A Personal Look at the TCM Classic Film Festival 2015
I then ran back over to the Chinese Multiplex just in time to catch the luminous Carole Lombard and William Powell in My Man Godfrey. I’d never seen the film on the big screen, and it was a real treat.
After some brief sleep, and the first of our morning meetings, I let Kristen (@salesonfilm) convince me to go see My Darling Clementine, which I had seen before, but not on the big screen. Afterwards, we barely made it into Reign of Terror— a film noir set during the French Revolution directed by Anthony Mann, which was followed by a discussion between Eddie Muller of the Film Noir Foundation, and 100-year-old national treasure Norman Lloyd. He is a delight and one should always seek him out if one can.
Kristen and I then went to Young Mr. Lincoln, which she had never seen before, then got back in the same line to see Don’t Bet On Women – a great pre-code notable for being Jeannette MacDonald’s only non-singing lead role. We then parted ways as I went to see The Invisible Man (my favorite Universal horror film). Something I noticed for the first time: Claude Rains kills at least 122 people in this film! In the first Terminator film, Schwarzenegger only kills 23 people. All hail pre-code Hollywood!
The last film of the night for me was W.C. Fields in The Bank Dick, which I didn’t really care for, then I went to bed instead of going to the midnight screening of Boom!, which I’d seen it at the Castro in S.F. a few years ago; once is enough.
Saturday started with another pre-code, this one a late-era silent starring Colleen Moore called Why Be Good?. It was the feminist silent, pre-code film I always wanted but didn’t know existed! I then spent 2 hours in line (I was #1) for Malcolm X, which was presented in 35mm and introduced by Spike Lee himself.
God that movie is amazing! (90s Denzel is not bad to look at either).
I then decided to watch Greer Garson in Madame Curie with my Scandinavian friends. What a face she has! Then I got back in the same line to see the dark comedy The Loved One, which was introduced by a very randy Robert Morse. I ended the night with a rare screening of the 1984 film Nothing Lasts Forever starring Zach Galligan (Gremlins). The audience was also surprised as the writer/director Tom Schiller said a few words as well.
Then came sleep! (What is sleep?)
Bright and early Sunday morning, after a nice hot breakfast, Christy (@suesueapplegate) and I were roaring to go!
Obviously, we were headed to Calamity Jane starring Doris Day. I had never seen the film before and I absolutely adored it! Next up for me was the Katharine Hepburn/Spencer Tracy rom-com Desk Set. It was in glorious Technicolor and Cinemascope, which really must be seen on the big screen. I followed that up with a drink (break time!), then Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis in Houdini, which while it may have taken liberties with its story, was so good! Leigh and Curtis just sizzled and the Technicolor popped off the screen. The film was introduced by Melinda Saxe aka The First Lady of Magic, and she was fantastic! Trevor (@tpjost) and I then booked it to the Egyptian Theatre to see The Grim Game – a 1919 feature starring Houdini himself!
Which brings us the closing night party. As always, shenanigans were had, drinks were drunk and sadness was kept at bay just a little while longer. I went back to Hollywood earlier this week to see a friend and there were still a few remaining posters up for the festival. Nothing is as sad as the post-TCMFF blues. Here’s to next year, ladies and gentleman!
Legal stuffs: I work at Warner Bros., but all opinions are my own.