Acclaimed musical “West Side Story” will screen this Sunday at a couple of local theaters. (Photo: Contributed)

The Week in Film is a column dedicated to bringing awareness to award-winning films, special movie screenings, rereleases, limited-distribution runs and avant cinema that should be seen in theaters to be properly appreciated.

West Side Story
Adapted from the 1957 Broadway musical of the same name, “West Side Story”— directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins — is a story of a girl and a boy and the social circumstances which threaten to derail their romance. And if that happens to sound particularly familiar, it should. The original musical was inspired by Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” Starring Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn, Rita Moreno and George Chakiris, the film version was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and won 10, including Best Picture. Recalling the story of the love between Maria Nunez (Wood) and Tony Wyzek (Beymer), the movie follows the two as they try to find happiness as their relationships (both familial and casual) toward rival gangs The Sharks and The Jets violently intrude upon their lives. This screening will include cinematic insight from TCM Host Ben Mankiewicz.

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When: Sunday, June 24
Where: Regal Hamilton Place 8, AMC Chattanooga 18
Rating: PG

The Last Man on Earth
Starring horror legend Vincent Price, “The Last Man on Earth” looks as a world ravaged by a biological plague which has turned most of the human population into the vampiric undead. Price’s character, Dr. Robert Morgan, is immune to the disease, as he had already been bitten by a diseased vampire bat while he was in Panama, and his body eventually built up a resistance. His days consist of locking himself away in his house during the night when the creatures roam and killing as many as he can find during the day. Directed by Ubaldo Ragona and Sidney Salkow, the film has received a boost in stature over the years, with some critics calling it Price’s best horror film. Dark and often overtly nihilist, the film offers a unique take on the vampire myth while examining what it means to be human.

When: Monday, June 18
Where: Heritage House Arts & Civic Center
Rating: Not rated

The Black Pirate
One of the original pirate blockbusters, “The Black Pirate” finds Douglas Fairbanks playing a young man who yearns for revenge for the murder of his father. To facilitate that justice, he takes to the high seas in the company of a band of pirates as he searches for those responsible for burning his father’s boat and leaving him to die. Directed by Albert Parker and filmed entirely in two-color Technicolor, this 1926 silent film is a marvel of early cinematography and design — it also features one of the most recognizable stunts in the early years of the medium when Fairbanks slices into the topsail and rides down the canvas holding onto the hilt of his knife. The movie is often considered one of Fairbanks’ greatest adventures and was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry in 1993.

When: Thursday, June 21
Where: Heritage House Arts & Civic Center
Rating: Not rated

America’s Musical Journey
Narrated by actor Morgan Freeman and starring acclaimed musician Aloe Blacc, “America’s Musical Journey” is a lavish and visually inventive tribute to America’s musical histories, filled with inventive set pieces and timely ideas about what it means to belong to a country whose roots reach through so many different cultures. Blacc travels to places like New Orleans, Chicago, Nashville, Miami and New York City as he searches for the common bonds of our shared rhythmic heritage. He takes a look into the places where jazz, blues, country, soul and rock ‘n’ roll were first cultivated and explored and offers a unique look at how all these different sounds comprise the collective heartbeat of America.

When: Friday-Thursday, June 22-28
Where: IMAX 3d Theater
Rating: Not rated

Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on FacebookTwitter or by emailThe opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.

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