I just returned from
What impressed me most was how perfectly Capra’s
finely-tuned picture still worked with an audience, eliciting every laugh that
was built into it—from a sardonic reaction by Ned Sparks to a climactic cutaway
of stoic butler Halliwell Hobbes. Capra loved those character actors and knew his audience, which hasn’t changed
as much as some people might think in the 90 years since this film was made. (I
witnessed the same response when I showed his State of the Union to my class of 20-somethings at
Because it was withdrawn from circulation for decades, so as not to compete with Capra’s own remake, Pocketful of Miracles (1961), Lady for a Day has yet to take its rightful place among the great American movies. It was certainly appreciated in its time, earning four Academy Award nominations, just one year before Capra and his screenwriting colleague Robert Riskin swept the Oscars with It Happened One Night.
Stephen Jannise does a wonderful job booking vintage films
Several hundred people turned out on Friday and, to my amazement, they stayed for my q&a after the film. I met a number of them in the lobby afterward, including parents who had heard me on the local news station KUT that afternoon and decided to bring their 11-year-old daughter and give her a new and different experience than she was accustomed to. She told me she loved Lady for a Day and the experience of seeing it with an audience on a theater screen. She doesn’t know it, but that youngster made my day.
You can check the
To read my conversation with Louis Black about our boyhood moviegoing adventures, click HERE.