Wednesday, October 1, 2014

To Have And Have Not (1944)

Screen shot from Warner DVD
WHO: Lauren Bacall made her first on-screen appearance in this film, playing Marie 'Slim' Browning.

WHAT: This Casablanca-esque romantic adventure is perhaps not quite as purely entertaining as its 1942 predecessor, but it's arguably "greater", and endlessly more analyzable, as a quintessential Howard Hawks directorial project, as an Ernest Hemingway adaptation (co-written by no less than William Faulkner!), as an expression of American wartime philosophy, and as the genesis of the long romance between its stars Bacall and Bogart, who met on the picture. Here's Manohla Dargis writing in the New York Times about one very memorable moment:
If the movie’s political backdrop tends to go missing in the mists of the Bogart and Bacall legend — they fell in love during its making — it’s understandable given how they steam up the joint. Before teaching him how to whistle, Slim slides into Steve’s lap and leans down to kiss him. “Whaddya do that for?” he says, as if the question needed asking. “Been wondering whether I’d like it,” she says. He asks her verdict. She murmurs “I don’t know yet” before going in for another try. This time, he pulls her close, his hand circling her neck, and they kiss deeper and longer. She stops, pulls back and stands, taking the camera with her, and delivers the film’s other great line: “It’s even better when you help.”
WHERE/WHEN: 7:50 PM tonight only at the Castro Theatre.

WHY: The Castro yesterday revealed the front page of its full October calendar, just in time for the month to begin. It's a typically eclectic mix of Halloween-ish favorites of various kinds, new restorations of classics, 2014 hits in one-night-only "second-run", and memorial tributes to recently deceased film personalities. The latter includes not only Bacall, who stars in six films playing the venue this month (all but one, How to Marry a Millionaire, showing in 35mm prints), but also Richard Attenborough, who directed Gandhi, which screens (digitally) Sunday October 5th. Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Harold Ramis already have received Castro tributes this year, but they show up again in October as well; Hoffman in A Most Wanted Man October 22 and Ramis in Ghostbusters October 24th. James Garner has yet to have an official screen tribute in San Francisco this year, but we can look ahead to November 7th when Jesse Hawthorne Ficks screens The Notebook (along with John Cassavetes' Minnie and Moskowitz) for an at-least-unofficial one.

For October, Ficks's MiDNiTES FOR MANiACS series brings a Christian Bale double-feature of Reign of Fire and The Dark Knight on Friday the 17th. Naturally both will be screened on 35mm; the latter being an opportune time to revisit the signature hit by Hollywood's perhaps most powerful film-on-film proponent (with apologies to Quentin Tarantino) Christopher Nolan in advance of his 70mm IMAX release Interstellar (rumored to be the last "real" IMAX film in the pipeline).

As of now the Castro website has not revealed the formats for most films screening after the 17th; we know that Carrie, The Bad Seed, Village of the Damned, Spartacus, Sunrise, and The Fugitive Kind will screen from 35mm prints while Vertigo and Rome: Open City will see their Castro debuts in 4K digital projection, but I'm unsure as yet whether film is involved in the Alphaville/Orpheus double bill October 21st (I suspect no), The Black Cat/The Raven October 23rd (I suspect yes) or 2001: A Space Odyssey/The Tree of Life October 26th (I don't want to speculate). The Bay Area Film Calendar and the Castro seem to be oddly at odds over the October 18th Bernardo Bertolucci marathon; the former indicates only the Italian master's Last Tango in Paris and The Sheltering Sky will be in 35mm, while the Castro's Special Events page adds The Conformist to that pool. The new, seemingly-unnecessary-but-I-suppose-I-should-keep-an-open-mind 3D version of The Last Emperor will screen digitally of course. Joan Chen is expected to be in attendance.

Finally, looking ahead again to November (in this case the 6th), SF Cinematheque is presenting its first Castro event in quite some time, a dual-16mm screening of Andy Warhol's The Chelsea Girls with the hugely-entertaining former "Factory Girl"  Mary Woronov in person, as she will be the following night with Warhol's Hedy at Yerba Buena Center For the Arts. I'm preparing for those screenings by attending tonight's Pacific Film Archive presentation of another Warhol dual-16mm film called Outer and Inner Space; otherwise I'd surely be at the Castro tonight for To Have and Have Not.

HOW: 35mm print, on a double-bill wih Dark Passage, another Bacall/Bogie team-up, but one particularly dear to Frisco Bay hearts as it was actually filmed here.