The print is a restoration jobbie, and it's clearly been run through the machine a bunch of times. Mostly good, and then around the reel changes (or not) it starts to look like Attack of the Giant Gnats. Also the projectionist framed it to 1.85 - you could even see the overscan. Ugh.
But it was great, really great, to see a proper print, versus video. I don't agree with Jonathan Rosenbaum when he says "You haven't really seen it unless you've seen it on film" (I'd say that for Bresson, but not a Welles movie), but it's certainly a movie where you have to immerse yourself into the imagery to get the "full effect."
The talk was fun. I kept it short because they had another showtime scheduled close to mine. I talked about how and why Welles changed the ending of the story (the idea that Kafka's ending would have been inconceivable in a post-Auschwitz world got a few people shifting in their seats, but in a good way - I think it gave people something to think about), the way he used film form to create the world of the story, and the story itself, rather than making himself a slave to the text, and a few other minor observations.
Overall it was good stuff. I couldn't help wondering if the guy who ran the film program at Makor wasn't expecting someone a bit younger, but I think I did all right. And there was a pretty good turn-out (for a cultural center that's kinda out of the way and whose screening room isn't really a hot spot for NYC repertory moviegoing).
And man, I don't know if it was nostalgia or just a case of "film is better," but THE TRIAL really knocked me out this time, even moreso than previous viewings. I mean I actually had to take a second to compose myself before getting up to do my little talky thing. And everything that moved me was at the same time really bizarre (quite natural, with this movie). The two thugs passing the knife back and forth while K. looks on, emotionlessly, nearly wasted me, honest to god.
And did I mention this is one weird friggin' movie? I thought I had a handle on, maybe not the "plot" but at least the basic to and fro of the nightmare narrative. But a lot of things throw you for a loop, not the least of which is Welles' voice coming from odd sources (he dubbed at least a half dozen actors, although I don't know which Perkins lines he did - I think that OW may have been joking when he said he dubbed eleven of Perkins' lines).
Anyway, if you're in town, come by 35 W 67th Street, between Columbus and Central Park. Good stuff. See it again for the first time, and all that.
Best films of 1962 (kinda preferential order):
La Jetée (Chris Marker)
The Trial (Orson Welles)
Two Weeks in Another Town (Vincente Minnelli)
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (John Ford)
Hatari! (Howard Hawks)
Mammals (Roman Polanski)
Sanjuro (Akira Kurosawa)
The Manchurian Candidate (John Frankenheimer)
Ivan's Childhood (Andrei Tarkvosky)
Hell Is for Heroes (Don Siegel)
Procès de Jeanne d'Arc (Robert Bresson)
Long Day's Journey Into Night (Sidney Lumet)
Vivre sa vie: Film en douze tableaux (Jean-Luc Godard)