Saturday, May 05, 2018

The 2018 TCM Classic Film Festival: Day Three

I was up bright and early on Friday at the TCM Classic Film Festival. After breakfast at my hotel, I headed down Hollywood Boulevard to the Egyptian Theater, arriving about 8:00 in order to receive my queue number for the 9:00 screening of THE MERRY WIDOW (1934).

There were already 50 people in line ahead of me at that early hour! Such is the power of Ernst Lubitsch.

The movie was screened in 35mm and introduced by new TCM host Alicia Malone. It proved to be perhaps my favorite film of the entire festival, leaving me with happily teary eyes in the final minute. My complete review of THE MERRY WIDOW may be read here.

I then headed back to the multiplex for my next three films, beginning with a digital print of THE MIRACLE OF MORGAN'S CREEK, introduced by Cari Beauchamp. This was my first time to see the movie, which I thoroughly enjoyed. My review is here.

My next film, introduced by TCM's Dave Karger, was a digital print of HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE (1953), reviewed here. Another entertaining winner in a lineup of fun films.

I first saw THREE SMART GIRLS (1936) via VHS a decade ago; what a treat to see it on the big screen in 35mm! It's only the second Deanna Durbin movie I've been able to see in a theater, along with LADY ON A TRAIN (1945).

Prior to the film, former Los Angeles Times classic film columnist Susan King interviewed Bob Koster, son of the film's director, Henry Koster. He briefly shared some stories, including the fact that during the film Deanna lived with the Kosters so that his father could coach her in the evenings.

Even at the earliest stage of career Deanna was dubious about being in movies and the director pressured her by telling her if the film wasn't a success he might be sent back to Germany and killed, a rather stunning anecdote. (Koster had, in fact, left Germany for France abruptly on his lunch hour circa 1932, after hitting a German officer.) Bob said he thought Deanna might have understandably harbored resentment against his father for laying that guilt trip on her.

In any event, it's a delightful film, also featuring a young and adorable Ray Milland. And Henry Koster's star on Hollywood Boulevard isn't far from the theater where we watched the movie.

After THREE SMART GIRLS I had time to enjoy dinner, the only time that weekend! Then it was back to the Eygptian Theatre, where I grabbed this snapshot of several friends taking a photo in front of the historic facade. I like this picture as I think it captures some of the fun of good friends sharing classic movies.

I was good and early to obtain my queue number...

...which was a good thing as the theater, which seats over 600, was packed!!

The 35mm nitrate print of LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN (1945) was a real visual treat, with gorgeous colors, sets, and of course Gene Tierney and Jeanne Crain. It's a film I love, but as I mentioned in my initial overview post, some in the audience reacted with giggles.

One friend on Twitter mused that perhaps the lighthearted intro by Dave Karger, sharing Bosley Crowther's pan of the film on its release, set the wrong tone and encouraged that kind of reaction. Who knows? I nonetheless thoroughly enjoyed it, my first time to see it on a big screen.

I managed to get to bed by around 12:30, ready to get up early again Saturday for a whopping six-movie day! More on that and the rest of the festival coming soon.


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