Friday, April 29-Day two of my ﬁve day Film Festival trip.
Batman: The Movie, what can you say about this ﬁlm? If you haven’t seen it, I have a copy and would be thrilled to loan it to you, or you can buy a copy at a very reasonable price online.
I’ve been a fan of Batman with Adam West for as long as I can remember. My love of the cheesy campiness of it all has led to my love of the Naked Gun ﬁlms and Airplane. I know my sister, and I had hours of laughs from the sheer corniness of it all. And when I say corny, I mean it’s so incredibly, fantastically and wonderfully corny that you wonder how it got made in the ﬁrst place. The ﬁlm was shown poolside at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. The atmosphere was so unique and wonderful. You genuinely forget where you are. It’s open and quiet, green and lush but fancy and incredible. You would never guess you’re in the middle of Hollywood or the middle of Los Angeles. I don’t know if I have ever been in an environment anywhere else in my life for a ﬁlm that made me as happy as this one. The weather was a bit chilly, but nobody cared or bothered to complain about it.
We all waited with bated breath for Adam West to appear before us. Ben Mankiewicz ﬁrst brought out the charming Lee Meriwether, who played Catwoman in the ﬁlm. She was sweet and remembered her time while shooting as a great experience. While she was fun, time stood still as Adam West made his way onto the stage. Ben Mankiewicz, Meriwether and West all laughed about how campy the ﬁlm was. Adam West said he insisted on keeping the sounds of the rubber shark in the movie because it was so ridiculous that it worked. If you’ve seen the ﬁlm, you may remember how a very obvious rubber shark latches onto Batman’s leg. The shark leaks water and looks so fake that they just go with it. The shark can be removed only with ‘Shark repellent Bat spray.’ I think it’s a classic scene in movie history. When West was asked why or how he could play himself as a complete idiot on ‘Family Guy,’ he answered honestly, saying he did it for the bags of money they offered him. Everyone was charmed and captivated by how personable and funny his interview was. Of the entire festival, Adam West ended up being my favorite interview. Once the celebrities had left the stage, it was time for the ﬁlm. We sat shivering by the pool, laughing until we cried. Batman: The Movie is truly a must-see for all ages, and I’ll watch it 200 more times in my life, but none will make me as giddy as that one night I watched it under the palm trees in Hollywood.
After the movie, we rushed to the TCL Chinese Theatres across the street to catch The Manchurian Candidate. I had never seen the ﬁlm and was incredibly excited to see it for the ﬁrst time in such a historic theater. Angela Lansbury was going to interview with Alec Baldwin before the ﬁlm, and it was the hottest ticket in town that day. We walked to get in line and walked and walked and ended up going ultimately around the entire theater before we secured our place in line only steps from where we had started. I was given the number 504, by far the highest number during the festival.
I waited with a couple of my roommates and a new friend I had made who was currently living in Japan. He was originally from Chicago, so we talked about Midwest living, and I was fascinated to hear stories about Japanese baseball. It made the hour wait ﬂy by, and the next thing I knew, we were entering the theater. We found four seats in the very front row. It was great for the interview, but once the ﬁlm started, I had to leave. We were too close, and my head started to pound. A couple of us excused ourselves and decided to hang out in the multiplex lobby and wait for the midnight movie to start. I snacked on some ice cream and popcorn while charging my phone and talking to other people waiting for the ﬁlm.
The ﬁlm in question was one that I went to because my roommates were going. I didn’t care to see it, but I’m thrilled I did join the fun. The 1981 ﬁlm Roar ﬁlm is historic because it was plagued with production problems (it spent 11 years in production), and it used live, untrained animals, some of which actually lived with the stars Tippi Hedren, Melanie Grifﬁth, Noel Marshall, John Marshall, and Jerry Marshall. Many of the cast and crew were injured by the animals during production. Nothing could have truly prepared me, nothing.
Noel Marshall goes to Africa to study lions and lets them live with him in his dilapidated house. Tippi Hedren plays his estranged wife, who brings their kids (Melanie Grifﬁth, John Marshall, and Jerry Marshall) to see him. I laughed a lot through this ﬁlm. The sheer insanity of it all was hilarious. You think, ‘It’s just a movie,’ but then you remember, no, those are real cats who injured people. While watching actors get attacked by wild animals was disturbing, the dialogue was awful, the music was interesting, and Noel Marshall is a rough actor, but I was hooked. I haven’t laughed so hard at a film in years.
I bought it before I left the theater.
It was a total blast that made the entire festival worth every penny. Seeing people like Alec Baldwin, Norman Lloyd and others is fantastic, but spending hours with your friends laughing and enjoying great ﬁlms is somehow even better.
To read about the rest of the film festival purchase a print edition or print/e-edition subscription of the Falls City Journal.
Nikki McKim attended the 2016 TCMFF as a paid pass holder not as a media pass holder.