Some legislators only wish to wreak vengeance against a particular enemy. Others only look out for themselves. They devote very little time on the consideration of any public issue. They think that no harm will come from their neglect. They act as if it is always the business of somebody else to look after this or that. When this selfish notion is entertained by all, the commonwealth slowly begins to decay.—Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War
I will be taking a break from posting to this weblog over the next few days. Every year during Labor Day Weekend, Martine and I have been attending the Cinecon show in Hollywood. While Martine helps my an old friend of mine sell movie memorabilia at Loew’s Hotel at Hollywood and Highland, I will be spending most of my time at the Egyptian Theater watching somewhere between fifteen and twenty old movies that, for the most part, have not been available to the public since they were first released.
Many of the titles will be silent with organ accompaniment, with most of the others dating from the early sound era. Typically, there are a few outliers whose originals were on nitrate film stock that has been transferred to safety film and cleaned up in the process. Nitrate stock is a fire hazard, and virtually all films before 1948 or so were shot on it. (I recall seeing the studio version of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1948 production of Rope go up in flames at a USC screening years ago.) Some more recent films had serious problems with fading color which film technicians have been able to restore to their almost original color quality.
As much as I like old films,spending time in Hollywood will be a drag. Labor Day Weekend almost always brings with it a heat wave.Add to that the problem of finding a decent restaurant on the Boulevard, where most of the eateries are oriented to downmarket tourists who come to stare at the stars’ names on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Or to the even more downmarket residents of Hollywood, consisting in teenage runaways, low-rent hipsters, prostitutes of multiple genders, and the homeless.
It has always amused me that tourists who have failed to do their research come to Hollywood expecting to see celebrities in what has evolved over the decades into a rather ugly slum. The only hope I see for Hollywood is that public transportation improvements, especially with the Red Line, have made it profitable for developers to try to do something to gentrify the place a bit.