Monday, May 07, 2018

The 2018 TCM Classic Film Festival: Day Five

All too soon it was Sunday, the final day of the 2018 TCM Classic Film Festival.

After my busy six-film Saturday, I didn't mind the prospect of "only" seeing four films on Sunday, but I was also sad, as I always am, knowing that my wonderful "movie vacation" would soon come to an end.

I was one of the first people to line up for A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM (1935), which I'd chosen thinking that the silvery cinematography would look good on a big screen. Indeed it did!

As sometimes happens at the festival, although I wasn't initially very interested in seeing the movie, it turned out to be one of the high points of the festival! I was completely entranced; the film's look and mood envelops the viewer in a way I just don't think is possible on a small TV screen.

My next film, and the only digital presentation of the day, was MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (1939). I had seen the film multiple times over the years, including on a big screen years ago, but it had been quite a long time since my last viewing so it felt quite fresh to me. The number of impressive character actors in that film is simply mind-blowing! The film still feels powerful and relevant all these years later.

Before the film I had a lovely chat with Victoria Mature, who happened to sit next to me. We had met briefly at last year's Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival. Before MR. SMITH we enjoyed discussing our mutual love for Deanna Durbin! I'm looking forward to her introduction of one of my favorite Victor Mature films, KISS OF DEATH (1947), at this year's Arthur Lyons Festival just a few days from now.

After MR. SMITH it was time for a final trip to the Egyptian Theatre for BULL DURHAM (1988), which I chose because it's a Kevin Costner baseball movie which was being shown in 35mm.

Prior to the film Ben Mankiewicz interviewed director Ron Shelton and actor Tim Robbins. Shelton then sat right across the aisle from me during the screening of the movie.

Although I saw the film when it came out, and once on home video in the years since, it had been a very long time since I'd seen it, and I'd somehow forgotten just how many tasteless scenes were in the movie. There's some good stuff in the film, but not enough to offset the negatives for me. I think in the future I'll stick to Costner's other baseball films, FIELD OF DREAMS (1989) and FOR LOVE OF THE GAME (1999).

Then I hurried back to the multiplex for my final film of the festival, the "TBA" film BLESSED EVENT (1932), which was repeated Sunday due to its popularity earlier in the festival.

I find this film with Lee Tracy as a newspaper gossip columnist a lot of fun. It features a host of great character actors plus Dick Powell in his film debut as Tracy's nemesis, a radio crooner.

The movie was presented by Bruce Goldstein of the Film Forum, who followed the movie with a presentation on what various local governments censored from the film. The audience agreed that after the censors were done, only a few minutes must have been left of the movie in Manitoba and Saskatchewan!

Finally it was time for one more trip to Club TCM at the Hollywood Roosevelt, to take last admiring looks at Robert Osborne's poster collection and, most importantly, say farewell to many friends.

It's always sad to say goodbye to kindred spirits who share my appreciation for classic films, but the good news is that the 2019 Festival will be here before we know it!

Many thanks to TCM for another stellar festival. Until next year!


Blogger Jerry Entract said...

Thanks for sharing your week-long experience with us, Laura. You clearly had great fun and a lot of fine viewing.

9:33 AM  
Blogger Walter S. said...

Laura, thank you for the reports from the TCM Film Festival. I enjoyed them, along with the photographs.

3:40 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks so much, Jerry and Walter!! I'm delighted I could take you along with me, in a manner of speaking! I feel privileged to have been able to attend this festival multiple times, it's very meaningful and I only wish all my classic film friends had the same opportunity.

Best wishes,

9:39 PM  
Blogger Vienna said...

I echo these comments. Next best thing to being there has been read8ng all your columns.
So glad you were entranced by A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It is so magical.
One thing, could you explain how the booking for the festival films work? I’m thinking of folk coming a long way and not being guaranteed a seat. Why all this queuing? Why don’t they just sell tickets.

11:55 PM  
Blogger Kristina said...

Echoing the other comments, I eat up all these posts and feel like I was there! Every year I say how neat it is that everyone can have such a different fest, different finds and surprises. This year had some fantastic variety. Thanks as always for sharing all the fun!

11:43 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hi Vienna! The seating issues must sound a little confusing but in practice it works pretty well...usually (not always). I'm not sure how it would work out selling tickets to individual screenings as they already sell festival passes...if they sold individual tickets instead, it would probably be a very complex operation, with five or six films plus a Club TCM interview or event happening in every single time block. I can only imagine the website crashing when tickets went on sale LOL.

The way it works is queue numbers are given out beginning one hour before a movie's screening time. You can start lining up before that, though. Once you have your number you can leave for half an hour to grab a snack, etc., but you must return to line up in queue number order 30 minutes before the screening time so that there's time to load the theater before the movie actually starts.

I have only been shut out of movies I planned to see a couple of times over the years. This does take some careful strategic planning regarding the movies you most want to see. For instance, seeing Deanna Durbin in THREE SMART GIRLS was one of my priorities, so I carefully chose the film preceding it to give me the best opportunity, meaning:

*I skipped seeing Eddie Muller introduce THE SET-UP (sob!) since it was down the street at the Egyptian (at least a ten-minute walk away, if you're hurrying)

*When choosing between BLESSED EVENT and HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE, preceding the Durbin film in the same multiplex, I chose the latter film because it got out earlier. (And I also lucked out with BLESSED EVENT repeated Sunday, so I saw it anyway! The five "TBA" repeats are to help give people who missed out on popular films a second chance.)

*Since it would put me in the Durbin line later, I also skipped going to the special Harold Lloyd presentation on his 3D interest at a theater a ways further away, at Hollywood and Vine, since I had seen his 3D Disneyland photos displayed at the D23 Expo and since I'd heard Suzanne Lloyd speak on multiple occasions. (I also skipped two other films and two interviews in that preceding time slot!)

So that's a single example of the planning that goes into just two time slots. You can see why festival goers spend hours going over the schedule and whittling down their choices!

Now, the festival I'm going to this weekend (the Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival) is run completely differently, because it's much smaller. It takes place in a single theater, with passes sold for either the entire festival or tickets sold individually for each screening if available. When it's time for the next movie you just go in and find a seat. As much as I love the TCM Fest, I'm looking forward to not standing in a single line this weekend!! LOL.

Kristina, thank you so much, I'm really happy you enjoyed the posts. It really is amazing how unique everyone's choices are -- Raquel and I joked we were at different festivals. KC and I shared several screenings but also did some very different things, and she's great about trying the midnight movies! I never go to those because I'd either be scared to death or I'd sleep through movies the next morning LOL. Hoping to share the festival again with you before too long!

Best wishes,

7:50 PM  

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