Tuesday, April 26, 2022

The 2022 TCM Classic Film Festival in Review

What a weekend that was!

The 2022 TCM Classic Film Festival came to an end last Sunday evening, April 24th. It was a wonderful few days of moviegoing surrounded by friends old and new.

Every TCM Classic Film Festival is a very happy experience, but I suspect I speak for all attendees when I say that this year was the happiest festival ever.

It's hard to put into words just what it meant to see friends for the first time in three years and get back to enjoying movies together on the "big screen." Especially after prolonged social isolation, seeing familiar faces around every corner was incredibly meaningful. I think I traded more hugs and took more selfie photos during the fest than I had in several years combined!

During the festival TCM provided a wide variety of viewing options spread across five theaters, plus poolside screenings at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel and one extra-special screening at Disney's El Capitan Theatre.

Though time didn't permit me to attend everything, some of the more unique presentations this year included:

*A poolside screening of Elvis in BLUE HAWAII (1961) at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, complete with leis and dancing along with the movie.

*A "live read" of the script for I MARRIED A MONSTER FROM OUTER SPACE (1958) starring Laraine Newman of SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE.

*A special presentation of THE FLAME AND THE ARROW (1950) by Ben Burtt and Craig Barron at the Hollywood Legion Theater, including home movies of Burt Lancaster's acrobatic feats and an appearance by former child actor Gordon Gebert.

*A tribute to Leonard Maltin, followed by a screening of COUNSELLOR AT LAW (1933).

*And a screening of the silent classic 7TH HEAVEN (1927) with a live performance by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra.

With the exception of switching out HOUSEBOAT (1958) for TOO BUSY TO WORK (1932) for logistical reasons -- which also meant I didn't see a film in the "big" Chinese Theatre this year -- I stuck to my preplanned schedule

As always, I could have easily made at least two more completely different festival schedules and still been happy! In the case of one film I didn't have time to see, HEAVEN CAN WAIT (1978), the positive reactions of friends prompted me to order a Blu-ray today so that I can revisit it for the first time since its initial release.

I saw the same number of presentations at this year's festival as I did at the last festival in 2019: 15 films plus a clip show hosted by Andrea Kalas of the Paramount Archives, for a total of 16 screenings.

8 of the 15 films I saw this year were screened in 35mm. Five of the 15 films were brand-new for me; of the 10 films I revisited, I saw three theatrically for the first time ever. I'd add that some of the films I'd seen before, such as HAIL THE CONQUERING HERO (1944), I hadn't seen for a very long time, so they felt completely fresh.

I'll be discussing the films at greater length in daily recaps and/or individual film reviews as time permits. I enjoyed each and every film I saw but for now I'll mention that my favorites of a great lineup included Joan Crawford and Barry Sullivan in QUEEN BEE (1955); Bebe Daniels and Randolph Scott in COCKTAIL HOUR (1933); Burt Lancaster and Virginia Mayo in THE FLAME AND THE ARROW (1950); and the world premiere 65th anniversary restoration of a Randolph Scott-Budd Boetticher favorite, THE TALL T (1957).

Special mention as well goes to Herbert Marshall who was incredibly swoon-worthy in EVENINGS FOR SALE (1932)!

Happily I didn't experience any negatives this year in terms of inappropriate reactions or audience members holding up phones to photograph the opening credits. And it was absolutely wonderful being part of appreciative, informed audiences which applauded things like James Dean showing up in a bit role in HAS ANYBODY SEEN MY GAL (1952).

Two venues were missing this year: The Egyptian Theatre is undergoing a prolonged renovation by its owners, Netflix, as seen below on April 21st; and the Cinerama Dome has never reopened after it was closed during the government-mandated shutdowns. To compensate, the small Theater 4 at the Chinese Multiplex returned to the festival.

A great improvement this year over 2019 was TCM providing free shuttle vans from the Chinese Multiplex to the Hollywood Legion Theatre, which is a challenging uphill walk on Highland. The shuttles were very helpful not only for those with mobility issues but simply to reduce the time spent on the long walk and help festgoers make screenings on time, given the spread-out locations.

In terms of other fest logistics, there were some changes this year in that some of the local spots festivalgoers have long relied on for meals and snacks have permanently closed due to either fallout from the government shutdowns or new ownership; among the Hollywood Boulevard eateries which have disappeared since 2019 were Baja Fresh, Auntie Anne's Pretzels, Pig 'N Whistle, and the Starbucks closest to the Chinese Theatres.

On the plus side, there's now a Sprinkles cupcake machine near the multiplex which is replenished daily!

I managed to get in one post-breakfast meal on both Friday and Saturday, thanks to the super-fast service at Johnny Rocket's around the corner from the Chinese multiplex; Sunday I made do with a large breakfast at Mel's and a bowl of cereal when I got home at 1:00 a.m.!

As always, I'll be posting daily overviews of my festival experiences in the days and weeks to come, including lots of photos! I'll also be reviewing as many of the films individually as time permits, along with the films I saw at the Noir City Hollywood Festival the weekend before the TCM Fest.

I'll also follow my usual practice of adding links just below this paragraph as additional TCM Classic Film Festival posts go up, so that access to all of this year's coverage may be easily found in one place.

Previously reviewed films seen at the 2022 TCM Classic Film Festival, listed in the order viewed: JEWEL ROBBERY (1932), THE JUNGLE BOOK (1967), TOO BUSY TO WORK (1932), THE TALL T (1957), PORTRAIT OF JENNIE (1948), FLY-BY-NIGHT (1942), 7TH HEAVEN (1927).

Brief 2022 festival updates were also included in my "Around the Blogosphere This Week" link roundups on January 29th, February 5th, and March 26th, 2022.

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, The 2018 TCM Classic Film Festival in Review, and The 2019 TCM Classic Film Festival in Review.


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