Saturday, September 23, 2006

Walk, Don't Run: A Film Discussion at the Thomas Ford Memorial Library

We are starting our fifth year of film discussions at the Thomas Ford Memorial Library. Our every-other-Friday-night presentation has been one of our easiest and most successful programs. While the number of participants on any given night can vary from three to thirty, we almost always have a good discussion.

This week we showed Walk, Don't Run (no Worldcat DVD holdings), a comedy set at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. I had chosen the film as a change of pace from Munich, which we presented two weeks ago, and as a nod to Tokyo Olympiad, our first film four years ago. Walk, Don't Run stars Cary Grant (in his very last movie) as a British industrialist in Tokyo to order electronic gadgets from an innovative Japanese company. Jim Hutton plays an American architect and amateur athlete participating in the games. Neither has a place to stay, but they find Samantha Eggar needs flatmates. They are not what she had in mind.

The plot develops rather slowly at first and relies on a number of common comic devices. While there were several very funny scenes and much audience laughter, I began to worry that we would have nothing to discuss.

As soon as the movie ended and we turned up the lights, one of the regulars said, "That was the second worst movie I have ever seen!" Of course, everyone wanted to know what was first. Then everyone who had enjoyed the movie (most of the group) started telling what they liked. Then we talked about old coffee pots, transistor radios, Cary Grant, British sex-farce comedies, post-war Tokyo, and whether speed walking was a real Olympic event. It was a lively discussion. I need not have worried.

Aaron Schmidt started our film series, which has shown a lot of indie and foreign films, a tradition we intend to uphold. Our new librarian Kristin Schar is taking over the planning and presentation of the series. The regulars took to her and most will be coming back in two weeks to see Yesterday, a beautiful film about AIDs in South Africa. There will be much to discuss.

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