Thursday, May 16, 2013

The TCM Classic Film Festival: Day Four

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

For me it was another great day spent with packed audiences... the Chinese Multiplex theaters.

It was a day for me to look with fresh eyes at three films I'd seen previously, and it was also a second opportunity for me to see both Norman Lloyd and Ann Blyth, who had made appearances on the previous day.

Sunday started off seeing Blyth in the MGM musical KISMET (1955).

Although I've been a huge fan of MGM musicals since childhood, I'd only seen KISMET once previously, and never on a big screen.

Prior to the movie Robert Osborne interviewed Ann Blyth, as seen in my own photo...

...and a pair of photos courtesy of TCM:

My previous viewing of KISMET, roughly 20 years ago, had not left me with very positive memories, other than the singing of Blyth, Vic Damone, and Howard Keel, but I wanted to take advantage of another opportunity to see Ann Blyth, as well as the chance to see this CinemaScope film as it was meant to be seen.

As it turned out, KISMET was an unexpected highlight of the festival for me, which left me with a real "movie musical high." I'm so glad I chose to see it!

I'll be sharing more about Ann's comments and my thoughts on the film in a full-length review of KISMET in the near future. (Update: Here it is.)

Right after KISMET I got in line for IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (1934). I'd seen this multi-Oscar winner many, many times over the years, including a big screen viewing at the Vagabond Theater when I was in my teens, but it had been a long time since I last saw it.

I honestly picked IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT without a great deal of enthusiasm, simply because I've seen it so many times in years past.  But there wasn't anything else in that particular time slot I wanted to see, and I could fit it in before the next movie on the schedule. It was introduced by a film historian whose remarks, in all honesty, did not impress me as particularly insightful; I felt every other introduction I saw at the festival was excellent.

As with KISMET, I ended up very happy I'd picked IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT. I don't know when I've enjoyed it more! It had been long enough since I last watched it that the movie felt completely fresh to me, and I marveled at its perfect construction.  A real delight. Since I've never reviewed the film here on the blog, I plan a post about it in the near future, along with KISMET. (Update: Here's my full-length post on IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT.)

The last film of the day for me was DIAL M FOR MURDER (1954), which I previously reviewed here in 2009.

The pull for me at this screening was that it was being shown in a restored digital 3D print, and I was curious to see the film as it had originally been shot by Alfred Hitchcock.

As with Hitchcock's THE LADY VANISHES (1938) the day before, the movie was introduced by Leonard Maltin, who led off with background on the film's 3D history, and the very entertaining Norman Lloyd, who shared some general stories about his friend and colleague, Alfred Hitchcock.

These photos are courtesy of TCM:

The 3D effects were quite impressive; the opening credits seemed to be just a yard or so in front of me, and I was able to notice many interesting details, such as items on the tables in the apartment. It was a wonderful opportunity being able to see this film in 3D! I was delighted the screening was sold out, despite the competition of a restoration of Buster Keaton's THE GENERAL (1926), playing simultaneously with a live orchestra in the main Chinese Theatre.

All too soon it was time to head over to the closing night party at Club TCM at the Hollywood Roosevelt...

... where I had the chance to meet Robert Osborne and have him sign my pass:

I thanked Mr. Osborne for showing MARGIE (1946) on Christmas Eve a couple years ago and offered the suggestion that TCM obtain the rights to show 20th Century-Fox's CENTENNIAL SUMMER (1946). I was delighted when he said he'd love to show CENTENNIAL SUMMER if possible, and he mentioned the Jerome Kern score. CENTENNIAL SUMMER stars Jeanne Crain, Linda Darnell, Cornel Wilde, and Constance Bennett, and it's long been on my viewing "wish list."

I sadly said farewell to my fellow classic film bloggers, who were all so much fun to enjoy movies with in person, with promises for us all to meet again in 2014!

My tally for the festival was 11 films plus the presentation of home movies from the Academy Archives. I saw three film noir titles, three Hitchcocks, a pre-Code, a musical, a romantic comedy, and two classic dramas (in fact, though I've put MILDRED PIERCE in this category, some might classify it as film noir).  If only I could have fit in a Western too!

The top titles I wish I'd had time to see: SUDDENLY IT'S SPRING (1947), I AM SUZANNE! (1933), THE DESERT SONG (1943), and THE TALL TARGET (1951).

As I mentioned in my introductory post, the TCM Classic Film Festival was one of the happiest movie experiences of my life. I feel very fortunate that I was able to attend the festival and share the experience with my readers in detail.

I encourage anyone who's considered attending the TCM Classic Film Festival to make 2014 the year to be there!


Blogger James Corry said...

Laura, if you get the chance, by all means buy the 3-D Blu-Ray of "Dial M For Murder" which Warners has released to home video. I'm convinced that, one day, all televisions will be manufactured 3-D capable (this isn't the case yet.) To view 3-D at home you need a television which can show 3-D; a player which can play it and cables which are capable of transmitting it. Sounds pretty complicated, but, trust me, the results are WELL worth it. I was somewhat skeptical when setting up my installation (a Sharp 70" Aquos which I got at Costco; and which comes with a pair of 3-D glasses BTW), but when I put on "Dial M" and the letters (as you so aptly said) just leaped off the screen and seemed to be floating right in front of your eyes, I was just knocked over! So were the people I'd invited in to see it.... Ditto "Creature From The Black Lagoon" which has been released to home-video in 3-D by Universal. I hope that, one day, ALL of the wonderful 3-D pictures from the 50's will see the light of day in their original formats on home video. Unfortunately, several of these pictures have been released "flat" to home video ("Inferno", "Hondo", "Gog")and, to repeat that oft-used cliche' "If you haven't seen these films in 3-D, then you haven't REALLY seen them."


6:13 PM  
Blogger Vienna said...

Thanks for sharing your TCM Festival days with us.
Would have been interested on your views on THE DESERT SONG, but as you say, you can't get to everything.

11:46 PM  
Blogger Raquel Stecher said...

This post has me jumping for joy! I'm so glad all of those experiences on that Sunday of the festival worked out well for you. I'm also glad to hear Dial M for Murder sold out. The General didn't, there were some open seats but it was quite full. I'm glad there are enough of us who love specific genres and a wide variety too that every movie ended up being treasured by somebody.

I agree with you on the fact that the TCM festival was one of the happiest movie experiences of my life. I haven't had as many amazing ones as you have but it's up there as one of the best experiences of my life period. Everything seemed to go off without a hitch. And meeting you and being able to spend time with you was a plus too!

1:11 PM  

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