One of the surest signs of summer in Baltimore arrives this week with the opening of two (and continuation of two more) free outdoor film series. Remember to arrive early and take your lawn chairs.
The 2007 Little Italy Open-Air Film Festival kicks off tonight with the traditional Moonstruck, starring Cher (in her Oscar-winning role) and Nicolas Cage as impassioned lovers who are as star-crossed as they are meant for each other. Directed by Norman Jewison, the 1987 romantic comedy also won Oscars for Olympia Dukakis (supporting actress) and John Patrick Shanley (original screenplay). The festivities begin at 7 p.m. at the corner of High and Stiles streets. Information: little italyrestaurants.com.
Vincente Minnelli's An American In Paris, starring Gene Kelly as an expatriate American artist and ex-GI who falls for a young dancer played by Leslie Caron (in her film debut), opens a series to be shown outdoors in Mount Vernon Place. The 1951 film, co-starring Oscar Levant as Kelly's sardonic best friend and featuring the music of George and Ira Gershwin, won seven Academy Awards, including one for Best Picture. Showtime is 8 p.m. Wednesday. Future films in the series, sponsored by the Friends of Mount Vernon, include My Fair Lady (July 25), Singing In the Rain (Aug. 8) and West Side Story (Aug. 22). Information: mvcd.org/events.aspx.
A series of family films, showing on the green in front of Gilman Hall on the campus of the Johns Hopkins University, 3400 N. Charles St., continues tonight with Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein (1974), a peerless parody and affectionate tribute to 1930s horror films starring Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Teri Garr and Madeline Kahn. The festivities, including live music from Polyester, begin at 7:30 p.m., with the film scheduled to begin at 8:30. Future films in the series include Cars (July 13), The World's Fastest Indian (July 20) and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (July 27). Information: 410-516-4548 or www.jhu.edu/summer/films.
Flicks From the Hill, a series sponsored by the American Visionary Art Museum and viewable from Federal Hill, continues Thursday with Steven Spielberg's ode to friendship and open-mindedness, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982). Showtime is 9 p.m. On movie nights, admission to the museum, at 800 Key Highway, is also free beginning at 5 p.m. Information: avam.org. or 410-244-1900.
The Charles Theatre's summer-long film noir revival continues this weekend with Alfred Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt (1943), starring Joseph Cotten as lovable Uncle Charlie who may also be a serial killer. Showtime at the Charles, 1711 N. Charles St., is noon tomorrow, with encore screenings set for 7 p.m. Monday and 9 p.m. Thursday. Tickets are $6 tomorrow, $8 other times. Information: 410-727-FILM or thecharles.com.