Wednesday, March 29, 2023

The 2023 TCM Classic Film Festival Schedule

The 2023 TCM Classic Film Festival begins two weeks from tomorrow!

The festival will take place in Hollywood from Thursday, April 13th, through Sunday, April 16th. The main theme, "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet," celebrates the Warner Bros. centennial.

I'm happy to be covering my ninth TCM Classic Film Festival as a member of the credentialed media.

During the festival please follow me on Twitter for up-to-the-minute news and photos from the festival, and I also recommend keeping an eye on the hashtag #TCMFF.

As always, after the festival I'll have a photo-filled overview post here along with daily recaps and selected reviews.

The complete schedule was published at the end of last week, which is always both exciting and agonizing -- the latter as there are so many great possibilities to consider!

This year's venues will consist of the large Chinese Theatre and three smaller theaters in the Chinese multiplex on Hollywood Boulevard, plus the Hollywood Legion Theater on Highland Avenue. Screenings will also take place poolside at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, with special interviews and events taking place in Club TCM at the hotel.

There are many things I consider when planning each year's festival schedule, including whether I've ever seen a film; how recently I've seen a previously viewed film, and whether I've ever seen it in a theater; format (35mm or DCP); guests; and how the times and locations fit together.

Sometimes I give up plans to see something I'd really enjoy because it would make it impossible to get to a screening I want to see even more! Such are the dilemmas of the festival of riches which is the TCM Classic Film Festival.

Over the years I've found I mostly stick with my schedule, but when I've made changes I've always had rewarding experiences. It's really hard to make a "wrong" choice at the festival.

Here's a look at my 2023 schedule outline, including a couple slots which will come down to last-minute decisions.

Thursday, April 13th

As I shared earlier this month, the opening night "red carpet" movie will be RIO BRAVO (1959). That's the only film not covered by my pass, but there are several other good options.

My choices for the first slot include a digital screening of the pre-Code ONE WAY PASSAGE (1932) with favorites William Powell and Kay Francis and a 70mm presentation of AIRPORT (1970); however, I don't think I want to start the festival with ONE WAY PASSAGE, which has a sad story, and I was fortunate to see AIRPORT at the Egyptian several years ago.

Instead I'm going to go with a favorite Hitchcock film, SHADOW OF A DOUBT (1943), because I haven't seen it as often as other Hitchcock favorites, and it will be my first time to see it in a theater. Teresa Wright, Joseph Cotten, and Macdonald Carey lead a fine cast.

I'll come out of the theater and get right back in line for the same theater to see THAT TOUCH OF MINK (1962) with Cary Grant and Doris Day (and the Automat!). I think I've only seen it once, and never in a theater. A comedy to close out opening night sounds perfect.

Friday, April 14th

Friday morning I'll probably go with James Stewart in HARVEY (1950). Although I saw it on TV in the early '80s, I don't really remember it, and I'm a Peggy Dow completist. My backup option is Bette Davis and Miriam Hopkins in THE OLD MAID (1939).

The next slot is a tough choice for me, including a big favorite, GROUNDHOG DAY (1993), which I've not seen theatrically for nearly a decade, and Edward G. Robinson in LARCENY, INC. (1942). That said, I'm currently leaning toward FOOTLIGHT PARADE (1933); it's a huge favorite I've seen on a big screen multiple times, but it's hard to pass up seeing it again since Bruce Goldstein of the Film Forum is doing one of his presentations on pre-Codes and censorship. Goldstein plus a favorite film pushes me strongly in the direction of Busby Berkeley.

In the third slot of the day, Alan K. Rode is presenting a favorite Western, BLOOD ON THE MOON (1948), but I'm pretty certain I'll have a chance to see that theatrically a few weeks later. Instead I lean towards THE STRAWBERRY BLONDE (1941) starring James Cagney, Olivia de Havilland, Rita Hayworth, and Jack Carson. George Feltenstein of the Warner Archive Collection will be hosting a "Warner Night at the Movies" presentation which in addition to the film will include a mix of cartoons, shorts, and trailers.

In Slot No. 4 I might go see THE KILLERS (1946), seen below with Charles McGraw and William Conrad, but if I do it's unlikely I could get into two of my top choices in the final main time block of the day: BALL OF FIRE (1941) with Barbara Stanwyck and Gary Cooper, hosted by Dana Delany, or the pre-Code MAN'S CASTLE (1933), starring Loretta Young and Spencer Tracy.

I might eat dinner instead of seeing THE KILLERS and then go to BALL OF FIRE or MAN'S CASTLE...or if I stick with THE KILLERS and can't get into either of those films, I would not be at all sorry to see the very entertaining OCEAN'S 11 (2001), which has a later start time and is in the big Chinese Theatre with director Steven Soderbergh on hand.

Whatever my final decisions, that will be a very full, enjoyable day of movie watching!

Saturday, April 15th

Saturday morning begins with another real dilemma: One of my three most favorite movies, SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS (1954), will be shown in the big Chinese Theatre with Russ Tamblyn interviewed. However, I have seen the film theatrically a significant number of times, including with Russ Tamblyn I'm leaning instead toward seeing Claudette Colbert and Melvyn Douglas in a new-to-me pre-Code at the Hollywood Legion, THE WISER SEX (1932).

Being at the Legion for that film would also put me in good position to next see Craig Barron and Ben Burtt introduce WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE (1951); I saw the film at the festival in 2019, with Barbara Rush interviewed by Dennis Miller, but Burtt and Barron's special effects presentations are always festival highlights.

I'm also very interested the next film at the Legion, CROSSING DELANCEY (1988) with stars Amy Irving and Peter Riegert interviewed, but if I attend that it's almost a certainty I won't get in to see Jeremy Arnold introducing the "B" movie THE CRIMSON CANARY (1945) in small Theater 4. It might be I should eat during the CROSSING DELANCEY spot and then get in line early for THE CRIMSON CANARY, which stars Noah Beery Jr. and John Litel, and has appearances by jazz stars Coleman Hawkins and Oscar Pettiford.

Or I could forget all of that and instead see THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE (1948) for the first time ever, introduced by Danny Huston (recently seen in MARLOWE). The movie, of course, was directed by Danny Huston's father John and costars his grandfather Walter, along with Humphrey Bogart and Tim Holt. But I have a feeling I'll end up at THE CRIMSON CANARY, which is probably being shown too late on Saturday to be chosen for one of the open "To Be Announced" "repeat" slots on Sunday.

It's a tight squeeze timewise but if there's room after THE CRIMSON CANARY I'd go see Barbara Stanwyck and Burt Lancaster in SORRY, WRONG NUMBER (1948).

There's still an open spot on the schedule for the big Chinese Theatre late on Saturday, but unless that announcement is absolutely amazing I'll definitely finish up the night at the romantic comedy UNFINISHED BUSINESS (1941) starring Irene Dunne, Robert Montgomery, and Preston Foster. I saw it at UCLA a decade ago and really enjoyed it, and it's never come out on DVD or Blu-ray!

Sunday, April 16th

Sunday is always tricky to plan as there are a few slots left open for films which were sellouts to be reshown on the last day of the festival. That said, the first two time blocks of the day don't have any TBA slots.

First thing Sunday I'm a definite for Hitchcock's THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (1956), which somewhow I've never seen. Two big stars, James Stewart and Doris Day, in a Hitchcock movie make it a must. It's also kind of a nice "full circle" to see it at the festival, as I saw Martin Scorsese introduce a nitrate print of the 1934 original at the 2017 festival.

But look at its competition: Lubitsch's HEAVEN CAN WAIT (1943), Mickey and Judy in STRIKE UP THE BAND (1940), and MISTER ROBERTS (1955) introduced by Keith Carradine are among the other choices to kick off Sunday morning.  That's a great illustration of how one just can't go wrong at the festival.

In the second slot I'm leaning toward CASABLANCA (1942), though it would be hard to top the last time I saw it theatrically, on nitrate, in 2016. But seeing it on the huge screen at the big Chinese Theatre with an enthusiastic crowd sounds great. Other options: Clark Gable and Carole Lombard in NO MAN OF HER OWN (1932) or the Powell-Pressburger classic THE RED SHOES (1948). I'd be happy at any of these screenings.

In the third time block I'm leaning toward one of my favorite films, ALL ABOUT EVE (1950), with composer David Newman there to discuss his father Alfred Newman's work scoring the film. But I'm also tempted by Leonard Maltin introducing a rare film made at the Warner Bros. UK studio, MR. COHEN TAKES A WALK (1935). There are also several "TBA" films that afternoon which could completely change my schedule once they're announced.

For the final film of the festival I considered THE BIG CHILL (1983); I've seen director Lawrence Kasdan before but I've always liked JoBeth Williams, who will be there as well. But while I saw the movie multiple times around the time it came out, when I went back to it a few years ago I didn't feel the story or characters had held up at all well for me.

So instead, unless there's another amazing TBA film to finish the festival, I believe I'll head back up the hill to the Legion Theater to see Ben Model accompany the silent Rin Tin Tin film CLASH OF THE WOLVES (1925), starring Charles Farrell. There's some nice symmetry in that as last year I finished the festival seeing Farrell in 7TH HEAVEN (1927). I like Farrell a lot, and I've seen a silent movie with live music as my final film of the festival several times over the years; I've always found it a great way to wrap up.

I saw 11 films in 2013, 14 in 2014, 16 in 2015, 15 in 2016, 17 (including a block of Ub Iwerks cartoons) in 2017 and again in 2018, and 15 films plus a clip show in both 2019 and 2022. We'll see how many I can catch in 2023!

For reference, my posts on the schedules for previous festivals are linked here in reverse chronological order: 2022, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, and 2013.

I invite anyone attending the festival to leave their picks or a link to their schedule post in the comments!

Previously: TCM Announces 2023 Festival Dates and Theme (October 18, 2022); 2023 TCM Classic Film Festival Announcements (November 11, 2022); Latest 2023 TCM Classic Film Festival Announcements (January 25, 2023); New TCM Classic Film Festival Announcements (February 16, 2023); Latest TCM Classic Film Festival Announcements (March 4, 2023); TCM Classic Film Festival Announces Opening Night Movie (March 15, 2023).

An additional brief festival update regarding Russ Tamblyn attending the festival is included in my January 14th "Around the Blogosphere This Week" column.


Blogger Karen said...

I enjoyed reading about your picks, Laura! I'm working on my picks post as we speak (write?). I'll be looking for you at Unfinished Business -- it'll be one of the few new-to-me movies this year. See you soon!

12:31 PM  
Blogger Jerry Entract said...

It will be interesting to find out which films you finally went for, Laura,when you report back. If you have never (never?) seen either "TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE" or "THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH" I do hope you go in that direction.
I'm interested that "MAN'S CASTLE" is being featured as it really is a rather charming lesser-known film.

2:22 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hi, Laura, I'm really excited for you & really appreciate your Classic Movie blogging. My family and I took part in the 2022 "come back" (after Covid) Cruise & I had attended the 2019 film fest(my first time), where you & I briefly met.
We're not going to this year's festival or cruise because 2 of my nephews are getting married this year--one in Salzburg, Austria--& our time & finances are going to that. Barring any unforeseen engagements, we're planning on the 2024 Cruise & I want to attend other festivals & future cruises.
Anyway, I was wondering if you--or someone else--had a pros & cons & price comparison ranking of within-walking-distance hotels and motels for the TCM Film Festival? Thanx, Dave - Springfield, OR

4:09 PM  
Anonymous chris evans said...

What a list of films! Awe inspiring really.

8:42 AM  
Blogger Chris Sturhann said...

We are going to see a lot of each other. Let me know what you're doing on Friday, slot 4, dinner. Kind of leaning that way myself.

9:50 AM  
Blogger Seth said...

There are many good things on the final schedule, but overall I'm not regretting my decision to skip this year (I am planning on attending next year, when hopefully the Egyptian is back as a venue). I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time, and I'll look forward to your recaps.

4:58 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thank you all for your comments!

Karen, loved reading your picks! See you soon!

Jerry, I love the way the festival balances major classics with "smaller" titles like MAN'S CASTLE. Something for everyone! Going to be very hard making some of those last-minute choices.

Dave, thank you so much for your note. I'm glad you got to go on the cruise -- sounds like you have good reasons not to attend this year but I will hope to see you again at a future festival or maybe even a cruise. Other than a night at the Hilton Garden Inn on Highland several years ago, I stay in a (relatively) low-budget but clean hotel on Orchid Avenue behind the Hollywood & Highland center. The Hollywood Roosevelt and Loew's are so expensive! I'm not aware of hotel comparisons by bloggers but Trip Advisor can be useful. The descriptions of the hotel I use (the Hollywood Celebrity) have been pretty accurate.

Chris E., is really is awe inspiring...and so hard to choose!

Chris S., Friday is going to be hard! Looking forward to seeing your soon. :)

Seth, you'll be missed this year but I'll hope to see you next year. Latest rumor is the Egyptian may open by September. We'll see. It's been a very long process.

Thanks to you all, as always, for reading!

Best wishes,

3:11 PM  

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