Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Stanley Donen Mini-Film Festival

In honor of my 200% increase in followers I figured I'd try to get a post up before the end of the weekend, as you can see I have failed.  Hello followers!

So this past weekend, I very unexpectedly became a patron of a Stanley Donen film festival at the Walter Reade Theater at the Lincoln Center in NYC.  I found out about it from a Tweet by @criterion at 5:30pm on Wednesday.  The tweet said that Stanley Donen would be doing a Q&A at a screening of Funny Face that night at 6:15.  I wish I had known about it sooner, but I decided just to go for it, I work close-ish to the city.  Alas it ended up taking me an hour and 25 minutes to get to the theater.  The staff was nice enough to let me in and they told me that Stanley Donen was going to be speaking AFTER the movie, so I was elated.  I did feel bad that I showed up so late and just wanted to stand in the back of the theater until the movie ended, but one of the ushers asked me to take a seat.  I tried to walk to a seat unnoticed, but I didn't succeed.  I managed to upset an older woman who was wearing sunglasses, she kept turning around to see what I was up to.  I wasn't up to anything, just being a late arrival to the movie.  I showed up just in time for this scene:

It was great to get to see this scene, especially since it oddly went on to  become a GAP commercial.  Seeing it in it's true form was exciting and wonderful.  Overall it was so great to see 'Funny Face' on the big screen. I have to admit it isn't one of my favorite Audrey Hepburn movies and it isn't one of my favorite Fred Astaire movies.  I think the age difference is somehow more noticeable in this movie.  I don't mind it at all in Charade, but for some reason it's irksome here.  Anyway, on to the positives....Audrey Hepburn looked GORGEOUS!  The dresses and costumes were marvelous!  And the songs were 'SWonderful :)  I may have to watch the whole thing on DVD sometime soon, I feel just terrible that I missed the beginning and I apologize to any people I may have disturbed.

After the movie (and the applause) Stanley Donen came up to the front of the theater and was joined by Mike Nichols, who I was quite surprised to see, yet for some reason I didn't appreciate his presence or feel a thrill or anything  (I don't think I've forgiven him for 'Closer,' but I do LOVE!! 'Working Girl' 'The Birdcage' and 'The Graduate').  The Q&A went very nicely and both directors shared their experiences as directors and what it's like to try to please studios and the importance of telling a good story.  They seemed to be good friends and had an easy time talking with one another.  I learned that Mike Nichols is a fan of Opera (he made a number of references to them) and that Mr. Donen doesn't appreciate pretentious people and thinks that the only assholes in the world are people who think they're perfect and infallible.  I wish I had had a pen to write down some of the very funny things that he had to say about making movies and working in the business.

They then opened up the room for questions, someone asked how he came to work with Moore and Cook on the movie Bedazzled (which I have yet to see).  He said that he had been living in England at the time, had watched one of their shows on TV and was interested in working with them.  I wish I could remember the other questions that people asked...maybe they'll come to me at a later date and time.  In any event it was great to see the movie and to see Stanley Donen in person, he was very well spoken.  I tried to get his autograph after the screening, but he semi-respectfully declined.

So that was the first screening I attended, more to come, which will include: Indiscreet, The Pajama Game and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and another Q&A with Stanley Donen (with pictures!).


  1. I wished I brought a laptop to be able to write all the wonderful verbal gems that Stanley Donen spouted when I saw him some months ago in Boston. And Kudos to you for trying to get his autograph! I didn't even have the cojones to go up and say hello when I saw him before one of the screenings. Will he be at all of those screenings you mentioned? If so, go to all of them! I went to two of them and it was awesome.

    I'll be linking to you so let's hope you get more followers soon!

  2. Same here, he was very well spoken. I think I spied a video camera off to the side, so maybe the Lincoln Center plans on posting the video, I can only hope.

    Thanks for the kudos, I just figured I would try to get his autograph since he was there and I was there, but when I asked him he said that there were too many people around and he didn't want to be there all night signing autographs (little did he know all those people were in line waiting for another movie to start), but it was alright, I can understand that it's an imposition.

    He attended three screenings total, I attended Funny Face on Wednesday and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers on Saturday and I'll have to double check what the third one was, but I couldn't make it.

    Thank you for linking me! I really appreciate it and yeah hopefully I'll have more followers in time for the Joan Crawford Biography Giveaway. :) Thanks again.