Monday, April 15, 2019

The 2019 TCM Classic Film Festival in Review

The 2019 TCM Classic Film Festival is now over, another amazing experience which leaves behind many happy memories.

The festival's theme, "Love at the Movies," was reflected not just in the films themselves, but in the love festival attendees have for classic films. The entire festival was a truly happy experience filled with the joy of discovering or revisiting movies while surrounded by friends and enthusiastic movie fans.

This year was particularly special as it was the festival's 10th anniversary, and Sunday, April 14th, was the 25th anniversary of the TCM network.

As always, TCM provided an almost overwhelming variety of options for festival-goers. I could easily have made out two completely different schedules and been happy!

I generally stuck to the schedule I outlined before the festival, though I had to drop some titles due to lack of time to make it to the screenings. I was quite pleased with my final tally of 15 films plus one 90-minute clip show, and I even found time to eat dinner each day, which I didn't manage to do at last year's festival!

Six of the 15 films seen at the festival were first-time watches for me; of the nine repeats, three were first-time big screen viewings.

My 35mm tally was lower this year; while last year 14 of 17 films were in 35mm, this year only seven films were seen in 35mm -- but three of those were nitrate prints! There were several digital restorations, and I continue to marvel at how much better the digital projection quality is today compared to my earliest visits to the festival, when some of the digital prints were muddy and pixilated.

I enjoyed everything I saw to varying degrees, including ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ (1979), which I'd been slightly nervous about trying; it proved to be quite an engrossing movie.

Although I didn't see a silent film at this year's festival, my selections were quite varied, including musicals, romantic comedies, pre-Codes, a Western, sci-fi, crime films, romantic melodramas, and a Biblical epic. I saw three films with Cary Grant, two apiece with Irene Dunne and Barbara Rush, and two films directed by Don Siegel.

This year saw the addition of a new venue, the beautiful American Legion Post 43 Theater. Although the uphill hike to the theater and the distance combined to make it a challenge for some festival attendees to fit in a visit, it was an absolutely gorgeous venue! I'll be sharing more photos here in a future post. If there were a way for TCM to offer shuttle service from the Legion Theater to the other festival venues, it would be perfect.

The return of many pre-Codes from the Egyptian to the Chinese Multiplex did make for regular "sellouts" in the festival's smallest venue, Theater 6; I suspect the reluctance of some attendees to make the trek to the Legion Theater may have increased the pool of viewers trying to snag one of Theater 6's 210 seats. Other than that challenge and a couple of films which started late, the festival ran as smoothly as ever. It's safe to say that by now TCM has learned what works through a decade of experience.

It's hard to say what I enjoyed seeing the most, but I might have to say LOVE AFFAIR (1939) with Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer. Somehow I'd never seen it before, and it was simply exquisite. Honestly, though, everything on my viewing list was memorable for varied reasons, and I left each film a satisfied viewer.

Happily this year was much better than last year in terms of my not experiencing inappropriate audience reactions to films. I did have trouble with someone causing distraction by photographing the opening credits of MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION (1954) -- you've got to wonder what's going through such a self-centered person's mind when they do that -- but that was my only issue.

That said, friends reported similar problems with credits being photographed at other screenings, and at one screening I attended there was a specific request that audiences not do this, as it was happening with some frequency. I saw a picture on Twitter where someone had clearly photographed "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away" as STAR WARS (1977) was beginning in the Chinese Theatre...sigh. Otherwise, all was good!

As usual, over the next couple weeks I'll be posting overviews of each day of the TCM Classic Film Festival, including lots of photos. I also plan to write reviews of some individual films, along with completing reviews of the films I recently saw at the Noir City Hollywood Festival, not to mention previewing next month's Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival! Southern Californians are truly blessed with classic movie riches.

As additional TCM Classic Film Festival posts go up, I'll add the links just below this paragraph, so that all of this year's festival coverage may be easily found in one place.

TCM 2019 Classic Film Festival Posts: The 2019 TCM Classic Film Festival: Day One; The 2019 TCM Classic Film Festival: Day Two; The 2019 TCM Classic Film Festival: Day Three; The 2019 TCM Classic Film Festival: Day Four; The 2019 TCM Classic Film Festival: Day Five.

Coverage for Classic Movie Hub: TCMFF and Winchester '73.

Previously reviewed films seen at the 2019 TCM Classic Film Festival: WINCHESTER '73 (1950) and WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE (1951).

Previous 2019 TCM Classic Film Festival Coverage: TCM Announces 2019 Festival Dates and Theme, TCM Classic Film Festival Announcements, Latest TCM Classic Film Festival Announcements, New TCM Classic Film Festival Announcements; The 2019 TCM Classic Film Festival Schedule.

Roundups containing all links to coverage of past TCM festivals: The 2013 TCM Classic Film Festival in Review, The 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival in Review, The 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival in Review, The 2016 TCM Classic Film Festival in Review, The 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival in Review, and The 2018 TCM Classic Film Festival in Review.


Blogger Debbie said...

I watch, 'Love Affair' over and over. I love Cary Grant, but this version of the story is just so good. Even better than, 'An Affair to Remember' with Cary Grant. I am so happy for you being able to see it, and for the first time. What a treat!
I enjoy your blog so much. Thank you for all the time and effort you put into it.

6:38 PM  
Blogger JeffZanker said...

I like Escape from Alcatraz, one of Eastwood's best. Can't wait to read your review.

6:52 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Debbie, thank you, it really was a treat to see LOVE AFFAIR -- and in a beautiful print! I appreciate your kind words about my blog immensely, it means a great deal to know others enjoy it.

Thanks, Jeff! ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ was quite memorable, glad I saw it.

Best wishes,

2:44 PM  
Blogger Jacqueline T. Lynch said...

LOVE AFFAIR is one of my very favorites, and it's terrific that your first experience seeing it should be on the big screen. I love your recaps of the festival (all your festivals) every year, so I'm looking forward to the rest of the posts!

12:40 PM  

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