Friday was the first full day of the festival. Screenings start as early as 9 a.m. and there are usually several good movies to choose from. My early morning choices were, Rafter Romance (1933), The Maltese Falcon (1941), Cry, The Beloved Country (1951), Beyond the Mouse the 1930s Cartoons of UB Iwerks, and It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963). It wasn’t that long ago that I saw The Maltese Falcon on the big screen at a Fathom/TCM event. I didn’t want to commit to It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, a long, long, long, long movie, but I did want to keep with the comedy theme of the festival, so it was Rafter Romance over Cry, The Beloved Country.
|Norman Foster, Ginger Rogers, George Sidney, and Laura Hope Crews|
Rafter Romance was screened in the Egyptian Theatre and so was my next choice, One Hour with You (1932). It was competing with Born Yesterday (1950), Lady Sings the Blues (1972), and Beat the Devil (1953). One Hour with You was another movie I had never seen before. This pre-Code musical starred Maurice Chevalier, Jeanette MacDonald, and Genevieve Tobin. The Ernst Lubitsch musical comedy centers around Chevalier and MacDonald as a happily married couple whose bliss is compromised when Chevalier is seduced by MacDonald’s best friend (Tobin). The film follows Chevalier as he struggles with his love for his wife and his attraction to Tobin. In the hands of Lubitsch and Chevalier, these struggles are incredibly comical. Chevalier breaks the fourth wall, as he constantly speaks (and sings) directly to the audience. Adding to the comedy mix are Roland Young and Charles Ruggles, but it’s Chevalier that makes this musical farce work. He’s charming, naive, sophisticated, and hysterical all at the same time. One Hour with You was another enjoyable movie experience for me. “But oh that Mitzie!”
|Ben Mankiewicz and Peter Bogdanovich|
Next up was a movie epic that I had never seen from beginning to end: The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957). It was shown at the Chinese Theatre in a restored digital presentation. The movie did not disappoint. The production was impressive, as were the performances of William Holden, Jack Hawkins, and Alec Guinness who won a Best Actor Oscar for his performance as the by-the-book British colonel in a Japanese POW camp. This was director David Lean’s first big budget movie. It was a critical as well as an international box office success. I’m glad I finally got to see this film in its entirety. It more than lived up to its reputation. Alex Trebek introduced the film with some interesting trivia about the director and casts alleged womanizing!? Not sure how that added to the film’s enjoyment, but it was an interesting aside.
|Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney in Laura|
Even though I ended the evening on a bit of a sour note with Laura, I would have to declare the entire day a successful one. I got to see all the films I wanted to see and had a great time experiencing them with a live audience in true movie palaces.
Saturday brought more tough choices. Decisions, decisions!