For the first time in a long time, I managed to get three movies in during a weekend Friday/Saturday/Sunday ... three movies spanning 80 years. I really enjoyed all of them: a talkie from '31, a silent from 2011, and a Disney movie from the '60s.
Friday I saw STREET SCENE on Turner Classic Movies from 1931. It was based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway play. I was wary going in; movies from that long ago can be a chore, sometimes. But this one still retained relevance. Although some parts of it are dated (of course), a lot of it still holds up, when it comes to attitudes on fidelity, ethnicity, religion, and gossip. Many movies from that time period can be poorly directed and acted, but this was not the case. The direction was fresh, done by King Vidor, who also directed the Kansas scenes from THE WIZARD OF OZ. A lot of the character actors from Broadway reprised their roles in the movie. It was also Pre-Code, so it was a little racier and a little more realistic than some of the sanitized stuff that was to come. Once you become familiar with the characters during the first 20 minutes, the last hour was pretty good.
Saturday I moved ahead 35 years for a 1966 Disney movie: FOLLOW ME, BOYS! It's about a man (Fred MacMurray) who moves into a small town and makes an impact by becoming a Scoutmaster for the boy scouts during the following decades. It's one of those great family-oriented movies that Disney was so good at making in those days. In fact, it was the last movie that was produced and released while Disney was still alive; Walt died a couple weeks after this movie was released. I hadn't seen this movie in 36 years; it was re-released in theatres in 1976, and that's when I saw it at the Crest Theatre. I remembered almost nothing from that original viewing, except for the refrain of the catchy theme song written by the Sherman brothers. Wichita's Vera Miles was the female lead (lovely, as always), and this was Kurt Russell's first of his 10 movies for Disney. He was really really good. There are not very many movies made about scouts, and I really enjoyed this one. I always enjoy Disney nostalgia movies.
A hot Sunday afternoon brought me to the delightfully-cool Orpheum Theatre downtown for THE ARTIST (2011). I did not see it in theaters when it first came out, so what better chance to see it on the big screen in such a great venue. I found it delightful. Well-deserved Oscars for Jean Dujardin (best actor) and for Best Picture. Give that dog an Oscar!!