TCM Classic Film Festival opens in Hollywood this Thursday, April 6th!
The festival will run through Sunday, April 9th.
This year's theme is "Make "Em Laugh," with many comedies on the schedule.
The 2017 festival is dedicated to longtime TCM host Robert Osborne. A special "Remembering Robert" panel discussion will take place in the Chinese Multiplex on Thursday afternoon; actress Diane Baker is among those scheduled to participate. Additionally, all of the Thursday evening screenings will be preceded by a video tribute to Mr. Osborne.
Again this year I'm pleased to be covering the festival as a member of the credentialed media. I'll be attending a pre-festival press conference on Wednesday, April 5th. Then during the festival please follow me on Twitter for real time updates on my viewing choices, along with photos and other "as it happens" coverage. After the festival stayed tuned for a comprehensive review, with a series of detailed daily recaps and film reviews.
I've been spending considerable time weighing the festival's many difficult choices -- all while bearing in mind that sometimes last minute-substitutions lead to great discoveries! For instance, last year when I couldn't get in to DOUBLE HARNESS (1933), I went with my backup choice, HE RAN ALL THE WAY (1951), which was a terrific experience. I typically stick fairly closely to my outlined schedule but there are usually at least a couple of changes made "on the run," and I've never been disappointed.
Here's my initial plan for this year's festival:
Thursday, April 6th:
Noir City Film Festival, and it looks like I'll be heading right back to the Egyptian on Thursday evening! During the first block of movies my pick is the comedy LOVE CRAZY (1941) with William Powell and Myrna Loy. Interesting backups are the documentary DAWSON CITY: FROZEN IN TIME (2016), about the discovery of frozen nitrate movies, or JEZEBEL (1938) with Bette Davis and George Brent.
THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (1934) - I've never seen this Hitchcock film, which is being screened in nitrate thanks to the Egyptian's new nitrate projection booth. This is not only a chance to see a new-to-me Hitchcock film, it's probably my best chance to see a nitrate film during the festival.
Friday, April 7th:
Classic Animated Shorts from Paramount at last month's UCLA Festival of Preservation.
BORN YESTERDAY (1950) - I've never seen this! It's one of the films I'm most looking forward to at this year's festival. Judy Holliday, William Holden, and Broderick Crawford star.
PANIQUE (1946) - I'm not sure I'll make it into the line in time for the French thriller PANIQUE (1946), but for me it's the most interesting film in the block, directed by Jules Duvivier, who had previously directed FLESH AND FANTASY (1943). If I can't get into that one, I'll probably go with BAREFOOT IN THE PARK (1967) half an hour later; I'm not a fan of either of the lead actors (Robert Redford and Jane Fonda), but I've never seen it and it's got Charles Boyer in the supporting cast. Time for a meal after this slot! My experience is there is usually time for just one meal after breakfast, supplemented by snacks.
CAT PEOPLE (1942) - A tough slot for me! A nitrate print of LAURA (1944) is going to be one of the hottest tickets at the festival in this time block, but it's unlikely I'd get out of VIGIL IN THE NIGHT in time to get down the street to the Egyptian, which is a large theater but will be packed, and I did at least see LAURA in 35mm in 2013. I'm thus thinking I'll stay put in the same theater and see CAT PEOPLE on a big screen for the very first time. THOSE REDHEADS FROM SEATTLE (1953) in 3D is another option, but I didn't think much of the movie when I streamed a flat version so it's not high up on my list. It's possible my great love for my namesake film could find me making a last-minute change and scrapping VIGIL IN THE NIGHT and CAT PEOPLE for LAURA, but I'm hopeful that the nitrate print would screen again in L.A. at a future date.
Saturday, April 8th:
STAGECOACH (1939) and MY DARLING CLEMENTINE (1946). I've never seen RED RIVER on a big screen and am thrilled at the prospect of seeing it in 35mm at the Egyptian. It's been so many years since I saw the film I remember very little about it, so this is one of the top slots of the festival for me.
THE AWFUL TRUTH (1937) - I should have plenty of time to get back down the street to the big Chinese Theatre for this classic comedy with Cary Grant and Irene Dunne, which I haven't seen for ages. Saturday's meal will be after this time slot.
BYE BYE BIRDIE (1963) - Love Dan Duryea and Gale Storm in THE UNDERWORLD STORY (1950), which is screening in 35mm at the Egyptian with an Eddie Muller introduction, but I was able to see it at the Noir City Film Festival two years ago so I'm leaning toward BYE BYE BIRDIE, which I've only seen once, many years ago, and never on a big screen.
THEODORA GOES WILD (1936) - The second Irene Dunne comedy of the day! Seeing it with a crowd should be a lot of fun. It's being introduced by costar Melvyn Douglas's granddaughter Illeana Douglas at the Eygptian Theatre. Incidentally, Illeana was on hand in the audience for the final night of the Noir City Film Festival, which I'll be writing more about here in due course.
UNFAITHFULLY YOURS (1948) - I wasn't wild about this Preston Sturges film when I first saw it over a decade ago, but I love leading lady Linda Darnell and it also has a good supporting cast with Barbara Lawrence and Rudy Vallee, so I want to give it a fresh look. It's screening in 35mm and introduced by Eddie Muller, two more good reasons to see it. My backup choice is BLACK NARCISSUS (1947), another film I wasn't enthused about, but its spectacular Technicolor should be even more stunning in a nitrate print.
Sunday, April 9th:
THE EGG AND I (1947) - I'm starting my Sunday with a Claudette Colbert double bill! First up, at the Egyptian Theatre, is THE EGG AND I. It's been eight years since I last saw it, and I love Colbert and her frequent costar Fred MacMurray. Fred's daughter Kate will be introducing the film. As a side note, I'd love see see LURED (1947) in this time slot, but happily presenter Sara Karloff will appear at the Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival next month, which I plan to attend. An early meal after this movie might be my main chance to eat today, unless I can fit in a meal after THE PALM BEACH STORY.
THE PALM BEACH STORY (1942) - After THE EGG AND I, time to switch to the big Chinese Theatre for one of my all-time favorite comedies, starring Claudette, Joel McCrea, Rudy Vallee, and Mary Astor. It will be wonderful seeing this hilarious film with a crowd! THE PALM BEACH STORY will be introduced by film historian Cari Beauchamp and our pal Wyatt McCrea, Joel's grandson. I do regret having to miss the REPUBLIC PRESERVED (2014) presentation in this time slot!
SINGIN' IN THE RAIN (1952) - There might be time after THE PALM BEACH STORY to catch a "TBA" film in this time slot, but otherwise I plan to head for the big Chinese Theatre to see SINGIN' IN THE RAIN (1952). This was one of the first MGM musicals I ever saw on a big screen. It will be wonderful to watch it with a crowd in a true movie palace, and it will also serve as a lovely memorial for Debbie Reynolds. It's being introduced by Reynolds' son Todd Fisher and her good friend Ruta Lee.
SPEEDY (1928) - I'd dearly love to see the nitrate screening of LADY IN THE DARK (1944), which has spectacular Technicolor, but since I saw LADY IN THE DARK in 35mm in 2012, a new-to-me Harold Lloyd film with a live orchestra wins out! CASABLANCA (1942) is the "official" farewell film in the big Chinese, but I just saw it in nitrate last November, an experience which can't be topped. Though CASABLANCA is, of course, greatly loved, I'm a little concerned that so many people have already seen it that competition to get into SPEEDY, in a theater which seats under 500, will be tough. I plan to get in line as soon as the previous movie ends!
It's always interesting to see how the final numbers shake out after the festival. I saw 11 movies at the 2013 festival, 14 in 2014, 16 films in 2015, and 15 in 2016.
It's hard to believe that in a week the 2017 festival will be a fond memory!
Big thanks to Kate Gabrielle at Silents and Talkies for sharing a printable copy of the schedule.
Once Upon a Screen and in a video with Annmarie for Classic Movies and More, Raquel at Out of the Past, Danny at Pre-Code.Com, Kim at I See a Dark Theater, Chris at Blog of the Darned, James at Thirty Hertz Rumble, Joel at Joel's Classic Film Passion, Kristen at Journeys in Classic Film, KC at A Classic Movie Blog, Angela at The Hollywood Revue, Nora at The Nitrate Diva, Lara at Backlots, Jocelyn at Classic Film Observations & Obsessions, Kate at Silents and Talkies, and Diana at Flickin' Out.
Anyone not included on the above list is welcome to post a link to their picks in the comments!
A review of the screening formats for this year's festival has been posted by Ariel. Last year roughly one-third of the screenings were 35mm; this year the number is closer to one-fourth.
Links to previous posts on the 2017 festival may be found at the end of this post.
Looking back: My post on the 2016 schedule is here. The 2015 schedule post is here, 2014 is here, and thoughts on the 2013 schedule are here.
Update: The 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival in Review.