Tuesday, January 02, 2007
Audrey Hepburn double feature!
At the Castro Theatre in San Francisco. I was there, because honestly, how can you resist seeing Audrey on the big screen twice in one day? It's the way she was meant to be seen, really. And I must say, it really does make a difference. I watch most of my DVDs on the computer, mainly because I've cut TV out of my life, and it's easy to forget that movies were filmed to be seen on a grand scale. You always hear about Audrey's height and slender frame being her trademarks, but it's easy to forget when she's only 7 inches tall and every other actress (in and out of Hollywood) strives to be her. But seeing the one and only Audrey Hepburn larger than life in the opening scene of Breakfast at Tiffany's caught my breath and made me realize what magic she must have been when her films were new. I had even seen Breakfast earlier last year in a smaller theatre, but to see it in a grand old movie house from the 20s on a real screen makes all the difference. If you ever have the chance to see a film of hers on the big screen, take it! It's a completely new experience.
The Castro is a fantastic theatre that was built in 1922, and it shows in every inch. It even has a functioning organ directly below the screen, and a professional organist often plays movie themes and accompaniments to silent films. (The organist that often plays at the Castro played at the fabulous Grace Cathedral, also in San Francisco, on New Years Eve, playing movie themes before the grand fireworks over the Bay.) They couldn't have picked a better venue for an Audrey double feature! If you'd like to learn more about the theatre, click here.
The double feature, as you can see from the marquee, was Breakfast at Tiffany's and Funny Face. Like I'd said above, I was lucky enough to find Breakfast before, but I was beyond excited to find Funny Face. I've always been a big fan of musicals, and to see Audrey singing and dancing -- with Fred Astaire, no less! -- and possibly at her happiest onscreen was beyond exciting. Breakfast at Tiffany's showed first, with both movies playing twice that day (a double feature twice). I had thought that the earlier pairing would be less crowded, since the weather had finally cleared and the Castro was still a mess from the New Year's Eve parties the night before, but it was pretty much a full house for both films.
For Breakfast at Tiffany's, the audience clapped when the film first started, and laughed throughout. It's funny how you forget to laugh when you watch it at home by yourself, and it's interesting to see what first-timers find funny when you're watching with them. Mickey Rooney's Mr. Yunioshi got a lot of laughs, surprisingly, and no one seemed offended by him. A lot of Holly's more kooky lines got a lot of laughs; for example, "It's useful being top banana in the shock department" and her hypocritical "I hate snoops!" comment. And of course, at the end of the film the sound of people sniffling and blowing their noses could be heard even over the "Moon River" theme.
I also noticed a lot of young children at both films. They were very good throughout, but I noticed because it seemed that a lot of parents were bringing their children to introduce them to Audrey the right way -- on the big screen. It made me very happy to see it, and I hope that the kids did enjoy the films and would maybe remember the pretty lady from the movie later on in life. :) It's just pleasing to realize that old cinema is not dead, and the passion for older movies is being passed on and hopefully appreciated as much as the older generations have enjoyed it.
The crowd for Funny Face was even more enthusiastic, if that can be believed. Audrey's credit and Fred Astaire's credit were applauded, along with Kay Thompson's credit and even Givenchy's credit! The audience had warm applause for every single music or dance piece, and a collective groan when Fred sang "If you can cook the way you look." I think I even heard people singing along, too. But the funniest part was during Jo's spat with Dick Avery before the botched unveiling of the Quality Woman, when Dick (Fred Astaire) says "He's about as interested in your intellect as I am!" A group of people at the rear of the theatre actually hissed, and there were scattered "Boo!"s throughout the crowd. Still, everyone seemed to absolutely love it, and I found out afterward that Kay Thompson has quite a following in San Francisco. A group just in front of me came just to see her, but I hope they still enjoyed Audrey's part in the film. :) Though I readily admit (and Audrey did, too), that Kay completely stole every scene she was in. My favourite non-Audrey song is definitely "Clap Yo Hands" because of Kay alone.