The second film was "The Lady from Shanghai" which played to a respectable crowd that was a bit smaller. I ought to add that the theater no longer sold tickets on a double feature basis. There were separate admissions charged for each movie, so some folks may have skipped the 9:15 pm screening or selected one title over the other.
I was surprised by the large turn out. There were lines outside of the theater entrance when I arrived. Some of this related to ticket and festival pass distribution, but it was easily the best attended show in several years. I would hasten to add that in the past some of the other well patronized shows coincided with the appearances of special guests (actors, authors, and directors). Tonight, the movies were introduced by Eddie Muller without any added celebrities.
The quality of the 35mm prints screened tonight was exceptional. These productions were so detailed that even after repeated viewings it is possible that something jumps out at you that escaped your earlier notice. While watching "Key Largo" for the umpteenth time, I finally caught an inside joke. The cruiser that Humphrey Bogart uses to transport Edward G. Robinson and the gang to Cuba is the "Santana" of "Largo, Florida." This was the name of Bogart's own yacht and of his film production company, "Santana Productions" which made seven movies from 1949-1953 that were released by Columbia.
The true revelation of the night was a superior print of "The Lady from Shanghai" that had an exceptionally good audio track. The confusing film, which I figured out after multiple screenings, finally bordered upon complete coherence in a single viewing. When I first saw this movie, it was a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside of an enigma. Today, all of the explanatory dialogue delivered by the various characters was comprehensible.
A few years ago, some outtakes were discovered of deleted scenes and I wondered if the print represented a longer version of the movie? There seemed to be more explanatory dialogue and more footage of Ted De Corsia, Glenn Anders, Erskine Sanford and Gus Schilling than I had recalled. No such luck for Harry Shannon's cabbie character.
Owing to my personal schedule, I am not in a position to post daily comments about the entire festival. I will try to make a few comments as time permits. I am going to have to miss a few of the movies this year.
Perhaps the running time of "The Lady from Shanghai" had not changed at all, but my Columbia approved DVD copy was minutes shorter than the official running time set forth in various film reference books. I have had past experiences with film titles from Columbia, 20th Century Fox, and Universal Studios that were sold in the home entertainment market that were missing scenes or omitted dialogue and narration. As the Film Noir Foundation has amply demonstrated time and time again, some of the film studios are awfully careless about their film archives and inventories. I could cite specific examples, but nobody wants to read another two hundred words.