Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The 2016 TCM Classic Film Festival: Day Five

All too soon it was Sunday, the final day of the 2016 TCM Classic Film Festival!


I started the day with one of my most anticipated films of the festival, Douglas Sirk's ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS (1955). I've seen the movie a couple of times and loved it but had never seen it on a big screen. It was shown in a lovely digital print, introduced by filmmaker Allison Anders.


I will pause here and note that for the first time ever, I experienced some very bad cell phone behavior during a film festival, including during ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS. People were regularly lighting up their phones to check the time; I found it sad that people were apparently so worried about getting to their next film that they couldn't remain "in the moment" in their current film.

Worse, a woman sitting immediately to my right took her sweet time reading email during a Sunday movie, until she realized I was looking at her. I just can't imagine going to a film festival and then reading my email when I'm there to see movies!


However, the real jaw-dropper was people holding up their phones and taking pictures of the opening credits of both ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS and OLD YELLER. Seriously?! I was so surprised that classic film fans wouldn't care about how they were impacting other people's viewing experiences.

I don't know if I've had good luck in the past or just had some unfortunate luck at this year's festival, but I hope that some of those in the audience will rethink their choices before 2017. It's such a thrill to see movies on a big screen with an appreciative audience reacting, and it's really disheartening when others make selfish decisions to disrupt the experience.

Moving along, I not only saw BAMBI (1942) for the first time at the festival, I saw OLD YELLER (1957) for the first time as well! That's a pretty emotional pair of Disney movies which I had long put off seeing, but as it turned out, they were both highlights of the festival. OLD YELLER was my second film on Sunday, shown via DCP.


Thanks to TCM I also had a miniature Dorothy McGuire festival, seeing two key films in which she played mothers, released a dozen years apart. My review of A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN (1945) is here.


I'm happy to report that despite some initial trepidation due to the storyline, I really liked OLD YELLER. I managed not to cry, other than some misty eyes at the end in appreciation of a very good movie.


Host Illeana Douglas shared that she had previously been unable to bring herself to watch the entire movie but that she'd be staying and watching it with us!

Afterwards Douglas interviewed actress Beverly Washburn, who shared that she was so thrilled to be invited to participate in a TCM Classic Film Festival screening that she cried when she got the news. It really meant a lot to her that a project she participated in so long ago was being shown at the festival, especially as she and Tommy Kirk are now the only surviving cast members.


Although it's one of my all-time favorite movies, I wasn't especially excited about SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON (1949) because I just saw it in 35mm at UCLA last October. However, there was nothing else in that spot I particularly wanted to see which also fit into my overall schedule, and I didn't have anything else I wanted to do in that time frame, so off I went, seeing it in a theater for the second time in six months!


As it turned out, I'm so happy I did decide to watch it, as seeing it again so soon confirmed that YELLOW RIBBON will always be a good choice for me. I'm sure I enjoyed it every bit as much as I had last fall.


SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON was introduced by Keith Carradine, seen above, and shown in a restored DCP print which will soon be released on Blu-ray by the Warner Archive. It's such a rich, beautiful movie, and once again I noticed new details. After every viewing I love it more.


The "official" closing movie in the Chinese Theatre was CINEMA PARADISO (1988), but I felt the classic musical THE BAND WAGON (1953) was a more fitting festival finale, ending with the cast singing "That's Entertainment!"..."This goodbye brings a tear to the eye, the world is a stage, the stage is the world of entertainment!"


Prior to THE BAND WAGON, Illeana Douglas interviewed Tony-winning director Susan Strohman, seen above.


THE BAND WAGON is pure joy, especially when Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse do "Dancing in the Dark" and "The Girl Hunt Ballet."

After THE BAND WAGON it was time for the closing night party at Club TCM, where I reluctantly said goodbye to so many great friends, with promises to meet again in Hollywood in 2017!


Many thanks to TCM and all who work so hard to put on such an unforgettable festival!

7 Comments:

Blogger KC said...

I loved hearing about Beverly Washburn. I know her best from her truly strange, and entertaining performance in Spider Baby, so it amuses me to think of her being in a family film like Old Yeller. This year was also the first time I experience rude behavior in the theater, especially in Trapeze. The constant talking ruined that experience for me. I heard stories that were even worse, like confrontations between people where the talker felt that they should be able to continue talking--one because they said they were a VIP. It's depressing, because polite audiences have been one of the major benefits of TCMFF for me. I don't know what can be done about it, but it needs to be addressed.

9:15 PM  
Blogger barrylane said...

Rudeness in a variety of settings, but especially theatre is for me unforgivable, and somewhat life changing. Our initial experience occurred in London at a performance of An Ideal Husband that featured two friends, Simon Ward and Christopher Cazenove. Aa couple seated immediately behind us kept taking calls. The second, and final time, at a screening of The Shipping News, when two ladies just could not restrain themselves. We complained, but had no satisfaction. I have not been back to a cinema since, with the exception of The Da Vinci Code, which was a genuine bore, and put me off the experience permanently. In the past, before everyone had attained a kind of equality, the rude were not granted status. Too bad we have gone down this road.

7:25 AM  
Blogger Raimundo said...

I'm a frequent moviegoer, and there are few screenings now where I don't have to tell someone nearby to turn the d--n phone off. I've stopped saying "please",and just bark authoritatively at them for full compliance. Women are by far the worst offenders. I had to leave my seat during the harrowing movie "Son of Saul", to tell the lady several rows ahead to stop texting, and got an eyeful of the drivel that just couldn't wait : "I really miss you and look forward to seeing you again soon". Pathetic.
Well we movie lovers have vent this stuff occasionally; on the positive side ,many thanks to you Laura for your enthusiasm and research in writing this blog!

11:51 AM  
Blogger Kristina Dijan said...

I *hate* talking and cell phones during movies, luckily it wasn't too common but you're right, it really does stand out when it happens. Time to grab phones and toss them across the room; remember Steamboat Bill Jr.: "no jury would convict you!"

Anyway such a great fest and you really saw a fabulous range of movies that last day! Wish I could've worked Yellow Ribbon into my schedule too.

12:16 PM  
Blogger mel said...

The last time I was in a cinema was in 2001, when cell phones were not as prevalent as they are today.

The general behavior of the audience at that time (admittedly, mainly kids) throughout the screening of the movie was so distracting that I vowed never to set foot inside a cinema again.

I can just image how much worse it would be today...

I enjoy nothing more than watching my favorite movies in peace and quiet at home on my large-screen computer monitor or my large HD TV which is connected to a dedicated computer.

10:53 PM  
Blogger Jerry E said...

My wife and I went to a cinema just two weeks ago to see "I SAW THE LIGHT" (this is in the UK BTW) and you could have heard a pin drop! That though is I think dependent on the type of audience that type of film would attract, if that makes sense, i.e. mainly, though not only, older folks.

In addition to the cell phone issue (and it is just as prevalent over here) I get rattled by people talking loudly even when a film has started. So arrogant!

10:58 AM  
Blogger Jacqueline T. Lynch said...

Just catching up with this post now, Laura, and so pleased that Beverly Washburn was a guest at the festival. This is the first I've heard of it. I must get her book sometime. I'd really love to know more about her memories of her wonderful career as a child actress.

6:49 PM  

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