Oscars Outdoors is a fantastic summer movie series put on by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. (Full disclosure: The Academy does not pay me, but I show up anyway.) Each Friday and Saturday night this summer the Academy sets up a big screen on a lawn across from the Mary Pickford center with a couple of food trucks for dinner. Tonight was “A Star Is Born,” so my roommate and I revisited the 1937 classic.
The movie starts at sundown, but the gates open at 6:30, so it’s a picnic! This is the entire crowd. The event sells out really quickly, so there are maybe only 150 people on the green.
Before the movie starts, they screen food ads from various decades. Besides the famous “Let’s All Go To The Lobby” song, there are also some very weird ads. This is one from the 1970s that makes no sense and scares the crap out of me every night.
Next they screen a thematically appropriate cartoon. In this case it was a Mickey Mouse cartoon that takes place at Grauman’s Chinese Theater with lots of caricatures of stars from the 1930s. I was only able to name about half of them, so anybody who’s seen the cartoon (it’s here) and can name the rest is more than welcome to post in the comments section!
Then the movie. When I discussed “A Star Is Born” in January, I overlooked how very funny it is! Frederic March makes a witty drunk on par with William Powell in “The Thin Man.” The audience was getting very absorbed in the movie. When March as Norman Maine slapped Janet Gaynor, everyone gasped! And there were few dry eyes at the end. (One set of dry eyes belonged to my roommate, who was angry at Norman Maine for killing himself.)
But here’s why I came to see the movie. Look how good that Technicolor is! You may recall that I was really disappointed with the copy of the movie I had, because all of the colors were faded. However, trust the Academy to have a beautiful transfer of a print! I could rave about color forever, but let’s just go with it was really, really pretty.
So that was my night! If you’re in LA this summer, I highly suggest that you check these out. Tickets for July go on sale July 2nd. Also on sale are tickets for the Academy’s series The Last 70mm Film Festival. Check them out!