Another year, another ugly cry over the fact that I’m missing the TCM Film Festival! I’ve yet to make the pilgrimage, but perhaps 2019 will be my year. Until then, I’m continuing a somewhat-sad tradition for a third year, sharing what I would have liked to watch, had I been able to attend this year.

Small reminder, I’ve never been to the festival (or been to Los Angeles, actually), so I’ve made no consideration for line times/cut-offs, meals, sleep, or travel between venues. I have no clue how those would impact my plans… but it’s called a dream schedule for a reason, folks! There are none of these roadblocks in my dreams.

Now, onward with the dreaming…

Thursday, April 26

The first day of the festival, and already some tough choices to make. For my first viewing, I’d be torn between To Have and Have Not (1944) at 6:30 at the Egyptian and Detour (1945) at 7:45 at the Chinese Multiplex. I would probably go for Detour, not only because I adore it but because I think it has a lesser chance of playing at any of the revival houses near me.

Both of those options would end by 9, leaving room for a second film of the night. I would go for Stage Door (1937) at 9:30 the Egyptian, though the nuclear thriller Fail-Safe (1964) is an appealing alternative option, for a new-to-me discovery.

Friday, April 27

I’d be up and at ’em early for the first full day of the festival. One of my very favorite films, Strangers on a Train (1951), is playing at 9:00 am at the Chinese Multiplex.

Next up, at 11:45 at the Chinese Multiplex, a Preston Sturges film I’ve yet to watch: The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek (1944). I’ve loved every other Sturges film I’ve seen, so this would be one of my most-anticipated of the festival. This one seems very fun and a little bit crazy, following a woman who gets married but doesn’t remember who she married, and then realizes she’s pregnant!

There are far too many good options for the 2 – 3 pm slots, but I’d have to jump at the chance to attend Harold Lloyd in 3D at the Linwood Dunn Theater. This special event features Lloyd’s 3D photography, home movies, and shorts, with his granddaughter Suzanne Lloyd in attendance.

Time to rush back to the Chinese Multiplex for None Shall Escape (1944) at 4:45 pm. This new-to-me choice focuses on the war crimes perpetrated by Nazis, framed through testimony at their criminal trials. Marsha Hunt appears in the film and will be in attendance for the screening, along with Eddie Muller.

I’d stay at the Multiplex to squeeze in a real treat of a screening, Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) in 3D. Then it would be time to catch another favorite film, Leave Her to Heaven (1945) on nitrate at 9:30 at the Egyptian, followed by the midnight Chinese Multiplex screening of a film I’ve heard many strange things about, The World’s Greatest Sinner (1962).

Saturday, April 28

There are a lot of great options for first showing on Saturday, but I can never pass up big-screen Cary Grant, so I’d of course have to go for His Girl Friday (1940) at 9:00 am at TCL.

Ida Lupino’s Outrage (1950) at 11:30 am at the Egyptian would be a fantastic choice for the next time slot, but I think I’d have to go for This Thing Called Love (1940) at 11:30 at the Chinese Multiplex. The film stars two of my favorites, Rosalind Russell and Melvyn Douglas, in a marital comedy which was condemned by the Catholic Legion of Decency and left the PCA with mountains of complaints. Illeana Douglas, Melvyn Douglas’ granddaughter and one of my favorite people in the universe, hosts this screening.

Next I’d take a break from the movie screenings to attend a special panel event, Through a Lens of Color: Black Representation in Film (2:15 pm, Club TCM). Hollywood has a long, shady history in its portrayals of and opportunities for marginalized people. I’m glad to see the festival recognize this, and offer up a discussion about this aspect of film history.

At the Egyptian at 4:30 is a pre-code I’ve never seen, apparently inspired by the wild life of Tallulah Bankhead, 1931’s Girls About Town. Adding to my interest, this was only the second film to be directed by TMP favorite George Cukor.

I’d head over to the Chinese Multiplex at 7:15 for Park Row (1952), a new-to-me newspaper history flick which director Samuel Fuller poured tons of his own money and expertise (as a former newspaperman) into crafting.

At 9:30 I would be torn between Spellbound (1945) on nitrate at the Egyptian, or The Raven (1963) at the Chinese Multiplex. Spellbound has Gregory Peck’s face in a glorious, glittering nitrate print, but The Raven brings me back to my roots as a classic film fan, when my emo teenage self adored Vincent Price and almost exclusively watched horror/horror-comedy movies.

Regardless of where I ended up at 9:30, I’d certainly be rushing over to Chinese Multiplex House 6 for the midnight showing of a genre classic and long-time favorite, Night of the Living Dead (1968).

Sunday, April 29

The final day of the fest would find me no less busy. The beginning of the end would commence with the very first Western I ever fell in love with, the gorgeously-made Once Upon a Time in the West (1968). It’s showing at 9:15 at TCL.

Next I’d opt for something a little more recent, Places in the Heart (1984) at the Chinese Multiplex at 12:30. I’ve never seen this film, but leading actress Sally Field will be in attendance (along with director Robert Benton), which is a definite draw for me!

At 3:45 at the Chinese Multiplex there’s Hamlet (1948). I’m not one of those people who’s hugely obsessed with Shakespeare, but would be interested in attending this screening for a few reasons: it’s a Laurence Olivier production, it was the first British film and only Shakespeare adaptation to win Best Picture, and the screening is being attended by Alan Cumming!

To wrap up the festival, what better way than to spend my final screening with one of my classic movie crushes and all-around favorite people, Lon Chaney? The 1925 version of The Phantom of the Opera will be screening at 7:30 at the Chinese Multiplex, with live accompaniment by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra and an appearance by Leonard Maltin.

There you have it — my dream schedule for this year’s TCMFF! Those of you who are attending in the real world, I hope you have a wonderful time, and safe travels!

NOTE: This schedule was made using the official Festival Pocket Guide as a reference. This is handy to download if you are attending the festival, but also worth a look if you’re a bystander like me and just want to see what else is happening!