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For a reminder of the good old days, when rock 'n' roll was still something of a lark and four working-class blokes from Liverpool had just taken over the world, head to the Enoch Pratt Free Library on Saturday for a free showing of "A Hard Day's Night," the 1964 film that marked the Beatles as a pop-culture force to be reckoned with, regardless of the medium. Richard Lester's brilliantly sustained piece of comic anarchy stars John, Paul, George and Ringo as a rock band (what casting!) desperately trying to make it through a typically frenetic day, all the while keeping a watchful eye on Paul's "very clean" grandfather (Wilfrid Brambell). Also starring as the Beatles' love interest are a thousand screaming girls. Rock 'n' roll would become a very different creature five years later, when Woodstock happened, which makes the innocent exuberance of this movie almost heartbreaking. Showtime is 2 p.m. at the Pratt, 400 Cathedral St. Information: 410-396-5430 or

'Dr. Strangelove' : A satire so spot-on that it's almost frightening, Stanley Kubrick's 1964 "Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb," the subject of this month's Filmtalk at the Pratt Library, points out both the absurdity and the danger of Cold War posturing. When a mad general (Sterling Hayden), convinced that the Russians are stealing our "precious bodily fluids," forces an air strike on the Soviet Union, all heck breaks loose - especially when not all of the bombers can be called back once the plot is uncovered. With Peter Sellers in three roles: the president of the United States, a crippled (and perhaps slightly mad) German scientist and a British officer trying to talk Hayden's character back from the ledge (and unafraid to incur the wrath of the Coca-Cola Co.). Showtime is 10:15 a.m. at the Pratt, 400 Cathedral St., with lively discussion sure to follow. Admission is free. Information: 410-396-5430 or

A love story : Marcel Carne's "Children of Paradise" ("Les enfants du Paradis"), this weekend's entry in the Charles Theatre's Saturday repertory series, is an intricate tale of tragic, intertwined love, unfolding in ways only the French would allow. At its center is Garance (played by the French actress Arletty), an actress who is loved by a theater mime named Baptiste (Jean-Louis Barrault), as well as by three other men: a haughty actor, a thief and a nobleman. Of course, Garance can't love them all, nor does she want to. Showtime at The Charles, 1711 N. Charles St., is noon Saturday, with encores set for 7 p.m. Monday and 9 p.m. Thursday. Information: 410-727-3456 or

Outdoor screenings : With summer winding down, so too are your opportunities to see a free movie under the stars. This week's possibilities include Audrey Hepburn as a princess looking for a common touch in William Wyler's 1953 "Roman Holiday" (7 tonight in Little Italy, at the corner of High and Stiles streets); Robert Downey Jr. as a gold-plated superhero in "Iron Man" (dusk tonight at the Lakefront in Columbia, 10320 Little Patuxent Parkway); a trio of British schoolchildren come to the rescue of an enchanted kingdom ruled by a mighty lion in "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" (dusk Monday at the Lakefront in Columbia, 10320 Little Patuxent Parkway); and Dev Patel as an Indian game-show contestant overcoming obstacles both emotional and class-based in the reigning Best Picture Oscar-winner, "Slumdog Millionaire" (8:45 p.m. Wednesday in Fells Point, at the Broadway pier).

An item in Friday's editions incorrectly listed the time for the Charles Theatre's screening of "Children of Paradise" ("Les enfants du Paradis"). Showtime is 11 a.m. today. The Baltimore Sun regrets the error.
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