The first official day of the TCM Classic Film Festival was on Thursday, April 25th. I arrived at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in time for a "Meet TCM" panel discussion in Club TCM:
It was enjoyable hearing some insights into TCM behind the scenes, although some of the information was a repeat for those of us who had attended the press conference the day before.
I would recommend that next year perhaps audience questions could be submitted in writing, as some folks in the audience had trouble formulating on-point questions when given the chance to speak. Still, it was a fun event and a great way to start the festival.
Next on the schedule was a trivia contest. The final correct answer was Norman Lloyd, and the host asked an older gentleman in the audience who raised his hand how he happened to know the correct answer. Well, it turned out that the gentleman was Norman Lloyd himself! That was a wonderful touch which delighted the audience.
I had seen Mr. Lloyd sneak in the back door just previous to that, and Aurora of Once Upon a Screen went up and shook his hand! I was fortunate to see him speak before two films later in the festival.
I also enjoyed a meal with Aurora and Raquel on Thursday, and soon it was time for movie madness to get underway! The first film on my list was Stanley Kubrick's film noir THE KILLING (1956), which included a personal appearance by Coleen Gray. I'll be reviewing that separately and add the link here when it's up. (Update: Here's the review!)
Next it was time for one of the ultimate pre-Codes, William Wellman's SAFE IN HELL (1931). Prior to the film, historian Donald Bogle interviewed William Wellman Jr., which can be seen in the TCM Festival's video gallery.
Like Joel I found I was groggy during SAFE IN HELL -- I didn't exactly nod off, but I realized at some point late in the film I had no idea what was going on (grin). I guess it was a longer day than I had realized! I happen to have recently borrowed my father's Warner Archive copy of the movie so I hope to look at the film again in the near future and include it among my festival film reviews.
For more reports on the first full day at the festival, check out Raquel's post at Out of the Past and Jessica's writeup at Comet Over Hollywood. They attended the poolside SOUTH PACIFIC (1958) screening, complete with Polynesian dancers, which along with my choices gives an idea of just some of the interesting options available in one evening!
As a side note, I had the chance to chat briefly with the Film Noir Foundation's Eddie Muller prior to the screening of THE KILLING (1956), which he attended as a guest. He told me that prior to the last screening of the Noir City Film Festival at the Egyptian Theatre on April 21st, which I'd been unable to attend, the announcer for the American Cinematheque had asked if I was in the house and thanked me for my coverage of the festival; Eddie said I received a nice round of applause. Needless to say I was floored and gratified by this news! That was a great note on which to start the festival.
Coming soon: A review of THE KILLING (1956) and a recap of Day 2 of the festival, with more to come in the future!