The TCM Classic Film Festival opens two weeks from tomorrow, on April 25th.
TCM released the festival schedule last week, so passholders are carefully reviewing it and making their choices, which isn't easy when there are five to seven screenings or other film-related events going on at one time!
Will McKinley of Cinematically Insane broke the entire schedule down block by block, noting his first and second choices for each time period on the schedule. Will's detailed work even rated a Tweet from TCM host Ben Mankiewicz saying, "This is awesome!"
Other classic film friends, such as Raquel and Joel, have also posted their "must see" picks. And don't miss Jill's videos, with festival advice created especially for TCM!
Since I will have the privilege of attending the festival as a member of the media, needless to say I've also been looking over the schedule with a great deal of excitement. I only saw one movie at the festival last year, so covering the festival from start to finish will be quite an experience!
I've pretty much eliminated from consideration any film I've seen in a theater in the last few years, such as the nifty 3D version of HONDO (1953), LADY AND THE TRAMP (1955) at the El Capitan, SHANE (1953), LIBELED LADY (1936), SOUTH PACIFIC (1958), or TRY AND GET ME (1950), which I've already seen twice this year!
I know from my brief time at the festival last year, as well as speaking to those who have attended in the past, that flexibility is key; some of the smaller theaters tend to fill up or the unexpected happens, so I've marked second and even third choices for each time slot.
That said, here are some of the films I'm hoping to see:
Thursday, April 25th:
THE KILLING (1956) starring Sterling Hayden, with actress Coleen Gray attending in person. Digital print.
SAFE IN HELL (1931) in 35mm, with William Wellman Jr. in person. An ultimate pre-Code exemplar.
Friday, April 26th:
I KNOW WHERE I'M GOING! (1945), if I can get up to Hollywood in time to see it at 9:15 a.m.! Shown in 35mm. I just watched the DVD again a few months ago but seeing this favorite film on a big screen with an appreciative audience would be a treat.
THE NARROW MARGIN (1952) in 35mm, with Jacqueline White in person. This is a hard choice as I would also love to see the rarely shown SUDDENLY, IT'S SPRING (1947) with Fred MacMurray and June Haver's daughter Kate in person. Had to give the edge to a terrific film noir with a cast member in attendance, but would not be sorry if I have to take my second choice!
NOTORIOUS (1946) in 35mm. It's one of my favorite Hitchcock films, and it's been decades since the one time I saw it on screen, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
ON THE WATERFRONT (1954) with Eva Marie Saint in person. Digital print. A great movie, and it would be a thrill to see Eva Marie Saint in person.
Saturday, April 27th:
THE LADY VANISHES (1938) in 35mm; it's another favorite Hitchcock film, which I've never seen on a big screen, with longtime Hitchcock associate Norman Lloyd in attendance. It was wonderful seeing Lloyd last year at the Noir City Festival; he's now 98, and at least as of last year was still playing tennis daily.
THE TALL TARGET (1951) in 35mm. This is a tough one as it's playing opposite Dennis Morgan in THE DESERT SONG (1943), which I've never seen, but the chance to see Dick Powell and THE TALL TARGET on a big screen wins out. It's a wonderful film which the Film Noir Foundation's Eddie Muller told me he had encouraged TCM to add to the schedule. As a matter of fact, it's being shown right after THE TRAIN (1964) which he mentioned as his favorite train movie.
MILDRED PIERCE (1945) in 35mm, with Ann Blyth in person. I suspect this might be the hottest ticket of the festival! Hope the Egyptian can accommodate everyone who wants to see Ann Blyth and this iconic film.
Sunday, April 28th:
CINERAMA HOLIDAY (1955) at the Cinerama Dome sounds like a lot of fun -- but I certainly wouldn't be sorry to instead see GILDA (1946), being shown in a digital print at the Egyptian.
KISMET (1955) in 35mm with Ann Blyth appearing in person. This might not be one of MGM's best musicals, but I absolutely love Ann Blyth's singing in it, and it's the rare MGM musical I've never seen even once on a big screen. Really hoping to see this one.
DIAL M FOR MURDER (1954) -- really want to see the digital 3D print, have heard good things about it, and have only seen this film once previously. Hitchcock and noir seem to be dominating my festival wish list! On the other hand, I was a teenager when I last saw CLUNY BROWN (1946) on a big screen at the late, lamented Vagabond Theater on Wilshire Boulevard, and it's a wonderful movie...
There are many other titles on the schedule I'd be happy to see, and if I'm lucky I'll see more than I've listed above. For instance, Jane Withers in person at the premiere of the restoration of GIANT (1956) would be fantastic. So many movies, so little time, indeed!
I also picked out one time block each afternoon where I might try to eat a meal instead of watching a movie, but who knows, maybe I'll just live on popcorn and M&Ms all weekend...