My husband and I enjoyed a really wonderful afternoon and evening today, starting with a drive to The Grove in Los Angeles, where we ate at Wood Ranch.
The sunset over L.A. and the Grove tonight:
We then drove the short distance to the New Beverly Cinema on Beverly Boulevard.
I had been to the Beverly half a dozen times in the late '70s or early '80s, but I don't believe I'd been there in at least 30 years!
The theater came back to my attention when I read articles about director Quentin Tarantino taking over programming at the theater this fall. He's owned the theater for the past several years.
The double bill which convinced us we had to check out the theater sooner rather than later was a pair of Western noir titles starring favorites Joel McCrea and Dick Powell: RAMROD (1947), which I reviewed in 2010, and STATION WEST (1948), reviewed here in 2011.
We both liked the theater; it had a friendly staff, and while the lobby was the size of a postage stamp, the theater was quite a nice size, with comfortable chairs which seem to be of relatively recent vintage.
The evening's program included some very "retro" "Prevue of Coming Attractions" reels, several trailers for upcoming movies, and a Merrie Melodies cartoon. Add in two movies and you've got a very good entertainment bargain for an $8 ticket.
The 35mm print of RAMROD was fantastic, showing off Russell Harlan's moody black and white photography and the Utah locations to perfection. I was even more impressed with this film than I've been in the past, and I've always liked it; it has a dense, meaty script which moves like lightning, and it's filled with a deep cast giving rich characterizations, including Veronica Lake, Don DeFore (never better), Arleen Whelan, Donald Crisp, Preston Foster, Charlie Ruggles, and Lloyd Bridges.
Kudos also to the stuntmen; the scene where Bridges is shot and falls down a hill wows me every time I see it!
That said, the glitches were minimal enough that they didn't detract from my overall enjoyment of seeing this terrific film on a big screen. Powell's noir persona goes west, complete with his trademark sarcastic dialogue, as he plays an undercover government agent solving the murder of two soldiers.
The biggest drawback to attending movies at the New Beverly is that it does not have a parking lot and it can be quite a walk through nearby residential neighborhoods to find a spot which doesn't require feeding a meter. The lack of relatively secure nearby parking means I'll be unlikely to attend movies there alone and thus won't be able to visit as often as I might like. I'm fortunate that other theaters, including UCLA, have safer attended parking right next to the theater, which gives me the option of going alone if no one is free to go with me.
Please note that there will be no Around the Blogosphere This Week column this weekend due to an unusually busy weekend schedule, which also included attending the 5th Annual Trombone Christmas in Anaheim. If you missed it, last week's link roundup may be found here.