On the record, off the QT, and not very hush-hush…
is the fact thousands of us will soon converge on Hollywood for the 2013 Turner classic Movies Film Festival (TCMFF). Off to Hollywoodland we go, eager to watch some of the greatest stars to ever grace the silver screen in proper fashion – among many more of our ilk – from April 25 to April 28th – when Hollywood dreams big again amidst the air thick with nostalgia.
When I step off a plane this Tuesday night and step onto Hollywood soil I expect to be stepping into “my Cuba,” to coin a phrase used by many Cuban-Americans I’ve come across through the years to explain a state or place where bliss is achieved, an ideal, where one is happiest – albeit they always refer to the Cuba of days long gone. Anyway, the bottom line is that for a (long ago) kid who used to play “Oscars” instead of house, going to the TCMFF is a dream come true. And, barring complete euphoria that leaves me unable to put a sentence together, I plan to share every moment of that on this blog.
Now to serious business…
This is the second post I’m dedicating to TCMFF – what is, in truth, just an update of my previous post in which I detailed my “plans” for the festival. Plans, I might add, which have changed several times due as much to internal debates as to recommendations and commentaries from other bloggers and some of my twitter friends. Also, TCM has made several announcements of new special guests slated to make appearances throughout the four-day event and, to my joy, released a Festival 101 guide, which offers tips and answers questions many festival fist-timers may have.
Overall, I find the announcements and possibilities offered to everyone by way of social media and, of course, through the TCM site is a bit overwhelming. There’s a lot of information to take in and keep up with and it’s difficult to consistently monitor all sites and means of communication if one happens to have a full-time job that doesn’t allow for the flexibility to be that “in touch” with all the news as soon as it’s released. That’s not a complaint, mind you, it’s a KUDOS to TCM and its many fans for being so diligent about spreading the word to all parties interested in the festival. However, you’ll see below one of the consequences of that for me as I list my first festival disappointment below. Previously on cloud ten, I am now only on cloud nine.
With all of that in mind, I thought it would be fun to do a comparison post of what events and screenings I chose initially, subsequent changes in choices and compare those to what version of a schedule actually comes to fruition for me. By the way, you can view the entire TCMFF Schedule here, if interested.
Following are my original plans with color notations representing the changes. We’ll see what happens…
I’ll start with my first disappointment – I, as did all expected festival attendees, received the following notification via email FROM TCM, “2013 Festival News: Thanks to our Festival Partners,” but I missed the opportunity because I was unable to check my personal email while in meetings all day at work…
“Citi will be hosting a special Club TCM preview party exclusively for Citi cardmembers on Wednesday, April 24. In addition to getting a first glimpse in to Club TCM, attendees will also see Robert Osborne interview stage and screen star Mitzi Gaynor one on one for the very first time.” In addition, all passholders able to register to attend this event will received a festival poster signed by Robert Osbourne and Ben Mankiewicz. Missing this hurts!
Thursday, April 25th:
- Looks like I’ll be a fixture of Club TCM at the Roosevelt Hotel during the afternoon of the first day, leading up to the Opening Night Party, which I plan on attending for only a bit before heading off TO THE MOVIES…
- Ernst Lubitsch’s, Ninotchka attended by Nicola Lubitsch – I adore this film – Garbo laughs and I want to be there! – one of the greatest romantic comedies ever made, in my opinion with an outstanding supporting cast. You can read a bit more of my commentary on it here, if interested. My second choice is Stanley Kubrick’s, The Killing.
Although, as the time nears the idea of watching South Pacific poolside with Mitzi Gaynor in attendance…but assuming I’m willing and able to stick to my original Ninotchka plan then…
- William A. Wellman’s, Safe in Hell is next attended by William Wellman, Jr. and Donald Bogle. I know little about this film but since it’s Wellman and takes place in hell it should be a great ride.
I must add that I’m a huge admirer of Barbra Streisand and adore Funny Girl, the film chosen to premiere the festival this year. My heart will break a little to not be at that event and screening. I considered grabbing a spot on the bleachers or requesting red carpet access, since I have media credentials. But both those choices underwhelmed me when I think about the doors closing on the screening of Funny Girl with me outside and I’ve missed two other valuable screenings. And so it goes.
Friday, April 26
- I’m leaning…leaning for Charles Laughton’s, stunning The Night of the Hunter! I’m as excited to see this film on the big screen as any other. It’s probably on my all-time top ten “big screen wishes.” If I have to sleep in front of The Egyptian Theater, trample children or stomp on old ladies for Mitchum’s tattooed knuckles I’d do it. A DEFINITIVE MUST. There is a bit of heartache here though as Jack Conway’s, Libeled Lady with its wonderful cast is playing at the same time (inhale/exhale).
I’ve read many compelling arguments as to why William Wyler’s, Ben-Hur and its glorious chariot race is one of the MUST-SEES of the festival. My argument – so is The Night of the Hunter. An easy choice made easier by the length of Wyler’s epic and the fact that I prefer Mitchum’s fury to Heston on a chariot. (Even as I write that I get chills at the prospect of that race on the big screen, I’ll admit, but I’m more likely to see a future screening of Ben-Hur than I am of The Night of the Hunter…that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!)
Next Heading over to Club TCM for “A Conversation with Carl Davis and Kevin Brownlow.”
While the Davis/Brownlow discussion is still a strong possibility, I’m now favoring the screening of Richard Fleischer’s, The Narrow Margin (1952) a film noir I’ve never seen. Scheduled to attend this screening at the Egyptian Theater is actress, Jacqueline White. There are a couple of other tough choices at this time as well, River of No Return (1954) and Suddenly, It’s Spring (1947). But the noir has me goofy.
Back at The Egyptian for one of my favorite Alfred Hitchcock films, Notorious, which features one of my favorite screen kisses of all time. (By the way, I’m figuring putting all that “my favorite” out there will tip movie karma my way).
- Back to Club TCM for “Hollywood Home Movies,” which sounds like loads of fun and a chance to meet/see Mitzi Gaynor and Fay McKenzie.
- To The Egyptian again (not sure how that happened) for Clarence Badger’s, It, starring Clara Bow for a “presentation that will feature a live performance of the orchestral score commissioned by Photoplay Productions for the Thames Silents series, conducted by its composer, Carl Davis.” (TCM) That sounds thrilling and will be my very first big-screen silent film with orchestral accompaniment experience. My favorite! Although in truth I’d adore watching The Twelve Chairs, which is being screened opposite It and may well try for it – Twelve Chairs, not It. Problem is that with Mel Brooks in attendance it’s highly unlikely I’d make it for this one if I take part in the “Hollywood Home Movies,” which I really want to do.
Here I’m switching my allegiance from IT to The Twelve Chairs officially, assuming I’m able to get in.
That’s how I felt yesterday.
Today I’m leaning toward Robert Hamer’s, It Always Rains on Sunday (1947), playing at the Multiplex 4 and features an appearance by Czar of Noir, Eddie Muller. I just love the 1940s! And such is the fickle mind of a Classic Film Fan, an “affliction” strengthened by TCM and its planned knack for driving us batty thus ensuring we come back for more.
- I then step foot in Grauman’s for the first time ever for Elia Kazan’s, On the Waterfront, which features an appearance by Eva Marie Saint. And even as I type this I’m tearing up.
- I end my second day at TCMFF with Edward D. Wood Jr.’s, Plan 9 from Outer Space. OK, who am I kidding, cannot wait for this one either!
Saturday, April 27
THE toughest day of the schedule for me and I’m unsure of many of these choices. But I venture forth…
- To the Chinese Multiplex 1 for Bugs Bunny’s 75th Birthday Bash with Leonard Maltin and Jerry Beck. I’m simply mad about the rabbit!
- Alfred Hitchcock’s, The Lady Vanishes at the Chinese Multiplex 4 offers an opportunity to see Norman Lloyd up close, an actor I greatly admire. However, the screening of Frank Capra’s, The Donovan Affair, a film I’ve never seen and “A Conversation with Tippi Hedren” at Club TCM are close seconds.
John Boorman’s, Deliverance (1972) wasn’t even a consideration. It’s a great film, but too disturbing for the likes of me. From the banjo on forward! But this week TCM announced new appearances for the discussion of the film – John Boorman and Burt Reynolds will join Jon Voight and I almost squealed…
- Next is a screening of Mark Rydell’s, On Golden Pond and a chance to see Jane Fonda up close and personal, a consideration since I missed her handprint/footprint ceremony at Grauman’s earlier in the day.
- On to The Egyptian for Ingmar Bergman’s, The Seventh Seal and a tribute to Max von Sydow with the star in attendance. Alternate at this time is the 60th Anniversary presentation of George Stevens’, Shane, which is a must-see big screen Western. Host of Essentials Jr., Bill Hader will be in attendance. Tough choice.
- Then on to a most coveted screening and a personal favorite – Michael Curtiz’, Mildred Pierce with star, Ann Blyth in attendance for a tribute in her honor. This one’s a big slap!
- I end this day with what I consider one of the most terrifying films ever made, Erle C. Kenton’s, The Island of Lost Souls. “Are we not men?” Jaysus! I am now considering skipping this one do to my fear of fear itself.
Sunday, April 28
- By this morning I expect to be “Cock-eyed! All cock-eyed!” which is perfect for a screening of Charles Vidor’s, compelling, Gilda – another film I’m excited about seeing on a big screen. Debra Winger will be in attendance at this screening, which is yet another thrill as I’m a big admirer of her work.
- Next is another conundrum – The “big ticket” screening seems to be Stanley Kramer’s, It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World at the Cinerama Dome, which was dampened by the recent death of Jonathan Winters, beloved jack-of-many-talents who was to be on the panel. Hoping not to sound cold though, I think the rest of the list expected to be in attendance is still worth a wait in line – Barrie Chase, Marvin Kaplan, Mickey Rooney and my favorite Carl Reiner. So, I intend to be on that line. The problem is this screening is opposite two Club TCM events I’m also very interested in attending, “Women of Early Hollywood” and “Hollywood’s Silent Echoes.” Ain’t fittin’!
I am now leaning more toward the two Club TCM events I listed that are happening concurrently with It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. Despite the fact that silent film is fairly new to me, I love Buster Keaton and that era from a historical perspective. This is such a tough choice, TCM!
As a FYI for anyone who is unaware – see this post by John Bengston, author of Silent Echoes: Discovering Early Hollywood through the Films of Buster Keaton, in reference to his appearance at Club TCM on Friday, April 28th, the book signing that follows that appearance and details about a free, self-guided tour he put together…
“…to Hollywood silent film locations and studios that I have prepared in connection with the “Hollywood’s Silent Echoes” presentation I will be giving April 28, 2013, at 3:00 p.m. at Club TCM in the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel”
See John Bengston’s complete post – Author Appearance at TCM Classic Film Festival – Free Tour
- Now I head on over to, where else? The Egyptian for the world premiere of the new, TCM original documentary on the life and career of Richard D. Zanuck, Don’t Say No Until I Finish Talking.
Since seeing a TCM promo that this documentary will air on the channel this May, I’ve been contemplating attending the screening of Sydney Pollack’s, Three Days of the Condor – but again, depending on whether I make it to It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World or not, which means I would have gone to the Silent Echoes presentation at Club TCM.
- Finally, I’m hoping to end my 2013 TCMFF filmgoing experience with the “World premiere restoration of actor/director Buster Keaton’s death-defying and hilarious action-comedy about a southern train engineer trying to save the loves of his life—his train and his girlfriend—from the hands of Union troops. This presentation will feature a live musical score written and performed by the world-renowned Alloy Orchestra.” (TCM) – The General. My close second choice here is John Huston’s, The African Queen another I wouldn’t mind as a final screening for this event.
On the record, off the QT, and not very hush-hush…
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