Tuesday, April 17, 2018

A Davis Happening

According to the opening remarks by former mayor Dave Rosenberg, this is the 9th year that there has been an Oddfellows Classic Film festival.  Previous festivals have featured Academy Award Best Picture Films, Classic Westerns, Classic Courtroom Dramas, Classic Film Noir, Classic Screwball Comedies, Classic Comedies, and Classic Science Fiction, Classic Jimmy Stewart.  I didn't attend any of them, though Walt remembers going to one movie once. 

This year, however, the festival features Hitchcock movies.

I love Hitchcock so we decided to go.  I discovered it was a real Davis "happening."  The event takes place in the upper hall of the IOOF building.  I saw people entering carrying their own chairs and wondered if we would have to sit on the floor, but there were folding chairs (very uncomfortable) and I was jealous of those who had brought their own more comfortable seating.

There's no entrance fee, but they do ask for a donation to keep the group going.  And once you pay, you get free popcorn and get to enjoy the background music playing by a group that features, I think, an accordion, though I only heard it, but couldn't turn my head around enough to see it.

Drinks are for sale and Walt bought a beer, which he was tickled to see came in a 2009 Octoberfest glass with a caricature of the aforementioned former mayor, Dave Rosenberg.

Dave, then and now!

Paul was a particular favorite of Dave and his wife when Paul was still alive. 

The audience was about our age and I was actually surprised that we didn't see more people we knew (though we saw some...I was cornered by someone who wanted to complain about the acoustics at the Sacramento Convention Center, where she had seen Book of Mormon).  Lots of silver heads and canes, like us, in the house.

Davis' own Derrick Bang, former editor of the entertainment section of the newspaper (and my first boss as a critic) took over the movie section of the paper after they had to drop the entertainment "section" for financial reasons.  (I never write the phrase "Rodgers and Hammerstein" without remembering Derrick hammering into me that there is a "d" in Rodgers!)

In addition to being an expert on Peanuts and all things Charles Schulz (he has written several books on Peanuts and was a participant in the creation of the Schulz museum in Santa Rosa many years ago), he is also a walking encyclopedia of film and started the evening off with a fascinating history of Hitchcock, starting with his youth and early movies in England and then tidbits about the movie we were seeing this evening.

And then it was time for the movie itself.  The metal chairs were killers and I was very uncomfortable, but watching the movie helped me forget, occasionally, how much my back was hurting.

It was very dated, very hokey in spots, very Pro-America and Anti-Fascist, but also fun.  Derrick had a Q&A after the movie but Walt didn't ask him the question he wanted to ask.  The bad guys want to blow up a ship and they do but after they halfway succeed, the bomber for some reason goes to the Statue of Liberty, where he is followed by the heroine, who lets the police know where they can catch him, but he, for some reason, has  to catch a certain ferry back to NYC and she is trying to prevent him from leaving.  But there is no given reason why he goes to the Statue of Liberty or why he is so intent on getting back on time.  I explained to Walt that the reason was that it was in the script.

I went to Derrick and asked the expert the question and his answer was "who the hell knows?" and we both decided the only reason was so that Hitchcock could film a chase scene on the statue itself (a precursor of the similar chase seen on Mt. Rushmore in North by Northwest years later).

The whole evening was such fun and we are looking forward to seeing Shadow of a Doubt next week (right after we see a matinee of Guys and Dolls to review).  That's one of the movies I remember.  I will bring my own chair next time, though.

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