It’s that time of year again! The annual TCM Classic Film Festival is just around the corner and attendees are poring over the recently released full schedule, carefully making their choices and wondering how long they can go between meals. I am no exception to this.
Honestly, I think I’m more excited about this year’s schedule than I was about last year’s. I had a tremendous time last year, but I had a tendency to see things I had already seen before and only ended up seeing a couple of new-to-me movies. This year is shaping up to be the total opposite. If I stick to my plans as they currently are, I’ll only be seeing a few movies I’ve seen before. So I’m very excited to check out some movies I’ve never seen before because I’ve been really bad about watching things I haven’t seen before lately. It really will be awesome to make lots of discoveries this year.
Much like last year, I’m going into the festival this year fully expecting my plans to change at any time. If you’ve never been to TCMFF before, one of the best pieces of advice I have to give is to stay open to changing your plans. Things come up and you might not always end up sticking to your original schedule exactly, but that’s okay because you could end up doing some other awesome thing instead.
Thursday, March 26:
Opening day is always a bit of an easy, fun day. There’s the Meet TCM panel at 1:00 PM and movie trivia games with So You Think You Know Movies at 3:00 PM. Things don’t kick into high gear until 5:00 PM with the welcome party at the Roosevelt and the big opening night gala of The Sound of Music starting at the same time. If you’re not going to The Sound of Music, there’s the poolside screening of Grease at 7:30 PM and a handful of movies at the over at the TCL Multiplex theaters throughout the evening.
My media credentials don’t get me into The Sound of Music and I’m not the biggest fan of Grease, but there is Queen Christina playing at the TCL 6 at 6:30 PM. I adore Garbo, but I’ve never had the chance to see her on the big screen before, so I’m thrilled to start the festival out that way. Playing at almost the same time as Queen Christina is Too Late for Tears starring Lizabeth Scott, which sounds really intriguing, so as much as I love Garbo, this was actually a tough call for me.
After Queen Christina, I’m keeping my plans flexible. The poolside movies are fun if you want to relax and have fun with friends, so if some of my friends are there, I might go join them. Breaker Morant sounds interesting, but I also like The Sea Hawk, so I’m playing it by ear.
Friday, March 27:
The first full day of the festival starts off with some of my hardest decisions of the festival. I had been excited about the Christopher Plummer handprint ceremony, Dustin Hoffman introducing Lenny and discussing his career with Alec Baldwin, and the Dawn of Technicolor event (I have a soft spot for the look of early Technicolor). So imagine my reaction when I saw that the handprint ceremony was scheduled right in between the Technicolor event and Lenny.
I’m still going back and forth between those choices, but right now, I’m leaning more toward Technicolor and Lenny. Or I might skip the Technicolor event and go to My Darling Clementine introduced by Peter Fonda and Keith Carradine.
One reason I’m leaning more toward Lenny is that it’s at the Egyptian theater, which is where the next movie I’m planning to see, The Cincinnati Kid introduced by Ann-Margaret, is playing. This is another brutal time slot. Not only is there The Cincinnati Kid, there’s also Limelight with Norman Lloyd, a presentation on Errol Flynn given by his daughter Rory at Club TCM, Young Mr. Lincoln introduced by Peter Fonda, and another Club TCM event called A Surreal Life, in which people whose life events have been turned into movies discuss what that experience is like. But I’ve never seen The Cincinnati Kid and it sounds intriguing, so that’s my pick for that slot.
I’m still a bit up in the air for the next time slot. Peter Fonda will be talking about his father in Club TCM at 6:15 PM, which I’d love to see, but I also really want to see Steamboat Bill, Jr. at 7:15, so that’s cutting it close time-wise and I couldn’t stay for all of Peter Fonda’s presentation. Jeanette MacDonald’s only non-singing film, Don’t Bet on Women, is at 5:30 PM, so that’s a possibility. Realistically speaking, I will most likely skip the earlier events in this block and get some dinner before Steamboat Bill, Jr.
From there, I’ll be on to On Her Majesty’s Secret Service at 9:15 PM, which will be introduced by George Lazenby. It’s awfully hard to resist the idea of seeing a Bond film introduced by a Bond actor. Tonight’s midnight movie is the Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton film Boom! I’ve never seen Boom!, but since John Waters has called it, “beyond bad, it’s the other side of camp,” that’s enough to sell me on it.
Saturday, March 27:
I’ll be starting today off with a little Colleen Moore in Why Be Good? at 9:15 AM. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Colleen Moore movie, so I’m excited about that. After that, I’ll swing by the Roosevelt where Rory Flynn will be signing books at 11:00 AM. 42nd Street, one of my favorite movies, will be playing at the TCL1 at 11:30 AM, but I’m not sure if I’ll make it to that or not yet. I really want to make it to the taping of the Live From the TCM Classic Film Festival interview, which starts at 2:00 PM, and I want to be sure to get to the Montalban Theater early, so I may skip 42nd Street in favor of a lunch break and to make more time to get in line for Sophia Loren.
After Sophia Loren, I’ll head back to the Roosevelt where Mike Kaplan will be signing copies of his book “Gotta Dance: The Art of the Dance Movie Poster.” After that, I haven’t yet decided if I’ll stick around the Roosevelt for Hollywood Home Movies, which I went to last year and loved, or go see Shirley MacLaine introduce The Apartment at the TCL Chinese Theater.
Now here’s another tough choice for me: The Loved One introduced by Robert Morse or Return of the Dream Machine, a series of short silent film classics presented on a vintage hand-cranked projector, just like they were originally shown to audiences 100 years ago. The Loved One is winning for me right now because I’ve been wanting to see that movie for a while and I’m a big Mad Men fan so I’d love to see Morse introduce it.
Sunday, March 28:
A large part of Sunday’s schedule is still to be announced because those slots will go to movies that were popular enough to deserve a second run. And there could potentially be some real game changers in those slots, so I’m not setting my heart on much right now. But purely going by what is definitely scheduled, I pick Nightmare Alley at 9:45 AM, The Diary of Anne Frank at 12:30 PM, A Conversation with Shirley MacLaine at 3:00 PM, The Philadelphia Story at 4:30 PM, and The Grim Game at 8:15 PM.