News for Sep. 08, 2007

Celebrate Fay Wray's 100th Birthday

9/08/07, 12:38 pm EST - Xoanon

Mr. Grooism sends this along: A one-night only special event paying tribute to über-icon (and Film Forum member) Fay Wray (1907-2004) on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of her birth, will take place on Tuesday, September 18 at Film Forum at 7:45 pm, with a screening of Erich Von Stroheim's silent masterwork THE WEDDING MARCH (1928), Wray's first important role and her own personal favorite A 35mm print from the Library of Congress, complete with early Technicolor sequences, will be screened, with live piano accompaniment by Steve Sterner.

The evening will also include tributes from Film Forum repertory program director Bruce Goldstein, film historian and author Foster Hirsch, Fay's niece Willow Wray, and filmmaker Rick McKay (Broadway: The Golden Age), who will present excerpts from his forthcoming Fay Wray documentary, which includes a clip of the star watching her much-younger self (in a 1923 comedy short!) at a Film Forum screening in 1999.

We are already selling tickets to this via this web page.

Von Stroheim's THE WEDDING MARCH Starring Erich Von Stroheim & Fay Wray. One-Night-Only Special Event Honors 100th anniversary of Fay Wray's birth 7:45 PM, Tuesday, September 18 at Film Forum

In THE WEDDING MARCH, broke Prince Nikki Von Wildeliebe-Rauffenberg (deliciously played by director Von Stroheim) decides to go for the kroner via marriage to ZaSu Pitts, lame daughter of Vienna's Corn Plaster King, but en route finds tender romance with wine garden jungfrau Fay Wray. One of Stroheim's silent masterpieces, with the opening Technicolor Corpus Christi procession; the lovers' apple-blossomed idyll; and the wedding amid torrential rain among the all-time classic sequences - as well as the first important role for his then-21-year-old leading lady. Though she is best known as the ever-screaming heroine of King Kong, Miss Wray always named The Wedding March the favorite of all her films.

Born September 15, 1907 in Alberta, Canada, Fay Wray spent most of her youth in Los Angeles. She began to get parts in movies as early as 1919, but got her big break after being cast by Von Stroheim in The Wedding March. Her subsequent co-stars included Gary Cooper, Fredric March and William Powell, but her "tallest, darkest leading man" (her words) was King Kong, with whom she'll forever be associated (she titled her memoirs On the Other Hand). She died August 8, 2004, just short of her 97th birthday.

"As soon as I had seen Fay Wray and spoken with her for a few minutes, I knew I had found the right girl. I didn't even take a test of her. Why? Because I select my players from a feeling you might call it, or a vibration that exists between us that convinces me they are right. Fay has a spirituality, too, but she also has that very real sex appeal that takes hold of the hearts of men."
- Von Stroheim.

"An incredible film: passionate, poignant, sophisticated in its use of the film-maker's tools, and quite possibly Stroheim's finest films."
- William K. Everson

"Von Stroheim's quintessential film."
- J. Hoberman, The Village Voice

"Norma Desmond was right. They did have faces then. And none was more luminous than that of the heroine Fay Wray in The Wedding March."
- Guy Flatley, Time Out New York