Saturday was expected to be a more relaxing day from the get-go. It’s not that there wasn’t much to do, just nothing that particularly caught our eye. Check out my brief thoughts on Rebel Without a Cause (1955), Hollywood Home Movies, and a poolside screening of Earthquake (1974)!
I spent the morning catching up on work – thus why you have two lovely blog posts prior to this – so missed a lot of brilliant screenings, from what I heard. I decided to watch an old favorite before trekking down to the Hollywood Home Movies panel, so hit up the screening of Nicholas Ray’s Rebel Without a Cause. Sandwiched between showings of 1776 (1972), Malcolm X (1992), and Christmas in July (1940), led to a smaller than average crowd, a fact film noir master Eddie Muller took note of. Muller did a great presentation – leaving things on a morbid note regarding James Dean’s death – before the film started. I’ve watched Rebel Without a Cause several times and seeing it on the big screen allows the rather superfluous CinemaScope presentation to come through. Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo, and Dean (the unlucky trio) are fantastic, and this is a film you can analyze from multiple perspectives: queer, gender, race, etc. It wasn’t my first choice to see, but I enjoyed finally experiencing it on a big screen!
After that we moved back to the Roosevelt Hotel for Hollywood Home Movies. This is a regular panel presented at TCM. This year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences worked in conjunction with TCM to spotlight the new museum the Academy is building. Alongside the Academy representatives were Jane Withers, Neile Adams (wife of Steve McQueen), and Bob Koster (son of director Henry Koster). The trio all brought various home movies detailing the minutiae of their lives in-between filming or at home. Adams and Koster’s footage was rather straightforward, but Jane Withers is always a doll to listen to. Her exclamations of “Good gravy,” talking about animals and her mother was darling. She genuinely loves participating and it was a delight to see her in the flesh.
From there it was all about seeing Earthquake! Many people wondered how I could turn my nose up at screenings of Adam’s Rib (1950), Imitation of Life (1959) and The Apartment (1960) for a showing of a crappy horror movie. To them I say: Genevieve Bujold. Since the festival wasn’t going to play Anne of the Thousand Days this year, I figured this was the next best thing…and it was! I was fortunate to see this with two of my good friends, Backlots writer Lara Fowler and Vivien Leigh biographer, Kendra Bean, both of whom enjoyed kicking back and making fun of this with me. Earthquake is definitely cheese, but where else will you get Ava Gardner doing her own stunts, Bujold wearing nothing but pink, and Victoria Principle rocking an afro? The film was introduced by star Richard Roundtree, who really didn’t talk much about this film. He was more content promoting his current projects, despite Illeana Douglas’ attempts to keep him focused on the film. Regardless, this is a fun film to watch with friends; one that deserves the Rifftrax treatment!