While I was watching Casablanca the other day, I noticed something I’ve always noticed and envied: the slow-turning ceiling fans in the Blue Parrot. I also notice the slow-turning fan in that scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark where the monkey eats the bad dates. I’ve always wanted my ceiling fans to turn as slowly as the ones in these movies. It looks good, it wouldn’t be too cold, but it would keep the air moving a bit. Here in turn-of-the millennium Texas, our ceiling fans are always too high-powered even on the lowest setting. Nobody here can ever use a ceiling fan’s highest setting because it will shake itself loose from the ceiling and ricochet around the room, breaking windows and causing serious injury.
Someday I may hire an electrician to make the super-slow fan thing happen for me.
Random thoughts, because after a double feature this good, that’s all I can muster:
- During the opening credits of Casablanca, the music briefly becomes La Marseillaise, and someone in the crowd yelled out “Viva la France!” That was my favorite audience reaction, though of course everyone in the theater was highly appreciative of Claude Rains’ moments.
- The 35mm film print of Casablanca was gorgeous, in great condition, though the projector lightbulb went out during the third or fourth scene (something, anyway, went wrong and caused the screen to go dark). They fixed it in about a minute, though.
- I enjoyed Casablanca more than ever before, and that’s saying something, since it’s always been among my ten favorite movies. I could watch it again tomorrow, it’s that good and that enjoyable. I think I’ve noticed just about everything there is to notice at this point (including the fact that if Ilsa would have explained her situation to Rick in Paris, the whole movie would have been needless), but this time I more closely observed the running gag in the opening scenes with the French officer lecturing the Italian officer.
- The Maltese Falcon, well-cast and well-paced as it is, really is a silly little movie. It probably suffers from being watched immediately after the endlessly rich Casablanca, but on the other hand, it’s interesting to think about how its DNA found its way into later films. Other John Huston movies, Chinatown, and many of the Coen brothers’ movies all owe a lot to it. And Sydney Greenstreet’s comedic chops are all the more apparent when projected at a theatrical scale.
- The Paramount showed a digital restoration of Maltese Falcon, and for most or all of the double features during this year’s Summer Classic Film Series they’ll be pairing a film print with a digital restoration to show off their new digital projector. I always prefer film when possible, but the fact is that not all movies are readily available in that format, so I’m happy to expand the pool.
I’ve had a lot of good experiences at the Paramount Summer Classic Film Series here in Austin, Texas. My first viewing of Woody Allen’s Sleeper was there, and it cemented my nascent Allen fandom. My fourth or fifth viewing of Lawrence of Arabia was there, but on 70mm film. I’ve seen great movies I might not have seen otherwise, like The Late Show, and thanks to double features I’ve made connections I might not have made otherwise, like between Pan’s Labyrinth and The Spirit of the Beehive.
Continue reading Paramount Summer Classic Film Series is starting this week!