Posted by Deliverator on April 14th, 2007
I went and saw my first movie at the new SIFF Cinema. I saw “The Lady Vanishes,” one of Hitchcock’s last films (1938) from before he “crossed the pond.” I enjoyed the film, which is something I can’t always say about Hitchcock. Hitchcock has proved a bit of a crap shoot for me over the years. I tend to be absolutely captivated by his movies (Rear Window, To Catch a Thief, N by NW, etc.) and watch them over and over…or they fall utterly flat and do nothing for me and I am left wondering how I can get three hours of my life back.
I enjoyed the interplay between Margaret Lockwood and Michael Redgrave, which weakly echoed the wonderful back and forth banter of Myrna Loy and William Powell in “The Thin Man” series. It was probably as much as he could get passed the prudish British film censors of the day. Most of the rest of the cast’s performances seemed to be somewhat forced, ungenuine and a bit too caricaturist. The cartoonish performances by the supporting casts was intentional, but as a artistic device it didn’t really appeal to me. The whole of the movie is really designed as not-so-veiled warning against the appeasement of Hitler, which was the official policy of GB at the time. The movie was released shortly after PM Neville Chamberlain returned from Germany proclaiming “Peace for our time.” This film was an obvious political statement as to what Hitchcock thought about that idea. The film is also noteable as one of Hitchcock’s “intriguing/dubious stuff happening on a train” films, a theme which he would return to time and again in some of his most famous movies.
I was very impressed by the quality of the theater. The opinions on the facility itself in the original reviews of the facility were formed before the place was properly finished, from what I can tell. The hard wooden lecture seats have been replaced with new, modern, padded plastic ones like can be found in most theaters today. While the seats are not of the same quality as those used at the lushly appointed Lincoln Square Cinemas, I wouldn’t hesitate to watch longer length feature. The sound and multiple projection systems all seem to be very modern and the theater features a concession stand, ample parking nearby and everything else you would expect. I look forward to seeing more films at SIFF Cinema in the near future.