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One of Hollywood’s brightest stars celebrates his first century today. Kirk Douglas (born Issur Danielovitch on December 9, 1916) tells his story in The Ragman’s Son and Let’s Face It. He is #17 on the American Film Institute list of Hollywood’s greatest leading men, with a range of roles from “Spartacus” to Vincent Van Gogh. As shown in “Trumbo,” he also showed enormous personal integrity and courage in defying the blacklist. He was also a producer who originally bought the rights to “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” intending to play the lead himself, and ultimately turned the project over to his son (Oscar-winner Michael Douglas), who produced it with Jack Nicholson in the role. Celebrate his centenary by taking a look at some of his classic films, but don’t overlook his gift for light comedy in movies like “For Love or Money.”

Copyright 2016 Walt Disney Pictures

Copyright 2016 Walt Disney Pictures

Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, and Mia Wasikowska star in “Alice Through the Looking Glass,” Tim Burton’s extravaganza inspired by Lewis Carroll’s classic fantasy. And I have a copy to give away!

Send me an email at with Alice in the subject line and tell me your favorite fantasy character. Don’t forget your address! (U.S. addresses only). I’ll pick a winner at random on December 15, 2016. Good luck!

Reminder: My policy on conflicts

In the mid-15th century, the royal House of Plantagenet had two rival groups that fought for control of the throne of England. On one side was the House of Lancaster, associated with a red rose, and on the other was the House of York, whose symbol was a white rose. There were many battles and conflicts, especially between 1455 and 1487. It continued until Henry Tudor of Lancaster became king and married Elizabeth of York, uniting the two factions.

Shakespeare’s plays about this conflict are coming to PBS this weekend as a second “Hollow Crown” series, this one called “War of the Roses.”

Believe is being held over for additional showings in selected theaters. The PG-rated faith-based Christmas story stars Ryan O’Quinn and Shawnee Smith.

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