Have you seen The Fallen Idol? Film Forum is having a Carol Reed moment. Reed, the director and Graham Greene, the writer, worked on three films together: The Fallen Idol, The Third Man and Our Man in Havana. Not bad, eh? The 1948 movie is charming. It’s a literate thriller that takes place in an impossibly vast and posh mansion in post-war London. The superb cast includes Ralph Richardson, Michelle Morgan and the amazing child, Bobby Henrey. Mr. Henrey presented his elderly self at the Film Forum’s first screening of The Fallen Idol. The small movie houses are bucking up. Film Forum and IFC have Q & A’s with actors from long ago productions. Earlier in the week, Film Forum presented The Odd Man Out, an earlier Reed film. It stars the young, handsome James Mason as an Irish revolutionary who spends most of the long film bleeding to death. Afterwards, dinner at the Jane Restaurant on Houston. Lovely oysters and shrimp for me and a burger, medium please, for my pal from Michigan.
Friday night we went to the NY Philharmonic in what used to be called the Avery Fisher Hall. Frank Huang, the lead violinist, had a stellar solo debut gliding us through a Grieg quickie followed, after intermission, by Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. I’m embarrassed to say that after all the time I’ve spent at Lincoln Center I had never been to the Shun Lee Cafe. What a treat. It’s tucked into west 65th Street, and a perfect pretheatre restaurant. Forget the dim sum. It’s so 1970’s. Instead, head straight for the entrées and delicious white wine. Wine? In a Chinese restaurant? That’s right. It’s 2016, folks.
Back in NYC – As the Italians say, autumn begins in August. The diagonal light conjures up 40’s ballads about the city. I strolled through Washington Square Park. It’s what Pioneer Square is in Portland and St. Mark’s in Venice – the city living room.
Still waiting to hear from Amtrak. On Aug. 1, I slept on the floor of the train’s lounge. Those of us who were in Car 2830 were ordered to leave our compartments and stay in the lounge. No Coach seats were available. Not a word from Amtrak.
Back to NYC. I did something I haven’t done in years. I went to a double feature at Film Forum. First, The Third Man, one of my favorite movies. There’s always something to discover. This time I watched the actor who played Mr Winkle blow the dust off an objet d’art as he listened to hapless Holly Martin. Then, I scooted across the corridor and saw Listen to me Marlon. It’s based on Marlon Brando’s observations of his exciting and unhappy life.
Have you been to China: Through the Looking Glass at the Met? Apparently it’s not essential to see the exhibit. It’s three floors of darkness with splinters of light and American jazz. At the other end of the building is the Sergeant exhibit. It’s wonderful. You can see the art – imagine! And it goes on for miles.
At IFC (the old Waverly) a friend and I saw Best of Enemies, a documentary about the William Buckley and Gore Vidal debates. It was delicious. They had vitriolic tongues and thoughts which they expressed well. Maybe the debates were the high point of their lives. Both clung to their anger long after the event was over.