To Love Is To Be Vulnerable

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.—C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

On the Boulevard

On Hollywood Boulevard Near Grauman’s Chinese Theater

I have spent two days at the Cinecon show in Hollywood so far this week. Because the films playing tonight don’t interest me, and because tomorrow, we’ll be here for fourteen hours, we decided to leave early today and on Sunday. I had to do that to retain Martine’s good will so that we could see a rare print of John Ford’s Upstream (1927) ending around 10:30 pm.

In the meantime, the short walk (two and a half blocks) between the Egyptian Theater and the Loew’s Hollywood Hotel where the film memorabilia vendors (and Martine) are working and where our car is parked, is as wild and woolly as ever. Tattooed monkeys and brainless girls wearing next to nothing seem to predominate. There are endless tours of Hollywood surrounded by teams of touts who try to funnel tourists into the buses. everal times a day, I have to tell them I’m not interested because “I live in this sh*thole.”

The scene above is of Zoo Central in front of the Hollywood & Highland Center next to Grauman’s Chinese Theater. You see one girl at the left being photographed by one of the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Behind her is one of the tour buses, accompanied by someone dressed as Johnny Depp in some recent movie whose title slips my mind.

I have been seeing some great films at the Egyptian, however, especially today. I sat through Robert Florey’s Dangerous to Know (1938) with the lovely Anna May Wong and Akim Tamiroff; Madge Kennedy in Dollars and Sense (1920); W. S. Hart in Wild Bill Hickock (1923); and John Blystone’s Gentle Julia (1936) with Marsha Hunt and Jane Withers, both of whom were in the audience as guests.

Last night, Martine and I saw Erle C. Kenton’s Always a Bridesmaid (1943) with the Andrews Sisters. A special treat was a film clip of the famed Nicholas Brothers dance duo, with two granddaughters of Fayard Nicholas tap dancing in synch with what was on the screen.

So, on the whole, it’s a mixed blessing: Great films in a particularly nutty place.