Last Saturday, Tori and I went to a special screening of The Loved One (1965) at the Egyptian Theater. It's one of Tori's favorite films. She talks about it a lot. It's a wild parody of L.A., and specifically about Forest Lawn Cemetery, based on the novel by Evelyn Waugh, and directed by Tony Richardson from a screenplay by Terry Southern. You can tell he had a hand in it, because it has the same absurdist feel as Dr. Strangelove.
Tori and I decided to take a spin around Forest Lawn first, in preparation for the movie that night. Unfortunately, we got there a little late, and some of the buildings were closed. We weren't able to see the recreations of The Last Supper and other famous art reproductions they have there.
But this just means we'll have to go back and do a more extensive blog entry on it.
We thought we'd make a real Hollywood night of it, and have dinner before the show at Musso & Frank's. A lot of other people seemed to have this idea, too. Tori has a keen eye, and identified a table of cinematographers who were there to see their idol, Haskell Wexler, a gaggle of film students and even The Loved One star, Robert Morse.
Tori peruses the menu. She had Eggs Benedict, and I had French Onion Soup and a Caesar Salad swimming with anchovies. Kickin' it old school!
We saw it at The Egyptian with a nearly sold-out crowd.
After the film, there was a Q&A with stars Robert Morse, Anjanette Comer (who reminded of a flighty Kristen Wiig) and the legendary cinematographer, Haskell Wexler (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, In the Heat of the Night, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and many, many more). Star Jonathan Winters was also supposed to appear, but had to cancel. Which was sad, because he plays three different roles in the film and was totally amazing.
I can imagine this film was totally shocking in 1965. I'm surprised it was even released back then, although maybe it had something to do with the cultural and artistic freedoms that were flowering in that decade. And the drugs. Also, that it had some big and very hip names attached to it, like Wexler, Terry Southern and director Tony Richardson.
This is the movie that made me fall in love with Rod Steiger. I've seen and loved him in plenty of films before, but he is off the hook in The Love One.
At the end of the Q&A, the sold-out audience sang "Happy Birthday" to Haskell Wexler, who was celebrating his 90th that week! And people, he looked phenomenal--not a day over 70! Tori and I pondered what Fountain of Youth he could be drinking from, when Tori figured it out--because she always does--money. And so ended another glorious night in L.A.