Sunday, August 3, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 08/02/14: Found the Car, Dead to Alive in *Atlantic City*, Joanna Lancaster

1.  It's a minor triumph, but a triumph all the same for me:  it was no problem driving Hiram's Camry to the Huntington station, but the parking structure there is big and I have a long and sad history of parking in such places and not being able to find my car.  I parked near an elevator.  I took out the notebook I carry and made a note about the car's location.  I all but dropped bread crumbs as I walked to the entry to the train, noting ways to remember my stroll from Camry to train.  It all worked.  It's a minor triumph, but a triumph all the same:  I returned about seven hours after parking the car and found it immediately.

2.  I loved going to the AFI Silver Theater and seeing Atlantic City again. I hadn't seen in since about 1984 when I had a copy of it recorded from the Spotlight movie channel by my BetaMax videocassette recorder.  I experienced Atlantic City as a dead to alive movie.  Lou (Burt Lancaster) comes alive, rises to the occasion, overcomes his cowardice, inspired by his love for Sally (Susan Sarandon) when he defends her, and himself, against two thugs looking to kill them.  The violence was cathartic.  It reminded me, if I remember correctly (Did what I'm about to say happen in Mona Lisa?) (help anyone?), of when George (Bob Hoskins) killed Mortwell (Michael Cane) in the movie Mona Lisa -- and, come to think of it, of  Louise shooting Harlan to protect Thelma.  In Atlantic City, Lou helps set Sally free.  He loves her by happily letting her rob him of most of his money, take the car they had stolen ("don't forget to ditch the car"), and drive to wherever her dreams for a better life can come true, listening on the radio to a program about French wines.  She is alive.  She didn't simply let Lou protect her, she took matters into her own hands by stealing the money and the car and, ultimately, took charge of her own liberation.  I loved seeing this Susan Sarandon character driving a car to freedom without it going over a cliff. 

3.  Atlantic City was the second to the last film in AFI Silver Theater's tribute to Burt Lancaster. His daughter, Joanna, took the stage to briefly introduce the movie and then talk about her father and the movie after the screening.  She was gracious, thoughtful, appreciative of the questions people asked, and forthcoming with stories and insights about her father's career and his excitement about having made Atlantic City.  I was particularly happy when she told us that Burt Lancaster loved, absolutely loved, making the movie Local Hero.  I wish I could have seen it in this series, but I didn't move to Northern Virginia in time.  It's among my favorite movies ever made.

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