Monday, August 06, 2012

The Stanford Theatre

I went on a field trip Sunday to Palo Alto's Stanford Theatre, a silent era movie house restored by the Packard Foundation in 1987 & now a local repertory theater. It is not large, but it is well-maintained & clean. Old movie posters decorate the interior, & more are on display in a gallery attached to the building. There's a theater organ that is played between evening shows & for silent movies, which are programmed every other week.

This weekend's double feature was Bill Wilder's The Apartment & the Audrey Hepburn classic Breakfast at Tiffany's. I'd never seen The Apartment before, & I really enjoyed its cynical storyline & the wide-screen shots of an office floor that recedes to infinity. Shirley MacLaine looks like she's 12 years old. Breakfast at Tiffany's is a frustrating movie. I love the iconic moments, but the film's departures from the novella & Mickey Rooney's yellowface act are despicable.

The Stanford Theatre has a following, & the Breakfast at Tiffany's screening had a good turn-out. Someone cheered loudly when rain-soaked Cat is rescued at the end. The print we saw was in bad shape. It made me realize that watching a projected film is rapidly becoming a novelty.  My movie companion pointed out a group of girls who attended dressed as Holly Golightly.

§ The Stanford Theatre
The Apartment (1960)
Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)

2 comments:

Michael Strickland said...

Yeah, George Peppard as Patricia Neal's kept young man instead of Truman Capote's sissy boy was wrong in all kinds of ways, trumped only by Mickey Rooney's appalling "yellowface" neighbor.

The Apartment is such a bleak film that I always forget how great it is at the same time. I actually worked in an office like that on the corner of Van Ness and Market for Bank of America in the mid-1970s. The office stretched for a whole block, they piped in Muzak, and dysfunctional doesn't even begin to describe the place.

Axel Feldheim said...

Yes, The Apartment is really good & so full of reprehensible characters. As a kid, I had an aunt who worked in that office building on stilts at the corner of Sansome & Bush, & it must have been the same kind of thing.