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APRIL 25-30

Part of an ongoing series marking the publication of the American Film Institute’s catalog of ’40s features, this program includes only four films from two years, 1942 and ’43. The selection would hardly seem enough to capture the achievement of Hollywood’s Golden Age, and yet look at what’s offered by just these four features: comedy, suspense, and melodrama. Michael Curtiz, George Stevens, Ernst Lubitsch, and Alfred Hitchcock. Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Cary Grant, Ronald Colman, Jean Arthur, Jack Benny, Carole Lombard, and Joseph Cotten. To connect the dots, the movies are Casablanca, a picture that has become so iconic that it’s really beyond criticism—but actually is pretty good (at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 25, and Thursday, April 27, and 8:45 p.m. Sunday, April 30); Talk of the Town, Stevens’ domestic semi-comedy about an innocent fugitive from justice (Grant) who’s hidden from a lynch mob by a longtime friend (Arthur); To Be or Not to Be, Lubitsch’s once-controversial comedy about a Polish theater group (led by Benny and Lombard) in farcical revolt against the country’s Nazi occupiers (pictured, at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 26, and 7 p.m. Sunday, April 30); and Shadow of a Doubt, Hitchcock’s tale of a sleepy town that gets a little more excitement than it craves with the arrival of a charming killer (at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 26, and 5 p.m. Sunday, April 30). At the American Film Institute’s National Film Theater, in the Kennedy Center’s Hall of States. $7.50. (202) 785-4600. (Mark Jenkins)