Monthly Archives: April 2014

THE STRANGER’S RETURN: A Hick Pic the Sticks Nixed!

“STICKS NIX HICK PIX” proclaimed Variety on July 17, 1935, in one of the most famous headlines in newspaper history. The meaning was this: rural audiences were not turning out at the box office to see movies with rural settings and themes. One of the many films that contributed to the state of affairs was THE STRANGER’S RETURN (1933), which, seen freshly 81 years later, turns out to be a remarkably accomplished, mature, adult work — at least as seen in the cosmopolitan setting of Hollywood.   Another sold-out festival audience turned up to see what film critic Leonard Maltin… Read more »

Monday Re-cap

TCM is proud to present this exciting recap of events from Sunday, April 13, day four of the 5th TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood. To view more festival videos, check out our video gallery.

75th Anniversary of GONE WITH THE WIND

Being from Atlanta, I’ve seen Gone WITH THE WIND (1939) on the big screen a number of times. That includes the 50th Anniversary celebration in 1989, with cast members Butterfly McQueen, Ann Rutherford and Evelyn Keyes in attendance. So you might think I’ve been there done that when it comes to GONE WITH THE WIND. But when I heard TCM was planning a 75th Anniversary screening at the shrine of cinema, the TCL Chinese Theatre, I imagined it just might be a near religious experience. Of course, I was right. Let’s face it, if you love movies, just seeing a… Read more »

Hitchcock’s THE LODGER Moves In for the Night

In its fifth year, the TCM Classic Film Festival went out in high style with a screening of the recent restoration of Alfred Hitchcock’s THE LODGER: A STORY OF THE LONDON FOG (1927), complete with a live premiere performance of an atmospheric new score by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra. TCM host Ben Mankiewicz also bid a fond farewell for this year to the packed house at the Egyptian Theatre, promising plans were already in motion for next year’s fest and offering a few facts about the evening’s film, such as the varied and impressive career of star Ivor… Read more »

Comedy is not to be laughed at… Alan Arkin at The Montalban

A rare treat for TCM-FF attendees this weekend was Robert Osborne’s career-spanning chat with Alan Arkin at The Montalban Theatre this afternoon. A multiple Academy Award nominee for his work in such films as The Russians Are Coming The Russians Are Coming (1966), The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (1968), and Argo (2012), and a 2008 Best Supporting Actor Oscar winner for the 2007 indie hit Little Miss Sunshine, Arkin revealed himself throughout the 90 minute interview to be introspective yet disarmingly ego-free, having long ago exorcised the demons that caused him to be dissatisfied with his mid-career doldrums and, by his own… Read more »

On a Slow Boat to Everywhere but China: The Lady from Shanghai

Screening host and film noir czar Eddie Muller summed up Orson Welles’ brilliant THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI in one word tonight: weird. Columbia mogul Harry Cohn gave Welles his top star Rita Hayworth, and authorized an extravagant shoot on Errol Flynn’s yacht, on a voyage to Acapulco. The movie was supposed to be a cooperative, on-budget project for Welles to prove that he could be a cooperative company man. His avowed plan was to make peace with the Hollywood power brokers that had more or less banished him from the director’s chair after Citizen Kane and The Magnificent Ambersons.  … Read more »

HANNAH AND HER SISTERS: A Family Film From Woody Allen

HANNAH AND HER SISTERS (1986) is one of Woody Allen’s most acclaimed and commercially successful movies — which is exactly why he has always treated it with apprehension. To Allen, the more popular a movie is, the more he suspects that he failed to make it challenging enough. But perhaps he doesn’t give his audience enough credit. HANNAH was actually an especially difficult film for Allen to begin with. The story’s multiple storylines and numerous characters proved difficult to balance correctly. Unsatisfied with his original cut, Allen gathered the cast again and re-shot 80% of the footage. While he’s been… Read more »

Hats (and Bonnets) Off for EASTER PARADE

We’re still a week off from Easter in 2014, but it sure felt close enough this afternoon as a glorious 35mm IB Technicolor print of EASTER PARADE (1948) at the Chinese Multiplex. The Fred Astaire / Judy Garland musical has been a favorite for decades and a TCM perennial, but seeing it on the big screen is a special kind of joy like no other. Leonard Maltin was on hand with “Judycentric” expert John Fricke, who hosted “Judy Garland: A Legendary Film Career” earlier today and had plenty of stories about this film’s turbulent origins. Composer Irving Berlin (whose name… Read more »

CITY LIGHTS: A Chaplin Masterwork

Saturday morning’s screening of CITY LIGHTS (1931), which I have seen several times and rank as my favorite Chaplin movie, was perfect. Big theater, beautiful print (a DCP), a large, attentive and respectful audience, and a sincere introduction by Jason Lee to set the right mood.  Over half of those present had never seen the film before, and that made it even more magical. Chaplin started developing CITY LIGHTS in 1928, just as sound was starting to overtake Hollywood. By 1931, silent pictures were gone, and every movie was a talking one. Except CITY LIGHTS. Chaplin took his time preparing… Read more »

A Life of His Own: BEST BOY Turns 35

One of the great unpredictable joys of the TCM Classic Film Festival each year is running into crazy connections between movies, usually springing out of nowhere. That happened today with a vengeance this morning as I barely made it to the 1979 documentary BEST BOY on a tight schedule after the post-screening discussion for Fiddler on the Roof. With that film’s songs still bouncing around in my head, I sat down for this, the only film on my schedule I’d never seen before. Half an hour in, the film’s subject, a 52-year-old developmentally challenged man named Philly, is taken by… Read more »

“At last we’re here”… Yazujiro Ozu’s TOKYO STORY (1953)

The long-story-short on Yazujiro Ozu’s TOKYO STORY (1953) is, like almost all long-stories-short, inaccurate to the point of missing the point. The tale isn’t one of grown children neglecting their elderly parents (as thumbnail descriptions of the film often erroneously aver) but rather an examination of families struggling — and largely failing — to maintain ties beyond the nostalgic dynamic of parent-child codependence. “To lose your children is hard,” a senior citizen laments midway through TOKYO STORY. “But living with them isn’t easy either.” Disappointment is the key emotion that drives the plot, that of parents who feel their children have… Read more »

Breaking Tradition with FIDDLER ON THE ROOF

Not so long ago, Broadway musicals had a tremendous cultural impact for the majority of the twentieth century. Everything from the pop charts to movie screens had some connection to what was happening on the Great White Way, but none had an impact exactly like FIDDLER ON THE ROOF. Bright and early this Sunday morning, we got to see an immaculate (and sonically wonderful) presentation of the 1971 film version, which still hits the sweet spot for a number of topics that still strike a chord today. Now a part of the popular consciousness, the story follows milkman Tevye and… Read more »

A rediscovered classic… William Friedkin’s SORCERER (1977)

The Force was not with William Friedkin’s SORCERER at the time of its theatrical release in June of 1977. Friedkin’s widely-anticipated follow-up to the box office juggernaut that was The Exorcist (1973), a nominal remake of Henri-Georges Clouzot’s The Wages of Fear (1953), had the misfortune to open a month after George Lucas’ Star Wars… in fact, SORCERER was booked into Grauman’s Chinese Theatre (then known as Mann’s) in Los Angeles right after the Lucas film. As if a switch had been flipped somewhere in the world, Star Wars had become in a moment state of the art, the new model for what a blockbuster should… Read more »

A Conversation With Thelma Schoonmaker

Film editor Thelma Schoonmaker spent an interesting hour in conversation with author Cari Beauchamp on Saturday in Club TCM.  Schoonmaker met Martin Scorsese in 1963 at a six-week NYU film class, and edited his student film. She went on to cut his first feature, Who’s That Knocking at My Door, a few more in the following years, and then Raging Bull and every Scorsese movie since. “He taught me everything I ever knew about film editing,” Schoonmaker said. Schoonmaker is also the widow of the great English film director Michael Powell, who with Emeric Pressburger formed The Archers, the brilliant… Read more »

Mr. Dreyfuss’ Opus

Prior to today’s screening of MR. HOLLAND’S OPUS (1995), Richard Dreyfuss sat down with Illeana Douglas for a wide-ranging discussion of his 50-year career.  Illeana is rapidly becoming one of my favorite interviewers—her intelligent questions and quick-witted follow-ups lead to quick, golden nuggets of info, perfect for presenting in bullet form in blogs!  It certainly helps that she and the equally quick-witted Dreyfuss are friends and recent co-stars.  Here are some highlights from today’s discussion: – When asked if he looks at clips from his films and sees the acting or remembers the behind-the-scenes events of that day’s filming, Dreyfuss… Read more »

THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD: Artistry in Action

Multiple Academy Award winning sound designer/editor Ben Burtt and Academy Award winning visual effects supervisor Craig Barron gave the full house at the Egyptian Theatre an insider’s view of the technical artistry that went into making THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOOD (1938), which screened to regular outbursts of thunderous applause.   Their presentation included a cornucopia of rarely-seen production stills, production art, personal photographs of cast and crew, short sound recordings from the studio archives and even home movies taken on set by Basil Rathbone.  They began by donning leather Robin Hood caps and rolling a short piece of Technicolor… Read more »

NATIONAL VELVET – A Tribute to Mickey Rooney

One of the “To Be Announced” screenings at this year’s festival was decided on quite early, soon after Mickey Rooney passed away on April 6 at the age of 93.  He was a long-time friend of TCM and a fixture at network functions, past Festivals and Cruises and, of course, can regularly be seen on the network.  Today, in fact, the entire 24-hour programming block starting at 6am EST has been rescheduled as a tribute to Mickey Rooney featuring 13 of his standout roles.  It was more than fitting, then, to recognize him at the TCM Classic Film Festival on… Read more »

“Dirty…slimy…FREAKS!” Still Packs a Punch

Is there a more perfect midnight movie for the TCM Classic Film Festival than FREAKS (1932)? One of the most infamous and unique films ever released by a Hollywood studio, it was so badly received by audiences, critics, and even the studio that made it (the unlikely MGM), that it destroyed its director’s career and built a reputation for vile, despicable hideousness that persists in some quarters even to this day. The truth is that FREAKS is barely even a horror movie. It turns into one at the end, but up to that point the main tone of the piece… Read more »

It’s all for Love: The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter

Creative genius Carson McCullers was fully aware that she was a prisoner in a weak body that would eventually fail her before her time. A mood of muted despair is a constant in her writing. Her first novel is a sobering but poetic tale of half-broken misfits and social rejects, that all cluster around a caring man forever marginalized as an outsider. Like all McCullers books it’s a painful, insightful bit of realism that doesn’t come with a tidy author’s message.   For the 1968 film adaptation of  THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER, Robert Ellis Miller (Any Wednesday, Sweet… Read more »

Sunday In L.A.

It’s day four at the TCM Classic Film Festival, and we’re spending this Sunday morning in Hollywood with eyes on another city—the Big Apple, with a screening of the romantic comedy SUNDAY IN NEW YORK (1963). The film stars a young Jane Fonda, as a woman unsure about the changing sexual mores of the time. We join her as she explores 1960s Manhattan and tests the rules of romance with reporter Rod Taylor, who she meets on a Fifth Avenue Bus. Cliff Robertson also co-stars as Fonda’s over-protective brother. Today’s screening of a beautiful 35mm print was introduced by Robert… Read more »

A Tribute to Judy Garland

Judy Garland may be perhaps one of the most (if not the most) iconic movie stars and performers of all time—and I don’t think that’s a statement that many people would dispute. Over a career that spanned nearly five decades, Garland showcased talent for song, dance, comedy and drama, you name it, though it is for her musicals that she is best remembered. A large crowd gathered in Club TCM on Sunday afternoon to pay tribute to the legend (and, rather fittingly, just hours before tonight’s showing of The Wizard of Oz). I have always been a fan of Garland—like… Read more »

Edgar G. Ulmer breaks free of Poverty Row

And now for the rarest picture in the entire 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival.   HER SISTER’S SECRET is a recently revived feature by that most revered of independent filmmakers, Edgar G. Ulmer. Running afoul of the Universal brass around the time of his hit Karloff-Lugosi horror classic The Black Cat, Ulmer found himself unable to land a studio job. After assisting and designing for some of the greatest film artists of all time, Ulmer became something of a cinema gypsy, taking jobs wherever they could be found. He made regional-ethnic films for Yiddish and Ukrainian audiences, and eventually shot… Read more »

Bewitched, Bothered and… Kim Novak

The classy Columbia bauble BELL BOOK AND CANDLE  is a playful romantic comedy about witchcraft in New York, starring a very attractive Kim Novak as a soulful sorceress and James Stewart as the neighbor she snags with a minor magic spell. Based on the John Van Druten play, its witches and warlocks have been disassociated from any mention of the Devil or Satanism; Novak’s character has even gotten into the Christmas spirit. Forget the horrors of Rosemary’s Baby or even The 7th Victim; this witchery is little more than an unusual lifestyle choice.  Nope, the delightful folk we meet here are merely… Read more »

TCM’s Ultimate Fan on The Naked City

As part of TCM’s twentieth anniversary celebrations Ultimate Fan Contest winner Tiffany Vazquez discussed one of her favorite films, director Jules Dassin’s THE NAKED CITY (1948), with Film Noir Foundation President Eddie Muller. Tiffany asked for a show of hands from the audience and many of the audience members in attendance were there to see THE NAKED CITY for the first time, myself included. Several of her Ultimate Fan runner ups were in attendance, cheering her on. Vazquez got a laugh from the crowd after Muller asked how many times she’d seen the film, and she responded ‘This year?’ A native… Read more »

Quincy Jones Scores Tonight at THE PAWNBROKER

A man with many major firsts to his credit, music legend Quincy Jones has made quite a splash at the TCM Classic Film Festival this year with an appearance for The Italian Job and a Club TCM discussion with Leonard Maltin. Now on Saturday night at the Egyptian Theater, it was TCM’s Robert Osborne’s turn to sit down with Jones for a Q&A about his first American film score. Shot in 1964 but unseen in America until the following year, THE PAWNBROKER smashed down the barriers of film censorship by depicting levels of nudity unimaginable under the guidelines of the… Read more »

Sunday Re-Cap

TCM is proud to present this exciting recap of events from Saturday, April 12, day three of the 5th TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood. To view more festival videos, check out our video gallery.

Jerry Lewis Brings the Flahoyvin to the TCMCFF

The unstoppable Jerry Lewis sat down for an interview with Illeana Douglas Saturday evening at the El Capitan, prior to a screening of THE NUTTY PROFESSOR (1963).  In her introduction Douglas advised the audience to “fasten your seatbelts,” but the 88-year-old comic was mostly restrained and serious during the discussion.  (Perhaps Jerry was better able to indulge in hijinks on Saturday morning during the courtyard handprint ceremony, at which he bit Quentin Tarantino on the hand!) Lewis and Douglas exhibited a natural rapport and the intelligent questions brought up topics that ranged from Lewis’ childhood all the way through the… Read more »

Fun with the Filthy Rich in WRITTEN ON THE WIND

For sheer lurid delirium, it would be tough to beat the opening credits of Douglas Sirk’s 1956 fever dream, WRITTEN ON THE WIND. The names of the four principals are emblazoned across the actors’ faces as booze-swilling oil tycoon Kyle Hadley (Robert Stack) drunkenly veers his car up to a mansion, pistol in hand, while his best friend, Mitch Wayne (Rock Hudson) watches anxiously through a window. Then there’s Kyle’s wife, Lucy (Lauren Bacall) in the background collapsing to the floor, while Mitch’s sister, Marylee (Dorothy Malone), gazes at the camera with only her eyes illuminated. A shot rings out,… Read more »

Dancing Up a Storm

Thanks to a recent resurgence of interest on YouTube and various social media venues, it’s now a given that the Nicholas Brothers’ staggering dance number at the end of STORMY WEATHER (1943) still holds its place for current generations as one of the best ever put on film, and most likely the best. As uplifting, energetic, and staggeringly accomplished as any other physical feat performed in front of a camera, this is still one from the ages and, as proven at this afternoon’s screening of the film at the Chinese Multiplex, a showstopper in the greatest sense that earns a… Read more »

“Everybody Jump in the Pool!”

It was that kind of night as TCM closed out Saturday with a poolside screening of THE MUPPET MOVIE (1979) at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. TCM’s Essentials Jr. host Bill Hader was on hand to introduce the film. Right out of the gate he got the audience laughing—“’The Rainbow Connection’ and everyone jump in the pool. You think I’m kidding? I’m not,” Hader quipped. He spoke affectionately about THE MUPPET MOVIE, remembering that he had it on vhs as a kid, along with The Great Muppet Caper (1981). Hader and his sisters used to “play MUPPET MOVIE” it seems. And… Read more »

Ginger and Sally Will Check Your Hat

HAT CHECK GIRL (1932) sounds pretty swell on paper: it has a solid pre-Code release year, a snappy-sounding 64-minute running time, sexy stars Ginger Rogers and Sally Eilers, and a plot involving blackmail and bootlegging. And yet… as seen tonight in a world premiere restoration from the Museum of Modern Art (introduced by MoMA’s Katie Trainor and Anne Morra), the picture seemed a tad disappointing. Perhaps we’re spoiled by the availability of truly great pre-Code films like Baby Face, Red-Headed Woman and Employees’ Entrance (which screened here Friday night), but HAT CHECK GIRL, while entertaining, does lack a bit in… Read more »

It’s the Good version of The Great Gatsby

The 1-sheet poster for Paramount’s 1949 THE GREAT GATSBY tells the tale: Alan Ladd’s Gatsby is pictured not in a dinner jacket, nor in one of those famous shirts that he tosses on the bed for Daisy to giggle at, but in a rumpled trench coat. Yes, this is the film noir Gatsby, that emphasizes the murder angle with occasional low-key mysterioso lighting. Noir icon Elisha Cook Jr. even appears playing a piano, further cluing us into the somewhat re-directed emphasis given F. Scott Fitzgerald’s great American novel.   This B&W GATSBY has been wrongfully slighted for a number of… Read more »

I Never Sang For My Father

The arrival of the ratings system in 1968 didn’t just open up American movies to violence and sex. The ‘adult themes’ that had been discouraged since 1934 included frank appraisals of life as it is really lived, including the less flattering aspects. In other words, the Dream Factory gave a little ground to more realistic stories about less-than-perfect people. The late ‘60s saw a number of short story and play adaptations that looked at personal problems, dysfunctional families and the kind of strife that most of us come in contact with sometime in our lives. Joanne Woodward in Rachel, Rachel,… Read more »

Richard Dreyfuss and THE GOODBYE GIRL

The 1970s were good to Richard Dreyfuss. He landed his first starring role in future George Lucas classic American Graffiti (1973). He quickly became a top box office earner in Spielberg blockbusters Jaws (1975) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977). And along the way he won a Best Actor Oscar for the Neil Simon romantic comedy THE GOODBYE GIRL (1977). Dreyfuss was only thirty years old when he won the Oscar for THE GOODBYE GIRL—the youngest man to win Best Actor at that point. Not a bad run. Especially considering that Dreyfuss wasn’t even scheduled to play THE… Read more »

Mr. Deeds vs the City Cynics

  Frank Capra was one of the greatest communicators in Hollywood history. His formula for connecting with audiences mostly involved honoring everyday sentiments and keeping things simple: an uncomplicated idea clearly expressed beats a complex theory any day. By the middle 1930s he’d proved himself a master of cynical comedies as well as tear-jerking stories of mother love. He even found ways to make racy sex content seem clean enough to satisfy the Production Code.   As Capra gained confidence his films took on stronger political ideas, most notably his impressive American Madness with Walter Huston. With 1936′s MR. DEEDS… Read more »

The immortal Maureen O’Hara, live at the TCM Classic Film Festival

Festival attendees who queued up for this afternoon’s screening of John Ford’s HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY (1941) at the historical El Capitan Theatre would have been wholly satisfied just to see that magnificent motion picture up on the big screen again or for the first time… but the icing on the cake for all 600-plus of us was the exclusive personal appearance by the film’s star, actress Maureen O’Hara, in coversation with TCM host Robert Osborne. Now 93 years old (though she had to take the word of a fan to tell her, having long lost lost interest in keeping score)… Read more »

Celebrating 75 Years of THE WOMEN

It’s rather hard to believe that this year marks the 75th anniversary of George Cukor’s THE WOMEN—the acerbic wit and knockout performances by each of its leading ladies gives the film a timeless quality so that, no matter how many times you revisit the film, it always seems fresh and hysterically funny. And this freshness could not have been felt more than with the crowd that came to the El Capitan on Saturday night. While I had certainly enjoyed (and loved) the film in home viewings before, the cheers and laughs from the crowd helped me discover it anew (as… Read more »

Go Go GODZILLA!

Historians will likely spend the next few generations locked in heated debate about which particular film was the event, the defining moment, the raison d’etre (pardon my French) of the fifth annual TCM Classic Film Festival… but for this reporter it had to be the world premiere of the new restoration of Ishiro Honda’s Gojira… better known on this side of the Pacific — and, really, everywhere at this late date — as GODZILLA (1954). If you will permit a personal note, the first feature film I ever saw as a new resident of Hollywood back in the summer of… Read more »

Happy 50th Anniversary, MARY POPPINS

I have to admit, this one’s personal. I have a thing for MARY POPPINS (1964). I loved the movie as a kid. Still love it as an adult. And, since I saw Saving Mr. Banks (2013) (the Tom Hanks-Emma Thompson movie about author P.L. Travers and the making of MARY POPPINS) last year, I’ve been meaning to rewatch the film that inspired it. TCM screened the movie this morning at the enchanting El Capitan Theater. I hadn’t seen MARY POPPINS in years, and I could not have picked a more perfect venue to rediscover a favorite. Projected in widescreen digital,… Read more »

The TCMCFF Turns It Up to ‘11’

To state it emphatically this blog entry must be turned up to ‘11’ so please pardon the noise: IF YOU HAVE NEVER SEEN THIS IS SPINAL TAP (1984), YOU MUST GO TO THE CHINESE MULTIPLEX 1 AT 9:45 TONIGHT! It is often the case that a film frequently designated as a “Cult” Movie (like Rob Reiner’s THIS IS SPINAL TAP) would not truly qualify for the label unless the public’s perception of that film has changed over time.  The normal trajectory for altered perceptions can often be tracked as an under-the-radar film that becomes a “hit” long after its original… Read more »

“Is Good:” An Afternoon with I REMEMBER MAMA

We might still be a little while off from Mother’s Day, but you’d hardly know it from this afternoon’s showing of I REMEMBER MAMA (1948) at the Chinese Multiplex. Richard Corliss, film critic for Time since 1980 and author of the TCM-commissioned book Mom in the Movies: The Iconic Screen Mothers You Love (And A Few You Love To Hate), made an encore after his appearance this morning to provide a valuable introduction in which he placed the film in context with two other major memoir-based family studies from the same period, Meet Me in St. Louis and A Tree… Read more »

Warren William on the Prowl!

“Oh, it’s you. I didn’t know you with all your clothes on.”  That’s Warren William speaking to Alice White in the salacious EMPLOYEES’ ENTRANCE (1933), and it’s one of many “pre-Code” lines in a very, VERY pre-Code picture. In fact, EMPLOYEES’ ENTRANCE is one of those pre-Coders that movie fans especially revere for its wall-to-wall sexiness and astonishing impact. A packed house of TCM festivalgoers certainly loved it Friday night. Warren William plays Kurt Anderson, a tyrannical, ruthless, uncompromising New York City department store manager — “kind of like Mussolini running Macy’s,” joked film historian Bruce Goldstein in his introduction…. Read more »

THE LION IN WINTER: Ultimate Family Dysfunction

Family units — good, bad and ugly — have been popping up on screen every day at this year’s family-themed film festival. But is there any more dysfunctional movie family than the Plantagenets depicted in THE LION IN WINTER (1968)?  King Henry II gathers his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine (whom he has kept imprisoned for ten years), and their sons Richard, Geoffrey and John, at Christmas-time in 1183. Also on hand: Henry’s mistress, Alais. But this is no cheery holiday gathering. Henry wants to determine who his successor will be after his death, and the result is that these people… Read more »

Rosalind Russell Really Rocks

A sold-out festival audience was treated to a delightfully breezy Rosalind Russell comedy on Friday afternoon: MY SISTER EILEEN (1942).  For some reason, this movie is not often shown or seen these days, which is peculiar considering it was perhaps Russell’s definitive role during her lifetime. After playing Ruth Sherwood in this Columbia film, she reprised the part for a radio adaptation in 1943, in a hit Broadway musical version (entitled Wonderful Town) in 1953, and even in a live television production of Wonderful Town in 1958. So in one way or another she performed the role on the big… Read more »

Hollywood Home Movies: Treasures From the Academy Film Archive

Each year, one of the most popular events held in Club TCM is the Hollywood Home Movies screening, brought to us by the Academy Film Archive. Hosted by Randy Haberkamp, managing director of programming, education and preservation for AMPAS, and Lynne Kirste, special collections curator at the Academy Film Archive. Michael Mortilla provided musical accompaniment to the silent film clips. Special guests in attendance to discuss the clips were Nicole Burke Stephenson, great granddaughter of actress Billie Burke; John Kimball, son of animator Ward Kimball; Miriam Nelson, choreographer and former wife of actor/dancer Gene Nelson; and Tim Zinnemann, son of director Fred Zinnemann. Mr…. Read more »

A Conversation with Richard Corliss

Club TCM kicks of the second day of discussions with a great line up. First off we have author and film critic Richard Corliss, who wrote the new book MOM IN THE MOVIES: THE ICONIC SCREEN MOTHERS YOU LOVE (AND A FEW YOU LOVE TO HATE). Mr. Corliss was interviewed by TCM’s own Shannon Clute. Below are a few highlights from their discussion: “I think every child thinks his or her family is a normal family, until you meet other families. And mine, I probably took it for granted, was idyllic. Very loving, let me see all the movies I… Read more »

A Conversation with Quincy Jones

Day one of the Club TCM discussions has wrapped up on a high note with a great conversation between legendary producer, composer, conductor and musician Quincy Jones, being interviewed by film critic Leonard Maltin. Yet another full house in Club TCM with an audience that was as engaged and enthralled by Jones as you can imagine. Below are a few highlights: “Each culture has its food, its music, and its language that keeps the culture together. That’s why I’m such a hard bargain driver for America to have a minister of culture. We’re the only country in the world that… Read more »

Happy Jerry Lewis Day!

What better way to wake up in the morning than a dose of Jerry Lewis? That’s what everyone felt today with crowds lining up around the block at the TCL Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Blvd., with some arriving before 8 a.m. for the hand- and footprint ceremony for Jerry in the theater courtyard. The tradition of celebrities preserving their handprints and footprints in wet cement (along with a few other curious objects in some cases) extends all the way back to 1927, and the spot remains one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Los Angeles area. It’s hard… Read more »

THE FAMILY BUSINESS: A TRIBUTE TO HUBLEY ANIMATION

Here’s a friendly recommendation to passholders: Don’t miss the program of rare Hubley animation shorts showing in the multiplex this afternoon and hosted by Leonard Maltin!  Previous TCM Classic Film Festivals have included fascinating programs of animated shorts, including a very rare showing of censored Warner Bros. cartoons at the first Fest in 2010, a collection of Walt Disney’s silent and rarely-screened Laugh-O-Grams in 2011 and last year’s assemblage of prime Bugs Bunny cartoons in honor of the rascally rabbit’s 75th birthday.  This year passholders will be treated to a varied and eye-popping collection of animation produced by John and… Read more »

Stanwyck Shines as Definitive Stella Dallas

Many people, including Barbara Stanwyck, felt that Stanwyck was robbed at the 1938 Academy Awards ceremony when Luise Rainer walked away with the Best Actress Oscar for The Good Earth (1937); referring to producer Sam Goldwyn’s 1937 version of STELLA DALLAS, Stanwyck later said, “My life’s blood was in that picture.  I should have won.”  This morning a 35mm print screened at the Multiplex—an absolutely gorgeous print, in fact (courtesy of the Academy Film Archive). Stanwyck’s taking on the title role was a risk; some thought that Goldwyn was crazy to revive the property in the first place.  The dramatic… Read more »

I Do…Love Elizabeth Taylor and Spencer Tracy*

It’s day three here in Hollywood, and first up this morning, TCM is going to the chapel with bride Elizabeth Taylor in FATHER OF THE BRIDE (1950). Screened at the Egyptian Theatre, in a gorgeous 35mm print from Warner Bros., the charming domestic comedy played to a receptive 9 AM crowd. On hand to introduce the movie was film historian Cari Beauchamp who praised Spencer Tracy, spilled on Joan Bennett’s career ending extra-marital scandal and called Elizabeth Taylor “absolutely stunning.” And that certainly proved true at today’s screening. You may have seen FATHER OF THE BRIDE countless times on TV, but… Read more »

In Heaven, everything is fine… David Lynch’s ERASERHEAD

What the deuce did people ever do at midnight before ERASERHEAD (1977)? Perhaps the most perfect late night movie ever made, David Lynch’s feature film debut (funded in part by actress Sissy Spacek, then a rising star whose art director husband Jack Fisk was on Lynch’s crew) gets props from the black tee shirt crowd for being among the weirdest movies ever made… and yet so much of what goes on between its fade in and fade out is drawn so palpably from everyday life. Inspired by his anxieties about being a father (Lynch’s daughter Jennifer is now a filmmaker in… Read more »

Nervous in the service… William Wyler’s THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (1946)

With scheduled guest Mark Harris unable to attend the TCMFF this year and, it follows, unavailable to introduce tonight’s screening of William Wyler’s THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (1946), it fell to film historian Eddie Muller to step into the breach, with a little assist from Wyler’s son David. The youngest of Wyler’s five children, David was not yet born when THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES went into production (he was a ROMAN HOLIDAY baby) but shared several stories about the film’s production, which had been passed down to him through the Wyler family. David cited that the three… Read more »

MAKE WAY FOR TOMORROW… and for Tears

“The movie you’re about to see is transcendently painful to watch. And that’s actually a good thing,” said film historian Dennis Bartok this morning, in his introduction to MAKE WAY FOR TOMORROW (1937). Director Leo McCarey’s drama about a sweet, elderly couple who lose their home and are forced to move in with their grown children — separately, 300 miles apart — is profoundly heartbreaking. (I will go out on a limb and say that the final 26 minutes comprise the most moving extended sequence in American cinema.)  It’s also a work of sublime beauty and art that, once seen,… Read more »

THE INNOCENTS: The Kids Aren’t All Right

It’s one of life’s great pleasures to see a favorite film on the big screen, and tonight marked my third time catching one of the all-time great ghost stories, THE INNOCENTS (1961), in glorious panoramic 35mm. This is a film that absolutely demands to be seen as huge as possible with its clever peripheral shocks coming at you right out of the corner of your eyes, and judging by the gasps from the audience, it still works like a charm. Actress Illeana Douglas introduced the film, which gave her a sleepless night as a child courtesy of a TV airing,… Read more »

BLAZING SADDLES: From Order Comes Chaos

Mel Brooks, legendary director-actor-producer-writer- (keep filling in the blanks and you’ll never exhaust his talents), kicked off tonight’s screening of BLAZING SADDLES (1974) by singing the film’s theme song to a full house at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre—and from there, things only got more interesting.   Brooks shared with TCM Host Robert Osborne numerous behind-the-scenes anecdotes from the making of the film—from asking to see Madeline Kahn’s “gams” before deciding to cast her as Lili Von Stupp (to which she responded, “Oh, it’s one of those auditions”), to following screenwriter Richard Pryor’s advice to cast Cleavon Little as the Sheriff (“This… Read more »

Life on the Edge: The Original IMITATION

Long before the famous Douglas Sirk / Lana Turner version was a twinkle in producer Ross Hunter’s eye, IMITATION OF LIFE first came to movie screens in 1934. The original novel by Fannie Hurst was a big bestseller, but the controversial subject matter made it a touchy subject with no less than ten writers taking a crack at it (including an uncredited Preston Sturges). Joseph Breen, head of the Production Code, objected to the theme of miscegenation which forms a crucial part of the story, and seemingly everyone else had a bone to pick including the Grand Encampment of the… Read more »

That Rhymes with ‘P’ and That Stands for Pool

TCM struck up the band to wind down night two with a poolside screening of THE MUSIC MAN (1962) under the palm trees at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. The crowd-pleasing musical had toes taping to tunes like “Ya Got Trouble” and “76 Trombones”  and “Wells Fargo Wagon.” On hand to introduce the film was TCM’s Ben Mankiewicz, who called it a “joyous affair” and one of his favorite musicals. THE MUSIC MAN features Robert Preston as con man Harold Hill, who’s out to scam an Iowa town into shelling out the dough for a fake boys band (“I say River… Read more »

DOUBLE INDEMNITY: Who Could Have Known That Murder Can Sometimes Smell Like Honeysuckle?

TCM Host Robert Osborne introduced tonight’s world premiere restoration screening of DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944) by saying it’s “one of my all time favorites,” and characterizing the film as “a great feather in Wilder’s cap.” But he also pointed out that certain aspects of the film’s production and reception were as tough as the characters it portrays.   Director Billy Wilder had a hard time casting the leads because the characters were so “despicable.”  George Raft passed on the Walter Neff role (as he was known to pass on so many great parts) because it didn’t have a “lapel moment” when… Read more »

A Conversation with Richard M. Sherman

Club TCM’s last discussion on Saturday night featured composer and lyricist Richard D. Sherman. Interviewed by film critic Leonard Maltin, Sherman discussed his parents, partnership with his brother Robert B. Sherman and his legendary career at Disney. Seated in front of a keyboard Sherman played a few bars from his father’s songs, several hits including “Tall Paul,” “You’re Sixteen,” “I Wan’na Be Like You” from The Jungle Book (1967), “Admiral Boom” which was cut from 1964′s Mary Poppins, and closed the interview by singing “Feed the Birds” from the same film, which led to a standing ovation from the teary-eyed crowd. Below are… Read more »

Right Here in St. Louis

TCM went turn-of-the-century this afternoon with a presentation of MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS (1944) at the TCL Chinese. Projected in pristine digital, the film, which marks its 60th anniversary this year, has never looked or sounded better. And the enthusiastic audience certainly agreed—they couldn’t resist humming along to the film’s now standard tunes, including “The Boy Next Door” and “The Trolley Song.” Plus, adding to an already delightful experience, Tootie herself, Margaret O’Brien, was on hand to introduce the film. O’Brien sat down with journalist and film critic Richard Corliss before the screening to reminisce about her experiences making… Read more »

A Conversation with William Friedkin

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Yet another standing room only crowd in Club TCM for A Conversation with William Friendkin, interviewed by Film Noir Foundation President and author Eddie Muller! A veteran of live television in the 1950s, Friedkin trained in documentary filmmaking in the mid-1960s – training that led to the unnerving, you-are-there realism of The French Connection (1971) and the terrible beauty of The Exorcist (1973) and Sorcerer (1977). In 1971, his The French Connection was released to wide critical acclaim. Shot in a gritty style more suited for documentaries than Hollywood features, the film won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.  Friedkin followed up… Read more »

What, Harold Lloyd Worry?

Tonight at the Egyptian the TCMCFF again welcomes bespectacled silent comedian Harold Lloyd, this time with a screening of WHY WORRY? (1923) featuring the live musical accompaniment of Carl Davis conducting the World Premiere of his new score for the film, his fourth score for a Lloyd comedy.  Harold has been a welcome presence at previous TCM Classic Film Festivals, represented by such classics as Safety Last (1923) at the first TCMCFF in 2010 and Girl Shy (1924) in 2012. It’s a truism that pre-sound films are best appreciated on the big screen with live musical accompaniment, and that silent… Read more »

A Trip to GREY GARDENS with Albert Maysles

Before reality shows like Real Housewives, Hoarders and Honey Boo Boo brought us so many crazy families that the Kardashians now seem as ordinary to us as the Cleavers – came the original tale of the eccentric family next door, GREY GARDENS (1975). TCM presented a gorgeous digital restoration of the classic documentary this morning at the Chinese Multiplex 1. Part of the festival’s overall theme of Family in the Movies, GREY GARDENS practically begged for inclusion in the Dysfunctional Families series of films. GREY GARDENS centers on the claustrophobic world of a reclusive East Hamptons mother and daughter. Both… Read more »

Pod People Invade the TCM Classic Film Festival

Don Siegel’s INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1956) is graced with one the most recognized film titles of the 1950s, known even by most non-classic movie fans.  It helps that there have been a number of remakes of the story (in 1978, 1994 and 2007), but even those who are not film fans at all have heard the term “pod people,” a phrase that has crossed over into the general lexicon. The film is also one of the key entries in the 1950s cycle of science fiction movies.  It ranks in just about anyone’s list of top five titles, along… Read more »

Happy 20th Anniversary, Robert Osborne

A favorite event from the TCM Classic Cruise came to Hollywood  for the first time on Friday afternoon, but with a gigantic surprise twist. ASK ROBERT allows fans to pose any question they like to the man who’s been with the network since the very beginning on April 14, 1994, and to mark his twentieth anniversary, an appropriate venue was chosen: The Montalbán Theatre, formerly the Doolittle Theatre, located on Vine Street in Hollywood. Osborne’s own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is located in front of the building, which originally served as the location for the popular radio… Read more »

TOUCH OF EVIL: Blowing up Film Noir

Producer, writer and director Fraser Heston—son of legendary actor Charlton Heston—was on hand today to introduce a new world premiere restoration of TOUCH OF EVIL, courtesy of Universal Pictures. The younger Heston revealed it was his father who suggested Welles helm the picture, though the director was something of a persona non grata with the studios at the time due to his reputation for being difficult to work with and his tendency to run over budget. As was plain to everyone present at today’s screening, the suggestion was brilliant, and the end result was a “textbook example of noir.” In… Read more »

The Italian Job: or, the Mini Cooper Mob

“Hang on a minute, lads …. I’ve got a great idea !”   This Michael Caine thriller hasn’t a single cinematically significant or profound moment. Isn’t that a great idea?   The heist caper crime sub-genre began as serious drama (The Asphalt Jungle, Rififi) but soon mutated into a freewheeling escapist format, with ever-more complex and preposterous robbery schemes. The brains behind the operation usually comes up with a foolproof plan that stumbles or fails due to dumb luck or the human element… remember Sterling Hayden’s shocked disbelief at the finish of Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing?  The measure of a caper… Read more »

A Conversation with Richard Dreyfuss

With an entertainment career spanning more than four decades, Academy Award- winning actor Richard Dreyfuss has been one of America’s most versatile and individualistic actors. He is a spokesperson on the issue of media informing policy, legislation, and public opinion, both speaking and writing to express his sentiments in favor of privacy, freedom of speech, democracy, and individual accountability. As a community leader, his current focus and passion is to encourage, revive, elevate and enhance the teaching of civics in American Schools. Dreyfuss was interviewed by actress, director, writer and producer Illeana Douglas. Below are a few highlights from the… Read more »

ZULU Uprising at the Egyptian

ZULU (1964) was a later entry in the Widescreen Epic historical adventure genre, a British film of Colonialism that, while it tempered the standard “White Man’s Burden” approach seen in previous movies that glorified the Empire, nevertheless has since fallen somewhat to the wayside thanks to moviegoers’ growing distaste for screen entertainment that glorified the former Empire.  It is now justly recognized as a superior example of its genre, boasting terrific action scenes on a grand scale, stunning location photography in South Africa, well-drawn performances from the able cast and one of the finest music scores from the great John… Read more »

ON APPROVAL sparkles with wit

“It’s a polarizing movie. You’re either going to love it or hate it,” predicted film historian Jeffrey Vance this morning in his introduction to ON APPROVAL (1944). But judging from the raucous audience reaction that followed over the next 80 minutes, actually no one hated it at all. ON APPROVAL is a gem of high comedy, and since it was made in England, the Production Code did not apply, resulting in a scintillating mixture of bawdiness, double entendres, and even prodigious use of the word “hell,” which would be unthinkable in an American picture of the era. ON APPROVAL feels… Read more »

A Matter of Life and Death… reborn?

Now for something Completely Different. The famed ‘Archers’ writing and directing team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger marked the end of WW2 by making a picture with a salient propaganda purpose. The message is surrounded by a couple of hours of outlandishly fantastic (and romantic) happenings, all filmed in Technicolor by Jack Cardiff and utilizing a battery of highly creative special effects.   Trapped with no parachute in a burning plane, British flyer Peter Carter (David Niven) radios in to report his impending death. Peter falls in love with his radio contact, June (Kim Hunter). They exchange endearments even… Read more »

THE THIN MAN: Or, How the End of the Prohibition Made a Party Out of Murder

Today’s Festival lineup is a rare treat for anyone interested in hard-boiled detective fiction and film noir, with screenings of THE THIN MAN (1934), Double Indemnity (1944) and Touch of Evil (1958).  It probably goes without saying that these films don’t constitute one of the official sub-themes of this year’s “Family in the Movies” programming, but they do provide a snapshot—or maybe a mug shot—of America’s mood swings the mid twentieth century. THE THIN MAN and Double Indemnity are adapted from the works of, arguably, the two greatest writers of hard-boiled fiction: Dashiell Hammett (his name pronounced “Da-SHE-al,” as special… Read more »

Charlton Heston… forever

I had a few possible subject headers in mind for this morning’s dedication of a first class postage stamp in honor of the late actor Charlton Heston — among them “Charlton Heston Goes Postal” and “Stamping the Terra” but somehow neither one quite fit the bill… or the man The crowd gathered this morning in the historic Grauman’s Chinese Theatre for the unveiling of the new “forever” stamp by a combined effort of the Screen Actor’s Guild (SAG-AFTRA), the American Film Institute, the Citizen’s Stamp Advisory Committee, the United States Armed Forces, and, of course, the United States Postal Service felt,… Read more »

Go East, Young Man

The TCM Classic Film Festival might be a little further south than the stomping grounds of writer John Steinbeck in the wine valleys of northern California, but it still feels appropriate kicking off a Friday morning with one of the quintessential adaptations of his work. Steinbeck has generally adapted well to the big screen with classics like The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men, with the novelist himself taking a shot at writing directly for the screen with Alfred Hitchcock’s Lifeboat and serving as on-camera host for O. Henry’s Full House. Taking a page from the Wuthering Heights school of… Read more »

A Conversation with Carl Davis

While there are too many amazing films to choose from in the Festival schedule, I always have a hard time missing the discussions held in Club TCM. I’m constantly impressed by the talent and their insights, and am thrilled to be covering the discussions the next few days. Club TCM kicked off with a bang today for A Conversation with Carl Davis. The composer, conductor, and musician was interviewed by author Jon Burlingame.  Below are a few highlights from the interview:   Speaking of conducting: “There is the buzz of a live show, you know if you’re a performer, that’s… Read more »

The World of Henry Orient: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

(Post-screening celebrity wrap-up, below)   The movies may have discovered teenagers in the 1950s but the focus was usually on delinquency, hot rods and sex. 1964′s THE WORLD OF HENRY ORIENT is a comedy that takes the time to examine the personal lives of a pair of New York girls at an awkward age — too old for dolls but not quite ready to negotiate the tougher aspects of teen-hood. Gil (Merrie Spaeth) and Val (Tippy Walker) instead indulge the adolescent fantasy of worshiping the concert pianist Henry Orient (Peter Sellers). Playing his records isn’t enough. The girls haunt Orient’s… Read more »

Friday Re-Cap, TCM Classic Film Festival

TCM is proud to present this exciting recap of events from Thursday, April 10, day one of the 5th TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood.  To view more festival videos, check out our video gallery.   Highlights from Thursday, April 10 at the TCM Classic Film Festival   American Graffiti poolside at the Hollywood Roosevelt   Shirley Jones and Robert Osborne   Charles Busch introducing Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?

The Heir Up There: William Wyler’s THE HEIRESS (1949)

William Wyler’s THE HEIRESS (1949) was his first of five movies for Paramount, and made in the immediate aftermath of the failure of his Liberty Films venture — a partnership he had forged with Columbia Pictures head of production Samuel Briskin and fellow filmmakers Frank Capra and George Stevens. (Liberty had been ankled by the box office failure of its first film, Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life – now an undisputed Hollywood/holiday classic but an expensive flop in 1946.) Ground zero among the Hollywood studios for prestige pictures, Paramount gave Wyler the green light to adapt the Broadway smash The Heiress,… Read more »

Willkommen, Bienvenue, Welcome…

The WELCOME PARTY at Club TCM on Thursday was a flurry of people, drinks, smiles and excitement, as new and old friends gathered to take a breath before undertaking some serious moviegoing. It’s always fun to chat with people at this event, or anywhere at the festival really, since there is an obvious common bond uniting every single person here: a love of classic movies. And people who love classic movies love to talk about classic movies. Take Jenny Ranz and Julie Babb, friends visiting the festival from Shreveport, Louisiana. “I’m really excited about getting to see Richard Sherman and… Read more »

“You weren’t ugly then.” Robert Aldrich’s “WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE?” (1962)

Robert Aldrich’s “WHAT EVER (that’s right, two words) HAPPENED TO BABY JANE?” (1962) was a particularly twisted way to help kick off the 5th annual TCM Classic Film Festival with its sub-theme this year of family. The blackest of black comedies was Aldrich’s ticket back to personal filmmaking, after the desultory experience of spending nearly a year to make Sodom and Gomorrah (1962) for producer Joseph E. Levine in Morocco and having toiled before that to little effect on such for-hire projects as The Last Sunset (1961) in Mexico, The Angry Hills (1959) in Greece, Ten Seconds to Hell (1959) in… Read more »

Baker and Dante’s GODS AND MONSTERS

Rick Baker may be a groundbreaking makeup and effects artist of movies like Greystoke, Men in Black and The Wolfman, and Joe Dante may be the accomplished director of such films as Gremlins, Innerspace, and The Hole, but at heart these two guys are still excited little boys when it comes to talking about horror movies and screen creatures. For an hour today they engaged in a freewheeling conversation, moderated by TCM Senior Writer/Producer Scott McGee, at The Hollywood Museum. For fans of classic horror, it was a delight to hear these two expound on their influences and passions. Dante… Read more »

TCM Cruises Into Festival # 5

The fifth annual TCM Classic Film Festival got off to a rocking start tonight at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel with a poolside screening of AMERICAN GRAFFITI (1973). The historic pool and Tropicana bar, that was once the backdrop for an early Marilyn Monroe shoot, is a gorgeous setting anytime. It’s the picture of classic Hollywood elegance, an oasis complete with cabanas, palm trees and famed David Hockney mural. But TCM really upped the ambience tonight, creating a party atmosphere with pre-show music and sock hoppers. The dancers showed off their moves to tunes like “Let’s Go to the Hop.”  … Read more »

What a Beautiful Opening Night

The 2014 TCM Film Festival launched in epic style tonight with a new restoration from 20th Century Fox of the Todd-AO widescreen musical “Oklahoma!” at the TCL Chinese IMAX theater in Hollywood. The 90 year old Shirley Jones, who made her impressive film debut at the early age of only 19 with Oklahoma! (1955), kicked off the Festival with charm, poise, a sharp wit, and genuine appreciation to the packed house of festival fans at the TCL Chinese theater.  With TCM host Robert Osborne, she described the events that lead to her selection for this groundbreaking musical (the first to… Read more »

MEET TCM, SPECIAL EDITION: 1994-2014

Has it really been twenty years? Twenty years since Ted Turner stood in Times Square, flanked by Robert Osborne, Van Johnson and Jane Powell among others, and flipped a switch to bring TCM to life? Gone With the Wind was the inaugural film on that day, April 14, 1994, and it will be shown here on Sunday, in the newly refurbished TCL Chinese IMAX Theatre. But today, the focus at the festival’s first official event was on TCM itself, and a look back at its first two decades. The annual MEET TCM panel has proved increasingly popular at this festival…. Read more »

All the World’s a Stagecoach, Pilgrim.

Gone with the Wind may have been 1939′s biggest picture, but the surprise hit that captured America’s heart that year was STAGECOACH, a lowly western made at a time when westerns in general were considered a down-market commodity. The show confirmed John Wayne as a star after ten years of false starts. John Ford found the experience of filming out on distant location in Monument Valley such an enjoyable experience that he would return to the genre at every opportunity just to escape the Hollywood grind. STAGECOACH immediately wins over audiences with its humor, warmth and escapist thrills; it connects… Read more »

Joan Crawford wants YOU.

(note: updated with post-screening remarks, scroll down!) Joan Crawford wants YOU to see Nicholas Ray’s riveting 1954 ‘political’ western JOHNNY GUITAR.  The daring Ms. Crawford enters in masculine pants and shirt and wearing a gun belt to make her message crystal clear: “All you can buy up here is a bullet in the head.” One of Vienna’s male employees breaks the fourth wall, stares right at the camera and says, “Never seen a woman who was more of a man. She thinks like one, acts like one, and sometimes makes me feel like I’m not.” Philip Yordan’s screenplay places Crawford’s… Read more »

5th Avenue on Hollywood Blvd.

Excitement is building for the first screenings of the Fest later tonight and at 7:00 in the Chinese Multiplex, the first film of the “discoveries” theme will be showing in glorious 35mm: 5th AVENUE GIRL (1939), starring Ginger Rogers and Walter Connolly.  (Incidentally, it will be the first of three Rogers films shown at the Fest; the others are Bachelor Mother [1939] and Hat Check Girl [1932]).  TCM regulars know, even if the general public does not, that Rogers not only had a career apart from Fred Astaire—her “solo” films in the ‘30s were often hugely popular top box-office attractions…. Read more »

WELCOME!

Welcome to the 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival Blog, where we’ll bring you the best of this year’s Fest—from notes on screenings and events to highlights of conversations between TCM hosts and the great stars and filmmakers in attendance. The Festival runs Thursday, April 10 ­– Sunday, April 13 in the heart of historic Hollywood, at such famous venues as the Chinese, Egyptian and El Capitan Theatres. New posts will begin the evening of Wednesday, April 9 and will continue throughout the Festival, so check back often for updates. Thanks for visiting our Live Blog from the TCM Classic Film… Read more »