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!