Romance and film noir on the big screen this week

Romance and film noir on the big screen this week

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"Girl on a Bicycle" plays at the M.V. Film Center this week.

Romance comes to the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center for Valentine’s Day weekend. A live theatrical performance of “Romeo and Juliet” plays on Friday, Feb. 14, and again on Sunday, Feb. 16. The romantic comedy “Girl on a Bicycle” will screen on Saturday, Feb. 15. In addition, the dark side of love is explored in the second Film Noir movie, “The Big Combo,” curated by Paul Karasik on Wednesday, Feb. 19. The first, “Raw Deal,” plays Wednesday, Feb. 12.

Orlando Bloom and two-time Tony nominee Condola Rashad headline the filmed version of a live production of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy about ill-fated lovers. It is the first Broadway staging of “Romeo and Juliet” in 37 years. Mr. Bloom, best known for his roles in “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Lord of the Rings,” appears on Broadway for the first time in a version of the play set in modern times while still incorporating traditional Shakespearean language.

In addition to her theatrical background, Ms. Rashad has appeared in “Sex and the City 2” and numerous TV shows, including “Smash.” The film’s director, Don Roy King, has twice won Emmys for directing “Saturday Night Live.” The play’s theatrical director, David Leveaux, a five-time Tony award nominee, stages the tale of the feuding Montague and Capulet families with conflicting ethnicities.

Love triangle in “Girl on a Bicycle”

Love takes a comic turn in the French confection “Girl on a Bicycle.” Paolo (Vincenzo Amato), an Italian tour bus driver in Paris, has just proposed to German flight attendant Greta (Nora Tschirner) when he finds himself captivated by the girl on a bicycle who pedals past his tour bus. That girl is Cécile (Louise Monot), a model and the single mother of two small children. Paolo quickly finds himself entangled in Cécile’s life, serving as a stand-in father for her children even though he remains committed to Greta. Director Jeremy Leven adds enough twists to the traditional recipe for romantic comedy to keep the viewer entertained.

Dark side of romance in “Big Combo”

“The Big Combo,” the second of two Film Noir works featuring the cinematography of John Alton, plays on Wednesday, Feb. 19. “I’ve always been a nut about old films,” West Tisbury cartoonist Paul Karasik said in a telephone interview last weekend. Mr. Karasik grew up in Washington, D.C., where he watched double features at the city’s two repertory film houses. “They really deserve to be seen on a big screen,” he said of “The Big Combo” and “Raw Deal.”

Both films involve love triangles. In “The Big Combo,” police lieutenant Leonard Diamond (Cornel Wilde) tracks down a hoodlum named Mr. Brown (Richard Conte) while carrying a torch for Brown’s girlfriend Susan (Jean Wallace). “These films are not pretentious,” Mr. Karasik said. “They were made by craftsmen at the top of their form. They don’t pander to the audience at all, but work as adult entertainment on adult issues.”

Mr. Karasik will introduce “The Big Combo,” pointing out some of the effects worth watching for in the movie. Even though they have violence and sex, they’re not vulgar, he points out, and their cynicism reflects a late 20th century point of view.

“Raw Deal,” Wednesday, February 12, 7:30 p.m. Special introduction by Paul Karasik.

“Her,” Friday, February 14, 4 pm.

“Romeo and Juliet,” Friday, Feb. 14, 7:30 pm and Sunday, Feb. 16, 4 pm. This event is specially priced at $18; $15 M.V. Film Society members.

“Oscar Shorts: Live Action,” Saturday, Feb. 15, 4 pm.

“Girl on a Bicycle,” Saturday, Feb. 15, 7:30 pm.

“Oscar Shorts: Animation,” Sunday, Feb. 16, 7:30 pm.

“The Big Combo,” Wednesday, Feb. 19, 7:30 pm. All films at M.V. Film Center, Vineyard Haven. $12; $9 M.V. Film Society members; $7 ages 14 and under. For tickets and more information, visit mvfilmsociety.com.