The Stanford Theatre first opened in 1925, and it served for decades as Palo Alto's premier movie house. Most classic films played here on their initial Palo Alto engagements. Classic Hollywood directors never intended you to watch their pictures on a video screen in your living room (or while jogging). The magic of the movies depends on a larger-than-life image and the shared reactions of a large audience.
Many of the classics on the theatre’s program have been shown on TV but the fest is a good excuse to watch them on a big screen. Billy Wilder’s “Double Indemnity” with the deliciously wicked Barbara Stanwyck trading double entendres with Fred MacMurray, the affable sap she dupes into offing her husband, never gets old. If that’s too dark, try “The Ladykillers” (1955), a wacky heist film with a killer cast featuring Alec Guinness and Peter Sellers.