Monday, March 17, 2014

"Life's a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!" (Day 3 of the 2012 TCM Classic Film Festival)

Before diving into Day 3, I'd like to take a moment to say how wonderful it was to get to share this experience with my mother! I somehow convinced her to make this trip with me and to take on everything that is the TCM Classic Film Festival.  She's a lukewarm classic film fan, at best, but was open to the opportunity and really threw herself right in.  She kept up with me and even ventured out on her own when we didn't agree on the same movie.  It was really so great and made it hard to going back to the festival solo.

Back to the recap! Our Saturday of the Film Festival began with an early morning screening of Auntie Mame, which was introduced by Todd Oldham, fashion designer extraordinaire.  It's always so excited to discover unexpected classic film fans.  Mr. Oldham mostly talked about his love of the movie and how funny it was and that he really enjoyed it.

I had previously seen this movie, but it was a completely different experience getting to see it in the Egyptian theater with a super into it audience.  The colors were vibrant, the costumes and sets kooky, Rosalind Russell was larger than life and a force to be reckoned with and having an audience to laugh with was wonderful.  It was just hilarious.

After Auntie Mame, I headed over to Grauman's for the screening of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, while my mom boldly stayed behind at the Egyptian for the screening of The Thomas Crown Affair.  I guess she had seen Snow White in the theater too many times.  Little story time: When I was quite young my mother took me to see Snow White at our local movie theater (Squire) approximately 10 times and each and every time the queen transformed into the scary witch she walked me out of the theater so I wouldn't disturb the other movie goers with my crying and to try to protect me from very scary imagery (thanks mom!)

Pretty, even though Snow White looks strange
The schedule indicated that Ginnifer Goodwin, actress and current Snow White on the show Once Upon a Time was going to be interviewed before the movie, but as an added surprised Marge Champion was in the audience.  Leonard Maltin introduced Marge and brought her up to the front of the theater.  She then shared that she had been the live action model for Snow White and that she had been born very close by.

 When Ginnifer arrived she seemed very, very excited to be there.  She was all smiles and giggles and just exuding excitement.  Leonard conducted an interview, which was more like a conversation and Ginnifer talked about growing up watching Snow White and all the Disney movies.  She shared that she was a HUGE Disney fan and when she was offered the role on Once Upon a Time she accepted it immediately.  She also said that she studied all the Snow Whites and always viewed it as a cautionary tale.  She also told us that her favorite scene was the scene at the well. 

After the interview/conversation she took a seat in the audience and sat next to her Once Upon a Time (and real life) Prince Charming [Josh Dallas] to enjoy the movie.  I always love getting a chance to see a Disney movie in a theater the songs are infectious and the animation and colors looked gorgeous.  And this time I was able to stay in the theater during the queen's transformation into a witch scene, I've really matured.

After our respective movies, my mother and I met up at the Chinese 6 for a screening of Counsellor-at-Law starring John Barrymore and Bebe Daniels and co-starring Melvyn Douglas and directed by William Wyler.  On hand to introduce it was the lovely Illeana Douglas, who is Melvyn's granddaughter and a wonderful friend of TCM. She also wore a super rad Groucho Marx sweater (as you can see below).

I'm glad that I had the opportunity to see this movie, I don't know if I would've seen it otherwise.  It was great to get to see these wonderful actors on the big screen. 

Up next was Singin' in the Rain at Grauman's complete with an interview with Debbie Reynolds beforehand and an outro with Patricia Ward Kelly.  Debbie Reynolds gave a very interesting interview.  There were times when I felt she was a little unnecessarily crass, especially regarding Gene Kelly, especially since his widow was in the audience, but I guess it was all in good fun and meant to be entertaining.  The interview began with Robert Osborne talking about how Judy Garland had always talked about working on the Wizard of Oz and how she just remembered being surrounded by lions and having her boobs tied down, he then asked Debbie if she had any memories like that.  She responded with, they couldn't tie her boobs down and she didn't work with lions but she did marry a few of them. 

She told some funny stories about working on the set and about her career.  Getting to see the movie in Grauman's was certainly surreal, especially since the opening of the movie takes place at a premiere at Grauman's.

And it's always a joy to get to see these musicals in a packed theater.  After the screening Patricia Ward Kelly came to the front of the theater and began by reading a letter written to her by a 4th grader who didn't like the movie, the bulk of the letter asked her why her husband danced so much and said that the movie would be better without all the dancing and one specific question was, "can't your husband stop thinking about dancing?"  She then read another letter to Gene where a child said, my mother doesn't let me climb on the furniture why does your mother?  These were very humorous and it was so nice of her to share them with us.

She then kind of went through a laundry list of fun factoids and tid-bits about the movie and things related to the movie.  She told us that there was no milk used in the 'Singin' in the Rain' number, that Gene Kelly had thought Donald O'Connor was an unsung talent, Gene felt that Moses Supposes was the best tap dance he had ever done, he thought that Jean Hagen was the glue that held that picture together, the black bob worn by Cyd Charisse was inspired by Lousie Brooks since Gene had a big crush on her and finally that the outfit in the Gotta Dance number was a one piece: vest, shirt, pants.
the bob and the one piece

Our final movie of the day was, Marathon Man at Grauman's.  The screening also included an interview with Robert Evans, conducted by Ben Mankiewicz before the movie.  Seeing and hearing Robert Evans was very interesting and informative.  He talked a great deal about getting the movie made, casting Laurence Olivier and the style of the film.  He started off by saying that Love Story had saved Paramount, it had cost 2.2 million to make and it made 102 million, his explanation for it being so successful was that it was an aphrodisiac and men would take women to see it 5 or 6 times.

Ben then asked how they were able to get Olivier in the movie.  Evans explained that they had Dustin Hoffman, John Schlessinger and Olivier was broke and dying of cancer, they couldn't get insurance, but Merle Oberon and David Niven helped to get him insured.  At first the insurance company would only give him 6 days, they managed to get the insurance company to give him 6 weeks.  Olivier even lived with Evans during the shoot and not only survived during those 6 weeks, but went on to live for 13 more years after the movie.

He then talked about the 2 different acting styles, of Dustin Hoffman and Laurence Olivier.  Which reminded me of the well-known anecdote from the shoot.  I believe it goes like this: Hoffman showed up on set looking run down and haggard.  Olivier asked him what was wrong and Hoffman told him that he hadn't slept in 3 days because his character had been on the run and hadn't slept for 3 days.  Olivier replied by asking, "why don't you try acting?"

funny picture of the 2 on the set
Robert Evans said that the on set conflict between the actors and the different acting styles helped make the movie that much more tense and scary.  And I do have to say this movie is quite scary.  I had never seen it before and I didn't really know what to expect, it was a very tense, thrilling movie.  It was certainly a thrill to get to see it in a huge theater like that and I was grateful to have my mom next to me to reassure me during the scary parts :)

Alright, that does it for Day 3.  Tune in next time for Day 4, which I like to call Cary Grant day because I saw: To Catch a Thief, Charade, The Women (I know Cary's not in that) and Mr. Blandings Builds his Dream House.

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