|Stuart Lucky & projectionist David Farleigh at the Hollywood Theatre 1996|
This past Monday, March 21, 2022 my daughter Hilary and I went to our third movie night at our two-blocks-away neighbourhood theatre, The Hollywood. We saw Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window. For our previous movie dates on a Monday we saw Lawrence of Arabia and It Happened One Night.
The theatre has divided its space into a fabulous double bar (drinks and some food) and kept the original seats all restored to a bright red. The restoration is beyond fantastic.
My daughter Hilary has become a surrogate for my mother, father, and, grandmother who all took me to the movies in Buenos Aires. It was with both my mother and grandmother that we saw Rear Window in 1955 in Mexico City and I fell in love with Grace Kelly and particularly because of her neck. I wrote about it here.
Hilary has also been my partner to share films I once shared with my Rosemary.
I believe I may have a few tenuous connections with the film. James Stewart uses an Exakta VX in the film. It was introduced by Ihagee Kamerawerk in Dresden in 1951 and remained on the market until 1956. Ihagee introduced the first single lens 35mm camera in 1936 and we know what happened with these first SLRs. Now we have DSLRs.
In 1958, in my Austin, Texas boarding school, I decided to buy a camera. At the time there was a competition between the rangefinder cameras and the new-fangled single lens reflex ones. I spent $100 and bought a male-order, from Olden Cameras in NY, Pentacon-F (also made in Dresden by the makers of Contax cameras) because I wasn’t sure I could navigate with the Exakta’s shutter button on the left side of the camera.
My friend John Lekich, former Georgia Straight and Globe & Mail film critic, who interviewed many well-known filmmakers and even actors from the beginning of films like Lillian Gish has all kinds of info (really obscure stuff he calls trivia but that I would not).In 1986 I photographed Raymond Burr and Lekich interviewed him. They spent a long time discussing Rear Window.
|Raymond Burr - 1986|
He recently emailed me this:
A random piece of Rear Window trivia: It popped into my head last night. Raymond Burr’s hair was bleached white - and he was given wire-rimmed glasses - in order to resemble David O. Selznick, who Hitchcock resented because the producer meddled with so many of his pictures while he was under contract with Selznick studios. If you look at pictures of Burr as Thorwald and Selznick at the time, the resemblance is noticeable. Kind of neat.
Furthermore Lekich told me that the apartments in the film were some of the most expensive sets ever made. They were purpose-built and they had operating plumbing and electricity. They were so good that the actors in the film would spend the night in them!
My bit of trivia for the film is that in September of 2015 I worked on an assignment for the Georgia Straight called the Fall Arts Preview. I would photograph for these assignments a pair of actors, musicians, comedians, dancers, etc and I was instructed to pick a theme. That year the theme I chose was a beautiful car called the Tatra made by the Czechs. The car in my photographs is owned by Gary Cullen. One of his professions was to repair expensive German cameras and when I went to his house, I spotted some Exaktas behind a lovely display cabinet. It was then that Cullen and I hatched a plan and told nobody, not even the folks of the Straight. In every photograph somewhere in it we placed an Exakta VX. Why? Because the Tatra has a whale-like rear dorsal fin and it almost has no rear window.
Hilary and I had a great time. We were on the lookout to notice when it was that Hitchcock appears in the film just for a few seconds. I believe I was a bit too loud in pointing out when it happened.
The female part of me, that all men have when they are willing to admit it, is that I fell in love with Wendel Corey’s blue eyes in his part as Detective Lt. Thomas J. Doyle.
And my two male eyes were all on Grace Kelly’s neck.
It costs $15 to get in to these performances and they only accept credit cards (no cash). My daughter Hilary says the pop-corn is very good as it is not greasy.