After a tasty Dominican supper, we went to the very baroque Church of St. Michael’s on West 99th Street to attend Amor Artis chorus and orchestra perform Handel in Italy. Handel worked in Italy from 1706-1710. Among the cantatas, mezzo-soprano Sarah Nelson Craft enchanted us with Armida Abbandonata.
#WhiteLoveListens Potlucks are meals sponsored by Judson Memorial Church members to discuss how to make racial justice work. I joined a Brooklyn group of people all white, mostly elderly. We each talked about being raised in a white environment. To quote the expression, you don’t know what you don’t know. The evening provided a launching pad for further thinking, for getting out of the box.
“Welcome to one of the few places in NYC where cell phones and people are silent, food and drinks are for after the movie and everyone has a wonderful time.” This message is flashed on the MOMA screen before the movies that attract packed audiences. Mr. Cary Grant is a wonderful collection of the suave one’s various charming movies. Since he and Alfred Hitchcock are among my most admired movie pros, I paid one dollar to see “North by Northwest.” It’s such fun living in NYC and going to a 1959 movie that features 1950s Manhattan: Cary Grant strolling into the Plaza where in real-life he had a suite; Eva Marie Saint in couture chosen in Berdorfs for her by Hitchcock; the aerial shot of the UN; the Bernard Herrmann music.
The Film Forum has had a stroke of genius. It’s offering twofers. For the price of one movie you can see two. They have quite a lineup, starting with Rear Window and Vertigo. I ordered my ticket online. By the time I arrived at the Film Form, sold out signs were posted. Something you don’t often see at the Film Forum. Rear Window was packed. Extra chairs were set up at the back of the theatre. I am an Alfred Hitchcock fan. RearWindow is a great favorite and I’ve seen it numerous times over the years in movie houses, drive-ins and on TV. There’s nothing like an old fashioned movie house packed with fans. The audience was hushed, like children listening to a well loved fairy tale. There’s always something new in a Hitchcock film. This time I concentrated on clothing: Grace Kelly’s lavish Edith Head wardrobe, Wendell Corey as the best dressed NYPD detective ever, the spotlessly attired 21 Club waiter who delivers a lobster dinner, just the thing to serve the world famous photographer and temporary invalid, James Stewart. Hitchcock made his American movies when many people were wrapping their tuxes in mothballs and switching to jeans. Hitchcock preferred bespoke costumes especially for his blonde stars. Didn’t he escort Eva Maria Saint on a Bergdorf’s shopping exhibition for her North by Northwest wardrobe? Rear Window was made in 1954, pre-air conditioning, which is underlined by the couple sleeping on the fire escape but there were Kelly, gossamer in her divine confections and Wendell Corey, dapper and cool in sweltering NYC summer humidity, Thelma Ritter, in a very cute summer dress, dragging a large shovel up and down stairs and ledges as Kelly climbs a few stories in a princess like outfit to the murderer’s lair. Was Hitchcock obsessed with clothes? Wendell Corey comments on the victim’s wardrobe as dated but serviceable. James Stewart comments on the impossibility of Kelly and her wardrobe making do in the wild. The last scene shows Stewart snoring away with two broken legs, while Kelly, dressed down – in jeans! – sneaks a look at Harper’s Bazaar. I didn’t stay for Vertigo. Unlike many people, it’s one of my least favorite Hitchcock films.