nat King Cole. Short subjects, cartoons and other goodies are also on the bill. Long Beach School for Adults Auditorium, 3701 E. Willow St., Long Beach, (562) 997-8000, ext. 7198. Fri., 7 p.m. $1 materials fee.
The Emmitt Till Story. Documentary about Emmett Louis Till, a 14-year-old black boy who was murdered for whistling at a white woman in 1955. Education 2000+ Bookstore, 309 Pine Ave., Long Beach, (562) 435-1199; www.edunow.com. Thurs., Nov. 9, 7 p.m. Free.
Ginger and Cinnamon. The Laguna Beach Film Society screens this 2003 Italian romantic comedy about a woman who is smarting from a recent break-up and goes on vacation to a Greek isle with her young niece, only to have the niece fall in love with the aunt's ex. Regency Laguna South Coast, 162 South Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (949) 494-8971, ext. 201. Thurs., Nov. 16, 7 p.m. $15.
The Ground Truth. Documentary about the tough times faced by American soldiers returning home from Iraq. Chapman University, Irvine Lecture Hall, One University Dr., Orange. Email: Chapman-SPEAK-Organizers@googlegroups.com. Tues., 7:30 p.m. Free.
Haunted Agencies. See “Movies That Rape Your Mind.” University Art Gallery, 712 Arts Plaza, Irvine, (949) 824-9854; www.ucigallery.com. Thurs., Nov. 9:Blow Up, 5 p.m.;The Crying Game, 7 p.m. Fri.:Naked Lunch, 5 p.m.;Gozu, 7 p.m. Mon.:Branded to Kill, 5 p.m.;Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine, 6:40 p.m. Tues.:Julien Donkey-Boy, 5 p.m.;Happiness of the Katakuris, 7:50 p.m. Wed.:The Conversation, 5 p.m.;Cache, 7:10 p.m. Thurs., Nov. 16:Don't Look Now, 5 p.m.;Code Unknown, 7 p.m. Nov. 17:What Time Is It There? 5 p.m.;Notre Music, 7:10 p.m. Free.
An Inconvenient Truth. If you're still somehow laboring under the delusion that global warming isn't a real threat, go see this documentary and get the facts pounded into your thick, thick skull. Orange Coast College, Robert B. Moore Theatre, 2701 Fairview Rd., Costa Mesa, (714) 623-9041. Tues., 6 p.m. Free.
Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers. Documentary filmmaker Robert Greenwald (Outfoxed) follows ordinary people whose lives were forever changed as a result of profiteering in the reconstruction of Iraq. Tapestry, 25801 Obrero Dr., Ste. 9, Mission Viejo, (949) 581- 0245. Sun., 12:30 p.m. Free.
Make Me a Match and Wildest Show in the South: The Angola Prison Rodeo. The Laguna Beach Film Society begins its documentary film series with two very different docs. Make Me a Match follows single Jews looking for love, while Wildest Show in the South follows the prison inmates who bust broncos before cheering crowds. Forum Theater, 650 Laguna Canyon Rd., Laguna Beach, (949) 494-8971, ext. 201. Fri., 7 p.m. $15.
The Most Typical Avant-Garde: Minor Cinemas in Los Angeles. UC Irvine looks at the avant-garde filmmaking that once flourished at the periphery of mainstream cinema. This second program includes George Lucas' student film THX1138: 4EB, the short that inspired his feature debut. Introduction and discussion with David E. James, author and professor of Critical Studies, Cinema-Television at USC. UCI Humanities Instruction Building, Room 100, Campus N W. Peltason drs., Irvine, (949) 824-7418; www.humanities.uci.edu/fvc. Thurs., Nov. 16. Reception, 6:30 p.m.; screening, 7 p.m. $3-$5.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The Midnight Insanity presents Richard O'Brien's cult classic, glam-rock, horror musical aboard the Queen Mary. Queen Mary, 1126 Queens Hwy., Long Beach, (562) 694-4411 or (562) 235-8053; www.midnightinsanity.com. Sat., midnight. $8 tickets go on sale at 10:30 p.m.
The Spook Who Sat by the Door. Film version of Sam Greenlee's cult hit novel about a black man who overcomes tremendous opposition to join the CIA, only to find that once he's got the job, he's relegated to making copies and giving tours. Education 2000+ Bookstore, 309 Pine Ave., Long Beach. (562) 435-1199; www.edunow.com. Mon., 7 p.m. Free.
Undoing. Director Chris Chan Lee appears for this screening of his neo-noir thriller, set in LA's Koreatown. UCI Humanities Instruction Building, Room 100, Campus N W. Peltason drs., Irvine, (949) 824-7418; www.humanities.uci.edu/fvc. Thurs., Nov. 9. Reception, 6:30 p.m.; screening, 7 p.m. $3-$5.
White. Cinemania presents the second film in in the much-acclaimed “Three Colors” trilogy from the brilliant if friggin' impossible to spell Polish director, Krzystof Kieslowski. This film, more darkly comic than the others of the trilogy, stars Zbigniew Zamachowski as a sad sack Pole who has been dumped by his gorgeous French wife (Julie Delphy) but concocts an elaborate scheme for revenge. Cultural Stage of Art, 410-B W. Fourth St., Ste. 4, Santa Ana, (714) 543-0613. Sat., 6 p.m. $1 suggested donation.
Mail your press releases (and a videotape, if available) to Special Screenings,OC Weekly, 1666 N. Main St., Ste. 500, Santa Ana, CA 92701-7417. Or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. All materials must be received at least two weeks before the screening. Visit Greg's website at www.gregstacy.wordpress.com.