Believe it or not, the following has nothing to do with San Francisco International Film Festival. Just two unrelated news items:
First, Frank Lee has restored San Francisco’s Marina Theatre, and it opens Friday as the third house in Lee’s 4Star/Presidio mini-empire. Originally built in 1928, the Marina is now a 2-screener, made out of the original theater’s balcony.
If you’re wondering why you’ve never heard of the Marina, it’s because it was renamed the Cinema 21 in the 1960s and kept that name until it closed in 2001. Although I haven’t been there in decades, I fondly recall the Cinema 21 as one of the best big houses of the second 70mm golden age, with a huge, deeply-curved screen that added wonders to my enjoyment of Star Wars and Tron. But that beautiful old screen won’t remain.
Speaking of things that remain, the Rafael will run a James Stewart 100th Birthday Celebration Sundays and Wednesdays, May 18 through June 22. They have a good selection of much of his best work, including Vertigo (well, most people consider it his best work), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. The most obvious choice that’s missing: It’s a Wonderful Life.