November 02, 2015
You know you're having a good time when you think "waking up before 5am was totally worth it." I am NOT a morning person. But seeing Robert Osborne introduce Eva Marie Saint, Angie Dickinson, and Roger Corman just a few yards in front of me made my 5am journey to join the TCM Cruise worth every second of lost sleep!
The day started as all of my days usually do -- looking for food. And in a very happy coincidence my quest for nourishment on the 9th level of the ship coincided with the sail-away party! "Why are all those people clapping?," I asked, the first of many instances in which I was totally oblivious to everything going on around me. Well, they were clapping for Robert Osborne! If you're a fan of TCM, it's absolutely SURREAL to see him standing in front of you. I've been a huge fan of Turner Classic Movies since I was 13 years old and Robert O. is basically as big a celebrity as any movie star they could ever feature on the cruise.
The first day was a little touch-and-go as far as our plans went. We only had two movies that we wanted to catch, so we spent the rest of the time unpacking, settling into the stateroom, eating (such eating), wandering around the boat, and perusing the schedule for the next few days. A few highlights from the non-movie-watching part of the day included Robert Osborne walking right past me and Nicole (we were embarrassingly gawking at him, but I guess that's to be expected?), managing to snag some TCM Cruise merchandise before it (presumably?) sold out, and having a closet in our stateroom with a light inside that only turns on when you open the door, like a refrigerator! It's pretty cool.
The first movie that we saw was Good News, which was screened in the open-air on a giant tv screen on the top deck. I'm not usually a fan of musicals that don't star Fred Astaire or movies that do star June Allyson but I really liked Good News! It was so fun, and the scene where the housekeeper reads the script with June Allyson was adorable! I'm really looking forward to the rest of our poolside screenings, because it was absolutely bliss to watch a good classic movie outside with the ocean breeze blowing through your hair.
The second (and last, for today) movie that we saw was X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes, starring Ray Milland. This is the one that I was looking forward to the most. Before the film Ben Mankiewicz interviewed the movie's director/producer Roger Corman. Um, EPIC does not even begin to describe this, okay? First of all, Ben M. is ridiculously hilarious. His sense of humor is one of the reasons that I love watching What the Flick? reviews on youtube, even if I haven't even seen the movie they're reviewing, and somehow he's even funnier in person. An example -- when he first came out there was some water spilled on the stage, and he said something like "Looks like we have some kind of water issue here.. good thing we're not about to bring an 89 year old man onto the stage…"
But obviously the best part was Roger Corman himself. He seems like such a sweet man and his stories about filmmaking were so delightful. These were a few of my favorite anecdotes:
- Dementia 13 was originally titled "Dementia" until they realized, after shooting, that a film with the same title had already been released a few years beforehand. So Roger Corman came up with the idea to tack on the number 13 (because it's an unlucky number) and asked Francis Ford Coppola if he could add something in post-production to factor the number into the story.
- Don Rickles told Roger Corman that while he was performing in Las Vegas Frank Sinatra came in one night (mention Frank Sinatra and my ears perk up like I heard a special Kate dog whistle) Rickles saw him in the doorway and said "Hey Frank! Come in! Take a seat! Make yourself at home and punch somebody!" Apparently that sparked a lifelong friendship!
- Roger Corman thought that Ray Milland was a great actor, but he just wasn't getting as many roles since he started showing his age, so Roger Corman offered him meaty roles that could showcase his acting talent. The first movie they worked together on was Premature Burial and the second was the film we saw tonight, X: The Man with X-Ray Eyes.
I hadn't seen the movie before and I had such a blast watching it on the big screen! Ray Milland really was fantastic, he's one of those actors that can elevate almost any role (see also: The Girl on the Red Velvet Swing) There were some fantastic 60's special effects and a very 60's party scene that could have easily been kind of smutty but the direction and acting made it fun and goofy (in the best kind of way) instead. Don Rickles was also amazing -- I think Roger Corman described his performance as "sharp" and that's a totally perfect description.
It's 1:10AM and I've been awake since 4:45 yesterday morning… I *should* be unconscious by now but what can I say, I'm a night owl! Also I've been really into foreign movies lately and that's the one thing that the cruise (and the festival, if 2014 was an indicator of an overall pattern) seems to be lacking. So I'm going get my fix with a little bit of El Gatopardo before I call it a night. If I don't use up all my wi-fi I'll check back in tomorrow! Good night!