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Markshark Written by Markshark
Apr. 14, 2008 | 3:42 PM

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Big Night at the Egyptian

I think what I appreciate most about the American Cinematheque is not the inspiring old films it shows, nor even the plush modern theatres where it shows them. It’s how the theatre goes out of its way to bridge the past and the present by bringing in special guests. A few years ago I heard Farley (STRANGERS ON A TRAIN) Granger speak; and another time it was writer A. I. Bezzerides (who penned the script for KISS ME DEADLY and the novel, THIEVES HIGHWAY).

Saturday night continued the tradition. Most people had showed up to see the Peter Lorre double feature ( STRANGER ON THE THIRD FLOOR and THE FACE BEHIND THE MASK). But it was the live people that made the evening memorable. 90-year-old Marsha Hunt, an actress with 100-plus TV and film credits to her name, took the stage to share memories of working with people like Jules (or “Julie,” as she called him) Dassin. Speaking eloquently about her experiences working for the studios in the forties and fifties she seemed especially gratified at never being typecast, but being allowed to play “everything,” and did.

Eddie Muller (Noir City programmer/writer/graphic artist/Noir expert) then showed his short film, THE GRAND INQUISITOR, starring Hunt and outstanding newcomer Leah Dashe. The film involves a young woman who confronts an elderly one about the meaning of some old books, and whether or not they hold the key to identifying the Zodiac Killer. Haunting, historically compelling, well-acted, and boasting surprising plot twists, the film didn’t disappoint. Muller then revealed that the story was inspired by a real-life incident he had in Northern California bookstore, when the owner took him in the back to ask his opinion on some markings in some old tomes.


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