What I’d Be Watching at #TCMFF (If I Were Going)

This week, many members of our online classic film community are headed toward the bright lights of Los Angeles for the TCM Film Festival. As usual I’m missing the festival. (Sad face!) Somehow it’s always scheduled exactly during the busy tail end of the semester, so my earliest opportunity to make the pilgrimage will be next year, when I’m *finally* completely finished with grad school. (Quick explanation: Yes, I graduated at the end of last year. I’m finishing up an extra two-semester certificate program right now. Then I’ll be done for good!)

But being stuck here in good ol’ Michigan doesn’t mean I have to miss out on all of the fun. I can still peruse the schedule and dream about what I’d be seeing, if I were attending the festival!

Today I’ll be sharing a day-by-day list of my picks for the festival. No considerations have been made for waiting in line, breaking for meals, or running between venues since I’ve never been to the festival and have no way to predict those things. These are just the titles I’m most interested in from each time slot on the schedule. On to the list!

THURSDAY: April 28

I’d keep a light schedule on the first day of the festival to leave time earlier in the day for a bit of sightseeing. I’ve never been to California, so there’s a lot I’d like to see — and a few hours at the beach would be in order, too, since California is much, much warmer than Michigan at this time of year!

12:00 pm – Genre “Debate” Meet-Up
This is at some place called “Library Bar” which sounds kiiiind of awesome. As a librarian, anything with the word “library” or “book” involved becomes an immediate must-see for me, haha. The event just sounds fun, too — a discussion of which genres we love best.

7:30 pm – The Freshman (1925)
Poolside at the Roosevelt Hotel! This seems like it would be a fun experience. It’s certainly not a way I’ve watched a film in the past, and who doesn’t love Harold Lloyd?

9:30 pm – Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967)
Katharine Houghton, a star of the film and the niece of her co-star Katharine Hepburn, will be present for this screening. The event will also feature a discussion with Houghton and author/film historian Donald Bogle.

FRIDAY: April 29

9:00 am – The More the Merrier (1943)
What better way to begin the day than with Joel McCrea? I re-watched this film recently but have never seen it on the big screen. Would love to see it on 35mm, which is just how TCMFF is showing it!

12:00 pm – He Ran All the Way (1951)
Two words: John Garfield. This was the actor’s final film, and is one that I’ve never seen. Dennis Berry, son of the film’s director, and film critic Todd McCarthy will be in attendance for a discussion of the film.

2:30 pm – When You’re In Love (1937)
This would perhaps turn out to be the most exciting screening of the festival for me — a Cary Grant film I’ve never seen, with his daughter Jennifer in attendance!

9:15 pm – My Sister Eileen (1955) OR 9:30 pm – The Pride of the Yankees (1942)
This would be a tough choice for me. My Sister Eileen is a delightful film, and The Pride of the Yankees is also a favorite of mine. I’d be slightly more likely to go to Eileen, only because I feel like there’s a much larger chance of Yankees playing at the Redford, my local venue for classic movies on the big screen.

SATURDAY: April 30

9:00 am – 90th Anniversary of Vitaphone
Seven restored Vitaphone shorts would make for a wonderful lesson in cinema history to kick off the third day of the festival.

12:00 pm – An Afternoon with Carl Reiner: Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid (1982)
Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid is a wonderful, clever film — and what a treat to watch it with writer-director Carl Reiner himself. Not gonna lie, this event also lands on my list because Reiner is the creator of The Dick Van Dyke Show. My love for that show is well-documented on this blog (I’ve reviewed every episode!) and I just wouldn’t be able to pass up an opportunity to see “Alan Brady” in person!

3:45 pm – Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story (2015)
It would sort of break my heart to miss The Big Sleep‘s screening, but I love learning more about the people who work(/worked) behind-the-scenes in Hollywood. This documentary about a husband and wife who both worked in film — he as a poster/storyboard illustrator and she as a researcher — sounds fascinating. The documentary’s director and Lillian Michelson herself will be in attendance.

6:30 pm – The King and I (1956)
The fabulous Rita Moreno will be in attendance for this screening!

9:45 pm – Midnight (1939)
It would be hard to pass up Leonard Maltin and Christopher Reyna’s presentation on the history of widescreen cinema, which starts at 9:30, but I just wouldn’t be able to miss a chance to see Midnight on the big screen. I adore this film — it’s hilarious and became an instant favorite the first time I watched it.

12:00 am – GOG (1954)
The festival schedule notes that this is playing “as it was meant to be seen, in wide-screen Eastmancolor and 3D, for the first time since Gog‘s press screenings in 1954.” I love me some mid-century sci-fi and have heard that the midnight screenings at TCMFF are a blast.

SUNDAY: May 1

9:45 am – All That Heaven Allows (1955)
Nothing like a little Sirk on a Sunday morning. This film stars TMP favorite Jane Wyman and the great Rock Hudson, which in addition to my love for the director makes it a big-screen must-see.

12:30 am – The Art of the Film Score
After a morning of melodrama, some education! I love film scores, and whether good or bad, they’re something I always take great notice of when watching films. However, I’d nowhere near consider myself an expert on the art, so here’s an opportunity to learn more. Presented by Oscar-winning composer Michael Giacchino.

2:30 pm – A Conversation with Gina Lollobrigida
Gotta take advantage of these special appearances when attending film festivals. Looking at the schedule, I was torn between this one-hour discussion with Lollobrigida and the two-hour Faye Dunaway interview starting at 3:00 pm. I’m a fan of both actresses, but would attend Gina’s discussion if I were attending the festival in order to make it to…

4:45 pm – The Keys of the Kingdom (1944)
For several years I shunned just about every religious-themed film, bored of the preachiness and contrivance that often accompanied them. The Keys of the Kingdom is a film that I discovered during that time, but still managed to fall in love with, despite my initial reluctance to watch it. I have Gregory Peck to thank for that — his performance is stellar, and I’d love to see it on the big screen. His daughter Cecilia will be in attendance.

8:00 pm – Network (1976)
Though I’ve seen it with an audience once before, I’d have to round out the festival with Network, a brilliant film just as relevant today as it was in the 1970s. Faye Dunaway will be in attendance, as a bonus!

There you have ’em — my picks for TCMFF… if I were going. I hope those of you who are fortunate to attend the festival have a wonderful time and watch many a stellar film. I look forward to living vicariously through your tweets, photos, and blog posts!

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  1. Pingback: April 2016 in Film | The Motion Pictures

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