November 03, 2015
Today was our first full day at sea, and it was so beautiful! The TCM component of the cruise is incredibly exciting, but I have to admit I spent a good part of the day just looking at the ocean. That probably sounds kind of boring, but it's absolutely mesmerizing. And you know what? Standing on the top deck of the ship with the wind whipping through my hair, staring out at a timeless, endless landscape, I felt like Monica Vitti. For someone who spends every day working on a computer in New Jersey I don't get many Vitti-like moments so I'm going to cherish the heck out of the ones I get.
I think this is one component of the cruise that definitely sets it apart from the festival in Hollywood. Los Angeles is awesome, but your feet are firmly planted in the 21st century when you're there. Floating in the middle of the ocean there are so many times when, if you look in the right direction or stand in the right spot, you could easily be in 1941 or 1910 or 1965. I can't speak for other classic film fans, but this is a huge selling point to me. I wouldn't necessarily want to live in the past (I'm way too passionate about air conditioning) but I'd love to visit. And this cruise is letting me travel into the past in more ways than one -- through movies and through experiences that transcend time.
I did do a little more than just stare at the ocean and pretend I was starring in an Antonioni movie today. The first event I attended was "Meet Ben" which was a Q&A with Ben Mankiewicz. He is seriously so funny. Someone in the audience told him how witty he is and asked if he would ever consider doing a late-night talk show. I was sitting there thinking "YESSSSSS! SAY YES!" He did express interest in that idea, so hopefully it will catch on. I know I'd definitely watch it!
I had so much fun at this event that my brain kind of condensed the whole memory into one giant blob of happiness. (My way of saying "sorry, I don't have a lot of details to relay to you.") The best moments in my life are kind of like the glowing spheres in Inside Out, except that I don't have a replay feature. I just see a radiant memory and it makes me happy. I spent the whole time at the Q&A laughing and wishing I had just a fraction of that wit.
The first movie I saw today was From Here to Eternity. I've been a fan of Frank Sinatra's since I was 13 and it was indescribably exciting to finally see him on the big screen for the first time, one month before his 100th birthday. AND it was introduced by Robert Osborne, no less! I love that the schedule doesn't tell you who will be introducing every single movie, so sometimes you're taken completely off-guard by a surprise Robert O. appearance!
He talked a bit about the actors who were originally slated to appear in the movie -- Joan Crawford in Deborah Kerr's role, Robert Mitchum in Burt Lancaster's role, Aldo Ray in Montgomery Clift's role, and Eli Wallach in Frank Sinatra's role -- and how they were all more suited to the characters than the actors who ended up getting the parts. With the exception of Burt Lancaster, every actor was cast against type, and, as Robert Osborne pointed out, that's part of what makes this movie so perfect.
This was one of those experiences where my emotions got the better of me because it was on a bigger screen. I can't pinpoint exactly why that happens to me, but there's nothing I can do about it! Montgomery Clift playing Taps has been breaking my heart consistently for over a decade but I don't think I've ever felt a lump in my throat until I saw it tonight. And don't get me started on Frank Sinatra's Oscar-winning scene.
I ended the day with a late-night screening of Red-Headed Woman with Jean Harlow. The film was introduced by Cari Beauchamp, who spoke about the production history (the script was originally written by F. Scott Fitzgerald before it was re-written by Anita Loos!) and the movie's impact on censorship in American cinema. Literally *minutes* into this movie it's perfectly clear why this was one of the movies that brought on the strict enforcement of the Motion Picture Production Code, lol. And can I just say, I love Jean Harlow and she's amazing as the titular gold-digging redhead, but man oh man is Una Merkel good in this movie.
Well, that's a wrap on day 2! I'm going to watch a little more of the movie I started last night and then hit the hay! Good night!