Saturday morning, I got to the Egyptian Theater bright and early to line up for Auntie Mame (1958), the pinnacle of Rosalind Russell’s career. Though I would have loved to see Kim Novak’s handprint ceremony at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, I was set on seeing Auntie Mame. Writer Cari Beauchamp and designer Todd Oldham introduced the film, and they both happen to be big fans of it. Oldham talked about the opulence of the costumes and the set decoration, which is a big major of why Auntie Mame is so hysterical. Beauchamp mentioned that it’s one of the few movies that makes her feel good about life every time she watches it.
Like with Nothing Sacred, I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to see this with people. I’d seen it once before, but the woman next to me had never seen it, and she was in stitches the whole time. There was cheering when Russell first appeared on screen and when she declared, “But darling, I’m your Auntie Mame!” I was surprised that fewer people cheered during the famous “Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death” line – but I guess everyone was just wrapped up in how outrageous this film is. The climax of the film, with Patrick’s fiancée and her family alongside Mame and her eccentric friends, was just wonderful to see on the big screen.
After Auntie Mame, I hightailed over to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre to get in line to see Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). It was my very first time inside Grauman’s, and to see a movie from my childhood was a real treat. Film critic and historian Leonard Maltin briefly talked about the movie and introduced Marge Champion, who was the Snow White movement model for the animators. He then introduced actress Ginnifer Goodwin, who plays Snow White (and Mary Margaret Blanchard) on ABC’s Once Upon a Time. It turns out that Goodwin is a huge Disney fan and particularly loves Snow White, with whom she identified when she was a child because they’re both brunette (so she joked). Goodwin offered an interesting perspective on her show, explaining that, in her view, OUAT imagines what the original tale of Snow White would be like – a tale that Walt Disney cleaned up for his film.
Before the film began, Maltin alerted us that we were the very first public audience to see this new digital restoration of Snow White. And boy was this fun. I was surprised at the sheer diversity of the audience. There were literally men, women, and children of all ages – and they were a fantastic audience with whom to see this movie. When the Queen, equipped with the poisoned apple, made her way to the cottage, the audience booed and hissed – and when she toppled off the side of the cliff, they cheered.
When this finished, I hurried on back to the Egyptian to get in line for Harold Lloyd’s Girl Shy (1924). This was one of my favorite film going experiences ever because it was my first time seeing a silent movie accompanied by a live orchestra, which made this a special treat. Leonard Maltin introduced the film alongside Suzanne Lloyd, the granddaughter of Harold Lloyd. She talked a little bit about her grandfather’s legacy and how, even in his old age, he was making notes about how he should reedit his movies.
And then Maltin introduced the Robert Israel Orchestra, conducted by Robert Israel himself. During the movie, I sometimes found myself watching them instead of the screen, but I always quickly tore my eyes away from them. Although the film was a bit slow, though endearing, in the beginning, it skyrocketed towards the end. The whole last twenty minutes or so was one of the most exciting things I’ve ever seen. Lloyd steals cars, mans a trolley, commandeers a wagon, and jumps onto a horse in one wild race against the clock. When he finally reached his destination at the end, the audience gave him one resounding round of applause.
And so ended my Saturday at TCMFF. My Sunday recap will be up tomorrow.