It has been a month and I have to tell you – it feels like with each passing year, I have more fun at the TCM Classic Film Festival. Maybe it is the familiarity of walking up and down Hollywood Boulevard. Maybe it is the bumping into old friends and making new ones. Or maybe it is the fact that I attempt to pepper my Hollywood experience with something new each time. Maybe it is all of the above (I am inclined to think that it is all of the above). But one thing is certain – that at the conclusion of the 5-6 days, I am already plotting what adventures will await me 12 months down the road …
The Fun is in the Planning
Once the programming schedule is released, there is always the exercise of determining which films you want to see. At times this exercise is quite easy, at others it feels like having to choose which child you love best (I can only imagine). That is to say that the festival programming team clearly knows what they are doing – the Pre-Code Finishing School or film noir staple Detour? However will one decide? (side note: I ended up going with the prior).
Ultimately my weekend of film laid out as such (additional commentary where applicable):
- Finishing School (1934) – a fun Pre-Code flick featuring one Ginger Rogers.
- Throne of Blood (1957)
- Blessed Event (1932) – any opportunity to be in the presence of Norman Lloyd is an opportunity to be taken!
- Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song (1971) – this has earned its own post (coming soon).
- Leave Her to Heaven (1945) – a scheming Gene Tierney on nitrate and in Technicolor is so worth the price of admission.
- The World’s Greatest Sinner (1962) – definitely a midnight movie.
- Outrage (1950) – I never miss an opportunity to see director Ida Lupino’s work and this was no exception; an actual gem of a film dealing with a “controversial” topic in a pretty unrelenting and personal way.
- Girls About Town (1931)
- Show People (1928) –
- The Raven (1963) – any resemblance to the poem which it takes its title from is purely coincidental.
- Night of the Living Dead (1968) – a pristine print introduced by none other than Simon Pegg!
- The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
So, What I Gotta Say About All This?
If you are wondering, the answer to the above question is simply a whole lot. As I have hinted, there was a lot to unpack – from my first Kurosawa (Throne of Blood) to a closing night film complete with live musical accompaniment (Phantom of the Opera).
Another aspect I absolutely loved this year was the continued dedication TCM has to inclusion in the recognition of voices which unfortunately many may not immediately associate within the body classic cinema. From the immortalizing of screen (and all-around) legend Cicely Tyson in Grauman cement to the all too brief discussion of black representation in film, it was another opportunity to expand our collective cinematic horizons.
As much as possible, I tried to capture all that I was experiencing via Twitter and Instagram. Where pictures aren’t enough, I am hoping over time to provide recaps of a few of the films I saw this year. The point is not necessarily to discuss these selections in the context of the festival itself, but rather from the perspective of enhancing my cinematic IQ and placing them within the larger context of film history.
Speaking of Pictures ….
As I wrap up this summary of a very fun weekend, I leave you with a gallery of images pulled from my phone to give you a sense of the sights:
See you next year for the TENTH annual TCM Film Festival!