Oh my, where to start---maybe at the beginning.
1. Robinson Crusoe on Mars at some drive in in Fremont, CA, early 60s.
Must have been one of the first films i ever saw, and i remember it
vividly, though i don't think i've ever seen it again (or if i did it
was on b&w tv). I don't know how old i was, but i was fascinated. I
saw A Hard Day's Night at the drive in about the same time, but RCOM is
the one that really stuck with me.
2. Help! at the Centerville Theater in Fremont ('65 maybe?) Actually,
don't remember that much about the movie, but i remember standing for
about 4 hours in line to get in. It was cold that day, too. Obviously,
i liked the Beatles a lot. I'd never done that before or have done it
since. That theater is now the home of Bollywood movies in an area now
dubbed Little Kabul--just went to a well known Afghan restaurant there
and discovered that behind the parking lot was the old barn that my best
friend and i used to ride to on our bikes to pick blackberries. The old
and the new, side by side.
3. One of the Youngson compilations, probably at the Fremont Hub cinema,
early '70s. Four Clowns maybe? It was the one with the extended clip
from Seven Chances. I'd been watching old comedies on TV for years and
the other Youngson films, but this was my first theater experience. I
thought i'd split a gut at all those rocks coming down!
4. Sadie Thompson at the PFA with James Card hosting, probably 1975.
This must have been the first silent drama i ever saw on a real screen,
at at that time the ending hadn't been reconstructed so it just ended
abruptly when Lionel was sneaking up on Gloria. It was a free screening
to dramatize the need for film preservation. My best friend and i felt
very smug when someone in the audience had to ask how it ended--i don't
think we'd ever seen another screen version yet but we did know the
5. Double bill of The Unknown and Lonesome, a week or so later at PFA.
This was part of a series of films from Eastman House--i still have the
catalog. I persuaded my father to take my friend and i to see this
because we wanted to see Chaney. Besides being wonderful, it taught me
a lot about the vagaries of preservation and screening. The titles of
both films were in French, and they hadn't prepared a script so a French
student had to read and translate them cold. Also, Lonesome was the
first part talkie i had seen, and had a theme song and was tinted--i was
feeling like it had everything but the kitchen sink in it! Anyway, a
fascinating experience with two wonderful films.
6. North by Northwest, at the Festival Theater? (on or just off Cowper
in Palo Alto, probably 1976 or 77). My husband and i loved this little
theater, with its pillows and frozen UNO bars. Our favorite memory was
lying on the pillows practically under the screen watching North by
Northwest. Mount Rushmore has never quite looked like this again.
7. Sunrise at PFA (1980s). Could this have been a nitrate print? It
was just so glowing and beautiful, i'd never seen anything quite like
it. Was so disappointed when i saw the film several years later in a
dim 16mm. And i really liked the film.
8. Passion of Joan of Arc (1980s). Not really a pleasant experience,
but memorable. I did not find the film at all boring, but it was so
intense in practially made me sick. It was a summer afternoon
screening, and i was so disoriented that when i came out of the theater
i thought it was startled that it was still light. My husband said it
was like watching two hours of Auschwitz.
9. The whole Italian Diva series at PFA (3 or 4 years back?) This was
such an exciting series of films i'd never heard of with actresses i'd
never heard of, and i was an instant convert. These ladies were so
fascinating and exotic, they were just loads of fun to watch. I dressed
up in costume and had a ball.
10. La Maison du Mystere (last year i think?) I just loved this
serial, it was like being immersed in a huge novel. It was shown over 3
nights, with Edith Kramer reading the titles (from at prepared script at
least--quite an advance over the 70s). This was a wonderful film with
two great actors and kept me on the edge of my seat for the whole, what,
7 hours or whatever it was. A runner up in the serial department would
be Barrabas, over 3 sundays a few years back with Jon M. on piano. Not
only was the film absorbing, but i was simultaneously going to the
Wagner Ring Cycle at San Francisco opera, so i would be watching one
epic serial and then dashing across the Bay to watch another.
my, i didn't know i had so much to say