Friday, April 17, 2015

2015 Turner Classic Movies Film Festival: Tips for next year and beyond

As noted in previous posts, Turner Classic Movies Film Festival was a wonderful experience, beyond this first-timers expectation. There were so many things going on at one time that it was difficult to decide what to do. In spite of being a newbie, I managed to see 16 movies in four days and have the red eyes to prove it! I learned a lot from this first experience and I’m already planning for next year. I want to make sure I experience as much of the festival as I possibly can. Below are some suggestions for those planning on coming next year.

1. Read as much as you can about the festival from the TCM Web site. The schedule is posted about three to four weeks before the event, but you can start planning who you would like to see in person—special guests are announced before the movie schedule—and whether or not you want to attend opening day (Thursday) or get a three-day pass (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday).

2. Find a hotel within walking distance of all the major venues. And your hotel doesn’t have to be too fancy; it just needs to be clean. My hotel had a lovely swimming pool and a nice exercise room—never used either of them. Remember, you’re attending a film festival, you won’t have time for the pool.

3. Plan out what you’re going to see in advance of the festival. Try to be flexible. You’ll probably be able to get into all the events you want to, but some venues are smaller than others, so you may find some films “sold out.”

4. When you arrive, you should try and time how long it takes you to get from your hotel to Hollywood Blvd. Then you should time how long it takes to walk from venue to venue (based on what you’re planning to see). All are within walking distance of each other, but events are stacked back to back and it may be tough getting to your next event on time if they’re on opposite ends of Hollywood Blvd.

5. Eat a good breakfast! There is so little time to eat at the festival. I never had more than two meals a day. The Chinese Multiplex serves hot dogs (not bad either) so that’s an option, but it can get expensive. I suggest you stock up on snack bars to eat in-between screenings when you’re hungry. That’s one thing I’ll be planning on doing next year.

6. Bring a sweater or sweatshirt. It may be 90 degrees outside, but I found the theaters to be chilly. In fact they got progressively colder while the films were screening.

7. If you’re traveling by yourself, don’t be afraid of striking up a conversation with other attendees. You’ll find out quickly that you’re among friends. I mean where else could you say, “I’d no sooner do that than get into a rowboat with Gene Tierney” and everyone gets the allusion? Who knows you may make a friend for life or find a life partner. I've heard stories of people meeting at the festival who ended up getting married!

8. If you’re on Twitter or Facebook, be sure to meet up with your social media friends. I met people I had been friends with on Twitter for years for the first time and it was wonderful—probably the highlight of the festival for me.

9. Bring a camera! I know most smart phones have cameras, but if you want to take great pictures, there’s nothing like a good digital camera. I left my camera on the table at home this year and I could kick myself. I got some decent pictures with my phone, but for clear distance shots, you need a good, digital camera.

10. Bring a cell phone charger. You’ll find that your phone’s battery will wear down pretty quickly during the festival. I was constantly on Twitter, taking pictures and opening and closing apps all day—nothing drains a battery faster. I didn’t bring a phone charger, but my friend Kristina did and she let me use hers. I would have been up a creek without it. Thank you, Kristina!

11. If you have friends that have attended the festival, ask them about their experiences and if they would have done anything differently. Feel free to ask questions of your social media friends. I did and most were very helpful and pointed me to a blog posts like this one with tips and suggestions.

12. Enjoy the festival! See you in 2016!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Screening of Hitchcock’s “Strangers on a Train” at Daystar Center April 14, 2015

When: Tuesday, April 14, 2015 6:30 p.m.
Where: The Venue 1550 at the Daystar Center, 1550 S. State Street

When an amateur tennis star (Farley Granger) meets a rather strange and disturbed man (Robert Walker) on a train, a weird nightmare begins. Bruno Antony (Walker) tries to convince tennis player Guy Haines (Granger) that they should “swap murders.” Anthony goes on to explain how much he’d like to get rid of his father and that he’s read how Guys failed marriage to Miriam (Laura Elliot) is getting in the way of his relationship with Anne Morton (Ruth Roman). While Guy laughs off the swapping murder idea proposition, Bruno takes it seriously and kills Guy’s wife. When Guy fails to murder Bruno’s father, Bruno threatens to expose Guy as a murderer, destroying his tennis career and his relationship with Anne. Considered one of director Alfred Hitchcock’s best films, it includes one of the most memorable climaxes in movie history.
Have some Joe and Enjoy the Show!
Before the movie, grab a cup of coffee from Overflow Coffee Bar, located within the Daystar Center. You can bring food and beverages into the auditorium; we even have small tables set up next to some of the seats. General Admission: $5 Students and Senior Citizens: $3.

Join the Chicago Film club; join the discussion
Once a month we screen a classic film and have a brief discussion afterward. For more information, including how to join (it’s free), click here. To purchase your ticket in advance, click here. The Venue 1550 is easily accessible by the CTA. Please visit Transit Chicago for more information on transportation options.

Friday, April 10, 2015

2015 Turner Classic Movies Film Festival Recap: Day 4

Day four of the TCM Film Festival was bittersweet. Sweet because there were some great movies on the schedule and bitter because I knew the festival was soon coming to an end. As usual, several movies were running on or around the same time, so tough decisions had to be made. Once again I tried to see movies I hadn’t seen before or in a long time. I pretty much fulfilled that goal. My first movie was screening at 10 a.m. so I got to take my time, enjoy my breakfast, and leisurely make my way to the Chinese Multiplex. The first movie I saw turned out to be my most enjoyable experience of the festival.

Calamity Jane (1953) was a movie I saw once on my Kindle Fire over a year ago. Seeing it on the big screen with an enthusiastic audience was a treat I hadn’t expected. Cari Beauchamp, the award-winning writer and documentary filmmaker introduced the film. Of course the history is all wrong; there isn’t that much we know for certain about Calamity Jane (Doris Day) and her relationship with Wild Bill Hickok (Howard Keel). We’re not even sure if they knew each other at all, but so what; it’s a movie. Beauchamp encouraged those in the audience to go the Academy Award Web site and petition for a special Oscar for Day. She certainly deserves it, as the morning crowd at the Chinese Multi-Plex would attest. The fun started as soon as the credits began to roll. When Day’s name came on the screen, the audience broke out in applause. Keel’s name was also welcomed with a good round of clapping as was the rest of the cast and director David Butler. Each musical number was a joy to watch, with each followed by more clapping and hooting. The world premiere restoration was beautiful. The film was an amazing showcase for Day’s singing (what a voice!), dancing, and comedic acting and timing. The songs by Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster were catchy and the Oscar-winning “Secret Love” became one of Day’s signature tunes. After the movie concluded, I was humming the “Deadwood Stage” for the next two days all the way back to Chi-caw-gee!

After Calamity Jane, it was on line for Rein of Terror (1949), a movie I don’t think I ever heard of before. It was an unusual combination of historical drama with a film noir feel. The movie was introduced by Eddie Muller, founder and president of the Film Noir Foundation. Rein of Terror is an interesting tale set during the political struggle after the French Revolution. The machinations of Maximilien Robespierre (Richard Basehart) and his attempt to recover his “black book,” an enemies list that is the “McGuffin” and sets this film in motion. Charles D’Aubigny (Robert Cummings) who is impersonating Duval, a man he killed, who Robespierre and his right-hand man Fouche have never met before, has stolen the black book. Along the way, D’Aubigny meets Madelon (a ravishing Arlene Dahl) a friend of the Revolution who assists D’Aubigny expose Robespierre for the scoundrel he truly is. The low-budget production looks first-class thanks to the talent involved, including director Anthony Mann, writers Aeneas MacKenzie and Philip Yordan, and producer William Cameron Menzies. Others in the cast include the great Norman Lloyd, Richard Hart and Beulah Bondi. I found the film to be fast-paced and exciting. It was almost like an expanded version of the M-G-M serial series, The Passing Parade. And that’s a compliment!

Steward, Hussey, John Howard, Hepburn, and Grant
Next on the agenda was The Philadelphia Story (1940). While not a big fan of this classic (blasphemy, I know), seeing it on the big screen at the Chinese Theater (my first time in that movie palace) was a treat. Ileana Douglas and Madeline Stowe introduced the film. Stowe a big fan of classic romantic comedies, rattled off a string of favorites, including George Stevens’s The More The Merrier, and I thought, this woman has great taste (who knew?). Cary Grant (Dexter), Katherine Hepburn (Tracy), and James Stewart (Macauly “Mike”) all looked great on the big screen. It was also nice to see Ruth Hussey in her Academy Award-nominated performance as Elizabeth Imbrie, Mike’s coworker and sometime girlfriend. The plot is well known so I won’t go into that. The production was wonderful, even though not a single frame was shot anywhere near Philadelphia. Virginia Wiedler as Hepburn’s younger sister Dinah practically steals the movie; she’s even better than I remembered (it must be that big screen). During the end of the film, Kristina had to leave to catch her flight back to Canada. On the way out she ran into Ben Mankiewicz and actually talked with him for a few minutes. A nice consolation and a great memory for my friend.

Sophia Loren, Marriage Italian Style
Next I was back on line at the Chinese Theater to see Sophia Loren in Marriage Italian Style (1964). I had never seen this film before, but the real attraction for me was to see Loren in the flesh. She was interviewed about the film by Ben Mankiewicz before the screening. She looked amazing (she’s 80!?) and seemed very happy to be at the festival and was very appreciative of the audience. She talked about making the movie with frequent costar Marcello Mastroianni and director Vittorio De Sica. For me the movie was somewhat anticlimactic. There were parts that were enjoyable and Loren and Mastroianni were wonderful, but overall it’s not a film I need to see again. It was enough to see Loren in person, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

After the film it was back to the Roosevelt Hotel to say goodbye
to everyone. What a great thing it was to meet all the TCMParty folk: Joel, Laura, Kristina, Pam, Kellee, Aurora, Karen, Will, Annmarie and so many others.

Well it was time for bed and getting up early for the flight back to Chicago or is that Chi-caw-gee!

This was my first time at the TCM film festival. I had never been to a film festival before so the experience was completely new to me. It was both exciting and overwhelming, but great fun. If I have the good fortune to attend again next year, I’ll be better prepared. Look for my next blog post: Tips for First-Timers coming soon.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

2015 Turner Classic Movies Film Festival Recap: Day 3

Colleen Moore and Neil Hamilton from Why Be Good?
The third day of the TCM Film Festival and I felt like a “seasoned campaigner,” to quote Jean Dixon from My Man Godfrey, a film from the festival’s first day. There were some great movies screening in the morning, but again, I opted to see things I hadn’t seen before, including another silent movie, a Disney classic, an early John Ford melodrama featuring Ralph Bellamy—in the lead—Pat O’Brien and Gloria Stewart, a Preston Sturges classic, a glossy melodrama from director Douglas Sirk, and some Hollywood home movies.

First up was the silent film Why Be Good? (1929) starring Colleen Moore and Neil Hamilton. Cari Beauchamp, an award-winning writer and documentary filmmaker introduced the film. We learned that the movie was thought to be lost, but that a print was discovered in Italy in the late 90s and eventually restored. The movie is about a young flapper, Pert—love that name—Kelly (Moore) who pretends to be a bad girl so she can go clubbing with her fast friends. Pert loves to dance and have fun, but she is strictly a “good girl.” The action begins when she meets a young man at a club after she ditches her lech of a date, when he falls asleep in a drunken stupor. As she is about to leave, she meets Winthrop Peabody Jr. (Hamilton). They are immediately smitten and Winthrop asks her out on a date for the following evening. Pert, tired from the late-night out with Winthrop, arrives tardy for work, only to be reprimanded by the new head of personnel, Winthrop! In order to please his father Winthrop Peaboy Sr. and show him that he’s up for his new job, junior is unusually harsh with Pert. This causes all kinds of confusion and frustration for the young couple. Of course the end of the movie resolves all, but the scenes between Pert and her parents, and the others in between, are both humorous and poignant. It’s easy to see why Moore was such a big star in the silent era. Besides being pretty and attractive, she had a effervescent personality that is hard to resist. Hamilton, Moore’s costar is best known today as Commissioner Gordon from the Batman TV series from the 1960s. Although the film is silent (no dialogue), it is accompanied by a synchronized score and sound effects, something that was fairly common during the transition from silent to talking films. The film boasts early screen appearances of Jean Harlow, Andy Devine, Mischa Auer, Phil Harris, and Grady Sutton, but the only one I really noticed was Harlow in a party scene. Two silents in two days and I enjoyed them both!

Bobby Driscoll receives his juvenile Oscar
from Donald O'Connor
After Why Be Good? it was a choice between 42n Street (1933) and So Dear To My Heart (1948). It was really no contest. I’ve seen 42n Street and the opportunities to see it on the big screen would come again, but not so with Disney’s So Dear To My Heart. Film critic Leonard Maltin who is a real fan of the film said he hoped he hadn’t “oversold” the movie with his enthusiastic introduction, gave us some backgrond on the film. We learned that the movie had originally been planned as Disney’s first all live-action film, but that the distributor, RKO, didn’t think they could “sell” a Disney film without animation. So some short animation scenes were inserted to appease RKO, even though they add little—other than the fact that they’re cute—to the overall story line. The plot surrounds Jeremiah Kincaid (Bobby Driscoll) and his efforts to raise a black sheep to be a county fair champion, a champion just like race horse Dan Patch, in 1903 Indiana. Jeremiah’s stern, but loving grandmother, Granny Kincaid (Beulah Bondi) is against her grandson raising the black sheep as a pet, but she eventually relents, against her better judgment. Others in the cast include a very young Burl Ives as Uncle Hiram Douglas, singing the Oscar-nominated song, “Lavender Blue” and Luana Patten as Tildy. Bobby Driscoll, who also scored a hit in The Window (1949) on loan to RKO won a special juvenile Academy Award for his performances. The movie is corny, sentimental, but charming and extremely watchable. I was transported to a simpler time in my life when my older sister would take me to every Disney movie, that was playing in our neighborhood, when I was a young boy.

After So Dear To My Heart, it was back on line at the same theater for John Ford’s Air Mail (1932). I never even heard of  Air Mail, so I was anxious to see it. Seven years before Howard Hawks’s Only Angels Have Wings, John Ford crafted this exciting film about young pilots transporting the mail under dangerous conditions from a desert airport at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. Leonard Maltin introduced this film as not a classic, but as an entertaining film and early Ford directorial effort and a rare stint working at Universal Studios. Ralph Bellamy as Mike Miller is top-billed over Pat O’Brien (Duke Talbot) and the rest of the cast that also includes Gloria Stewart (Ruth Barnes), Ward Bond (Joe Barnes), and Slim Summerville (Slim McCune). Bellamy plays the level-headed and headstrong operator of the airport who hires hotshot pilot Duke Talbot to take the place of Joe Barnes (Ruth’s brother) who lost his life in a fiery plane crash. For a film shot in 1932, the special effects are fairly impressive. Most impressive are some of the miniature sets of the airport that were remarkably realistic. The real drama begins when Mike, whose eyesight isn’t what it used to be, flies out during some bad weather, against the wishes of his girlfriend Ruth. He crashes in a remote mountain area with little hope of being rescued. Duke who has run off with the widow of another pilot, decides he can rescue Mike. Duke makes the daring attempt to save Mike, successfully landing his plane where Mike is stranded. Duke manages to load Mike into the plane and take off. Although the plane is able to fly, it sustained some damage during its rocky landing. While flying, the plane begins to fall apart. Realizing that he can’t land safely, Duke flips the plane over on purpose, which causes Mike to fall out. Mike lands safely with his parachute. Duke crashes, but survives, making him an instant hero. It was great to see a film where Bellamy was not only the lead, but also the guy who actually gets the girl in the end. Maltin called this a “bread and butter” movie for Ford. Under contract to Fox, which was cutting salaries, Ford decided to go to work for Carl Laemmle Jr. at Universal to pick up some extra cash.

I was now ready for a good laugh, so the ideal choice was Christmas in July (1940). It was a long time since I last saw this Preston Sturges classic. Being a Sturges fan, I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see this film on the big screen with a live audience. It did not disappoint. Sturges’s follow-up to The Great McGinty (1940) chronicles the aspirations of Jimmy MacDonald (Dick Powell) and his efforts to win the slogan writing contest sponsored by Maxford House Coffee. Desperate to win, Jimmy dreams of providing for his mother and prove himself worthy of his girlfriend, Betty Casey (Ellen Drew). Jimmy’s “winning” slogan: “If you can’t sleep at night, it’s not the coffee, it’s the bunk.” The slogan doesn’t exactly resonate with Jimmy’s friends and family, but he’s convinced it’s a winner. As a practical joke, three of Jimmy’s coworkers phony-up a telegram announcing that Jimmy is the winner. Before his friends can tell him it’s a prank, Jimmy is off buying expensive gifts and furniture for his mother, an engagement ring and fur coat for Betty, and presents for just about everyone on his city block. Jimmy’s boss, J. B. Baxter (Ernest Truet) coincidentally, the head of another coffee company, is so impressed with Jimmy’s “win” that he gives him a promotion, his own office, and a private secretary (Betty). Things begin to unravel when Dr. Maxford discovers that the voting for the winning slogan is deadlocked because of the stubbornness of Mr. Bildocker (William Demarest). Jimmy is humiliated and embarrassed when he finds out his winning telegram was a joke and the owner and clerks from the department store where Jimmy bought all his gifts comes to take them all back. Jimmy pleads with his boss to let him keep his new job on a probationary basis until he proves himself. Jimmy’s boss agrees, but he gets no raise in the bargain. Finally Mr. Bildocker bursts into Dr. Maxford’s office proclaiming the deadlock is over. The winning slogan: “If you can’t sleep at night, it’s not the coffee, it’s the bunk!”

Jane Withers charms the crowd.
Next it was off to Club TCM for some Hollywood Home Movies. This was a great treat. Guests that shared their home movies included, Jane Withers, Bob Koster (son of director Henry Koster), and Neile Adams McQueen (widow of Steve McQueen). We saw some rare behind the scenes movies of Esther Ralston and Gary Cooper in a silent film that is lost to history, as well as images of Charles Laughton, Elsa Lanchester, and Sophia Loren, during the filming of her first American film, Boy on a Dolphin (1957). Withers was the most fun, however. She narrated her home movies, which included the likes of Jackie Cooper, Roddy McDowell and other child actors of the era. Withers’s enthusiasm and charm was evident throughout and it was a treat just to see her.

For some reason (I blame Laura and Kristina) I decided to see Imitation of Life (1959) starring Lana Turner and John Gavin. Imitation is a glossy melodrama produced by Ross Hunter and directed by Douglas Sirk. Introduced by Sherry Lansing and Leonard Maltin, who both think the film is worth seeing and a film that resonated with Lansing when she first saw it at age 14. For me though, the film was almost a parody. The melodrama and acting style was over the top and it just didn’t work for me. After not getting into Too Late for Tears, watching this film was one of the few things I regret about the festival. I would have much rather enjoyed seeing Adam’s Rib or The French Connection, but that’s the way it goes; we have to make choices and sometimes we’re not happy with them.

Five films in one day was a record for me. I was exahausted and my eyes were sore and dry from all that movie-watching. On Sunday, my day started a little later than Saturday with my favorite movie experience of the festival: Calamity Jane (1953).

Check back for my last update, to be followed by a wrap-up, and some hints for first-time festival goers.

Friday, April 3, 2015

2015 Turner Classic Movies Film Festival Recap: Day 2

Henry Fonda as Wyatt Earp
The second and first full day of the Turner Classic Movies Film Festival, was Friday March 27. And
what a full day it was. I quickly found out that you had to choose what you most wanted to see because there could be up to five films playing on or around the same time. I decided I wanted to see films I hadn’t seen in a long time or never before.

My first choice was John Ford’s My Darling Clementine (1946) starring Henry Fonda, Linda Darnell, and Victor Mature. This was not a new film for me. I’ve seen it several times and even own the DVD. But I love westerns and the opportunity to see it on the big screen was a chance I didn’t want to pass up. Introduced by Peter Fonda and Keith Carradine, who brought some perspective and insight to the film, including what it was like working for Ford. The film looked beautiful. I don’t think it could have looked any better in color; the western vistas were magnificent and every image was suitable for framing. The performances were good all-around. Fonda is steady and strong as Wyatt Earp, Mature is tough (and tender) as the hard-drinking Doc Holliday, and Linda Darnell as Doc’s fiery girlfriend, Chihuahua is lively and beautiful. Other impressive performances are had from Tim Holt, Ward Bond, John Ireland, Alan Mowbray, Jane Darwell, Cathy Downs, and a very menacing Walter Brennen as Old Man Clanton. If you love westerns, Clementine has to be in your top-ten.

Olivia de Havilland, David and Alan Ladd
The next movie I watched was a movie I hadn’t seen in at least 25 years (probably more like 35). I remember seeing The Proud Rebel (1958)  as a young boy and really enjoying it. I probably identified with David Ladd, who was about ten years old when he made the film with his dad, Alan Ladd. The film directed by the legendary Michael Curtiz was presented in a world premier restoration. The film also stars Olivia de Havilland. The story goes that Curtiz coaxed de Havilland (a star he directed in about a dozen films while under contract at Warner Bros.) to appear in this film. The two-time Oscar-winning actress hadn’t been in a U.S. feature film in three years. Well, I must say I enjoyed this film immensely. It was a heart-tugger, but it benefited from great performances from both Ladds and de Havilland, plus some beautiful cinematography from Ted D. McCord. The biggest surprise to me was that the film was in color. I only remember seeing it on TV in black and white. Hardly remembering anything about the plot, this was basically a new film for me. The story revolves around John Chandler (Alan Ladd), a Confederate veteran trying to find a cure for his son. After witnessing a traumatic event during the Civil War, David Chandler (David Ladd) became a mute. The Chandlers travel around going from one doctor to the next, hoping for a cure. They come in contact with a single farm woman Linette Moore (de Havilland), who takes John and his son on as workers at her farm, partially out of sympathy and partially out of self-preservation. Linette is being pressured to give up her land to the Burleighs, headed by father John Burleigh (Dean Jagger). Burleigh has two sons: Jeb (Harry Dean Stanton, billed as Dean Stanton) and Tom (Tom Pittman, billed as Thomas Pittman). The growing relationships between Linette, John, and David make this film stand out in my opinion. So glad I chose to see it as an adult. I saw this film with Laura and Kristina who also really enjoyed it.

The iconic scene that made half
of the crew walk off the set
Next up was a film with tons of nostalgia value: Pinocchio (194). I saw this Disney classic as a small boy. I remember being absolutely terrified by several scenes, including the boys turning into donkeys on Pleasure Island and the Whale sitting at the bottom of the ocean. For a kid it was like watching Jaws, knowing nothing good was going to happen. The animation was magical and viewing it in the El Capitan theater (now owned by Disney) was a treat.

My knowledge of silent films is pretty thin, so the next movie I saw was Buster Keaton in Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928). Apparently the film was a flop in its day, but it was a hit with this 21st-century audience. Another world premiere restoration, Bill looked new. Featuring some of Keaton’s most famous slapstick bits, including the wall of a house falling down on him, with an open window right where he’s standing is pretty amazing and was enormously risky. Apparently half the crew walked off the set in protest over what they thought was unnecessary risk-taking. The TCM Orchestra conducted by Carl Davis accompanied the film. Steamboat Bill, Jr. is a real gem and worth seeing, even if you’re not a silent movie fan.

Roman Holiday publicity picture
The last film of the evening was a movie that I’ve never seen from beginning to end: Roman Holiday (1953)! Hard to believe I know, but that’s the truth. I even have the film on DVD, but never watched it. Everyone knows the story of Princess Ann (Audrey Hepburn) escaping her princess duties for one glorious day in Rome with reporter Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck). This was another world premier restoration and like all the others, it looked brand new. The sound and picture quality were crystal clear. Showing the film in Disney’s El Capitan theater, where Cinderella is currently playing, seemed amazingly appropriate. Rome looked beautiful in glorious black and white, as did Hepburn, Peck, and Eddie Albert, who is wonderful. He really deserved his Oscar nod. The film that introduced Audrey Hepburn (Oscar winner for Best Actress of  1954) to the world is a delight.

Whew! I can’t believe I saw four movies in one day. Little did I know I would break that record on Saturday. Stay tuned!

P.S. On the second day I also got to share my love of movies via video thanks to the folks at #IHeartMovies. To check out my story, click on the link here.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

2015 Turner Classic Movies Film Festival Recap: Day 1

The Turner Classic Movies Film Festival began on Thursday March 29. The flight from Chicago to LA was uneventful (hallalujah!). After settling in at my hotel, I walked over to the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel and Club TCM. I was hoping to connect with folks that I’ve known via social media for years in-person for the first time. After walking around the room for several minutes, a woman walked up to me and said, “Stephen?” I replied yes and Pam, a Twitter friend, was the first person I met. After Pam it was Kelly, Joel, Will, Aurora,  Laura, and Kristina. Kristina and I have known each other from social media for several years. Two years ago we organized and managed the Val Lewton blogathon together. It was wonderful to finally meet her in person to talk about classic movies and the excitement (and our good fortune) about attending the festival for the first time.

I was almost in tears when I realized
I wasn't going to be seeing this film.
To save some money, I opted out of attending The Sound of Music. I’m sure it would have been fun, but I was willing to pass up that opportunity. My first movie choice was also my first (and only) disappointment. I wanted to see Too Late For Tears (1949) starring Lizabeth Scott, but it was sold out! So instead, I went into The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) starring John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, and Vera Miles. A John Ford classic and one of my favorites of his, so it was a fine consolation for missing out on Tears.

After Valance, it was a choice between My Man Godfrey (1936), Breaker Morant (1980), or The Sea Hawk (1940). I decided I wanted to laugh and Godfrey is a movie I never tire of seeing. And on a big screen with an audience, it was better than I could have imagined. The print screened was beautiful; It looked brand new. With the constant laughter emanating from the theater, it was almost like seeing the film for the very first time.

After Godfrey, it was time to go back to the hotel and try and catch up (or at least try) on my two hours of jet lag and plan day two!

To read my overview of the Turner Classic Movies Film Festival, click here.
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