There IS the matter of eating and sleeping during this film festival. Good luck to you on that score; you’re going to have to work that out. I spent thousands of dollars to fly across America to see MOVIES. Classic movies…hopefully in 35mm ~ but truth be told I’ll take ’em however they screen ’em ~ Movies which were more current held absolutely no interest to me since I define “classic” with my own criteria. So it was a piece of cake to skip those TCM screenings of newer films. Nope I wanted my movies old, black ‘n white and sleeping in twin beds. I did go to Club TCM and see actual live humans talking. Elliot Gould was a pleasant surprise, my favorite ‘Hollywood Home Movies’ segment was a delight. There was the ‘Art of the Film Score’ talk, hosted by composer Michael Giacchino ( who did the animated film “UP” ) that was a disappointing bust for me. He spent most of the lecture talking about his own work when I thought he’d talk about great classic film composing MASTERS like Korngold, Hermann, Steiner et al and how they used music to enhance films. How can I stress I don’t care about today…it’s yesterday I’m here for.
It was thrill listening to Bonnie Hunt and Keith Carradine. Oscar~winning actor James Cromwell introduced that hot ticket in the infamous Theatre 4 – “Double Harness” that his father John Cromwell directed. For “Shanghai Express”, Josef von Sternberg’s son Nicholas spoke about his father and of sitting on Dietrich’s lap when he was a wee boy. I inwardly sighed listening to Eva Marie Saint speak, always a treat and ogled the great…Gina Lollabrigida, one of TCM’s featured guests this year. Boy was she a riot; but she also had a poignant story to tell about the death of Tyrone Power. I went to my first book~signing held: for Rita Moreno and thanks to my pal Aurora…she took video of me meeting the Emmy~Grammy~Oscar~Tony award-winning actress. Yes I babbled for my 2.5~minutes with Ms. Moreno…and here is one screencap from my video. Thanxxx again, Aurora!
One of the worst decision~making blocks I had was Friday morning ( April 29th ) when TCM tortured me ( yes specifically singling out ME ) with this trifecta to choose from in their 9:00am hour:
I knew friends were going to see this fun romp where Joel McCrea fondles Jean Arthur on the apartment house stoop. And I love Doris Day with all my heart and soul and wanted to see her go toe~to~toe with Cagney on the BIG screen. But I just had to go hear von Sternberg’s son speak and then luxuriate in my front~row seat and drown in the gleaming silver sheen and smoky allure of Dietrich, the jaw~dropping beauty and precision of Anna May Wong…and that dadblasted train in “Shanghai Express.”
I didn’t know WHAT the heck to expect because I’m not really a Silent Film fan but I was going to try something else outside my comfort zone and ‘B’-movie mentality. I went to see: “The Passion of Joan of Arc” ( 1928 ).
It was an emotional and exhilarating experience at the Egyptian with a live orchestra and a chorus of singers within reach. When the film ended, the audience gave the film, orchestra and singers a standing ovation. When the chorus ~ whose back was to us for the whole film ~ stood UP and turned and faced us, I have goosebumps now remembering how floored I was. FALCONETTI? Blew me away. Her trials and tribulations as Joan felt quite contemporary to me.
I did my movie thaaaang. It’s opening night and after the Red Carpet I was psyched to see “Dark Victory”. The festival started off with a bang. Anyone who was at the Multiplex on opening night seeing “Dark Victory” ~ “One Potato, Two Potato” or “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” had their screening interrupted during the last maybe five minutes of the films they went to see…because of a FIRE ALARM going off:
You can click on the photo above to read specifically about this mood~killing occurrence on the festival’s first night.
The films I saw this year were:
“Brief Encounter.” A nifty Joan Leslie film noir called “Repeat Performance” was a treat. A lecture: “The 90th Anniversary of Vitaphone” [ deciding to check out something outside my comfort zone ]. Whoa, there was Baby Rose Marie. Yep, THAT Rose Marie, belting out songs like Sophie Tucker. I really enjoyed the history lesson and clips by historian Ron Hutchinson. I couldn’t believe I was laughing at the corny antics of Vaudeville acts at 9 am on a Saturday morning. But hell…I was in The Egyptian and the bits were funny. I saw the hilarious “Midnight” ~ Colbert opposite Mary Astor…I’m tingling just thinking about these two divas facing off. They will meet again three years later in “The Palm Beach Story.”
There was the gorgeous hunkiness of Rock Hudson in the romantically lush embrace of Douglas Sirk’s “All That Heaven Allows” and I ended my TCM festival screening with the devastating paean to MOVIES: “Cinema Paradiso.” I had seen the segment with the film clips before but now…NOW putting it in context with the story of this young boy and father figure projectionist, moved me to tears. Go on, call me a cock~eyed romantic.
This is where one sees classic films in classic film venues. Sure, when you go see a movie at your local multiplex you are presumably sharing a theater with folks who want to see the same movie. But c’mon now. Really. You know the only way to see classic films are with people who absolutely are over the moon about classic films as you are. That’s part of this film festival’s experience for me. Not only am I seeing the movies, but I’m connecting with people. Check out the connections and all things humanly movie~related:
While we waited for the movies to start, TCM would project these graphics:
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THE SCHEDULE: Decisions Decisions
There’s no law that says I can’t have a Mojito at the pool bar while deciding what to see
James Cromwell introduces his father’s [ John Cromwell ] at the festival ~ Theater 4 broke many hearts this weekend
When you com eearly enough, you get to see how the magic is done
I’m here at the Egyptian bright and early to learn something
The great Burns and Allen, so young and doing one of their routines
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HOLLYWOOD’S HOME MOVIES
GINGER ROGERS AT HOME
On set of “The More The Merrier” with George Stevens, Joel McCrea and Jean Arthur
A descendant of Lassie, here for the Animals in Movie Segment in Club TCM
What a beautifully groomed dog she is
The entrance to the Ladies Room inside Grauman’s Chinese Theater ~ It’s more glamorous than my apartment
I can’t believe I’m front row center actually looking and listening to Eva Marie Saint. Here she is with Leonard Maltin. Realize she’s worked with such leading men as Brando, Cary Grant, Montgomery Clift, Paul Newman, Warren Beatty, Yves Montand, Richard Burton, James Garner and Gregory Peck.
Classy, beautiful and natural…still.
In front of Grauman’s Chinese, I wait on line for my last screening of the festival
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THE BEST THING ABOUT ALL THIS ~ THE PEOPLE
If it’s a Hawaiian shirt…it must be Joel
Lesley ( Writer of classic film blog: Second Sight Cinema )
Me and Baby T ( Theresa M-B of Texas )
SAM & I ~ “Kim Novak” brought us together and we’ve laughed every year since
Preston jumps on the BAND WAGON
The TCM film crew doin’ what they do
Margaret and her sons at a Poolside screening
Poolside screening at the Hollywood Roosevelt
The Natives are restless waiting for the show to begin ~ It’s all about this…FRIENDS
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