First, I’ll mark the 70th anniversary of 1951’s original “The Thing” with a screening at the Best Western Plus, 446 Rt. 3 (next to 99 Restaurant) at 7 pm Saturday, Feb. 20. It was the first motion picture of its genre with ultra-realistic overlapping dialogue lending a you-are-there feel to the proceedings. Moreover, a triumph in all departments, including a prophetic profile in divisiveness sprung from panic sown by an unprecedented threat to society (much like the wrath of covid). Thus, a must-see for any thinking person’s cinephile, sci-fi buff or not.
My second selection came to me after observing the inherent surreality of Inauguration Day 2021 augmented by our new president’s unfortunate somnambulisms. Watch “Salute The Marines or Good Looking Marines – Biden’s Earpiece Fail” on YouTube and imagine Jill Biden’s embarrassment over the hold-my-hand-I’m-lost image defining sleepy ol’ Joe in that clip (the user comments nail it). I immediately wondered how Nancy Reagan would’ve summed it up. No doubt words to the effect of: “Sadly, my husband was like this at the end of his presidency, but not at the beginning, not on the very first day!” It then struck me what the second featured attraction should be. In 1953 when she was still Hollywood actress Nancy Davis, the future 40th First Lady starred in “Donovan’s Brain” as the wife of a scientist (Lew Ayres) taken over by an unearthly force, leaving her increasingly distressed that he’s no longer the man she married. It’s a fascinating, chilling document of art imitating life before the fact and, like “The Thing,” essential viewing on its own terms. See “Donovan’s Brain” at the Fairfield Inn & Suites, 579 State Route 3 (across from the former Uno’s restaurant) at 7 pm Saturday, Feb. 27th.
Both films will screen on reel-to-reel 16mm and are free, with donations welcome (free food as well). The usual Covid-19 restrictions apply. Please register your interest in attending either by e-mailing email@example.com or calling/texting 518-802-1220.