Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The Extraordinary Mildred Natwick

On a Friday earlier this month, with time to spare before a screening of the Jacques Becker heist classic Touchez pas au grisbi at the Pacific Film Archive, we stopped by Rasputin’s, a decades-old Berkeley haunt that deals in new and used records, CDs, DVDs and Blu-Rays. There I managed to unearth two films, Lubitsch’s Ninotchka and Truffaut’s Day for Night, along with a ‘70s TV series, all at a good price. The series is one I’d been only vaguely aware of and knew very little about, really. The Snoop Sisters (1972 – 1974), starred Helen Hayes and Mildred Natwick as a pair of sisters aptly named Snoop, one of whom (Hayes) writes mystery novels. The two invariably get mixed up in solving real crimes (sound familiar?).

Saturday, August 25, 2018

"On the Town," in Celebration of Leonard Bernstein's Centenary

August 25th marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of American composer/conductor/pianist Leonard Bernstein. In celebration, movie houses around the country are showcasing films scored by the legendary maestro.  My local theater, the Smith Rafael Film Center (aka/the Rafael), put together a three-film tribute to Bernstein, with On the Town (1949), On the Waterfront (1954) and West Side Story (1961) screening on separate Sundays in August.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Roll Up for the Mystery Tour: A Visit to the Oakland Paramount Theatre

Have you ever wanted to tour a historic movie palace? One of those elaborately ornate monuments to cinema constructed during the Golden Age of American movie theaters, back in the ‘20s and ‘30s? Well, I have, and luckily for me I live not very far from one of the most spectacular of them all, the Paramount Theatre in Oakland, CA, a theater that hosts public tours twice monthly.