Some guys enjoy an early morning round of golf. Me, I prefer a swim. Namely, Burt Lancaster in the unique and remarkable movie aptly named THE SWIMMER. This “allegorical picture”, as it was described by Roger Ebert, is one that will stay with me for a long time. Set in the 1960s, upper class, materialistic and snobbish, outlying suburbs of Connecticut, the atmosphere will be very familiar to any Mad Men fans. The 9 am screening truly afterwards as though I had dived right into the deep end.
Next up, leaving on Track 2—er, the Egyptian Theater—was a terrific film noir set within the small confines of a train, THE NARROW MARGIN. Co-star Jacqueline White charmed the audience with her recollections of this low-budget, three-week shoot, including how impressed with it RKO Studio head Howard Hughes was. Great dialog like Marie Windsor’s, “There’s another train… The gravy train!”
I skipped the next block of films entirely to indulge in some food and sun. But I was up and around for the early evening’s IT, starring an amazingly contemporary Clara Bow, and a live orchestra performing a newly-composed score.
Capping off the day was yet another unique experience: HONDO, with John Wayne, in 3-D. This Western was part of the very short-lived, 1953 fad. But the effects were, with a couple of exceptions (such as an arrow shot right into the audience) downplayed, the main focus being on the story–particularly Wayne’s relationship with Geraldine Page.
And so today brings more Gunfight at the OK Corral moments. Which movies win out? Most likely we begin with DELIVERANCE and an appearance with the cast and director. Then a choice between GIANT, THE BIG PARADE or THE TRAIN. Followed by SHANE, or THE LADY EVE, or TALL TARGET? Later it’s a choice between FLYING DOWN TO RIO, MILDRED PIERCE, LE MANS, or AIRPLANE.
Time for a coin flip or two…
THE SWIMMER stays with you.