Wednesday, April 6, 2022

2022 TCM Classic Film Festival Picks

Since others are dusting off their blogs to post their #TCMFF film picks, I figured I'd do the same, so here goes!

After studying, making some early picks and already changing my mind, here are a few thoughts about where I'll be during the 3.5 days of the official festival.

There are some pre-film events on Thursday that I highly recommend attending and those are both in Blossom Ballroom at the Roosevelt Hotel:

  • Meet TCM is your chance to hear from actual TCM employees including programmers, marketers, managers, etc. You may learn something new during this panel discussion, but generally their comments and answers are pretty carefully thought out, so don't expect to hear anything earth-shattering
  • So You Think You Know Movies is the annual beat-down that it is hosted by Rialto Pictures founder and Film Forum programmer Bruce Goldstein.  This is a multiple-choice quiz where teams of people can play together to help each other out.  The answers are still impossible.  I typically get about 2 out of 15 correct.

On to the films!
My picks are highlighted in green.

  • We start things off with one of the toughest slots of the festival.  Since I don't have a 'big-wig' pass, I won't be seeing E.T. THE EXTRA TERRESTRIAL (1982).  That leaves me with a tough choice between a great MGM Technicolor musical, a charming pre-code heist film and a Sidney Poitier film I've never seen.  Since I've seen JEWEL ROBBERY (1933) twice this year, I'm going to go with THE SLENDER THREAD (1965).  Poitier, Bancroft and soundtrack by Quincy Jones should be delightful.
  • Even tougher than the last slot...any of these films would be great to see on the big screen.  My favorite Day/Hudson film, a Preston Sturges comedy, or my choice for the evening A STAR IS BORN (1937).  I've always loved the three-strip Technicolor look of this film and the performances by March and Gaynor. (By the way, three years ago I attended THE MIRACLE OF MORGAN'S CREEK [1944] where a packed house was howling throughout the film.  If you're thinking of catching HAIL THE CONQUERING HERO [1944], you will probably not be disappointed.)

  • I'll wake up early to catch MAISIE GETS HER MAN (1942) first trek to the tiny TCL Multiplex House 4.  I'm looking forward to the intro by comedic actress Kate Flannery who's been to previous TCM Film Festivals.
  • For the noon-time block I'm passing on COMING HOME (1978) even though Bruce Dern will be on hand to chat before the film.  Instead, I'll catch much lighter fare with new-to-me SPY SMASHER STRIKES BACK (1942) and A LITTLE SONG, A LITTLE DANCE (2022)...a 40-minute clip-reel from Paramount of song and dance numbers introduced by head of Paramount Archives, Andrea Kalas.
  • For the afternoon block, I'm going with QUEEN BEE (1955) because it's a Joan Crawford melodrama...enough said.  Another good choice here would be PRIDE OF THE MARINES (1945) a really nice 'coming home form the war' film with John Garfield, Eleanor Parker, Dane Clark, and a favorite of mine Ann Doran.  Also here is a touching performance by Rosemary DeCamp (maybe I'm talking myself into seeing this instead!)
  • Next up is COCKTAIL HOUR (1933) a new-to-me pre-code with Bebe Daniels.  With this choice I'm skipping both Bruce Dern intros as this is opposite NEBRASKA (2013) which is a wonderful film if you've never seen it.
  • I'll try to get into THE GAY DIVORCEE (1934), my second favorite Fred & Ginger film after SWING TIME (1936).  But this is in House 4 and the time between films is kinda short, so if I get blocked out, my 2nd choice would be I, THE JURY 3D (1953)
  • I'm not really hot on the midnight film on Friday night and it just so happens that The New Beverly Cinema (about two miles south) is screening KILL BILL (2003) as a midnight film.  Imagine...seeing a Tarantino film in a Tarantino theater!

  • I'll be plenty tired after staying out late to catch KILL BILL, so I may be drifting off during the entertaining ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES (1938) to kick off Saturday.  The hooligans appear this time alongside Cagney, Bogart, O'Brien, and Ann Sheridan.
  • Plenty of time to queue up for House 4 and THREE ON A MATCH (1932), one of my favorite pre-codes...and Joanie on the big screen!
  • After this, I'll probably grab some 'to-go' food from the Starbucks at the Hollywood and Highland (the shopping center that has won an award for the ugliest building in LA) and eat while I hike up Highland Ave. for perhaps the greatest pre-code of them all: BABY FACE (1933).  Though I wouldn't fault anyone for catching THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939) on that huge Grauman's Chinese screen.
  • I'm planning on staying 'up north' and catching COUNSELLOR AT LAW (1933), a film I've only seen once back in 2015.
  • Next I'll make my first trip to the aforementioned Grauman's to catch SINGIN' IN THE RAIN (1952).
  • I'll wrap up the day with POLYESTER (1981) with intro by long-time John Waters actress Mink Stole along with Mario Cantone.  The intro should be a scream and the film--though not my favorite Waters effort--will be great midnight fare.

  • I wasn't really sure what to catch in the morning slot until I read Sabina's post that mentioned the cinematic beauty of PAPER MOON (1973).  I've seen this once or twice on the small screen and it's a lovely piece of should be magnificent on that Grauman's screen.
  • Next up is new-to-me Siodmak noir-ish thriller FLY-BY-NIGHT (1942).  I really don't know anything about this film, so it'll be a treat to watch it at the festival.
  • I'll re-queue for House 4 to catch EVENINGS FOR SALE (1932) introduced by Leonard Maltin.  This may be the only film I see on 35mm.
  • I'm undecided on the fourth film of the day as most of the slots are TBA, this may be opportunity to catch THE GAY DIVORCEE if I get locked out Friday night.  Or I could finally get that bowl of ramen with egg from JINYA Ramen Express.
  • I'll close out the fest with Blaxploitation COFFY (1973) with an intro interview with Pam Grier.  That ought to be fun.  You really can't go wrong with closing your fest with the other two scheduled films (A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN or silent with live accompaniment 7TH HEAVEN).

I'll make a few circuits at the closing party, maybe get a pic with Alicia Malone, before heading out for a late night meal at Mel's Diner or In-and-Out (or perhaps a Hollywood Blvd street hotdog.)

If you need a venti green tea, a quad espresso, or some food's a map with the Starbucks near Hollywood Blvd. and Highland Ave.  Not shown is the one on the north side of the Hollywood and Highland shopping center.

Here are some other friends who have posted their TCMFF plans:

Saturday, March 23, 2019

2019 TCM Classic Film Festival

This is my plan (films I plan to attend are in green highlight). Certainly things can--and often do--change, I’ve often been persuaded into seeing something that I didn’t have scheduled by a friend's recommendation.  And each time that has happened, I’ve been thoroughly impressed by the suggested film.  For details on the full schedule and write-ups on all the films, check out the TCM Classic Film Festival main site here.


  • Early evening - This first slot of the fest is one of the toughest choices I’ve had to make. I’ve never seen NIGHT WORLD (1932), but I also would love to see Ms. Monroe and Ms. Russell on the big screen. Add to that a terrific noir with Bogart and Bacall and this is one tough nut to crack. My first choice would be the pre-code, even though I’m sure that this will be one of the 5 TBAs on Sunday. (Our pre-fest tradition is to eat upstairs at Baja Fresh and watch the red carpet festivities from the second floor.)
  • Late evening - This is one of the easiest slots for me, as I really don’t have an interest is seeing any other film except for THE BACHELOR AND THE BOBBY-SOXER (1947). ”Mellow greetings, yookie dookie!”...I hope to see you at the Egyptian for Cary Grant, Myrna Loy and adorable teenager Shirley Temple (this film has a pretty good supporting cast, too with Rudy VallĂ©e, Ray Collins and Harry Davenport.)



  • Early morning - I’ve seen FROM HERE TO ETERNITY recently, so I’ll miss Donna Reed as the “hooker”--er, I mean “hostess”. I’ve also seen ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT previously and gave it 2/5’s kind of a hot mess. (My review here: ). I’m part of the Illeana Douglas fan club and she’s introducing DOUBLE WEDDING (1937), so I’ll start my day at the Egyptian and slapstick comedy with William Powell & Myrna Loy.
  • Late morning - Only one choice for me here! Alert the #70sFilm devotees, I’ll re-queue at the Egyptian in order to see A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE (1974) for the very first time. I’m already in tears reading the write-ups and reviews on this film.
  • Afternoon - The only film in this block that gets out early enough to catch BLOOD MONEY in the next slot is LOVE AFFAIR (1939). Sometimes the schedule simply makes the decision for you.
  • Early evening - I’ve seen “Butch and Sundance” twice before on the big screen (and it’ll be fabulous at the Chinese Theater). But instead, I’ll catch a pair of films I’ve never seen before, and the both sound great. BLOOD MONEY (1933) and LIFE BEGINS AT 40 (1935) the former being introduced by Bruce Goldstein and the latter being introduced by Leonard Maltin.
  • Late evening - My first trip to the Chinese Theater! I’ll be seeing STAR WARS (1977) on the big screen for the first time since--um--1977 (though technically this is the 1997 re-release that's slightly different than the original). This should be a fun crowd...also, I refuse to call it “Episode 4” or whatever they renamed it. It’s STAR WARS, you goobers!
  • Midnight - THE STUDENT NURSES (1970) may be nothing like NIGHT NURSE (1931), but I’m looking forward to a bawdy, crazy film.


Other friends' posts on their picks (if I'm missing yours, hit me up on Twitter and I'll add it):

Friday, April 14, 2017

2017 #TCMFF Wrap Party

Anyone who knows my email writing style knows that I love to use bullets.  So, here's a review of the films I saw at this year's TCM Classic Film Festival, each with a few quick notes.

If you were at TCMFF and we didn't connect, I'm sorry...I hope to meet you at future festivals.  If you didn't get a chance to go to TCMFF, I hope you can some day.  It's a great 'family reunion' for a lot of classic film friends each year.

Some fun facts from this year's fest:
  • I didn't see any films at the Chinese theater
  • I didn't see any films intro'd by Ben Mankiewicz
  • Total count: 19 films and 1 special presentation (Republic Preserved clips)
Now...on to the films...


  • Dana Delany (who intro'd) wore quite a lovely dress (she also had a great deal of information on the film that she shared with us)
  • Great William Powell/Myrna Loy situational comedy, Jack Carson is a nice addition

  • Not my first pick (REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT), but TCM staffers kept telling me "just go to won't be disappointed"
  • Thursday afternoon it was announced that Martin Scorsese would intro the closed!
  • Scorsese (who got a long standing ovation) spoke briefly, but passionately about nitrate film and preservation efforts.
  • Change from original schedule


  • I've seen this before, but hey...Ginger on the big screen in a pre-code was a delight

  • My first time watching
  • I probably didn't enjoy it as much as others did
  • Nice intro by 'script girl' Angela Allen, interviewed by Cari Beauchamp
  • This ended up being one of the TBA films on Sunday

PANIQUE (1946)
  • So, so fabulous...would love to see this again
  • Good intro by Bruce Goldstein and son of author of the book that the film is based on
  • Very intense tale about 'outsiders' (main character is Jewish) and mob mentality
  • Would love to see this air on TCM in the future if possible

  • Nice Lubitsch silent situational comedy with live piano accompaniment

  • Reminded me a lot of pre-code BABY FACE
  • Sound was either turned up too loud, or the film was a bit shouty...funny, nonetheless

LAURA (1944)
  • The favorite of the three nitrate films that I saw
  • I was really impressed by the depth of image because of the nitrate stock
  • Kind of a rough 35mm print...reel lead-in and lead-out were (understandably) pretty beat up

ZARDOZ (1977)
  • One of the worst films I've seen
  • ...but surrounded by friends we laughed ourselves silly throughout most of the film
  • Zardoz cookies supplied by Beth and Miguel were a terrific idea


  • My first trip to Multiplex house 4!
  • Intro by Tiffany Vazquez, who did a great job including a humorous joke where she said "I don't need to explain much about this, so enjoy the film" and fake-walked off.
  • Great seeing this in a packed theater.
  • This was announced as a TBA even before screening on Saturday

  • Reminded me a lot of last year's ONE POTATO, TWO POTATO (60s, indie, B&W, low budget, important subject)
  • Emotional ending
  • Nice interview of Keir Dullea who stayed and watched the film (I always love when stars do this)

  • Noir film intro'd by Eddie Muller who admitted he just created a Twitter account
  • I had seen this for the first time a few weeks before the fest (TCM aired it) and wasn't too impressed by it
  • Second viewing was better

  • Intro'd by Illeana Douglas (her grandfather Melvyn stars in this.)
  • She had the entire Egyptian theater stand up for a "seventh inning stretch"...we sang "Singin' in the Rain"
  • Someone took a flash photo of the screen when Irene Dunne appeared in her black costume....grrr (thought this year there was a lot less of this)

  • My favorite screening of the fest
  • Great intro by Bruce Goldstein of director Larry Peerce and stars Martin Sheen & Beau Bridges. Also the guy who did music for the film was in the audience.
  • Both Sheen and Bridges stayed and watched the entire film, Sheen shaking hands and engaging in chit-chat with film-goers as we filed out.
  • I skipped BLACK NARCISSUS (one of my original 'must-sees') to watch this...for me it was the right decision...magnificent film-making.
  • Change from original schedule

  • I was worried this film would offend some with its nudity...what was I thinking?! Zardoz was much worse in this regard.
  • Hilarious intro by Jim Abrahams, Zucker brothers and John Landis who discussed how the movie came to be
  • Sketch comedy...some sequences are funnier than others...good applause for "Catholic High School Girls in Trouble" of the funnier sketches


  • What amazed me most in this pre-code was the camera movement...lots of 'floating camera' in opening shots and then lots more moving camera throughout the film

LURED (1947)
  • Very nice whodunit film with Lucille Ball, Charles Coburn and George Sanders
  • Lucy gets to wear a variety of lovely gowns
  • Nice twist ending
  • I got to sit in VIP seats in house 6 of the multiplex!

  • Very short clips review of restored Republic film clips
  • Cliff-hanger reel at the end (featuring tons of cars going off cliffs, exposions, etc.) was worth the price of admission
  • Left before Q&A to grab a few slices of pizza across the street from the Egyptian

WHAT'S UP DOC? (1972)
  • Nice interview of Peter Bogdanovich by Dave Karger
  • Bogdanovich does really good impressions
  • Delightful 'modern' take on the screwball comedy, the film holds up over time
  • Madeline Kahn steals the film (but you knew that.)  Also great performance by Kenneth Mars

  • Interesting way to end the fest, in hindsight I might have chosen another film (probably SPEEDY)
  • Bizarre combination of bold Technicolor dream sequences on nitrate & patriarchal mansplaining...there were a lot of out-loud comments along lines of 'what?!'
  • First time in the balcony at the Egyptian

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

2017 #TCMFF Picks...or..."If you need me, I'll be in line at The Egyptian"

This year's schedule has been one of the most difficult to work through.  Here are my tentative picks for the 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival.  (All this might change five times in the next week...we'll see.)  My picks are in bright green, films new to me followed by '(N)'.

Trends: For the first time I won't attend any films at Grauman's Chinese theater. (Don't even tell me it's called TCL now. I will fight you.)

One thing I won't be doing this year is bringing new buttons.  Last year I suffered from "button burnout" (there's got to be an ICD10 code for that.) So this year, no new buttons...I may bring some leftovers from years past, though.


  • Love Crazy (1941) - We start the whole shootin' match off at The Egyptian theater. Introduced by the effervescent Dana Delany (reason enough for me to catch any film at TCMFF) this is good way to start the fest.  Beth's catching Some Like It Hot - I'm not sure I'd survive the larger-than-life anatomy of Marilyn Monroe. (Egyptian, Dana Delany, 35mm) (N)
  • Requiem For A Heavyweight (1962) - Eddie Muller (appropriately) introduces this dark film about the end of a boxer's career.  It's my favorite Mickey Rooney performance (and nothing like his usual musical roles.)  It also includes excellent performances from Anthony Quinn, Julie Harris, and Jackie Gleason. (M4, Eddie Muller, 35mm)


  • Rafter Romance (1933) - Back at The Egyptian to catch Ginger Rogers in a pre-code.  Intro by Leonard Maltin is the icing on the cake. (Egyptian, Leonard Maltin, 35mm)
  • Beat The Devil (1953) - Honestly, I originally had scheduled One Hour With You, but I'm not the biggest Maurice Chavalier fan and I've read some other schedules where folks are attending "Beat". (M6, Angela Allen/Cari Beauchamp, DCP) (N)
  • Panique (1946) - My first foreign film of the fest.  Though The Princess Bride at Grauman's was a strong pull, I've seen it dozens of times and always ready to catch a new foreign film. (M6, Bruce Goldstein/Pierre Simenon, ?) (N)
  • So This Is Paris (1926) - Ernst Lubitsch silent film? Sounds fun! (Egyptian, Cari Beauchamp/Donald Sosin, 35mm) (N)
  • Red-Headed Woman (1932) - Pre-code with Jean Harlow and Chester Morris.  It seems that TCM event staff got the memo from last year's debacle that was house 4 at the multiplex. Glad to see more pre-code films in larger venues. (Egyptian, Cari Beauchamp, 35mm) (N)
  • Laura (1944) - This is one of those 'tough slots': Cat People on the big screen would be great, Mel Brooks interview before High Anxiety, and Twentieth Century...the quintessential screwball comedy.  Very tough choice here.  But this will be my first time seeing a film on nitrate stock.  Add to that, it's a wonderful film. I hope High Anxiety (with Mel Brooks intro) pulls enough folks away so that I get into this one. (Egyptian, nitrate)
  • Zardoz (1974) - Just a general rule of mine: always attend the midnight screenings. They're usually fairly well attended and always a laugh riot. (M1, DCP) (N)


  • Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) - This was hardest slot for me. I really wanted to see This Is Cinerama at the Cinerama Dome (I mean, when will I get another chance to see the first Cinerama film screened in one of the 2 or 3 remaining Cinerama theaters in the world?!) Ultimately, I decided that the Cinerama experience was too costly in time (knocking out two other slots) and legwork (literally, if I walked to and fro' the Cinerama Dome.) (M4, 35mm)
  • David and Lisa (1962) - Looking forward to this, especially intro with Keir Dullea. This is a film I'll get to see by foregoing This Is Cinerama. (M4, Cari Beauchamp/Keir Dullea, 35mm) (N)
  • The Underworld Story (1950) - While in Guatemala, my Dad told me how much he liked the film America America. So imagine my surprise when the schedule was released and there it was. It's kind of long though, so I'll catch it another time.  "Underworld" is being shown in 35mm, introduced by Eddie Muller, and it has an interesting sounding story. gets me to the Egyptian where I'll be the rest of the day. (Egyptian, Eddie Muller, 35mm) (N)
  • Theodora Goes Wild (1936) - Not my first choice--that was Best In Show with the amazing panel of stars from the film.  This pick was more for 'strategy'.  I think the following slot contains the hottest ticket of the weekend, so I wanted to be close to the line after this slot. Introduced by #TCMParty friend Illeana Douglas whose grandfather stars. (Egyptian, Illeana Douglas, 35mm) (N)
  • Black Narcissus (1947) - This film (IMO) will be the hardest ticket of the festival.  The combination of nitrate, Technicolor and the amazing color palate here should easily pack the theater. If you want to see this, I'd suggest you queue up early. Hopefully I'll be able to exit Theodora Goes Wild and re-queue with enough time to get a decent entry number. (Egyptian, nitrate)
  • The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977) - This is a very funny (and lewd, and irreverent) sketch comedy film.  If you're easily offended by nudity, racial stereotypes or bad might want to get an extra 2 hours of sleep tonight. Huge bonus is that Jim Abrahams, the Zucker brothers and John Landis will be on-hand to intro the film.  Looking forward to Big Jim Slade and "Catholic High School Girls In Trouble" :) (M1, Jim Abrahams/John Landis/David Zucker/Jerry Zucker, digital)


  • Cock of the Air (1932) - An uncensored version of this pre-code film was found in 2007. Lucky us! (M6, Heather Linville, DCP) (N)
  • Lured (1947) - I've seen this before in 2015, but don't remember much about it. (M6, Sara Karloff, DCP)
  • Republic Preserved (2014) - A series of long-forgotten Republic Pictures clips? Count me in! (M6, Andrea Kalas, ?) (N)
  • What's Up Doc? (1972) - This was a film that was announced early and from early on I wanted to see it on the big screen. If I had to pick a 'must see' for this year's TCMFF, this would be the film. Intro by Bogdanovich should be great. The last time I watched this on TCM, I remember laughing harder than I had in quite a long time. Can't wait to see Madeline Kahn in her film debut. She's worth the price of admission. (Egyptian, Peter Bogdanovich, 35mm)
  • Lady In the Dark (1944) - For the first time, I'll not attend the closing film at Grauman's Chinese theater (or any film there.) This year it's Casablanca. Though I've seen it dozens of times, and more than once on the big screen...still it would be nice to see it on the huge screen at the Chinese. However, I've chosen the final nitrate film of the I haven't seen before. I hope I'm surrounded by friends. :) (Egyptian, nitrate) (N)

So, that's the plan for now. If you see me (I'll probably be wearing a Hawaiian shirt each day) please come up and say "hi", I'd love to meet you!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

TCMFF 2016 Wrap-Up

#TCMParty friends (photo courtesy Will McKinley)

I mostly stuck to my original schedule. Six films were repeat viewings, twelve were new-to-me. I’m quite pleased with this year’s TCMFF. Here’s some quick-takes on how it all went down:

A group of us Uber’d over to the New Beverly cinema to catch a double-feature of Footlight Parade (1933) and Follow the Fleet (1936). I nodded off a bit during the films having just flown cross-country. One thing I’ll say is that The New Beverly cinema is a gem in the LA theater scene. Lovely house with spacious seating and friendly staff.


  • One Potato, Two Potato (1964): what a way to begin the TCMFF. This film has a real “kick-in-the-gut” ending. I really wanted to see Barbara Barrie, but she was a no-show. Donald Bogle (who you should seek out at the fest) interviewed the film’s director. Unfortunately, the fire alarm was tripped at the Chinese Multiplex, clearing all three TCMFF houses down to street level. Most film-goers were at the emotional climax of their films. However, TCM and their band of volunteers did an excellent job of handling communication to fans waiting outside. We waited for about 15-30 minutes outside, before the “all-clear” signal was given, fest staffers came out and communicated what was going to happen once we re-entered the building: They would load us back into our original theater and restart the film a few minutes before the fire alarm. We filed back into house 4, and they showed the final reel (this being 35mm.) Overall doing the ‘restart’ wasn’t perfect, but obviously the best they could do under the circumstances.
  • Los Tallos Amargos (1956): Introduced by Eddie Muller, who promised that this was going to be as dark as any noir we had previously seen. He was so right. See this if you get the chance and don’t flinch from seeing subtitles.

I didn’t get into Double Harness (1933) because after leaving The More the Merrier, I went to the Roosevelt lobby to get my copy of “I Blame Dennis Hopper” signed by the delightful Illeana Douglas. I never know what to say to ‘stars’ (I put this in quotes, because she seems like the most down-to-earth person and has no problem hanging out with classic film fans) so I had some awkward chit-chat with her, got my picture taken and headed back to the Multiplex across the street.

I knew that Double Harness was airing on TCM later in May (5/27) so wasn’t too put-out by this. Interestingly, there were a lot of spotlight and VIP pass-holders (who get priority seating) which only allowed 40-some ‘standard’ pass-holders to get into the small ‘house 4’ theater that seats 177.

I also made a decision to skip Pleasure Cruise (1933) feeling the gap between it and The Passion of Joan of Arc would be too tight and I didn’t want to get shut out my festival “must see” film experience.

So, here’s Friday’s film recap:

  • The More the Merrier (1956): A great film..loved seeing it with a healthy crowd at the Egyptian theater.
  • When You’re In Love (1937): Surprisingly entertaining film with Cary Grant and lots of lovely opera singing. I was thoroughly entertained by this gem.
  • The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928): This was THE event of the festival for me and boy, did it deliver. Easily the most impressive thing I’ve seen in four years attending TCMFF.
  • Repeat Performance (1947): Slow-paced and quiet noir led me to doze through most of the first half of this. I’ll have to catch it later...really interesting idea for a film.
  • Roar (1981): Needs to be experienced once, but only once! Repetitive tale of why you shouldn’t live with 40 big cats in the middle of nowhere. Only interesting parts (to me) were seeing Tippi Hedren and Melanie Griffith playing themselves (and in the case of Griffith, showing off a lot of midriff.)


My scheduled was exactly as planned earlier:

  • 90th Anniversary of Vitaphone: lovely review about challenges of sound syncing with film, early attempts, how Vitaphone worked, etc. Followed by six (I think) Vitaphone short subjects including Baby Rose Marie, Burns & Allen and more. I laughed a lot during many of these, the vaudevillian comedy was terrific.
  • A House Divided (1931): After Maria Falconetti, this was the next best acting performance I saw at the fest. Walter Huston plays an absolutely terrible brute to his son and mail-order bride. Great special effects at the end of the film as well. Seek this one out!
  • Bulldog Drummond Strikes Back (1934): Ronald Coleman sending up early whodunit films. Terrifically funny and tons of great supporting actors (including Mischa Auer, Charles Butterworth & Una Merkel!)
  • Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell (1968): A nice film with a theme similar to that of last year’s closer Marriage Italian Style (1964). Only this film also stars Phil Silvers, Telly Savalas, Peter Lawford and Shelley Winters. Ben interviewed Gina Lollobrigida before the film. It occurs to me that he had some tough interviews this year, with non-native English actors Lollobrigida, Anna Karina and Salvatore Cascio.
  • The Song of Bernadette (1943): My favorite pre-film interview of the festival. Illeana Douglas interviewed Sister Rose Pacatte on how she got into film reviewing and comparisons between church and the movies. At the end of the interview Sr. Rose asked the audience if anyone had a birthday today...someone said they had a birthday this week, she said “see me outside after the film, I have a gift for you.” Such a warm person.
  • Band of Outsiders (1964): I wanted to like this film, but dozed off a little during it. I’d say it’s easily not one of my favorite Jean-Luc Godard films.
  • Gog in 3D (1954): Super turn-out for this film, the largest midnight crowd I’ve seen in four years. While waiting in line, another (ahem) older passholder asked what we were in line for:
                Passholder: “What’s this film?”
                Me: “Gog”
                PH: “Dog”?
                Me: “Gog”
                PH: “God”?
                Me: “Gog”
                PH: “Oh” [walks away]

    Great 3D effects amidst a bad story and cheesy 50s sci-fi SFX. My take-away? Herbert Marshall with a flame-thrower. No...for real.

My schedule was also exactly as planned:

  • The Fallen Idol (1948): Absolutely fascinating British drama. Catch this if you can.
  • Law and Order (1932): Introduced by Leonard Maltin (who’s great at film intros, by the way. In fact I’d suggest you seek out Maltin, Eddie Muller and Donald Bogle for any film intros.) Nice early telling of the Wyatt Earp story with Walter Huston in the lead role. Complete with Tombstone setting and shootout at the O.K. Corral.
  • Horse Feathers (1932): A packed house. Introduced by David Steinberg (who was good, but brief.) Great seeing this in a packed theater...lots of uproarious laughter.
  • She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949): Very excellent to see Technicolor on the big screen. We sat near an exit wanting to make a quick departure to get good queue-card numbers for Cinema Paradiso. Something I felt we didn’t need to worry about. And boy we didn’t have to worry...this was the most sparsely attended closing event at Grauman’s Chinese theater I’ve experienced in 4 years. My guess is that there were 300-400 people in the 900+ seat theater.
  • Cinema Paradiso (1988): The actor who played young Toto was on hand for the intro. Ben Mankiewicz interviewed him via a translator.  I admit there was ugly crying during the end of this film. I agree with critics of this film that the end is overly sentimental. The director purposely puts things in the film to elicit tears. But I also admit that I still love that it’s sentimental and I love that this was the fest closer for me (and many friends.)

Although TCMFF is a time to see wonderful classic film on the big screen. And also the chance to ‘get close’ to people you see on TV (like Ben Mankiewicz, Illeana Douglas, Kate Flannery, Keith Carradine, etc.) the best part is meeting up with friends I’ve made on Twitter. Truly great people who share my passion for classic film. Thanks to all who said ‘hey’, exchanged buttons, offered a hug, etc. I cherish you people.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

My Picks for 2016 #TCMFF

Beth and I arrive Wednesday around lunchtime (look out In-n-Out!)  But here's what I'm planning on seeing during the fest proper.  Each film includes a few comments on why I chose it.


  • One Potato, Two Potato (1964) - Star Barbara Barrie and director Larry Peerce will be in attendance.  (Fans of Breaking Away [1979] know that Barrie plays the mother in that film.)  Also Donald Bogle will be onhand for the intro...and I love Donald Bogle, he's so informative.  This will be my first time seeing this.
  • Los Tallos Amargos (1956) - An Argentine noir film?!  If you know me, you know I love foreign film.  This is a no-brainer.


  • The More The Merrier (1956) - One of the few 're-watches' I'm seeing this year at the fest.  This is simply a great film.  If you've never seen it, please consider watching it...get there early, fans 'in the know' will fill the Egyptian Theater.  Coburn won Oscar for his role...well deserved.  "Damn the torpedos, full speed ahead!"
  • Double Harness (1933) - Hopefully I can get in and out of the Illeana Douglas book signing in time to get to this screening.  She's delightful on Twitter and I'm looking forward to letting her know (...and getting my book signed!)  James Cromwell is intro-ing this...and it's a pre-code I haven't seen before.
  • When You're In Love (1937) - Hey, there's opera in this film!  And I hear the lead actress does a mean version of "Minnie the Moocher".  A Cary Grant film I've never seen.
  • Pleasure Cruise (1933) - Roland Young & Una O'Connor in a pre-code I haven't seen.  (Thanks for the correction @PreCodeDotCom!)
  • The Passion Of Joan Of Arc (1928) - This is one of two films that were on my 'must-see' list.  Gladly the other film wasn't screening in the same time slot.  I agree with many critics who call this perhaps the finest acting performance in the history of film.  I've see it before, but never on the big screen with live orchestra.
  • Repeat Performance (1947) - Since this is a restoration from Film Noir'll likely be intro'd by the 'Czar of Noir' Eddie Muller.  Another first-time watch.
  • Roar (1981) - This first midnight screen look terrifyingly terrible!  One quote from the re-release trailer said "It's like Walt Disney went insane and shot a snuff version of Swiss Family Robinson."  I can you not see this film?!


  • 90th Anniversary of Vitaphone - These 'film history classes' that they do at The Egyptian are always worth going to see.  I was amazed last year with the early Technicolor presentation.  Looking forward to this.
  • A House Divided (1931) - Young Walter Huston in an early William Wyler talkie.
  • Bulldog Drummond Strikes Back (1934) - Una Merkel.
  • Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell (1968) - Gina Lollobrigida to introduce this...looks interesting.  My first film at the Chinese Theater this fest!
  • The Song of Bernadette (1943) - So I was watching the trailer for this earlier this morning (I was finding a YouTube link for my friend who asked about the fest.)  Sitting at my desk...eyes welling up with tears.  This is such a beautiful film and Jennifer Jones is so good in it.  It's been a long time since I've seen it...looking forward to it being on the silver screen.
  • Band Of Outsiders (1964) - Reading the notes on this film...all I needed to see was Jean-Luc Godard & "love letter to Paris".
  • Gog in 3D (1954) - Could it be worse than Roar?  I'll find out!


  • The Fallen Idol (1948) - This looked rather interesting...initially I had thought of seeing All That Heaven Allows, but I opted for the new-to-me film instead.
  • Law And Order (1932) - (The TCMFF website says this is the 1953 version...but based on the write-up, it's the 1932 film.)  Looking forward to this western I've never seen before.  Script by John Huston, starring Walter Huston, Harry Carey, Andy Divine, etc.
  • Horse Feathers (1932) - Among the tears...I need a few laughs.  The Marx Brothers should provide them for me.
  • She Wore A Yellow Ribbon (1949) - This was a weak slot for me...give me your thoughts on Fat City or TRACTRAC.  I've seen "Yellow Ribbon" more than once's a good film...and on the big screen it should be great, what with all that Monument Valley lush footage.
  • Cinema Paradiso (1988) - Another year where the festival closes with a foreign film?  An Italian foreign film?  Yes, indeed.  And what a way to end the festival with--what is essentially--a love letter to the movies.  You can talk about the over-sentimentality...while you're talking, I'll be eating it up with fork and knife (and likely bawling my eyes out in the final frames.)  In case you didn't read yet...Salvatore Cascio will be onhand to intro.  (He played young Toto in the film.)

So, that's the plan for now.  Hope to bump into you while in line for a film!

Monday, December 14, 2015

TCM Remembers 2015

Here's a list of all the folks listed in the 2015 TCM Remembers memorial clip along with a link to Wiki info: