It's Diana's last report from the TCM Film Festival which closed this weekend. One more from Anne Marie is coming up and it's a wrap. Take it away, Diana...
In one of the few overlaps in our TCMFF schedule, Anne Marie and I sat down for the all-star classic The Women (1939). We've both watched the film a countless number of times - it's such a treat. The El Capitan organist played a variety of film standards (including the Star Wars theme) as we chuckled and waited for the introduction. The cherry on top? Anna Kendrick, cool girl exemplar, was the special guest, there to introduce the comedy classic alongside TCM stalwart (and object of many TCM fangirls’ affections) Ben Mankiewicz.
Walking out on stage, Kendrick sported a chic yet casual look with a black tee, black skinny jeans and black heeled boots paired with hipster glasses and gently messed hair. Within moments of sitting down, she nonchalantly revealed she was also still wearing her retainer. Kendrick opened up about how she stumbled on the film and fell head over heels for it, feeling the biggest connection to Rosalind Russell...
'While working on Broadway ' (Kendrick put laughing emphasis on the "way" and sidebarred that “it was a douchey thing to say, no matter how I say it”), the then 12 year-old Kendrick was introduced to the film by two older fellow actresses who considered the a rite of passage for the then-tween. Like many of us, Kendrick couldn’t keep the unbridled passion to herself and forced friends to watch it. Also, like many of us, she realized that not all tweens are that keen on a black-and-white 1939 comedy. Nonetheless, she persevered with her own interest in classic films, thanks in large part to a father who would rent things like The African Queen for them to watch at home to counteract her frequent video store choice of Spiceworld.
Stating that The Women is part of her D.N.A., Kendrick vowed that she would incorporate the Sylvia (Russell) leg-chair-hook “into a movie, if it’s the death of me.” (You know the one, early in the picture, when she’s gossiping in the Haines’ powder room and hooks the chair with her leg and without missing a beat sits down to dish even more.) Later on in the screening, that moment elicited a raucous amount of applause, thanks pretty much entirely to Kendrick’s introduction.
On a current note, Kendrick revealed a great, passive aggressive way actors give shade to each other on-set. Whereas Joan Crawford would knit while feeding lines to Norma Shearer during reaction shots on “The Women,” apparently the thing to do on a modern-day film set is to break strategically, meaning to laugh a bit too heartily and flub the scene all the while crediting your fellow actor with being too good and too funny. Not that Kendrick has done anything like this, just that she 'heard about it' from other actors.
When introducing the young actress, Ben Mankiewicz said that she was one of the few actors working today who could have easily been a star in any other Hollywood era. From her martini glass-shattering performance in Camp to her Academy Award-nominated performance in Up in the Air to her full-hearted introduction at this screening, Kendrick continues to win the hearts of new fans. As Mankiewicz predicted (and I agree), she’s on her way to legendary, award-winning stardom herself.