Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday the 20th Movie Marathon

I was flying back from Tel Aviv to New York today. It's a 12 hour flight. Wait, let me try that again. It's a 12 hour flight. You can guess what I was thinking. Perhaps you're thinking it too. Twelve divided by 2 equals 6. But of course no one can watch 6 films in a row, but I did make it up to four. Of course you might recall my New Year's Eve Movie Marathon...

But first a digression. I do feel a little bad about not reading a good book. I had a good one with me, some short stories by Roberto Bolano and some poetry by William Merwin. Regular readers might recall I was reading the same two writers over Christmas in India. But I had spent five full days working 12 hours a day with almost no going out. I had woken up at 6.30 and had been grilled by airport securuity for a full hour.

A brief digression within the digression. For reasons I have never fully grasped, they grill you even more thoroughly when you leave Israel than when you leave from this end or arrive. I've done this before and don't really mind too much, since the people questioning you are young and lively college students or recent graduates. But at some point they asked me to turn on my computer and actually show them the work I had been doing. Needless to say, they couldn't make much of the flugelbindery (either)...

But getting back to it, I was ready for a break so I set aside the book and turned on the screen.

I wonder whether I should try to justify my choices somehow -- by explaining that although there were many choices there weren't that many good films. Actually, the selection was strongest among Hollywood classics.

So without further prevarication here is the list:
  1. Quantum of Solace. I had missed it in the cinema. It wasn't ideal for the small screen, but Daniel Craig is growing on me.
  2. All About Eve. One of those true Hollywood classics that I had never seen. It's not light viewing at all -- all about ambition and age. A fantastic set of performances.
  3. Bullitt with Steve McQueen. McQueen is growing on me as well. There are these names that were huge stars in their day, but some aged well and not others. Elliott Gould for example I don't quite get. But Steve McQueen I certainly get, laconic, steely, and cool. The film is famous for the classic car chase of cinema, and the original San Francisco car chase sequence that all others are trying to best.
  4. Pillow Talk with Doris Day and Rock Hudson. Another pair of big stars from their day that I'm still coming to terms with. This will seem unfair, but when I see Rock Hudson, I cannot but think of Silvester Stallone. I think Doris Day was perfect in this role. And as I've mentioned before I love films set in New York where you can really get a sense of the city in a different ere. I must watch this on my projector when I'm back in Boston.
A digression again -- Aren't you simultaneously annoyed and enchanted at the musical interludes in older films? These changed over the decades. For example, Doris day always had to get her bit of singing in from what I can gather. But by the early 1970s, you have these films where the characters go to a restaurant or club and all dialogue stops for about 5 minutes while the music plays on. In Bullitt the music was by Lalo Schifrin, with jazz flute. Now there's another wonderful throwback, the jazz flute. Actually one of my favorite jazz musicians was a master both on saxophone and flute, Eric Dolphy, and one of my favorite tracks of his is where he is backing up John Coltrane on a version of My Favorite Things, except that at some point he switches to the flute. (Not quite it, but take a look at this and this. Wait! Just found it: here.)

After all of this my brain was a bit fried, so I didn't do too much in the 3 hours of the flight that remained. All right, I'll admit it. I watched an episode of NYPD Blue...

I feel a little embarrassed admitting my binge behavior... I'm not much of a binger in other things, but there are times when there is nothing better than a movie binge.

Now I'm back in New York, trying to keep up so I can adjust to the jet lag... Hmmm, perhaps what I need is another movie marathon.



Anonymous said...

oh...i just took mankiewicz' "all about eve" from the library today...(we are in sync ;)
and i too have heard speak...about the waiting/talking/looking etc at the tel aviv airport...

Bombay Beauty said...

Wonderful! BTW, I've just been updating the post -- through some digression within a digression I reached this link:


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