Opening-Night Jitters

The usual concerns and distractions kept me from attending the TCM Classic Film Festival until 8:50 pm last night. I arrived at the big Chinese (a.k.a. “the Samaha-Kushner club“) to see how Spartacus would look on the big screen. Answer: okay to so-so, and definitely not great.

I don’t know if the projection was film or digital but the lamp wasn’t that bright, the focus was soft, there was no extraordinary detail, the image felt a little too dark and shadowy and the sound was okay but unexceptional.

Honestly? What I saw last night was nowhere near as satisfying as watching the bad “shiny” Spartacus Bluray (i.e., the one we’re not supposed to like) on my 50″ plasma.

I then ran upstairs to the Chinese 6 to see portions of William Wyler‘s Dodsworth (’36) and Stanley Donen‘s Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (’54). Both looked good to decent, and it was great to see that both played to nearly sold-out houses. But content-wise…whew.

Walter Huston and Mary Astor give strong, stand-up performances in Dodsworth and Michael Kidd‘s legendary Seven Brides choreography still delights and amazes, but otherwise I felt as if I was watching plays or operas written in the 18th Century. Those worlds are completely gone from the social-political current of today. Well, all but.

Today I’m seeing The Man With The Golden Arm, Citizen Kane, Reds (and the Alec Baldwin-Warren Beatty inteview), Niagara, La Dolce Vita, One, Two, Three and The Mummy at midnight.

  • taikwan

    Your dance card is full. Need to add !!!! because what a great way to spend those days. Perfect match. No wonder you moved back to LA

    Seven Brides is dated in every definition, except that choreography. Like Agnes DeMille and Oklahoma

  • grain monk

    Wells, you love to constantly remind us of your bona fides (i.e., working as a projectionist in NYC) and yet you weren’t able to discern if you were watching a print or a digital projection? On the Chinese screen? Dude, that’s some embarrassing shit.

  • JohnCope

    LOL. Good luck with Citizen Kane.

  • Kakihara

    Jeff: BTW, this is OT, but I was bored to death with Fast Five. Too many worthless supporting characters, not enough actual racing, irrelevant back-stories, and at least three more endings than the thing needed. I liked the climax on the freeway, and that’s about it. I hope if there really is a sixquel, Lin will drop ship, or he’ll be stuck cranking ‘em out the rest of his life like Bay and Transformers and horror remakes.

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    Drop=jump.

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