When the Biograph began its current revival series on eminent directors, the first two double-bills were postponed in order to accommodate an extra week for the "Fifteenth Tournee of Animation," which proved surprisingly successful. Those programs, a D.W. Griffith bill of "The Birth of a Nation" and "Broken Blossom" and an Alfred Hitchcock bill of "Rebecca" and "Notorious," are back. The Griffiths will play next Tuesday through Thursday, while the Hitchcock runs four days beginning Friday April 23.
Animation returns to the Biograph with a six-week series starting Tuesday, April 27. The first attraction is an awesome compilation, "79 Years of Animation," which extends from Melies' 1902 "A Trip to the Moon" through George Griffin's 1981 "It's an O.K. Life" and includes stopovers with Gertie the Dinosaur, Disney's Alice, Betty Boop, Koko the Clown, Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, The Roadrunner, Mighty Mouse and even an obscure lewd cartoon entitled "Pecker Island." The compilations appear to be the strong point of the series. There will be anthologies devoted to European animators, to fantastic themes, to Max and Dave Fleischer (cartoons plus their feature "Gulliver's Travels"), scurrilous themes (i.e., "sex, violence and racism in cartoons," scheduled for May 25-27 and the safest bet for Hit of the Series), to Will Vinton and to perennial favorites of the theater's patrons ("Thank You, Masked Man," "Bambi Meets Godzilla," "The Critic," "Hardware Wars," et al). The "Sixteenth Tournee of Animation" will run June 4-17.
Animation may be the best show in town for the next month or two. After the return of "Fantasia" this weekend, the American Film Institute will have appearances by animators from two different generations on May 1. Don Bluth, a young renegade from the Disney studio who formed his own production company two years ago, will conduct a seminar on the art of animation from 1 to 5 in the AFI Theater, anticipating the July release of his first feature, "The Secret of NIMH." At 5:30 the noted Warner Bros. cartoon director Bob Clampett, who went on to considerable success in television after Warners abandoned cartoons (he created Beany and Cecil in The Early Days, for example), will introduce and discuss examples of his work. The Clampett program repeats Sunday at the same time.
The continued drawing power of the current tenants at the Outer Circle and K-B Janus has forced a postponement of Francesco Rosi's "Three Brothers" until Friday, April 30, at the earliest. Universal has moved up the release of one its summer attractions, "Conan the Barbarian," to Friday May 14.
Documentary filmmaker Bruce Jackson will conduct two informal workshops on funding for documentary projects Saturday April 24 at AFI. He's sponsored by the Washington chapter of Women in Film and Video. Register by this weekend; for details call Deanna Collingwood Nash, 466-7522.
The recently completed film version of the musical drama "Zoot Suit," something of a theatrical sensation in Los Angeles four years ago, will have a benefit premiere here Thursday May 6 at 7:30 p.m. at the Uptown. The event is cosponsored by National Image Inc., a volunteer organization promoting employment opportunities for Hispanics, and the Washington "tent" of the Variety Club, a national charitable organization of film people. For tickets ($25) call National Image at 703/892-0631 or the Variety Club at 301/699-3200.
The 13th annual Baltimore Film Festival begins a two-week stand at the Charles Theater on April 30, with programs also scheduled for the Pratt Library. This year's features include Jack Fisk's "Raggedy Man" (still awaiting national release), Margarethe von Trotta's "Sisters," Wolfgang Petersen's "Black and White Like Day and Night," Victor Nunez' "Gal Young Un," Eric Rohmer's "The Aviator's Wife," Jonathan Demme's "Melvin and Howard," Sidney Lumet's "Prince of the City" and the documentaries "Day After Trinity," "Soldier Girls" and "On Company Business." For ticket information call 301/685-4170.
The Blue Angels will be the subject of two upcoming programs. On April 23 & 24 the AFI Theater host showings of a semi-legendary feature documentary about the flying group called "Threshold: The Blue Angels Experience." The program on the 24th only includes a short, "Portrait of the Blue Angels," which is also scheduled to be shown late in May as part of a film-and-lecture presentation sponsored by the Smithsonian Resident Associates.