Summering in New England feels like I am living a life not my own...as I attend lectures on astronomy by meterologists at local Masonic Temples, sit on an empty lake eating softserve ice cream (which they call "creamies" here- what an anthropological journey!), go see cinema classics in an opera house dating from 1926 (complete with clock tower!), dreaming of a lost America of love, past blue automobiles in driveways, home to my silent cottage...it all seems like a distant beautiful life as the cool mountain breeze dries me off and I sit riverside on a bank of hot rocks. The local opera house, The Bellows Falls Opera House to be exact, has a year round series of cinema classics on Wednesday nights and it really is completely wonderful to sit in an audience of retired folk, small children and everyone in between to share with them films that are the foundation of Hollywood and that, like a good classic novel, everyone should really experience! The audience was so lively that a brief moment during the intro to Marilyn Monroe's musical number "I Want To Be Loved By You" at the screening of Billy Wilder's black & white comic masterpiece Some Like It Hot there was a pleasant, quite hum/sing along in the most subdued and sweet way possible- now that is cinematic magic folks! Where did that go? We need that back! So beautiful!
Some Like It Hot (!gasp!) and I am actually glad this was the way I got to see it for the first time as I felt transported back to a golden age of the movies with a lovely willing audience in such a memorable setting. Everyone always speaks of the tragedy of Marilyn Monroe and you never really think of what that really means until you see her perfect comic timing bubble out in front of you on screen, her curves (!) languidly ooze around the camera sticking to the eyes of everyone who sees them, filling the big screen to the brim with all of her glorious being! And there was the equally stunning presences and performances of Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon as they propelled the story forward escaping the Chicago mob, masquerading as women, millionares, speakeasy musicians, telling a story heavy on the conventions of gender roles, slyly progressive in content like almost all of Wilder's work! And, speaking of which, there was the directorial perfection of Billy Wilder!
1,2,3 once in a movie theater in New York, Film Forum I think, and thinking to myself there is no way this plot is going to last: but it did! Wilder always does! In terms of comedy he just knows when to punch, how hard and what the punch should look like and not just scene to scene, for a whole entire movie- a thing I realized as I looked at clips on the internet to post here and noticed the lead up to everything is so calculated that every single part & detail is a necessity from beginning to end (and upon further inspection, a fact that Jack Lemmon talks about in this great clip)! What a genius! What a great movie! Such a beautiful night! I think every household should implement a summer cinema classics night! Even if it means some tough conversations are to be had after the closing title, "I'll explain to you what you saw later," the poor mom sitting next to me said to her young son as transvestites, sex and a level of extreme wit dumbfounded the kid whose movie brain is probably mostly conditioned to explosions....bring back the Golden Age of Hollywood! THE END