TMT: The Cheaper, The Better
This is the next entry in a Theatre… a Movie… and a Time, a series that was begun here. Recently, my colleague and guest post writer, Kevin (aka Jack Deth), provided another wonder contribution toward Paula, Kellee, and Aurora ‘s splendid 31 Days of Oscar Blogathon. His look at 1973 — A Very Good Year rekindled one of these memories. This for a noted drama that surprised many, especially at the 46th Academy Awards:
“Staunch and stoic Jack Lemmon’s name on the ballot may have raised cursory eyebrows. An everyman’s actor just coming into his own. And his Harry Stoner in Save the Tiger has those quiet inner qualities writ large. As the head of a company which mass produces fashions seen on the catwalks of Paris, Milan and London. Suddenly stricken with hard times. In a film that would reveal Mr. Lemmon to be one of America’s great untapped dramatic talents.”
The World Theatre:
[pictures are care of the Cinema Treasures site]
March 1973: The term ‘starving student’ is a cliché. Apt, though. In this particular year, I was in the Spring semester at L.A. Harbor College. The two-year junior college in the South Bay area of the city. In the coastal district known as Wilmington (near the Port of Los Angeles). Only my third semester of college after high school (following a summer session and one in the Fall of ’72).
In-between classes, I scrounged for work to help pay for its tuition and the occasional date. At that time, I don’t know what was more important to me. The former or the latter. Hey, I was 18. Anyway, money was tight, and being penny-wise grew in importance. Still, watching cinema remained of interest. And dinner and a movie with a young lady so worth the cost.
This was why second-run, bargain movie theaters became valuable to this student. No, I didn’t take ‘dates’ to these. What kind of boyfriend do you think I was? Don’t answer that. I took my girlfriends to the grand theaters of the time. The World Theatre was where I took myself (maybe with a college pal) to catch movies only I’d want to see. All triple-features, and for 99₵.
Sometime in March, the Jack Lemmon-starring Save the Tiger landed right there. Long after debuting the February before in the ‘nice’ theater up the street. The World being at the east end of the boulevard. For sure, the less glamorous part of Hollywood. To this day I don’t recall what the second or third movies were on the bill that Sunday afternoon. Didn’t matter.
After almost forty years, catching what was a sea change role for Jack Lemmon made it more than worthwhile for this frugal undergrad. And pretty much indelible.
The entire TMT series can be found here. If you’re interested how it’s put together, click here.
4 Responses to “TMT: The Cheaper, The Better”
I don’t know if this is an apocryphal story, but I’m told Jack Lemmon was originally slated to star in “Death Wish” with Sidney Lumet directing. Now wouldn’t THAT have been interesting?
Oh, man. THAT would have been somethin’! Lumet and Lemmon in that story? I’d have bought a ticket. Thanks, Steven.
We’re both doing the 31 Days Oscar blogathon today, awesome! I have heard of this one thanks to Jack’s post. Great story as always, Michael.
Thank you very much, Ruth.