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Classic flicks under the stars

The seventh annual Outdoor Film Festival in Grant Park will open with James Dean as a rebel without a cause, and end with Ferris Bueller as a rebel with one. The series of seven free Tuesday evening screenings, which draw crowds upward of 14,000, unspools starting July 18 at Butler Field, Monroe and South Lake Shore. The schedule of this year's festival, which is presented by the Mayor's Office of Special Events, Commonwealth Edison, the Chicago Park District and the Chicago Film Office, was released today.

I will join fellow critic and Sun-Times columnist Richard Roeper in introducing the opening-night screening of "Rebel Without a Cause" (1955), starring James Dean and Natalie Wood. We'll talk about 8:15 p.m.; the movie will start at 8:55. All screenings will begin at dusk, which grows gradually earlier as the festival progresses. Prime positions on the lawn start filling up an hour or more before, as movie buffs stake out their turf, spread their blankets and unpack their snacks.

The rest of the festival:

July 25: "Bringing Up Baby" (1938, Howard Hawks), with Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn. Approximate start time, 8:49 p.m.

Aug. 1: "High Noon," (1952, Fred Zinnemann), with Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly. 8:41 p.m.

Aug. 8: "American Graffiti" (1973, George Lucas), with Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard and Cindy Williams. 8:32 p.m.

Aug. 15: "The Apartment" (1960, Billy Wilder), with Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine and Fred MacMurray. 8:22 p.m.

Aug. 22: "On the Waterfront" (1954, Elia Kazan), with Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Rod Steiger and Eva Marie Saint. 8:11 p.m.

Aug. 29: "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" (1986, John Hughes), with Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck and Mia Sara. 7:59 p.m.

There is free bicycle valet parking at the northwest corner of Lake Shore and Monroe. No bikes, dogs or booze are allowed in the seating area.

Public transportation is a quick way to get there; parking is available at the Millennium Park, and the East Monroe and Grant Park North and South parking garages.

State-of-the-art projection and sound facilities are masterminded by Chicago's world-famous technical wizard James Bond.

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