Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The TCM Classic Film Festival: Day Five

All too soon it was Sunday, March 29th, the very last day of the 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival.

In 2014 my Sunday morning started off in cheery style with the romantic comedy SUNDAY IN NEW YORK (1963), and this year I was able to kick off the festival's last day in similarly sunny style with Doris Day in an old favorite, CALAMITY JANE (1953).

CALAMITY JANE joined MY DARLING CLEMENTINE, THE PROUD REBEL, and SO DEAR TO MY HEART in my "Top 4" experiences of the 16 films seen at this year's festival. The audience was clearly filled with people who adore Doris and love musicals, and the response to the movie was terrific. I teared up a bit when Doris launched into "Secret Love," out of sheer happiness.

I had actually seen CALAMITY JANE on a big screen a couple times as a teenager, at the Wilshire (in Fullerton) and Vagabond Theaters. I don't think those prints could have looked as fantastic as the restored digital print I saw at the TCM Festival! While I've had some occasional reservations about black and white digital prints during the festival, seeing occasional tints of red or green on the screen during a couple of the screenings, CALAMITY JANE looked nothing less than fantastic.

Next I went to REIGN OF TERROR (1949), one of the films which had sold out its initial showing and was awarded one of the Sunday "TBA" slots. I had seen REIGN OF TERROR (1949) at the 2012 Noir City Film Festival (reviewed here) but was quite happy to see it on a big screen again!

REIGN OF TERROR is such a visually stunning movie, thanks to John Alton's cinematography, and it's filled with interesting performances, with direction by Anthony Mann. Definitely a film which deserves repeat viewings!

Although I "only" saw four films on Sunday, compared to five the preceding two days, Sunday was the one day I never managed a meal after breakfast! As soon as REIGN OF TERROR was over it was time to hurry out and get in line for THE PHILADELPHIA STORY (1940) at the Chinese Theatre.

Like many classic film fans, I've seen THE PHILADELPHIA STORY numerous times; the last time on a big screen was at the Balboa Theatre here in Orange County circa late '70s. It's always fun to see a familiar classic like this one through fresh eyes after not seeing it for several years, with an appreciative audience. On this viewing I especially noted the fine contributions of Ruth Hussey and Virginia Weidler.

Since I love THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS (1992) I especially enjoyed that Madeleine Stowe joined Illeana Douglas to introduce THE PHILADELPHIA STORY. Stowe spoke of her love for classic movies and TCM, deftly turning the conversation back to TCM when Douglas asked Stowe questions about her career. It was nice to see an actress one enjoys so enthused to share her love for classic movies.

(Photo of Illeana Douglas and Madeleine Stowe courtesy of Turner Classic Movies.)

All too soon it was time for the grand finale, Sophia Loren's appearance at a screening of MARRIAGE ITALIAN STYLE (1964), where she was interviewed by Ben Mankiewicz. Ben clearly appreciated the magic of the moment and admitted to being a bit nervous!

(Photo of Sophia Loren courtesy of Turner Classic Movies.)

Sophia was charming and down to earth, a real delight. This was a special event for everyone involved, the rare chance to see a true icon of the cinema in person, and the audience responded as enthusiastically as one might expect.

As for MARRIAGE ITALIAN STYLE (1964), it was very different from the kinds of films I typically watch; I'm not sure I'd precisely say I liked it, but it was an interesting and broadening viewing experience. All in all I was glad I attended it, especially for the chance to see Sophia.

Sunday's tally, for those keeping score, was three digital films and one (REIGN OF TERROR) in 35mm. The total breakdown for the festival was six films in 35mm and ten digital; the other 35mm prints were QUEEN CHRISTINA, REBECCA, SO DEAR TO MY HEART, AIR MAIL, and CHRISTMAS IN JULY.

(Photo courtesy of Turner Classic Movies)

After MARRIAGE ITALIAN STYLE it was time then to convene once more in Club TCM, this time to say goodbye to all my classic film blogging friends and express our hopes to meet again in 2016! I'm very grateful that blogging has led to so many wonderful experiences with such terrific people!

As my coverage of the currently ongoing Noir City Film Festival draws to a close this weekend, I'll be revisiting some of the movies seen at the TCM Festival in greater depth via reviews of individual films. I'll also be writing a column on the festival for ClassicFlix.

My fellow classic film bloggers continue to share great posts -- here's a final roundup of some additional links! It's by no means comprehensive, and many of the bloggers I've linked to previously have additional posts up at their sites.

"Travels With My Parents: TCMFF Through New Eyes" by Jessica at Comet Over Hollywood

"TCM Classic Film Festival 2015: Arrival" by Kendahl at A Classic Movie Blog; and I was envious Kendahl saw one of my favorite film historians, Jeanine Basinger, on Day Two!

"Who I Met, Who I Saw and My Thoughts on the 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival" by Raquel at Out of the Past

"TCM Classic Film Festival Diary, Sunday" by Kristina at Speakeasy, and don't miss her "TCM Classic Film Diary, Wrap-Up," which has lots of great tips for those planning to attend in the future

"Dead on Arrival at the TCM Film Fest" by Will McKinley at Cinematically Insane

(Photo courtesy of Turner Classic Movies)

"TCMFF - A Social Affair" by Aurora at Once Upon a Screen, followed by "TCMFF The Movies - Melancholy Laughs Part 1"

"2015 Turner Classic Movies Film Festival Diary, Day 3" by Stephen at Classic Movie Man, followed by Day 4

"A Personal Look at the TCM Classic Film Festival 2015" by Marya at Yam

Theresa on THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1965) screening at CineMaven's Essays From the Couch

Plus a look at Ben Burtt & Craig Barron's special GUNGA DIN (1939) presentation by Kim at I See a Dark Theater

For more links to my coverage of the festival, please visit The 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival in Review.


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