Posted by Kimberly Lindbergs on April 28, 2011
Today marks the beginning of TCM’s Classic Film Festival taking place April 28-May 1. A number of people have asked me if I’m attending the festival this year but unfortunately I’m stuck at home writing about it. Personal budget constraints make my attendance impossible but there are a lot of film screenings and events taking place at the festival that I wish I could see. I thought it would be fun to imagine how I might have planned out my trip to TCM’s Classic Film Festival this year and share a few movie recommendations in the process.
I’d start my day on April 28th with a visit to Club TCM where you can meet and greet some of the people working at the network and enjoy a public display of Hollywood glamour photography shot by Jack Pashkovsky. THE MAN WHO SHOT HOLLYWOOD: JACK PASHKOVSKY exhibit is the first of its kind dedicated to Pashkovsky’s work and filmmaker Barry Avrich will be on hand to share his stories and reminiscences about the photographer. I enjoy looking at photos of classic Hollywood stars and Pashkovsky’s work isn’t particularly well known so I’d love to see his photos in person.
That evening I’d spend my time with Bernard Hermann’s daughter, Dorothy Herrmann, who will be in attendance during the screening of one of my favorite films from the 1940s, THE GHOST AND MRS. MUIR (1947), which stars the beautiful Gene Tierney along with Rex Harrison and George Sanders followed by Robert Wise’s science fiction classic THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (1951). Bernard Hermann scored both movies and it would be a real treat to watch them back-to-back. Hermann is one of our greatest film composers and as a soundtrack buff I’d really enjoy hearing what Dorothy Herrmann had to say about her father’s involvement with these two terrific films firsthand.
On the morning of April 29th I’d begin my day with a screening of BECKET (1964). This brilliantly acted historic epic is based on the life of King Henry II (Peter O’Toole) and dramatizes his complicated relationship with Archbishop Thomas Becket (Richard Burton). I’ve had the pleasure of seeing a screening of BECKET before but this time Peter O’Toole will be in attendance and I’d jump at the chance to see him discuss the film as well as his behind-the-scene antics with friend and co-star, Richard Burton. It promises to be a lively and fascinating event. Following BECKET I’d make time for the screening of Nicholas Ray’s BIGGER THAN LIFE (1956) starring James Mason and Barbra Rush. I haven’t had the chance to see this suburban melodrama yet and this would be a great opportunity to catch up with it. To sweeten the deal actress Barbara Rush will also be in attendance.
My next choice would be to catch the screening of Robert Mulligan’s TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (1962). This beautifully shot film based on Harper Lee’s classic American novel about racial injustice in a small southern town has earned a special place in my heart over the years. The TCM Classic Film Festival screening will include a discussion about the movie with cast member Mary Badham who played Scout as well as Gregory Peck’s own children. In the evening you’d find me enjoying Roger Corman’s kooky horror comedy, THE LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (1961) followed by William Castle’s THE TINGLER (1959) starring the late great Vincent Price. Director Roger Corman will be in attendance to discuss THE LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS and I suspect that the conversation will be fun and enlightening. New York’s Film Forum’s Bruce Goldstein will be introducing THE TINGLER.
On the morning of April 30th I’d plant myself outside Grauman’s Chinese Theatre to witness Peter O’Toole’s official handprint ceremony taking place there at 10am. One of my favorite films, Carol Reed’s THE THIRD MAN (1949), is also playing that morning. I adore Peter O’Toole so I wouldn’t miss his historic moment for anything but if you can’t make the event, which will undoubtedly be pretty spectacular and generate a large crowd, I highly recommend catching THE THIRD MAN screening. Afterward I’d make my way over to THE PARENT TRAP (1961); A TRIBUTE TO HAYLEY MILLS event where Mills herself will be in attendance. Like a lot of kids I grew up watching Hayley Mills in Walt Disney films and I absolutely love her. Forget the 1998 remake, the original PARENT TRAP is one of the best live-action movies Disney ever produced and this special screening should be a real treat.
Otto Preminger is one of my favorite directors so my next stop would be at THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM (1955) screening. The film provided Frank Sinatra with one of his best roles playing a drug addicted musician trying to get clean. It also features a terrific score from Elmer Bernstein as well as good supporting performances from Kim Novak, Darren McGavin and Eleanor Parker. Vicki Preminger along with Nancy and Tina Sinatra will also be in attendance. I absolutely love Nancy Sinatra so this would be a great opportunity to see her in person! Following THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM I’d make time for the excellent Henry Hathaway film NIAGRA (1953), which features Marilyn Monroe and Joseph Cotton in two of their best roles. This Technicolor noir contains some incredible location shots, which should look amazing on screen. Author and film scholar Foster Hirsch will be in attendance to discuss the film.
In the evening I’d have a tough time trying to choose between seeing a screening of George Cukor’s excellent gothic thriller GASLIGHT (1944), Fellini’s decade defining LA DOLCE VITA (1960) and Gordon Park’s iconic SHAFT (1971), but I’m pretty sure SHAFT would win out. I’ve never had the opportunity to see a theatrical screening of the film and with the movie’s star, Richard Roundtree, in attendance it’s sure to be a night to remember. I’d end my day with a midnight screening of the classic Universal monster movie THE MUMMY (1932) featuring the one and only Boris Karloff. The film is being presented by Ron Perlman who I happen to think is one of the more interesting actors working today.
Things get a bit complicated on May 1st since a lot of films haven’t been announced yet but as of now I’d begin my day by attending the 9am screening of Sidney Lumet’s powerful social drama and media critique, NETWORK (1976). The recently deceased director has been on my mind a lot lately and this is a great opportunity to revisit one of his Oscar winning films. My next choice would be extremely tough to make so I might end up flipping a coin and trying to decide if I’d see my favorite James Bond film, GOLDFINGER (1964), Hitchcock’s THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY (1955) or attend another Tribute to Hayley Mills, which also features a screening of Bryan Forbes’ WHISTLE DOWN THE WIND (1961). The rarely screened WHISTLE DOWN THE WIND would undoubtedly win out with Hayley in attendance but I’ve always wanted to see a theatrical screening of GOLDFINGER.
The last two films I’d try and make time for are George Steven’s excellent romantic drama A PLACE IN THE SUN (1951) starring Montgomery Clift, Shelley Winters and the recently deceased Elizabeth Taylor followed by an evening screening of one of my favorite movie musicals, WEST SIDE STORY (1961). One of the stars of WEST SIDE STORY, the handsome George Chakiris, will be in attendance and this final screening promises to be a great end to the festivities. That’s a lot of movies and if I followed my own schedule I’d probably be utterly exhausted by Monday morning, but this girl can dream and she likes to dream big!
If you happen to be attending the festival please keep in mind that the schedule is subject to change at any time but it’s a good idea to plan ahead so you don’t miss any of the movies you want to see. For more information about all the films being shown at TCM’s Classic Film Festival please visit the official Festival website, which is updated regularly.
Some more recommendations:
LA Weekly – TCM Classic Film Festival: 12 Highlights
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