Saturday, March 28th, was another five-film day for me at the 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival!
The day kicked off with Colleen Moore starring in the silent film WHY BE GOOD? (1929).
WHY BE GOOD? attracted quite a nice crowd of bloggers, including (back row) Jandy, Lara, Carley, Angela, and Jessica, along with (front row) Joel, Pam, Karen, Kristina, Kendahl, and Marya. (Apologies to anyone at the far end whose faces I couldn't quite make out...is that Thomas and Danny next to Jessica?...and I think it may be Stephen next to Kendahl...if you were there feel free to add your name in the comments!) These quick snaps are a bit dark but they capture some of the fun enjoyed by longtime online friends, hanging out together and watching great movies.
I really enjoyed WHY BE GOOD? which was jazz baby silent era fun, and I hope to get the Warner Archive DVD in the future as I'd like to see it again. Lots of interesting people in the cast include Neil "Commissioner Gordon" Hamilton as the leading man and small roles and bit parts from people like Andy Devine and Jean Harlow.
Next I made the hard pick to skip 42ND STREET (1933) -- which will soon be out on Blu-ray from the Warner Archive -- in order to attend a rare screening of Disney's SO DEAR TO MY HEART (1948), which I first reviewed back in 2012.
SO DEAR TO MY HEART was introduced by Leonard Maltin, who spoke of his hopes for the movie to become better known and appreciated.
(Photo of Leonard Maltin courtesy of Turner Classic Movies.)
Choosing SO DEAR TO MY HEART was the right call, as it turned out to be in my "Top Four" favorite experiences of the 16 films seen at the festival. Disney's 35mm print was absolutely gorgeous, and the audience response was wonderful, both during the movie and afterwards; for instance, Will McKinley Tweeted that the film was "unforgettable" and called the movie a "high point" of the festival.
Disney released SO DEAR TO MY HEART in a Gold Collection edition in 2002, now out of print, and in a limited edition available through the Disney Movie Club and Disney Movie Rewards program. Let's hope that in the future SO DEAR TO MY HEART receives the new DVD and/or Blu-ray release it so deserves. In the meantime, it can be rented for streaming from Amazon Instant Video.
Leonard Maltin returned to introduce John Ford's AIR MAIL (1932). AIR MAIL may not be a "great" Ford film, but it's still mighty entertaining pre-Code fun, especially for someone like me who loves "airplane" films. Ralph Bellamy and Pat O'Brien star as pilots who don't like one another but are there for each other when the chips are down.
(Photo of AIR MAIL title courtesy of Turner Classic Movies.)
Having missed 42ND STREET earlier in the day, I got my Dick Powell fix with Preston Sturges' CHRISTMAS IN JULY (1940), which I hadn't seen in several years and thoroughly enjoyed revisiting.
Then it was time to pop into Club TCM for an hour, where we watched home movies from the Academy archive, introduced by Jane Withers, Bob Koster (son of director Henry Koster; I saw Bob at a similar presentation in 2013), and Steve McQueen's former wife, Neile Adams McQueen.
I don't think Jane Withers ever met anyone she didn't consider a dear friend! What a sweet lady.
(Above photos from home movies screening courtesy of Turner Classic Movies.)
There was one more movie to go for the day, Douglas Sirk's IMITATION OF LIFE (1959). I really enjoyed seeing Sirk's WRITTEN ON THE WIND (1956) at the festival last year, and since I'd never seen IMITATION OF LIFE before in any format, seeing it was an easy call. I enjoyed it quite well, although there are other Sirk films I like more.
IMITATION OF LIFE was introduced by Leonard Maltin and former studio head Sherry Lansing, who spoke of the movie's impact on her as a young girl.
Today's 35mm vs. digital tally was three films in 35mm (SO DEAR TO MY HEART, AIR MAIL, CHRISTMAS IN JULY) and two digital (WHY BE GOOD?, IMITATION OF LIFE).
For more on this day's experiences, please visit Kristina's post at Speakeasy. (Update: And she's got even more on this date here!)
Kendahl has posts up on the stars seen at the festival and a nice link roundup.
And for a giant photo-filled overview of the entire festival, here's Kim Truhler's post at GlamAmor.
Again, a reminder that there will be more detailed individual posts on some of these screenings at a future date!
Interested readers please also note that due to the volume of photo-filled festival posts from both the TCM Classic Film Festival and the Noir City Film Festival, recent posts are moving down to Pages 2 and 3 of the blog at a quick pace, so be sure to keep scrolling and click "Older" at the bottom of each page for even more festival coverage. You can also find links to all my coverage of the festival at The 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival in Review.