Friday, March 20, 2009
Last night proved to be an interesting evening. The opening of the Robert Osborne Classic Film Festival got off to a shaky start with an ill-conceived performance of Bala Sarasvati's CORE Concert Dance Company dedicated to Goldfinger (1964). Not your usual film festival fare, and in my opinion, let's keep it that way. But things soon improved with a special treat, a screening of the recent Pixar short, Presto (2008). Why movies no longer begin with cartoon shorts is a mystery to me. After a screening of Goldfinger, director Guy Hamilton regaled the crowd with anecdotes about his career, including his long stint as assistant director to Carol Reed (The Third Man), or as he referred to his mentor, "his cinematic father". He even pulled out some stories I hadn't heard about the making of Goldfinger. For instance, plenty of aerial footage from the sequence where Pussy Galore's Flying Circus flew over Fort Knox had to be excised because of the male stunt pilots refusing to wear blond wigs. Hamilton laughed, saying in some of the closer passes, one could even see the gruff pilots smoking cigars. On the docket today is a free panel discussion at 10:30 a.m. titled Film Festival Fare: Independent Filmmaking & Its Influence on Hollywood. While I doubt they'll be discussing "mumblecore" it should still prove interesting. The films today: King Kong (1933) at 1:30 p.m.; Rear Window (1954), a special free matinee showing at 4:30 p.m.; and Funny Girl (1968) at 8:30 p.m. I'll be back later with some thoughts on Rear Window. The Panel Discussion and Rear Window are both free events at the 5th Annual Robert Osborne's Classic Film Festival. All events take place at the Classic Center, 300 N. Thomas Street, Athens, GA 30601, (706) 208-0900 or (800) 918-6393.