You’ve probably heard that the schedule for the Turner Classic Movies Film Festival (TCMFF) 2019 was published earlier this week. TCMFF is scheduled for April 11-14 and this year’s theme is Follow Your Heart: Love at the Movies. As you can imagine, such a broad theme allows for all sorts of relationships in movies and in that sense the offerings don’t disappoint. There’s something for everyone – from traditional romance to bromance to love in pure evil form. What’s important is that for the 10th consecutive year, classic movie fans will have a love affair with movies in Hollywood.
As has become tradition on this blog I’ve put together my planned schedule for discussion sake. I tried to go a bit beyond my comfort level this year choosing new-to-me fare in more slots than ever before with a dear coming home at the end the festival. This will be my seventh year in Hollywood for this event and the excitement has not waned. There’s simply a lot to look forward to.
Also exciting is the fact that I will be playing a dual role at TCMFF 2019. I’ve mentioned my media credentials to cover TCMFF in the past and that is true again this year. In addition, I will also be one of about 30 Brand Ambassadors. I don’t know many details of this post yet, but follow me on social media and we’ll learn together.
Now to my picks…I hope some of you will chime in with yours. If you’re a blogger and publish a pre-TCMFF post be sure to leave me the link in the comments so I can include it in this post. I enjoy comparing people’s picks and think others do as well. Here we go…
Thursday, April 11
I’m betting the biggest crowd aside from Grauman’s for the official opening night feature, will be at the Egyptian for Howard Hawks’ enjoyable Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) and its iconic images. Although I adore that movie, which features Marilyn Monroe in standout comedic form, I plan to attend the 35MM screening of Hobart Henley’s Night World (1932), which I’ve never seen. Sara Karloff, daughter of the legendary Boris Karloff, will do the introductory honors alongside writer Susan King. Spending some time at a Karloff speakeasy is simply too good to pass up and it’s a fantastic way to start the festival.
Next I’ll likely meet bunches of people I know at the Egyptian for the Nitrate screening of Irving Reis’ The Bachelor and the Bobbysoxer (1947) starring my love Cary Grant, the lovely Myrna Loy, and the popular Shirley Temple. This is the first of several movies featuring Cary Grant this weekend and I plan to stare at him every chance I get. Almost.
Friday, April 12
Friday morning poses a bit of a dilemma for me. There’s the film noir staple The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) opposite pre-code Merrily We Go to Hell (1932) opposite Judy Garland’s only drama appearance in The Clock (1945) opposite the enjoyable High Society (1956). I decided on Dorothy Arzner’s pre-code featuring Sylvia Sydney, Fredric March and a pre-stardom Cary Grant. How can I go wrong with that combination?
Following that movie I’ll have a bit of time before the Club TCM presentation of The Descendants: Growing Up in Hollywood. This presentation may be as close as I’ll ever get to the idea of “Legacies” I’ve been hoping for, which calls for a panel of children of classic stars. In attendance at The Descendants presentation will be Cary Grant’s daughter, Jennifer. This means I’ll be one degree away from the greatest Hollywood has ever seen.
The next Friday block poses another slight problem. My choice of screening is Garson Kanin’s delightful, My Favorite Wife (1940) at the Egyptian, but skipping Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927) is not easy. The reason I’m going to see Cary and Irene Dunne, besides the fact they’re wonderful, is due to the next screening, which will likely be a popular one.
For the 5:30 to 8:00 PM block on Friday I plan to watch the new-to-me Vanity Street (1932) directed by Nick Grinde followed by John Reinhardt’s Open Secret (1948). I think these two films will have long lines because the others screening in the slot are much newer movies. That means die-hard “old” movie lovers have my choices as their choices as well. Robert Wise’s beloved The Sound of Music (1965) is also screening in the slot and that eases my worries a bit.
Next I go to go see Jean Negulesco’s Road House (1948) starring Ida Lupino and Richard Widmark. The other movie I seriously considered in this slot is the premiere restoration of Anthony Mann’s Winchester ’73 (1950). Watching at least one important Western at the festival has become a tradition for me. If I skip Winchester the tradition will be broken, which is tough.
This year I am making it a point to attend at least one midnight screening and it looks like Joselito Rodríguez’s Santo Contra Cerebro Del Mal (1961) is the choice. It’s exciting to watch a movie in Spanish at TCMFF and, although I am familiar with the Santo superhero character, I’ve never seen one of his films. This should be a heck of a lot of fun.
Saturday, April 13
What hit me immediately upon perusing the Saturday morning line-up is that I might not make it into Grauman’s at all the entire festival. Can you imagine? One of the two golden age films screening at the historic theatre, Fred Zinnemann’s From Here to Eternity (1953) opens the day there, but I am going for science fiction and Rudolph Maté’s When Worlds Collide from 1951. The movie stars John Hoyt, Richard Derr, Barbara Rush, and Peter Hansen. Rush will be in attendance to introduce the film with Dennis Miller. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Barbara Rush on a couple of occasions and she couldn’t be more down to Earth, a truly lovely person who will no doubt offer interesting tidbits about the making of When Worlds Collide.
From possible world annihilation I will venture into the jungles for the special presentation of the 85-year old Tarzan and His Mate (1984), the only directing outing by legendary art director, Cedric Gibbons. One of the first film courses I ever took was taught by a film historian and author obsessed with the nude swim scene and its artistry. I’ve seen it, of course, several times, but never on a big screen so this one is exciting.
Before you continue down my schedule, know that the rest of Saturday is a web of sacrifices for me. Foregoing a few screenings to ensure entrance in the ones I cannot miss is the order of this day. With that I continue…
Following Tarzan I’ll be visiting with Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer in Leo McCarey’s Love Affair (1939) celebrating its 80th anniversary. This will be introduced by Dana Delaney who is a great classics fan in her own right. Although I have no reservation about enjoying this film, which I haven’t seen in quite some time, it would not be my choice if not for the rest of the day’s offerings. For instance, I think I’d enjoy the Tom Mix Double Feature immensely and would attend that if not for Rowland Brown’s Blood Money (1933) hailed as “the ultimate pre-Code film” on the TCMFF page and I’ve never seen it. Blood Money follows in the next slot and if I see Tom Mix I won’t have time to get to it. That’s the deciding factor for me. I’ll also be truly sorry to miss the Hollywood Home Movies presentation at Club TCM yet again.
The worst block of the entire 2019 TCMFF for me as far as decisions go is the Saturday evening offerings after Blood Money. My good friend Laura of Laura’s Miscellaneous Musings mentioned the rarity that will be the screening of George Marshall’s Life Begins at 40 (1935) and she should know as she takes full advantage of the numerous classic screenings available in the Los Angeles area. The problem, my dears, is that if I go to Life Begins at 40 I won’t make it to what I believe will be an unforgettable experience, Mervyn LeRoy’s The Bad Seed (1956) poolside with Patty McCormack in attendance. I’m super excited about this one as I consider McCormack’s portrayal of Rhoda one of the all-time great child performances and an impressionable evil. That said, this decision comes at a great cost because while I’ll be watching this terrific film, Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman, two stars that mean the world to me, will be Indiscreeting in a nearby theater. This actually hurts to think about, but this will be my first ever screening by the pool at the Roosevelt and I couldn’t look forward to it more. I should meantion that also scheduled in this slot is a Nitrate print of Cecil B. DeMille’s Samson and Delilah by Victor Mature’s daughter Victoria. You can’t lose no matter what you choose on Saturday night.
Sunday, April 14
Another tough choice opens Sunday with Peter Lorre’s fantastic performance in Karl Freund’s Mad Love (1935) screening opposite George Cukor’s Holiday (1938), but in the end Cary Grant wins as does Diane Baker’s introduction. Touch one though.
My choice for this next block may change depending on the TBA. I’m hoping it’ll be Indiscreet in which case that’s where I’ll be. Barring that happening I may well forego movies and attend two Club TCM presentations in a row, which would be a first: Hollywood Love Stories and The Complicated Legacy of Gone With the Wind are both enticing and likely to be entertaining and informative.
Finally, I arrive at the end of the weekend with the two final screenings. These are no-brainer choices for me. The first is Clarence Brown’s A Woman of Affairs (1928), the third picture to team Greta Garbo and John Gilbert and their final silent film together. Present for the introduction will be Kevin Brownlow and Leonard Maltin. This screening will also be accompanied by a live orchestra performing a score composed and conducted by Carl Davis and it should be spectacular.
Now talk about thrilling. This will be a nitrate presentation of Irving Cummings’ The Dolly Sisters (1945) starring one of my idols, superstar Betty Grable and June Haver as famous vaudeville entertainers, Jenny and Rosie Dolly. This movie strays far from the real story of The Dolly Sisters who were known more for their dark beauty than for their talent, so if you’re looking for biographical drama look elsewhere. However, if enchanting entertainment, the wonderful fluff I adore that’s important enough to get a Carol Burnett parody, if what you’re after then look no further. This one means a lot to me. Remember, Betty Grable was my idea of the biggest star in the world. Oh oh…I may cry during this screening. With John Payne as Grable’s love and character greats S. Z. Sakall and Sig Ruman, The Dolly Sisters screening cannot come soon enough even though it ends my TCMFF 2019.
There you have my picks and ideas on this year’s festival. It all adds up to 16 movies – a decent number for me – three Club TCM presentations, and numerous new experiences. I hope to run into you in Hollywood, but if not follow me on social media for the latest from TCMFF 2019.
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It’s always fun to compare notes with friends so I’m including links to a few other bloggers’ TCMFF picks. I love reading how everyone makes his/her decisions on such things and hope you do too. If your blog post is not included leave the link in the comments section and I’ll be happy to add it to this list.
Check out the choices of Pre-Code.Com
Here are Cinema Crossroads’ picks
Visit Outspoken & Freckled for her picks