TCM Classic Film Festival!
This is the festival's 10th year, and TCM will be celebrating its silver anniversary date on the final day of the fest. This year's festival theme is "Follow Your Heart: Love at the Movies," which seems especially appropriate as we celebrate these special anniversaries.
Classic film fans will be immersed in watching movies from Thursday night, April 11th, through Sunday evening, April 14th. I typically see 16 or 17 films in a little over 36 hours, and it's possible I'll exceed that number this year!
As usual, I'll also be spending time socializing with my fellow classic film fans before the movies start rolling. The annual reunion with so many friends from across the U.S. and beyond is my favorite part of the festival.
Twitter for live coverage, including many photos and schedule updates, and then check back after the festival for a series of detailed daily recaps and film reviews.
There is a major venue change this year, with the removal of the smallest of the three theaters used at the Chinese Multiplex and the addition of the American Legion Post 43 Theater on Highland Avenue.
Theater 4 at the Multiplex only seated 177, and as I mentioned in my 2018 overview, "sellouts" were an issue there again last year. The Legion Post 43 Theater seats roughly 2.75 times that amount, with 484 seats, so that aspect is fantastic, enabling more people to get into what they want to see, although I'm a bit concerned about how the hike up Highland will impact getting from movie to movie. It's a mile round-trip from the Chinese Multiplex at Hollywood & Highland to the Legion Post 43 Theater and back, compared to under half a mile making the same round-trip trek from H&H to the Egyptian, and as I recall it's a bit of a steep walk. I find that despite all the time sitting at the festival, I usually walk close to 20 miles during the fest, and this year that total will doubtless be higher!
For those who missed the link I shared in my January roundup, here's an article on the remodeled Legion Post 43 Theater, and there are more photos at the theater's website.
I've finally completed a rough outline of my festival schedule. I take many factors into consideration when choosing: How much I like films I've seen, how recently I've seen them, whether a film is a first-time viewing, the format -- whenever possible I prefer "real" film which is only possible to see in a theater -- and logistical issues, such as how a film's running time and location will impact my ability to see the next film in line on my schedule. I also try to schedule one post-breakfast meal break; I'm not sure I've ever been able to eat more than one meal after breakfast at TCMFF, subsisting the rest of the day on packed snacks and Auntie Anne's Pretzels. This year meals on Saturday and Sunday may be non-existent if I get into everything on my list!
I tend to stick pretty closely to my original schedule, but unplanned last-minute changes are sometimes the best experiences, and this year it seems as though there are more options tugging at me than ever!
Here's a look at my initial outline for this year's festival. Click any hyperlinked title for my past review.
Thursday, April 11th
Leo S. Bing Theater. That will get the festival off to a lighthearted start! I'm kind of hoping that the pre-Code NIGHT WORLD (1932) playing opposite it will show up in one of the five "TBA" slots reserved for second showings of popular films on Sunday.
I plan to stay at the Eygptian for a nitrate 35mm print of THE BACHELOR AND THE BOBBY-SOXER (1947), another film I last saw in a theater at LACMA. I've seen it many times over the years but I love any chance to see a nitrate print and you can't miss with Cary Grant and Myrna Loy! That said, I could be persuaded to change my mind and head to the Chinese Multiplex for the chance to see the gorgeous THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG (1964) on a big screen in a digital print, and I also sure wouldn't mind seeing a 35mm nitrate print of MOGAMBO (1953), introduced by Illeana Douglas. Part of my calculation here is that the nitrate print might be the least likely to screen again locally; I suspect UMBRELLAS, at least, will turn up somewhere in the future.
Friday, April 12th
Tiffany Theater in the late '70s, and I do love my MGM musicals! The chance to see Bing and Frank on a big screen is very appealing. Some like to diss this film as inferior to the original THE PHILADELPHIA STORY (1940), which I saw at the festival in 2015, but I find HIGH SOCIETY quite a worthy film in its own right. Choosing it as the first screening of the day would also be an easier time to make my first trek to the Legion Post 43 Theater.
In the second slot I think I'll stay put at the Legion Post 43 Theater for the presentation "What's Not to Love About Republic Serials?" with Andrea Kalas of the Paramount Pictures Archives. I've just begun watching some serials over the last couple years, and I think it would be an interesting and educational 90 minutes. From the description: "This clip show from the Paramount Archives' recent preservation work focuses on the amazing work done by stunt men and women, special effects wizards and the amazingly innovative re-use of costumes, props and full sequences from other movies." Having said that, my arm wouldn't have to be twisted hard to convince me to head to the Egyptian and SLEEPING BEAUTY (1959) with Disney animator Floyd Norman present, but since I just saw SLEEPING BEAUTY on a big screen in late January and I've been privileged to see Norman at a D23 Expo, I'm leaning toward the more unique presentation, especially as I'll already be in place at that theater.
SUNRISE (1927) in a theater! But I think I'm going to skip those digital presentations in favor of a 35mm print of a favorite Cary Grant-Irene Dunne comedy, MY FAVORITE WIFE (1940), at the Egyptian, introduced by Cary Grant's daughter Jennifer. (Incidentally, that's another one I saw at LACMA as a kid -- twice! I was so fortunate to see so many great movies there growing up.) The choice of MY FAVORITE WIFE also gives me enough time to fit in a dinner break.
Slot four on Friday is perhaps the one about which I'm most uncertain. I'm skipping a 70mm print of my beloved THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1965) at the Legion Theater because I saw it in 70mm at the Egyptian in 2012 and also because I just saw a digital print on a big screen last September. I'm also trying to minimize trips up the hill to that theater! I will probably pick the Charles Bickford pre-Code VANITY STREET (1932) in 35mm at the Chinese Multiplex, but it's possible I'll throw caution to the winds and try a real change of pace for me, Clint Eastwood in a world premiere 40th Anniversary restoration of ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ (1979) at the Egyptian. If I see VANITY STREET it's short enough I could also revisit OPEN SECRET (1948), shown in 35mm in the same theater, which I first enjoyed at the 2017 UCLA Festival of Preservation.
ROAD HOUSE (1948) for the late evening showing, but I was able to see that same print at UCLA just two years ago. It actually makes me happy that I'm not feeling the pull to see that one, because one of the films I want to see most at TCMFF is WINCHESTER '73 (1950). I saw WINCHESTER '73 in 35mm at UCLA five years ago, but I adored it and am more than ready to see it again on a big screen. It's a digital restoration introduced by Jeremy Arnold, who introduced two Westerns I saw at the Autry earlier this year.
For those who may wonder, it's my firm policy to never, ever attend the midnight showings on Friday and Saturday nights at the festival. I envy the fun my movie pals have at those late-night screenings, but if I did it I simply wouldn't stay awake the following day during movies I'm more invested in seeing. My festival roommate KC goes to the midnight shows, and I love hearing her stories about the screenings. I do regret missing Herbert Marshall wielding a flame thrower in GOG (1954) a few years ago!
Saturday, April 13th
WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE (1951) on a big screen with an appreciative audience, introduced by leading lady Barbara Rush! Of all the films in this slot, WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE also leaves me best positioned in terms of time and location for the next film, one of my "must see" experiences at the festival. WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE will be shown in a digital print. (To illustrate the difficult choices at the festival, these two films are up against Donna Reed's daughter, Mary Owen, being interviewed at a screening of FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (1953), Illeana Douglas introducing William Powell and Myrna Loy in a 35mm print of DOUBLE WEDDING (1937) at the Eygptian, or Michael Schlesinger hosting Humphrey Bogart in ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT (1942) at the Chinese Multiplex.)
The third slot on Saturday is a tough one. One of the Multiplex theaters will be showing FATHER GOOSE (1964), with Leonard Maltin and Susan King hosting three of the film's former child actresses; I did just see that on Blu-ray last year so it's a bit less of a pull for me, though I always enjoy it and I suspect some of the scenes with Cary Grant talking to Trevor Howard would be hilarious with a crowd! It's up against Dana Delany introducing a 35mm print of LOVE AFFAIR (1939) in the other Multiplex theater or a Tom Mix double bill consisting of THE GREAT K AND A TRAIN ROBBERY (1926) and OUTLAWS OF RED RIVER (1927) at the Legion Theater, shown in 35mm and digital, respectively. The film I want to see in the following slot, BLOOD MONEY (1933), is a pre-Code hosted by Bruce Goldstein of the Film Forum, and it's sure to be a hot ticket in the smallest Multiplex theater; I've never seen LOVE AFFAIR, which would leave me best positioned to get into BLOOD MONEY, so LOVE AFFAIR is the most likely option here. But if I decide I need to eat dinner, I may instead head up to the Legion Theater for the Tom Mix films and follow that with a meal. I really liked Mix's film JUST TONY (1922) at last fall's Lone Pine Film Festival. You can't go wrong no matter what you choose! Fortunately I find that after the festival I tend to remember the great things I saw more than regretting what I missed.
As mentioned, Slot #4 will either be BLOOD MONEY (1933), starring favorite Frances Dee and shown in 35mm, or dinner!
TOO BUSY TO WORK (1932), JUDGE PRIEST (1934), and STEAMBOAT ROUND THE BEND (1935), and this is a rare opportunity to see him on a big screen.
Finally, another difficult choice. LIFE BEGINS AT 40 doesn't get out until 15 minutes before Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman in INDISCREET (1958), which is a considerable walk away at the Legion Theater; I do have it on DVD and am probably going to have to pass up that choice, though I was hoping to see it at the fest for the first time in years. Instead I'm weighing two other options. I'm not big on Biblical epics, but I do love both Victor Mature and Hedy Lamarr, showing at the Egyptian in DeMille's SAMSON AND DELILAH (1949) in a 35mm nitrate Technicolor print. Even better, it's introduced by Alan K. Rode and Victoria Mature, who we so enjoyed at last year's Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival. So I've started to give that possibility serious consideration despite my lack of much interest in the film itself. That said, the other choice is a digital screening of one of my all-time favorite films, STAR WARS (1977), and though I've seen it countless times, I've never seen it at the Chinese Theatre. I vividly remember all the photos and news clips of the crowds at the Chinese the summer the movie came out, and it would be quite fun to see it there with an enthusiastic audience. It would also get me into the "big" Chinese for the first time at this year's festival! It's a difficult choice between a new-to-me experience seeing a unique print with a great intro versus an all-time favorite film in a theater where it has some special history. I think that's going to be a decision made close to the last minute depending on how I'm feeling that day. (Update: I've made up my mind early! I now plan to be at SAMSON AND DELILAH enjoying the film in general and celebrating Victor Mature's legacy in particular.)
Sunday, April 14th
last year's Sunday morning screening of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM (1935). And the first TBA film of the day will be up the hill at the Legion Theater, so in the end HOLIDAY probably leaves me best positioned for the next film, which I really want to see.
Next up, MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION (1954), showing digitally at the Chinese Multiplex; it's one of my "must see" films this year, along with WINCHESTER '73, TARZAN AND HIS MATE, LIFE BEGINS AT 40, and THE DOLLY SISTERS. I haven't seen it since it was on TV when I was a kid, despite owning the Criterion Collection DVD. (So many movies, so little time...!) I've seen three other Sirk films at past festivals, WRITTEN ON THE WIND (1956), IMITATION OF LIFE (1959), and ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS (1955), so it would be great to add another Sirk title to the list. In the same time slot it would also be quite fun to see YOURS, MINE AND OURS (1968) with Leonard Maltin interviewing some of the children from the film, including Tracy Nelson. It may not be a great film, but it's one I go back to every few years, and I'd love to hear the kids discuss it in the Legion Post 43 Theater. As I've said, you really can't go wrong with the choices at this fest!
THE KILLERS gets out an hour before a 35mm print of Greta Garbo in A WOMAN OF AFFAIRS (1928) starts at the Egyptian, and that theater is big enough, seating over 600, that I could probably get in despite THE KILLERS being one of the last films to let out in the previous time slot. I'd been thinking I'd use this time to eat dinner, but the more I think about Leonard Maltin and Kevin Brownlow introducing the film, and a live orchestra playing a score composed and conducted by Carl Davis...What a special opportunity, and I also wouldn't have seen a silent film at the festival up to this point. Let's just say that by Monday I'm probably going to be VERY hungry.
After that my final choice of the festival is unquestionably the 35mm nitrate print of Betty Grable, June Haver, and John Payne in THE DOLLY SISTERS (1945) at the Egyptian. Fox Technicolor in nitrate! Enough said.
Last year 14 of the 17 films I saw at TCMFF were 35mm prints. This year the 35mm total will be lower, but the number should still be well over half, depending on my final choices.
I saw 11 movies at the 2013 festival, 14 in 2014, 16 films in 2015, 15 in 2016, and 17 (including a slate of cartoons) at the 2017 festival and again in 2018. This year it could possibly be as many as 19, including the Republic serials presentation, but it may be turn out closer to my total for the last two years if eating beats out a couple of my choices!
As always, here's a look at the schedules posted by my fellow classic film bloggers:
Julia at Cinema Crossroads
KC at A Classic Movie Blog
Aurora at Once Upon a Screen
Angela at The Hollywood Revue
Emily at The Vintage Cameo
Danny at Pre-Code.Com
Nikki at The Way We Watch
Kellee at Outspoken and Freckled
Stanford at Movies Past and Present
Kristen at Journeys in Classic Film
Joel at Joel's Classic Film Passion
James at Thirty Hertz Rumble
Chris (and Jasmine!) at Blog of the Darned
Update: More lists:
Kim at I See a Dark Theater
Diana at Flickin' Out
Miss Honey Hale at Miss Honey Hale
Jocelyn at Classic Film Observations & Obsessions
Karen at Shadows and Satin
Samantha at Musings of a Classic Film Addict
For a look back in time, my post on last year's schedule is here. Please also visit my posts on past festival schedules, listed in reverse chronological order: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, and 2013.
Previous TCMFF 2019 Posts: TCM Announces 2019 Festival Dates and Theme, TCM Classic Film Festival Announcements, Latest TCM Classic Film Festival Announcements, New TCM Classic Film Festival Announcements.
Update: The 2019 TCM Classic Film Festival in Review.