Friday, March 27th, was a bright, sunny day, but I didn't see much of the sunshine, as it was a five-film day for me at the TCM Classic Film Festival!
For those keeping score, the first four films seen on this Friday were digital, with only REBECCA (1940) in 35mm.
Last year my Friday morning began by seeing John Ford's STAGECOACH (1939) on a big screen for the first time. It was one of my favorite screenings of 2014, so it seemed quite appropriate to begin Friday this year with another John Ford film, MY DARLING CLEMENTINE (1946).
Like STAGECOACH, this was my first time seeing CLEMENTINE on a big screen. Since last seeing CLEMENTINE I've become quite a Tim Holt fan, and the movie has never resonated more deeply with me than it did on this viewing. Everything about the movie is perfect, and Ward Bond and Tim Holt as Wyatt's brothers make it all the more special. That moment at the end when Ward, as Morgan, fires his gun was more moving than ever.
MY DARLING CLEMENTINE was followed by a discussion between Peter Fonda and Keith Carradine (seen above), whose fathers were both John Ford "regulars." In all honesty, I didn't find their rambly chat particularly illuminating, but it was nice to see them.
On the other hand Eddie Muller conducted a terrific interview with David Ladd prior to a screening of THE PROUD REBEL (1958), which ranked with CLEMENTINE in my top 25% as far as favorite experiences among the 16 films seen at the festival!
David, who is outstanding playing his real-life father Alan Ladd's traumatized mute son in THE PROUD REBEL, spoke of how his father helped him keep his performance "real" and honest.
Olivia de Havilland's daughter Gisele was in the audience for the screening. She was also at a 2010 screening I attended of HOLD BACK THE DAWN (1941).
Next Kristina and I -- whose movie picks coincided for the entire festival! -- popped over to the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel for a quick glimpse of Ann-Margret being interviewed by Ben Mankiewicz in the hotel lobby. As can be seen below, we didn't get very close, but we saw her!
While we were at the hotel, we also ran into the Film Noir Foundation's Alan K. Rode and Kristina had the chance to meet him for the first time. In addition to the Noir City Film Festival -- more on that very soon! -- Alan also heads up the Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival in Palm Springs. He's got me seriously considering attending that for the first time next month!
The next time slot had been very uncertain for me, and I ended up choosing PINOCCHIO (1940), for three reasons: 1) The chance to see a festival film at the El Capitan Theatre; 2) The chance to see another Disney film on a big screen for the first time; and 3) It fit my schedule best timewise, including allowing time to eat some dinner before the next movie!
(Above photo courtesy of Turner Classic Movies. It includes a nice shot of the back of my head!)
I'd previously only seen PINOCCHIO in bits and pieces, and all of us there agreed it was just as scary as we remembered it! Though I found it a bit disturbing, I enjoyed it and especially appreciated the musical score; I also loved Figaro, the cat.
PINOCCHIO was nicely introduced by William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg, who will be taking over TCM's Essentials Jr. franchise this summer. If I understood correctly, it will be renamed something along the lines of Camp TCM.
(Photo of Brandon Oldenburg and William Joyce courtesy of Turner Classic Movies.)
After a quick dinner at Baja Fresh it was off to the Egyptian Theatre for the rest of the evening -- the only time I would spend at the Egyptian during the festival.
Below, the Egyptian's stunning ceiling:
The silent Buster Keaton film STEAMBOAT BILL JR. (1928), introduced by Leonard Maltin, was presented with Carl Davis conducting a live orchestra playing his brand-new score, which was terrific.
(Photo courtesy of Turner Classic Movies.)
Davis's score was absolutely wonderful. I didn't warm to Keaton's pathetic persona, but I admired much about the film, including Keaton's amazing precision stunt work as sets fall around him during a stormy climax, and seeing the movie in this format was an excellent experience.
I had originally planned to close the evening with a "newer" film, APOLLO 13 (1995), but I realized it would be extremely difficult to get back to the Chinese Theatre from the Egyptian in time to get in, and that evening I was also feeling more of a "classic era" vibe so I happily chose to remain at the Egyptian and watch a beautiful 35mm print of REBECCA (1940).
This was my third time to see REBECCA on a big screen, but it's always special, and I've never appreciated George Sanders and Reginald Denny more. I've come to really like Denny over the last few years so I felt as though I was looking at his performance through new eyes.
Eddie Muller provided an excellent introduction to REBECCA, reminding the audience that David O. Selznick had even more of an impact on the movie's final form than Hitchcock.
There will be more detailed individual posts on some of these screenings at a future date!
For more on this day's events, please visit Kristina's TCM Classic Film Festival Diary for Friday morning and Friday afternoon at Speakeasy.
For more links to my coverage of the festival, please visit The 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival in Review.