Posted by vp19 on 2015.01.18 at 20:58
Current mood: weird
This image of Carole Lombard (wearing the dark cloche hat) appears to be from 1929 or so and was taken at Hearst Castle, possibly on her first visit to the enchanted palace of San Simeon. (She had dated one of William Randolph Hearst’s sons in the mid-1920s, but I’m not certain when she initially met the multimedia mogul.) Over the years, Carole developed a friendship with Marion Davies and came to the castle several times.
While Lombard was there, she probably sat in one of these seats to watch an array of movies (perhaps even promoting a few of her own) alongside Hearst, Davies and other notable guests in what can only be called the screening room of the gods:
Since the Hearst family donated what W.R. called “the ranch” to the state of California in the late 1950s, mere mortals such as myself have been able to enter this legendary theater on tours; often, films relating to this marvel of art and architecture are shown. Now, this fabled screening room is about to cross the final cinematic frontier on March 13, when it will show…
You may be saying to yourself, “Didn’t he write something on this a few years ago? What makes this different?” The answer to the first question is “yes” (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/479403.html), the answer to the second is that the 2012 showing of “Kane” took place at the Hearst Castle visitors center some two miles away, not in the San Simeon screening room. (I don’t know whether the film was privately screened in front of Hearst and Davies when it first was released, possibly at the behest of his powerful Hollywood columnist Louella Parsons, leading to Hearst’s unsuccessful campaign to suppress the movie.)
As was the case in 2012, this is part of the San Luis Obispo Film Festival (http://variety.com/2015/film/news/citizen-kane-set-for-first-ever-showing-at-hearst-castle-exclusive-1201404889/), and while the earlier showing was a hot ticket, this viewing — in a theater seating 50 — will be ultra-exclusive (tickets are $1,000, with proceeds going to both the festival and Friends of Hearst Castle). But you’ll get a lot for your ticket, provided any still are available:
The film will be introduced by TCM’s Ben Mankiewicz, whose grandfather Herman Mankiewicz co-wrote its Oscar-winning screenplay with star and director Orson Welles, and W.R.’s grandson Steven Hearst, who got all this in motion in 2012 by giving the family blessing for “Kane” to be shown on the grounds, will be among those participating in a special tour. There are even a pair of Hearst Castle party packages being auctioned — a movie night for 10 and a pool party for 10 at the indoor Roman Pool — with bidding starting at $7,000. (For those who have forgotten the splendor of said pool, a photo below.)
Of course, part of the fun of attending this event will be to experience the vibes of seeing Welles’ subversive work of genius in the lair of one of his satirical targets, though unfortunately Davies was caught in the cinematic crossfire (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/334194.html). It’s been said Hearst was more angered with the portrayal of Susan Alexander Kane as an untalented harridan than any attacks on his supposed alter ego. Might there be some supernatural reaction of sorts that night? Those several dozen lucky to attend will find out.
In some ways, this will be similar to how Lombard herself viewed the film, at a private screening hosted in the fall of 1941 by Welles, a good friend. Legend has it that Carole loved the movie, other than its portrayal of the ersatz Davies, but husband Clark Gable fell asleep during its showing.