It's been more than a month since Film Forum in New York concluded its Carole Lombard festival, but I just came across this eyewitness account of its opening night, which featured two of Lombard's best (and best-known) films -- "Twentieth Century" and "My Man Godfrey." It's from the fine blog "The Sheila Variations," and is a reassuring sign not just to anyone who loves Lombard, but that entire era of Hollywood film. Here's how it begins:
"It did my heart good to see that both shows were sold out. The line was down the block, and last night was a pretty bitter windy night, so to see the throngs huddled up in front of the Film Forum for a Carole Lombard double feature gave me hope for humanity! The old things do not have to die, or suffer in obscurity. They can LIVE forever! ..."
"The place was packed. Sold out. Again: so exciting! Carole Lombard is not forgotten! Or who knows, maybe some of those people had never heard of her before, and this was their first taste of it. That's exciting, too!
"The movies just HIT. They WORK. People were HOWLING with laughter at John Barrymore ('I close the iron door on you!' Like - what??) ... but the real star of the night was 'My Man Godfrey,' which started, after a 10-minute break, at 9:45. What a movie!!
"It starts out strong and never lets up."
(Sheila had seen both films before, but never in a theater. Her friend Jen had never seen either one.)
And even better, not only did these two films draw a big crowd, but an approving one. Considering both are more than 70 years old, that's saying something.
"The audience at the Film Forum last night (yes, obnoxious 22 year olds and all) were HOWLING with laughter from start to finish."
Sheila summed it up this way:
"Beautiful night. One of those nights when the city itself -- meaning New York -- seems to have a sense of camaraderie. We were all in it together, there at the Film Forum, for our double feature ... and we, for that brief couple of hours in time, became one. I love nights like that."
To see the entry in its entirety, go to http://www.sheilaomalley.com/archives/010368.html. It will bring a smile to any fan of classic Hollywood.