Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What I Did on My 3-Day Weekend

This past Memorial Day Weekend -- the hallowed weekend for watching new movies -- I bucked tradition and watched two old (and long) movies. On Friday night, I rented Otto Preminger's ANATOMY OF A MURDER on DVD. And on Sunday we went to the Aero Theater in Santa Monica for American Cinematheque's twice-yearly showing of LAWRENCE OF ARABIA in 70mm. (They purportedly sell out each time they show it; they certainly sold out this time.)

It was interesting to contrast these two classics, made within a few years of each other. ANATOMY OF A MURDER, although shot with a snappy visual style, is based foremost on the spoken word -- or, more accurately, on the spoken version of the written word. LAWRENCE has eloquent writing as well; but as one would expect from a Panavision epic, it draws most of its storytelling power from its visuals. It's hard to imagine a scene in ANATOMY in which the camera simply focuses on an empty horizon for awhile until a tiny figure materializes; but such shots are the bread and butter of LAWRENCE.

Oh, and I also bicycled from West LA to Hermosa Beach on Memorial Day. (I lazed out for the trip back -- Amy met me with the car.)

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