I started the day off at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and a new print of John Huston’s “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.” Both Angelica and Danny Huston were there to talk about the film, their father, and even their grandfather Walter, who received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for this film. Even better than that… Robert Osborne moderated the discussion.
The print itself was simply gorgeous, luscious even. It was so nice to see a film in Black and White with such clarity and detail I actually found myself discovering new details previously missed on a TV screen with an over worked print. If “Treasure” shows again anywhere, I encourage you to go see it. It’s worth it. Later I stopped in at the Roosevelt to catch a piece of the panel, “The Greatest Movies Ever Sold”. However I didn’t stay long. Although it was full of some very informative and experienced people it reminded me too much of my film school days. And I decided my time was better spent watching Harold Lloyd’s “Safety Last” with a live orchestra at the Egyptian, introduced by Leonard Maltin and Lloyd’s granddaughter.
Not only was it great to see a silent film presented the way it was originally intended, but I also had a great conversation with some enthusiastic film students from USC and Santa Monica’s Art Institute in line on the way in. At my seat I was flanked by a local couple that had come into Hollywood just for that screening, and on my right was a lady from Pennsylvania (my dad’s home state!) spending her vacation days with TCM. It’s true what they say; Lloyd really was just as good as Chaplin and Keaton, and a victim of his own refusal to allow his films to be shown on TV until the early 70’s. As his granddaughter said, “He didn’t like commercials and that was many years before TCM. Thank goodness we now have TCM”.
The last show of the day for me was the presentation of Banned Cartoons hosted by Donald Bogle. Bogle is an engaging speaker who is the authority on African American images in film (he co-hosted TCM’s special focus on the topic a while back). I have to say it was an enlightening evening to see what depictions were considered acceptable by the entertainment world in another day and age. If TCM ever re-airs “Race & Hollywood: Black Images on Film” you should try and catch it. Or check out Bogle in person should he come to speak in your area.
The best highlight of my day was running into Tony Curtis and his wife at the Bar at the Roosevelt. He’s just such a doll up close and in person. The discussion before “The Sweet Smell of Success” just didn’t do him justice. So if you have the time be sure to stop by Curtis’ book signing Sunday, or any time he has one anywhere. You won’t be disappointed.