Day 3 and the compulsive movie going behavior was in full mode as I attended a record (for me at least) six events.
Fall Guy. Legendary producer Walter Mirisch (“West Side Story,” “In the Heat of the Night” and “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” to name just three of his films) introduced “Fall Guy,” the very first movie he ever produced. The 89-year-old Mirisch explained that he was just 24 when he produced the 1947 noirish potboiler. Of his first effort Mirisch said, “I thought I knew a lot more about movies than I did. You will be subjected to my learning. For that I apologize.” The observation was greeted with much laughter from the sold out 9 am audience. After the screening, which the crowd loved, Mirisch returned for a post screening discussion with Film Noir historian and author Foster Hirsch. Mirisch proved to be a most humorous and gracious interview subject. Of “Fall Guy” Mirisch added that the film “was kind of an historical oddity. Here it is back again. I’m not prepared for what exactly this will be. If you have any questions, and if I can still remember, I’ll give answers.” The event was also introduced by Jared Case from the George Eastman House. Eastman House was responsible for the 35mm print that was screened.
Lonesome. For me one of the great discoveries of the festival was the 1928 silent film “Lonesome.” Originally I was on line for a screening of Laurel and Hardy shorts but switched at the last minute after reading the description of this terrific little film. I mean I have Laurel and Hardy shorts on DVD (and they are hilarious) but a festival should be about new discoveries. “Lonesome” is the simple tale of a young man and young woman dealing with the loneliness of life in New York City. Eventually they meet, at Coney Island. Everything goes well between them but fate intervenes. Will they reunite and find true love? While the answer may be obvious “Lonesome” uses a great screenwriting rule, namely, “Give the audience what they want but not in the way that they are expecting it.” “Lonesome,” a late silent, had a music sound track and sequences involving sync dialogue. The film was visually interesting employing a German expressionistic style, multiple dissolves and tinted frames to convey the anonymity and general chaos of life in the big city. The closets silent movies to which it can be compared are “Sunrise” and “The Crowd.” Jared Case, of Eastman House, gave a fascinating account of how the film, a French production, came to America and was restored. He told us how leading actress Barbara Kent died only recently at the age of 103!
Retour de Flammel / 3D rarities 1900-2003. Film collector, historian and pianist Serge Bromberg gave a history of 3D films from France, Russia and America. His presentation included a generous amount of 3D film clips from the silent era to today. Bromberg wproved to be knowledgeable as well as a proficient showman.
Girl Shy. Harold Lloyd’s 1924 feature was accompanied by the Robert Israel Orchestra. Israel wrote the score, conducted and even supplied sound effects. There is nothing like seeing a silent movie (which, by the way were never silent) with a full orchestra. This group of exceptional and enthusiastic musicians (matched by an equally enthusiastic audience) made this already hilarious movie really fly. “Girl Shy” was introduced by film critic Leonard Maltin and Suzanne Lloyd, Lloyd’s grand daughter.
More to come. Must have breakfast and then it is on to more screenings.