Harrison Ford at the San Francisco International Film Festival

I caught the Harrison Ford event Tuesday afternoon. Unfortunately, I got a lousy seat. Near the back and over to the side. That's what I get for wasting time.

After an introduction by Ted Hope, and clip reels honoring the recently-deceased donor George Gund III and, of course, Harrison Ford, David Darcy came onstage to lead the discussion. He introduced Ford, who received a standing ovation.

Ford was relaxed and funny. He was clearly enjoying the experience. Some highlights of their discussion and the Q&A with the audience:

  • “I'm not really a leading man anymore. That's my former job. I'm happy to now play supporting parts, character parts.”
  • On how the business has changed: “I think films are more sophisticated today than 20 years ago. I find complex to characters that I didn't see twenty years ago, and in the kind of movies that need a leading man.”
  • “I'm sorry that people don't watch movies in theaters as much as they used to. Movies are best seem with strangers, in the dark. [Then the lights come up and] you're with people you've gone on an emotional journey with.”
  • One audience member asked if Ford would name his soon-to-be-born son. He declined.
  • When asked about whether he's involved with Disney's upcoming Star Wars sequel: “I'm not at liberty to discuss it. Either Star Wars or the incident with Lady Gaga.”
  • About Indiana Jones: “I felt we needed to learn something new about Jones every time. I'd still like to do one. I'd like to see what happens when he can't run that fast. And when he doesn't like hitting people or getting hit. I think we should do that in the next five years or so.”

After the talk, enough people left to allow me to get a good seat for The Fugitive.

It was digitally projected, and looked like the kind of presentation that gives digital cinema a bad name. There was little detail. Everything was a bit soft. I don't know what it was projected off of, but if it was a DCP, it was a really bad transfer. If it was a Blu-ray, it was still a bad transfer. I just checked Blu-ray.com's review, and they described the transfer as “mostly abysmal.” I agree.

But the movie itself holds up (I hadn't seen it since it was new). In a very Hitchcockian plot (adapted from a 60's TV show), Ford plays a doctor arrested, convicted, and sentenced to death for the murder of his wife. He escapes, and spends the rest of the film running from a US Marshall (Tommy Lee Jones in a career-defining role) while trying to solve the mystery. The movie sports some great action set pieces (including a train wreck), but is built mostly around the twin mysteries and the characters driving them. The final sequence goes on a little too long, but overall very good.

Let me put it this way: If you love North by Northwest, you'll like The Fugitive.

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