The usual concerns and distractions kept me from attending the TCM Classic Film Festival until 8:50 pm last night. I arrived at the big Chinese (a.k.a. “the Samaha-Kushner club“) to see how Spartacus would look on the big screen. Answer: okay to so-so, and definitely not great.

I don’t know if the projection was film or digital but the lamp wasn’t that bright, the focus was soft, there was no extraordinary detail, the image felt a little too dark and shadowy and the sound was okay but unexceptional.

Honestly? What I saw last night was nowhere near as satisfying as watching the bad “shiny” Spartacus Bluray (i.e., the one we’re not supposed to like) on my 50″ plasma.

I then ran upstairs to the Chinese 6 to see portions of William Wyler‘s Dodsworth (’36) and Stanley Donen‘s Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (’54). Both looked good to decent, and it was great to see that both played to nearly sold-out houses. But content-wise…whew.

Walter Huston and Mary Astor give strong, stand-up performances in Dodsworth and Michael Kidd‘s legendary Seven Brides choreography still delights and amazes, but otherwise I felt as if I was watching plays or operas written in the 18th Century. Those worlds are completely gone from the social-political current of today. Well, all but.

Today I’m seeing The Man With The Golden Arm, Citizen Kane, Reds (and the Alec Baldwin-Warren Beatty inteview), Niagara, La Dolce Vita, One, Two, Three and The Mummy at midnight.