“I Killed Seven With One Blow”

What a Valiant Little Tailor!

What a Valiant Little Tailor!

The tale comes from the Brothers Grimm: It is the story of a little tailor who kills seven flies with one blow of his swatter. Then, to make sure the world knows what a valiant little tailor he was, he makes inscribes the line “I killed seven with one blow” on his belt and goes out into the world to—what else?—make his fortune. Of course, everyone misunderstands the saying on the belt and thinks the tailor killed seven men with one blow.

I felt much the same way when I read an interview with Gore Vidal in The Paris Review in which he states “But then I’m typically American. We weren’t brought up with theater like the English or the Germans. On the other hand, I saw every movie I could in my youth. I once saw four movies in one day when I was fourteen. That was the happiest day of my life.”

What, only four? I think I have had at least ten days in my time when I have seen five or even six movies in one day. I remember two days at the University of Southern California (USC) when I saw five Westerns directed by Budd Boetticher and another when I saw not only five films by John Ford, but John Ford himself showed up. I don’t count the day I saw five films directed by Hitchcock—but only because the 35mm nitrate print of Rope (1948) exploded into flames in the projection booth.

Then there were all the days I spent at the Cinecon show in Hollywood watching early silent and sound films, one after the other, with breaks only for lunch and dinner.

For the first time in nearly a decade, I don’t think I’ll be attending the Cinecon show this time, for reasons I hinted at in a post I wrote a year ago. Of course, I could still change my mind; and Martine is interested in attending at least one day of the screenings. We’ll see.