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“This is the stuff that dreams are made of,” Humphry Bogart mutters in the gruff, stoic voice of his character, Sam Spade, from the iconic John Huston film The Maltese Falcon. The 1941 noir picture was shown Wednesday night as part of the Grand Classics film screening series, hosted by Huston’s children, Anjelica and Danny, as well as his grandson, Jack, and co-hosted by Petter Neby, founder of Punkt.
The VIP screening was held in the sleek, upscale iPic Theatre in Westwood. Just before the movie began, there was the convivial murmur of small talk as the well-dressed guests filtered into the roughly 80-seat theater. In attendance were Jerry Hall-Murdoch, Elizabeth Jagger, Minka Kelly, Famke Janssen, Loree Rodken, Linda Bruckheimer, Shannon Click, Lady Kinvara Balfour, Magnus Fiennes, Griffin Dunne and Mike Medavoy, among others.
Taking their seats among the plush orange chairs topped with blankets and pillows, the attendees were met with wait service offering dinner menus consisting of spiced tuna with crispy rice, angus burger sliders, margherita pizza, roasted vegetable kabobs and buttermilk fried chicken.
After the screening, Anjelica joked of the irony that her father never much liked eating during the movies. “He was never for it. And he was not a fan of chicken, so I felt a little guilty holding my fried chicken leg,” she laughed. “I’m sure he forgave me because it was such a beautiful screening.”
Anjelica mentioned that though she hadn’t seen the film in almost 20 years, she was glad to watch it again “as it was intended to be seen” on the big screen. It felt appropriate then that the nostalgic event was sponsored by Punkt, whose minimalist cellphones champion “being less distracted and living in the moment,” according to Neby.
When it came to the decision to show The Maltese Falcon over her father’s other renowned films, Anjelica told The Hollywood Reporter that she and Danny were torn between it and The Treasure of Sierra Madre (1948). Both films were described as being the most formative ones for their father’s film career, but ultimately they agreed that Maltese Falcon should be shown because it was a bit rarer for audiences to see.
Begun by Katrina Pavlos in the wake of 9/11, the Grand Classics was intended as a way to unite people and inspire them through the power of cinema. Anjelica joined the Grand Classics Committee early on when asked by her friend, Pavlos, if she and her family would participate. Though the proceeds of these events usually tend to go towards film preservation, it was announced that all the money on this night would instead be donated to the Los Angeles Fire Department and its ongoing battle with the wildfires raging in and around Los Angeles County.
“There are many people I know affected by the fires, some who even stayed and fought the fire. I know someone whose house is the only remaining house on their street. My traveling assistant’s mother has a rescue farm in Thousand Oaks, and we’ve got a fundraiser happening for them, too. The group is called Great Spirits, and we’re trying to raise $180,000 for them,” Anjelica said before adding, “Someone said, ‘You have to get to the brink of chaos before you can kind of make sense of things,’ and, in a way, I think we’ve gone so far that the only way to go now is to come back up.”
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