|Bobby Henrey and Ralph Richardson in The Fallen Idol|
The first movie I saw on Sunday was Carol Reed’s The Fallen Idol (1948). This film from the UK starring Ralph Richardson and Michelle Morgan was one that I had never seen before. It was an intriguing tale of a diplomat’s son Philippe (Bobby Henrey) who idolizes his father’s butler, Baines (Richardson). To keep the young boy occupied, Baines made up stories about his life in Africa, a place he has never been. After Philippe witnesses a tragic accident, what’s true and what’s false gets complicated. The Fallen Idol was wonderfully directed and acted, especially by Richardson. After the movie, Bobby Henrey who played Philippe talked about his experiences making the film. Unfortunately, I had to dash before Henrey really got going in order to get in line to see Shanghai Express (1932).
I had never seen the film, directed by Dietrich’s mentor Josef von Sternberg. The restoration was flawless. Shanghai Express was Dietrich’s most commercially successful film and for good reason. The story moves along briskly and is beautifully filmed by Lee Garmes who won an Academy Award for his efforts. I was especially impressed with the slow screen dissolves, which instead of being a device to go from one scene to the other, actually helped advance the narrative. Dietrich never looked more glamorous and Garmes photographed her in the most flattering light; she looked absolutely stunning. The supporting cast is a who’s who of early-1930s cinema: Clive Brook, Anna May Wong, Warner Oland, and Eugene Pallette.
There was some time in between Shanghai Express and The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming (1966) so I went to the Roosevelt Hotel to hang out and visit with some people. While I was there, the folks promoting the TCM Backlot fan club had a trivia contest. I answered a question correctly and won a t-shirt and baseball cap, both with the TCM Backlot logo. Woohoo!
|My trivia winnings|
|Fred Astaire, Nanette Fabray, and Jack Buchanan from The Bandwagon|
Here’s to next year’s festival!