We woke up early this morning to attend the screening of Cover Girl at the Chinese Multiplex at 9:30, which proved to be a monumental choice, as Robert Osborne was there and talked about his personal love for the movie before it started. Also there was Gene Kelly’s widow, Patricia Ward Kelly who made it a point to introduce herself to every single audience member. We were all quietly trying to guess her age–as there is a gigantic age difference between Patricia and Gene–when Patricia came out and said “We’re 46 years apart! I was born in 1959, so you do the math!” She really seems to sincerely care about Gene’s legacy, and it is rather well-known that she tends to show up at every festival where Gene’s films are being shown. What a lovely lady!
Second on our agenda was Elmer Gantry at the Egyptian Theatre, for which we had to leave Cover Girl early to get in line. We got there JUST in the nick of time, as the line was just starting to move into the theatre. The program listed Shirley Jones as the guest speaker, and we were very excited to hear her speak–I had already devised a plan to ask her to sign my pass! But as it drew closer to the movie’s start time, an announcement was made–Shirley Jones would not be coming. A collective gasp was heard throughout the audience, as many of us had chosen this movie just for Shirley Jones’ guest appearance. The movie in its own right, however, is absolutely brilliant, and Shirley Jones or no Shirley Jones, I am so glad we saw it on the big screen. The story of a wayward Christian who turns to preaching in order to secure the affections of a young revival leader (played by Jean Simmons), and who ultimately sees the error of his ways by way of a young prostitute (Shirley Jones) with whom he had had a relationship many years prior and who was set on seeking revenge for his having wronged her. It is a movie with intensely complex characters and a compelling plotline, based on the novel by Sinclair Lewis. The woman who took the place of Shirley Jones, a film historian who has written many books and is well-known in the industry, turned our attention to the bizarre opening credits of Elmer Gantry, essentially condemning the film as an affront to Christian values. The text reads as follows, including all the exclamation points:
We believe that certain aspects of Revivalism can bear examination- that the conduct of some revivalists makes a mockery of the traditional beliefs and practices of organized Christianity! We believe that everyone has a right to worship according to his conscience, but- Freedom of Religion is not license to abuse the faith of the people! However, due to the highly controversial nature of this film, we strongly urge you to prevent impressionable children from seeing it!
We are then shown multicolored crosses upon which the cast and crew was credited. Here are the main credits, shown after the text is scrolled:
After Elmer Gantry we found that it was pouring rain, and we had to make our way back over to the area around the Kodak Theatre in order to be ready to get in line for Vertigo at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre at 5:30. I recall with chagrin that my socks got VERY wet in the rain and I was miserable for a full 6 hours of movie-watching in soaking socks and shoes. I’m currently back at Marissa’s house, relishing in my clean, dry socks!
We had a bit of time for lunch/dinner before getting in line for Vertigo, and we had some rather tasty sandwiches at a little cafe inside the Kodak Theatre mall area. Given that the crowd for Vertigo was massive, due to the caliber of the film and the special guest, Kim Novak, we decided to get in line especially early. Shortly after the line entered the theatre and we got our seats, the house completely filled and I’m guessing that many, many people were turned away. Kim Novak’s interview with Robert Osborne started around 6:30 and was relatively short, mostly focusing on Alfred Hitchcock as a director. She looks wonderful, and was sweet and witty during her interview
I must say that Vertigo is not my favorite Hitchcock film, despite being filmed in my hometown of San Francisco. There are, however, a few very redeeming scenes, including this very strange sequence that looks eerily modern and disturbs me every time I watch it:
We quickly went from Vertigo to one of my favorites, the Joan Fontaine tearjerker Letter From an Unknown Woman. Those who have been following my blog for a while know that I am a real sucker for both of the de Havilland sisters–Joan Fontaine (née Joan de Havilland) and Olivia de Havilland, and Letter From an Unknown Woman is one of Joan’s all-time best. I was thrilled to see it on the program for this year’s festival, and my friend Marissa, who had never seen it before, absolutely adored it, which made me very happy!
It is now time for bed. I must, however, tell my readers before signing off that I am going to be interviewed for TCM tomorrow. The producers read my “fan story” that I submitted a few months ago at their offer, and decided I was worthy of an interview! I am meeting a producer tomorrow to film it, and it will air on TCM in the near future. Wish me luck!! I will post all about it tomorrow.
Good night, everyone!