Thursday, April 26, 2012
Easier To Go Forward
Third Annual TCM Classic Film Festival was recently held and I was able to pull myself away from watching TCM to actually go there to see a number of movies, presented both digitally and on actual 35mm film. The way events are scheduled in multiple places all at once it would be impossible for any one person to see everything they would want to see but my weekend included TWO FOR THE ROAD which featured a talk with director Stanley Donen (celebrating his 88th birthday!) beforehand, CHINATOWN which featured a talk with Robert Evans and Robert Towne, an early Saturday morning screening of WHO DONE IT?, THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR with an appearance by director Norman Jewison, the great noir GUN CRAZY with star Peggy Cummins in person, the very nasty Anthony Mann noir RAW DEAL as well as a screening of a beautiful 35mm print of ANNIE HALL in Grauman’s Chinese which was practically a religious experience for me. Just about the biggest surprise of the weekend for me was the stunningly good 1933 William Wyler film COUNCILLOR AT LAW starring John Barrymore. Clearly based on a play (by Elmer Rice) and yet totally cinematic in every single shot, with rat-a-tat dialogue coming at such a fast clip it made my mouth drop open in awe. Part of the pleasure came from how I decided to check this one out almost on impulse. You should do that, you should be willing to try a film you know nothing about at a festival like this. Of course, you also go to see films that you’ve seen many times in the past and that was one of the reasons why I passed up what sounded like a pretty fascinating rare Clara Bow film that several people I knew were going to in favor of a late Saturday night screening of a 35mm print of John Frankenheimer’s SECONDS. For me, there wasn’t very much choice in the matter. here if you’re curious) I tried to get across how much this particular film, about someone from Scarsdale who winds up in California, means to me. I probably didn’t do a very good job, but it’s difficult to put into words everything about SECONDS anyway.