5 West Coast Film Festival Classics That Must Be Seen on the Big Screen

Categories: Film
The great thing about the second annual West Coast Film Festival is it gives people of a certain age a chance to see classic films on the big screen that they have probably only taken in before on small screens.

Running Sunday through Thursday, this year's run flashes 22 films in San Juan Capistrano's Regency theater as well as three new fest venues: the Ocean Institute in Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano Regional Library and St. Margaret's Episcopal School's new performing arts center, also in SJC.

There is something for everyone, from Dolphin Tale and Space Jam, to Viva Las Vegas and the 2011 documentary Shakespeare High.

Special events include Sunday afternoon's reception with Warner Bros./John Wells Productions film and music executive Ann Karlin Klein, to be followed by a screening of Chariots of Fire, and Monday morning's rolling of For the Soul of Rafael, a 1920 silent that was shot in San Juan Capistrano and will be accompanied by a talk with Hugh Neely of the Mary Pickford Society. Visit westcoastfilmfest.com for times, tickets and other information.

Meanwhile, here are five West Coast Film Festival flicks I'm itching to see on the big screen:

The Searchers

If John Ford's 1956 western was not the first to establish the anti-hero character type who would come roaring into theaters and stay there a decade later, his lead John Wayne certainly set the bar high for others who followed. It's 1868, and conflicted veteran of the Confederacy Ethan Edwards (The Duke) is part of a posse led by Ward Bond to find Comanches who killed members of Edwards' family and abducted his niece Debbie (Natalie Wood). How Edwards wants to deal with what the posse finds is shocking. It's a big, sweeping story with larger-than-life performances shot to be projected large. San Juan Capistrano Regional Library, La Sala 31495 El Camino Real. 8 p.m. Mon. $10.


The one Akira Kurosawa picture I have not seen (and what can now be only the second to Ran I have seen on the big screen) is based on the ever-imaginative master filmmaker's actual dreams throughout his life. There are seven dreams covered in this 1990 film that chooses visuals over dialogue, including one (subtitled "Crows") that stars Martin Scorsese as Vincent Van Gogh. I'm guessing it was a dream with Van Gogh in it, not of Marty playing the painter. But having George Lucas light "Crows" was surely in the dream, too. Regency Theatres, 26762 Verdugo St., San Juan Capistrano. 4 p.m. Tues. $10. 

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