Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Nice But Movieless Night at the TCM Classic Film Festival

I had a relatively slow workday today, so I decided to take a gamble and drive up to the TCM Classic Film Festival in hopes of getting a standby ticket to a late screening. My hope was to see the Film Noir Foundation's Eddie Muller introduce CRISS CROSS (1949) with Burt Lancaster, Yvonne DeCarlo, and Dan Duryea. It's on my list of 10 classics I particularly want to see in 2012.

I knew the film was playing in the festival's smallest venue, but I didn't realize just how small until I got there: only 177 seats! Despite the fact that I was No. 1 in the standby line, the screening was completely filled with festival passholders and I didn't get in. It was a bummer after going to quite a bit of effort, but at least I tried, and I've got a DVD I can watch!

The evening wasn't a complete waste of time, however. I got to scope out a small bit of the festival "scene," learned my way around the Chinese Multiplex (and know not to attempt standby there again, grin), got a lovely glossy festival guidebook, and enjoyed chatting with fellow film fans in line. And I'm almost positive A.C. Lyles walked past me.

I'm probably going to attempt standby one more time Saturday night and try to see GUN CRAZY (1950) at the Egyptian, with Eddie Muller and Peggy Cummins in attendance. The Egyptian is three and a half times the size of the Chinese Multiplex so maybe I'll have better luck!

However it goes, I'm fairly sanguine about it, because after most of the TCM Festival folks have flown home, I'm going to be enjoying numerous films spread over three glorious weeks at the Noir City Festival!


Blogger J.C. Loophole said...

Sorry to hear about your evening, but glad it was enjoyable. I must admit I envy even your movieless Film Festival experience, as in SC we never see that sort of thing at all. Atlanta is the only closest possible venue, and that is a far and few in-between proposition. DId you already have the DVD, or were you able to pick up there.
We are doing well by the way.I keep meaning to email you and catch you up with the Loopholes, and will do very soon.
By the way, my order of Westward the Women is on the way, and looking over the new Archive releases, I couldn't help but add Tish to my order instead of Three Loves has Nancy this time, as the Majoree Main and Zazu Pitts combination proved irresistibly funny. The trailer was delightful, and I hope the film proves to be as well- I'd never heard of it before. By the way, the Archvie recently released a Fred Astaire Joan Leslie film- The Sky's the Limit, which I got last week or so and watched it- very enjoyable wartime musical with a unique ending that I think a lot of American women and families could relate to in that time of unknown outcomes during the war. Have you ever seen it? I really liked it, not one of my Astaire favorites, but it had good humor and wit, some Astaire and Leslie dancing (not as much as you would expect) and surprisingly a bit of commentary for a lighthearted film during the years of WWII.
Hope you are well, enjoy the festival and I've got my fingers crossed for your later Gun Crazy stand-by. Can't wait to hear about it. If you get a chance to post some pics or even scans of the guidebook, I would love to see them. I can vicariously enjoy them through you. (I am a sucker for glossy guidebooks and programs. I don't know why.:))

9:24 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hi J.C.! So great to hear from you, and glad to hear you're all doing well. Looking forward to hearing more when you have a chance to catch up a little!

There are times I find living in CA frustrating, but I regularly remind myself how fortunate I am to have such great access to classic films on the big screen (not to mention Disneyland, grin). Even though I was disappointed not to see the movie, it was great to be surrounded by so many friendly and enthusiastic classic film fans last night. And the TCM Festival employees were very helpful and friendly, apologizing profusely that they couldn't squeeze in anyone in the standby line.

It just so happened I had my dad's DVD of CRISS CROSS here on loan. I'm going to try to watch it in the near future!

I know what you mean about glossy festival guidebooks! For some reason, although the Noir City festival in Hollywood has been around more years, the Film Noir Foundation only makes a glossy program for the San Francisco festival. But they sell them in Hollywood, and I always buy it, even though only some of the titles overlap. They're absolutely *gorgeous*, more like miniature glossy photo books. The TCM Festival guide is also very nice, with the films listed alphabetically and well-written comments on each. The guide's narrow format may make it difficult to open the guide enough to scan and photograph it well, but I'll try to experiment this weekend!

I learned this year that TCM has given some classic film bloggers press credentials. I think I will try applying next year, given how much I cover TCM here in other contexts -- though judging from comments on Twitter, a lot of film fans have the same idea and competition may be tough! :)

The festival passes make sense for folks from out of town, but so far I just haven't been able to justify the cost, especially as I've been fortunate to see a number of the films and actors here in So. CA on other occasions; and if my husband or another member of the family came along for the weekend, the cost really gets prohibitive. By contrast, if I match last year and see 14 films (7 double bills) at the Noir City Fest, with my American Cinematheque membership it's only about 1/8 the cost of a TCM Festival pass, and that's probably more movies than I could see at TCM!

I saw THE SKY'S THE LIMIT for the first time a couple years ago and also really liked it -- much more than I expected, as it's always been kind of "written off" by historians over the years, lumped in with lesser films like SECOND CHORUS (which has its moments, and I love Paulette, but it's not in the same league as TSTL). So glad you liked it too! A very engaging cast and a beautiful score.

My copy of WESTWARD THE WOMEN should be here by the middle of next week! I'd love to hear what you think of TISH. I recorded it from TCM a few months ago but it's still on my "to be watched" list with a couple thousand other films (grin). Always so hard to choose the next movie to watch!

Thanks for the good wishes and we'll see if GUN CRAZY works or not!

Best wishes,

9:58 AM  
Blogger DKoren said...

I'm glad you had a good evening despite the lack of movie viewing. It would be fun to meet like minded people right there! Good look on your future viewing attempts, and I'll be looking forward to hearing about your adventures!

2:35 PM  
Blogger KC said...

Ah bummer about not getting in. But it is nice that you at least got in a nice chat and scoped out the surroundings.

10:03 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks, Deb and KC! Yes, it would have been more fun to see the movie but I was glad I went anyway, now I can "picture" some of what's going on at the Festival. And I like my pretty guidebook. :)

Heard tonight that passholders were turned away today from seeing RAW DEAL in the same theater. If I had spent $500 on a festival pass and still not gotten in to see the noir titles I was anxious to see, that would not have been a good experience! Fortunately TCM saves a few empty spots on the Sunday schedule to replay the most popular films, and tonight they announced that both CRISS CROSS and RAW DEAL will be shown again on Sunday "because of overwhelming response."

Best wishes,

10:41 PM  
Blogger SimpleGifts said...

Laura - Yes, you classic film bloggers do so much to promote TCM and deserve press credentials. That would be SO neat if you get one next year. Let me know if they ask for references from your blog followers!! Jane

3:32 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thank you so much for the kind words and support, Jane!

Hope I will see you at either Noir City or the UCLA Universal festivals! :)

Best wishes,

5:37 PM  

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