How's this for serendipity.
Today at lunch, I was reading Agee on Film, and came across a review of a film that really intrigued me: Val Lewton's The Curse of the Cat People. I had seen The Cat People, but not this 1944 follow-up, which got about as much of a rave from Agee (who tends to be somewhat suspicious of everything he liked, and rarely praised anything without heavily qualifying it) as he ever gave. Also, proof positive that it had an affect on him, he wrote about it at far more length than was usual.
He described it as a Grade B movie that is also a "brave, sensitive and admirable little psychological melodrama," and refrained from saying much about the plot because it's the kind of movie which "deserves to give one the pleasures of personal discovery."
He approvingly reports that the West Times Square audience applauded the movie, which Agee informs us us is probably the best movie audience in the country: "unobstreperous, poor, metropolitan,and deeply experienced." Naturally, I make a mental note to rent this soon.
Today is my birthday. Tonight at dinner my brother Kevin -- who came in from Charlotte, and swung by Queens to pick up Katie -- gave me his gift: the new boxed DVD set of nine Val Lewton pictures, including, yes, The Curse of the Cat People.
Other gifts: a terrific card from Katie, the latest Rolling Stones CD from Diane, a bio of John Belushi from Tom.
Cool people I share this birthday with, in no particular order: Tara Reid, Bram Stoker, Kazuo Ishiguro, Margaret Mitchell.
Hope to address later that I have also recently sat through (after years of waiting) Antonioni's atrocious Zabriskie Point and -- at Agee's urging -- a hilarious Harold Lloyd comedy called Grandma's Boy.