Footprints, a new film by Steven Peros (The Cat’s Meow), was eerily well timed in the wake of the TCM Classic Film Festival. The event took place at Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre, site of numerous festival screenings, and the movie features several prominent locations where festivalgoers had trod en masse only days before.
Billed as “a Hollywood fable,” Footprints celebrates classic Hollywood and the wannabe starlets who flocked there. When an initially-nameless young woman is found passed out in the handprint- and autograph-strewn courtyard of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard, a journey into her personal past and the film industry of a by-gone era begins.
The woman (played by Sybil Temtchine, a ringer for Mira Sorvino), who is seemingly suffering from amnesia, is quickly befriended by a unique assortment of boulevard dwellers. They include an elderly gentleman who may be the ghost of someone from the woman’s mysterious past; a friendly Scientologist; a Catwoman impersonator (the Halle Berry version) on the prowl for cash from photo-hungry tourists, with whom the lead character suits up as Wonder Woman; and the faded star of a faux pulp classic entitled Lola, the Tiger Girl, played by a radiant Pippa Scott, who was in John Ford’s The Searchers among other credits.
Engrossing and sweet if not particularly striking in execution, Footprints comments on the delicate nature of memories by frequently paying homage to real-life actresses Gene Tierney and Rita Hayworth, both of whom became memory-impaired in their later years. Writer-director Peros implies, intriguingly, that the cinema may well be our primary collective repository of memories as a species. The players may pass on but — thanks to Hollywood, if not some supernatural entity or process — their presence is eternal.
Review by Rev. Chris Carpenter, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and the Orange County and Long Beach Blade.