gin flows freely in west africa

…and perhaps my heart as well.

of all the reminders i make on a regular basis (turn off the straightening iron, pay the bills, don’t embarrass yourself), one reminder for which i make no apologies is the personal attribute as a nerd. i couldn’t tell you the first thing about quantum physics, but i am a sucker for quotable friends moments, doo-wop music…and classic movies. the last serves as the subject of the present post.

this past weekend was an opportunity for my nerdy little heart to soar. turner classic movies hosted its first annual classic film festival in hollywood, showing over seventy movies in four days in historic theaters–no small feat. i had the joy of participating in two films: casablanca and north by northwest.

let’s start with the timeless bergman/bogart duo and how i first discovered them. i remember watching snippets of bogart in a few other films and wondering what all the fuss was about. when harry met sally made the movie a conversation starter, and so i decided to give bogart one more shot. after watching casablanca, i repented from my former judgmental transgressions.

the film is never disappointing.

the banter is crisp. bergman is flawless. love is redeemed, and the potential for romance once again exits the realm of the impossible and enters reality. and, what made the experience incredible was watching it at the historic egyptian theater. a few hundred people showed up to enjoy the film as it was meant to be viewed, and it was stunning. there is something magical about hearing “as time goes by” from surround sound in hollywood rather than through the pithy speakers of my 13″ macbook. so many superlatives. so much truth.

if this “one for the ages” experience couldn’t get any better, the next day proved the seemingly impossible, possible. i’ll go ahead and let you know that the following equation adds up to fanfreakingtastic: my favorite hollywood actor, cary grant + eva marie saint and martin landau at the screening answering questions from robert osborne + my favorite hitchcock movie (followed closely by the birds, of course) + grauman’s chinese theater.

seriously, fanfreakingtastic.

saint and landau shared their experiences working with “hitch.” you know, alfred hitchcock, not the snazzy matchmaker with the dance rules and the shellfish allergy. the two also gave behind-the-scenes information that one would expect to garner only after a few drinks in a smoky lounge. i was among the thousand in attendance (the seating capacity of the theater; i’m pretty sure it was packed), so i don’t feel badly sharing what i learned about the movie…

1.) landau envisioned a gay character for his role. the most explicit line revealing said characterization is “call it my woman’s instinct…”
2.) saint grabs her elbow after sliding down one of the faces on mount rushmore, but only because the stunt guy failed to catch her during the filming.
3.) the infamous conversation over dinner in the train car: saint says “i never make love on an empty stomach.” it was edited and her voice is dubbed over, so you hear “i never discuss love on an empty stomach.” dang, girl. words i hope to one day live by? i digress…
4.) and my personal favorite, the scene in the cafeteria: right before the gun is shot, there is a little boy in the background who covers his ears in anticipation of the gun firing.

in short, sheer delight. this is why i moved to los angeles,
the best gin joint in all the world.


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