Friday, April 26, 2019

The 2019 TCM Classic Film Festival: Day Three

Friday, April 12th, was another beautiful day in Hollywood!

I began my first full day of films at this year's TCM Classic Film Festival at the festival's new venue, the Legion Theater at Hollywood Post 43.

The theater is a half-mile hike uphill from the Hollywood & Highland Center where the Chinese Multiplex Theaters are located. I thought the directional sign at the corner of Highland and Franklin, seen above, was a nice touch, especially as there's a big curve in the street preventing the theater from being seen from a distance.

I was there to see HIGH SOCIETY (1956), one of a pair of back-to-back events I attended at the theater that morning.

The theater is absolutely gorgeous, as may be seen in photos at Post 43's website; in addition to being visually beautiful, it has comfortable seats with ample leg room and an outstanding sound system. It is equipped to play both digital and film prints, and the programs there included a screening of a 70mm print of THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1965).

As I mentioned in my festival overview, the only issue with the Legion Theater whatsoever was that the mile round-trip from the main area of the festival was challenging for some older or mobility-impaired guests due to the fairly steep walk up Highland.

The distance also had to be factored into planning, as it was difficult to move between theaters in time for some screenings. I thus limited my time at the Legion Theater this year, though I'd love to return in the future (preferably with shuttle service!).

While I'm at it, I also wish that TCMFF could work out a deal with Disney to use the centrally located El Capitan Theatre again, as they did a few years ago.

This year my husband attended several screenings via the standby ticket lines, and he took these photos of Post 43's beautiful basement bar and recreation area, which were available for the use of TCM Classic Film Festival attendees.

Actress Kate Flannery (THE OFFICE) did a very nice job introducing HIGH SOCIETY, and there was also a trumpet player with a mute who performed snatches of the Cole Porter score to help set the stage before the movie.

I've seen HIGH SOCIETY many times over the years, including at the Tiffany Theater on Sunset when I was a teen, but I can safely say that I've never heard this movie sound so good! The Legion Theater's sound system was truly outstanding, and I felt quite a thrill listening to the overture before the start of the film. I've always been fond of the movie, and I might even admit to liking it a little bit more than THE PHILADELPHIA STORY (1940).

Then it was back into line for a clip show on Republic Pictures serials, hosted by Andrea Kalas of the Paramount Archive. It was very entertaining, using clearly titled clips from a number of serials to illustrate how they re-used some of the same tropes, props, footage, and actors. There were some nice chuckles over it all, and when we got home we pulled out our G-MEN VERSUS THE BLACK DRAGON (1943) DVD to watch soon.

The downhill walk from Post 43 to the Egyptian Theatre, via Franklin and Las Palmas, was fortunately much easier! A huge crowd was on hand Friday afternoon to see Cary Grant's daughter Jennifer introduce the 35mm print of MY FAVORITE WIFE (1940), interviewed by Mario Cantone.

MY FAVORITE WIFE also stars favorites Irene Dunne, Randolph Scott, and Gail Patrick. Growing up, I had seen it a couple of times at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art's Leo S. Bing Theater, but it had been many years since my last viewing. What fun to see it with an absolutely packed audience laughing along!

Jennifer Grant was lovely, communicating her love for her adored (and adoring) father, and she stayed to watch the film with her son Cary. Fun note: She was wearing her father's eyeglass frames from NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959)!

My husband, meanwhile, was at the big Chinese Theatre enjoying a special presentation by Craig Barron and Ben Burtt on visual and sound effects they created for RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981). Their presentations are always fascinating; I've written here about the show they put on at the Lone Pine Film Festival after a screening of GUNGA DIN (1939).

In my original schedule I'd contemplated going from MY FAVORITE WIFE to the pre-Code VANITY STREET (1932), but as the schedule unfolded for me in real time it soon became clear I should "throw caution to the winds," as I wrote in my schedule post, and instead try the alternate option I'd identified, the 40th Anniversary digital restoration of ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ (1979).

Like MY FAVORITE WIFE, ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ was shown at the Egyptian. This choice also enabled me the opportunity to grab a quick dinner down the street at Baja Fresh.

ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ was a bit outside my "norm," as I watch few '70s action movies, but as it turned out I really enjoyed it! Clint Eastwood was terrific, and I especially appreciated the film's masterful near-wordless opening scenes, as his character arrives at Alcatraz in the rain.

The opening interview with screenwriter Richard Tuggle was quite interesting, as he was not in the film business when he wrote it, yet after a visit to Alcatraz he managed to obtain rights to a book on the topic, learn how to format a film script -- and then actually write it! -- and eventually get it to director Don Siegel. The rest is history.

For my fifth and final program of the day, I headed to the Chinese Multiplex for the first time at this year's festival...

...where I saw Jeremy Arnold introduce the U.S. premiere of the digital restoration of WINCHESTER '73 (1950).

This is a favorite Western, and I hope to write more about it for Classic Movie Hub in the near future. The new print was lovely. What a great movie!

With the TCM Classic Film Festival falling in between the Noir City Hollywood and Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festivals, it's always a challenge finding the time to write individual reviews of all the films which have not been reviewed here previously, but I'm going to do my best to write about everything, as I enjoyed so many titles and would like to encourage others to check them out!

Coming next: A five-movie Saturday!


Blogger Walter S. said...

Laura, thank you for taking me along on the TCM Classic Film Festival, by way of your good descriptions.

I thought that was neat of Jennifer Grant wearing the eyeglass frames that her Father wore in NORTH BY NORTHWEST(1959). Also, I'm not surprised that you liked Don Siegel's ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ(1979) with Clint Eastwood and Patrick McGoohan. The interview of screenwriter Richard Tuggle does sound very interesting. I look forward to reading your take on the restored WINCHESTER '73(1950).

8:47 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Walter, I'm delighted to know you've enjoyed vicariously visiting the festival! As I hope I capture, it is truly an amazing event with such a variety of options and special people participating.

Best wishes,

11:30 PM  

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