The 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival officially began on Thursday, March 26th.
It was an unusually hot day for March, but for festivalgoers the day was nothing but pure sunshine, in the very best sense. One might describe TCMFF as being akin to Disneyland for classic film fans, with one fun thing to do after another!
(Photo courtesy of Turner Classic Movies.)
And while I'm thinking of it, a quick moment here for kudos to TCM and Icelandic Glacier water for frequently passing out free water bottles to those of us in line over the course of the festival -- given temps in the 90s, it was especially welcome in the red carpet bleachers later on this day!
(Photo of Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel window courtesy of Turner Classic Movies.)
A bus tour of L.A. movie locations was available for those with media credentials, but since I had had the opportunity to take the same tour in 2014, I chose instead to spend the morning relaxing with Kristina and Casey.
Although our plans to give Kristina her first look at the forecourt at the Chinese were somewhat thwarted by preparations for the evening's red carpet festivities, we had a fun time showing her around to the different venues and shopping at the TCM Festival Boutique and the famed Larry Edmunds Bookshop, which is a "must visit" for all film fans.
This year's additions to my film library from Larry Edmunds were a hardcover copy of Rory Flynn's THE BARON OF MULHOLLAND: A DAUGHTER REMEMBERS ERROL FLYNN, which happily was much more affordable at Larry Edmunds than I'd previously seen at other stores online, and a used copy of HOLLYWOOD'S OTHER MEN by Alex Barris, a 1975 book published by A.S. Barnes & Co. It focuses on actors such as Jeffrey Lynn, Brian Aherne, Michael Rennie, Ralph Bellamy, and many other relatively lesser-known leading men/"other man" actors. I bought a number of other film books from that publisher "back in the day" so it was fun to come across one I didn't already own.
We met up with Kendra Bean for lunch at In-N-Out Burger, which was the first time Kristina or Casey had ever eaten there! Kendra signed our copies of her beautiful book VIVIEN LEIGH: AN INTIMATE PORTRAIT for us during lunch; this pose by Kendra mid-signing was one of my favorite festival pics:
What a fun time! It was great to get to know Kendra better during the festival.
In one of those fun "only at TCMFF" moments, as the four of us walked back to the Hollywood Roosevelt I was in the midst of telling Kendra, a festival first-timer, what a nice guy Joel is, when suddenly he and his wife appeared on the street in front of us, and we had a happy reunion!
Back at Club TCM in the Hollywood Roosevelt, we ran in to Jessica and her parents; Jessica's mom hadn't brought her Vivien Leigh book along on the trip, so Kendra signed an autograph she could put in the book when she returned home! The festival was filled with these kinds of fun "connections" and special moments. Having known Jessica online for several years, it was also a treat for me to get to know her parents.
We spent half an hour or so listening to the Meet TCM panel discussion in Club TCM, but as it covered much the same ground as the previous day's press conference, we ducked out after a bit.
Several bloggers wanted to get seats in the bleachers so we could take red carpet photos, and Raquel made sure we all got over to the line in plenty of time and easily secured seats. I sat in the back row so I could leave quickly when it was time to dash off to get in line for my first movie!
(Bleachers photo courtesy of Turner Classic Movies.)
There was a nice crowd of press as well as onlookers lined up across the street. (That's Jonathan Melville of Edinburgh in the brown shirt near the end of the press row.)
The New York Post's Lou Lumenick approaches the bleachers (click the image to enlarge the photo):
Unfortunately it was so hot that some of the stars were sheltered by huge black umbrellas, and when they looked our direction they were squinting into the sun. Here Eddie Muller of the Film Noir Foundation braves the glare to talk to the crowd in the bleachers:
At this point I'll switch from my own photos to some really nice red carpet closeups courtesy of TCM! The stars of the hour, Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer:
Soon enough it was time to race off for the first of what would be 16 movies seen at the festival, Greta Garbo in QUEEN CHRISTINA (1933), shown in 35mm. My first non-comedy Garbo film! I wasn't completely sold on every aspect of it -- her mannish style in this was...odd...and John Gilbert overemoted -- but it was interesting and enjoyable, and some of it was quite memorable. I was glad to broaden my viewing horizons and will definitely try more Garbo.
Next Illeanna Douglas introduced an old favorite, MY MAN GODFREY (1936), to a packed house:
You just can't beat watching a classic comedy with an appreciative, laughing crowd! There's been talk on Twitter today that next year they should show THEODORA GOES WILD (1936) with Irene Dunne and Illeana's grandfather, Melvyn Douglas. A great idea.
MY MAN GODFREY was a digital presentation; for the most part the movie looked fantastic, but I was curious that toward the end of the movie I noticed occasional faint tinges of red and green, which I also picked up on during a couple other digital presentations of black and white movies. I wonder if anyone else perceived this?
I'll have more on individual movie screenings at a future date!
(Chinese Theatre photo courtesy of Turner Classic Movies.)
I closed my look at Day One of the festival with a roundup of pieces on the festival by other writers. Here's a fresh reading list describing a really wonderful festival experience:
"A More Balanced Audience: The 2015 TCM Film Festival" by Peter Labuzza at RogerEbert.Com (especially loved his description of the happy vibe which permeates the entire festival)
"Exciting Times at TCM Classic Film Festival 2015" by KC at A Classic Movie Blog
"TCM Classic Film Festival Diary, Evening 1" by Kristina at Speakeasy
"TCM Classic Film Festival 2015: Day One Recap" by Raquel at Out of the Past
"30/007HZ 2015 TCM Film Festival Post Mortem" by James at 30HZ Rumble
"TCM Film Fest 2015 Recap" by Christina at AnnDvorak.Com
"TCM Film Festival - Pre-Festivities" by Kristen at Journeys in Classic Film (she has several more posts up)
Update: Here's Casey's great account of our day at Noir Girl!
For more links to my coverage of the festival, please visit The 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival in Review.