[Cross-posted from Row Three]
After missing last year’s TCM Classic Film Festival due to a minor thing like having a baby, I’ve been really excited to jump back in this year, and thankfully, I was able to secure a media credential to cover the fest despite taking a year off. My schedule will necessarily be a little less manic this year thanks to not wanting to completely abandon my husband and child for the weekend, but I hope to make it to enough things to make my coverage worthwhile.
In the meantime, here’s a preview of the fest now that this year’s schedule has been released. Since the TCM Fest splits pretty well into time slots (aside from a few special events and extra-long movies), I figured I’d just go through each time slot and identify some best bets if you’re planning to attend. Passes are already sold out, but individual tickets will be sold on space-available basis before each screening.
The overall theme this year is Families in the Movies: The Ties That Bind, which is a pretty broad theme, and indeed, you’ll find films about aging parents, fathers and daughters, single mothers, sisters, and dysfunctional families scattered throughout the festival along with the usual assortment of films considered Essential and Discoveries by the programmers (and Tributes and Special Presentations that have special guests or unique experiences attached to them).
Thursday, April 10
PRE-SLOT SPECIAL EVENTS
In addition to the films, the TCM Fest always has a lot of special events – panels, parties, exhibits, etc. These are generally all passholder-only, so no individual tickets are available. They run concurrently with movies throughout the weekend, but they start up earlier on Thursday. These first three are all before any films start playing, and are all for passholders only, so I’ll separate them out.
2:00pm – Meet TCM (Egyptian Theatre) – From the program: “As TCM celebrates its 20th year, join TCM staffers as we share insight into the network, how it is produced and what is on the horizonas we look forward to the next 20 years.” TCM has done such a great job attracting fans as a brand, and even though I’ve never made it to one of these, I bet it’s fun to hear some behind the scenes info.
3:30pm – Sons of Gods and Monsters (Hollywood Museum) – Makeup artist Rick Baker and director Joe Dante will be on hand to discuss the legacy of monsters in classic cinema, with moderation from TCM producer Scott McGee (who’s a great guy). Should be a great time.
5:00pm – Welcome Party / TCM at 30 Exhibit (Club TCM @ Roosevelt) – Robert Osborne and several guest stars will welcome passholders to the festival and talk about their favorite classic movie moments. I’ve never been big on the parties at Club TCM, either, but this is one of the best chances to mix and meet and greet other film fans as well as famous classic era actors and actresses.
SLOT 1: Starting 6:30pm-7:30pm
The Essential Choice: Oklahoma! (6:30 at TCL Chinese) – This is the Opening Night film, the premiere of a new digital restoration. It’s for passholders only (not even media credentials get you in here), so don’t look for individual tickets to it. Unfortunate, because this was one of my absolute favorite movies growing up and I would love to see it at Grauman’s Chinese (sorry, I have a hard time calling it the TCL Chinese). Shirley Jones will be in attendance, doing an interview with Robert Osborne. Note: If you go to this one, you’ll be likely too late for 2 of the 3 films in Slot 2, and you’d be pushing it for the third one.
The Counter-programming Choice: What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (6:30 in Chinese 1) – I was floored the first time I saw this film, with an aging Bette Davis playing a faded former child star in one of her absolute best roles. Her legendary rivalry with Joan Crawford comes to a head here, and the stories about the tricks they played on each other during filming are many. It’s a cult classic now for a reason, but it’s also just a straight-up great film, something you can’t say about a lot of cult-type movies.
The Experience Choice: American Graffiti (7:30 Poolside at the Roosevelt) – Every festival they pull out a screen by the Roosevelt’s fancy pool and have a screening there. I’m rarely a huge fan of the films they show poolside, so I haven’t been to one (last year’s I think was rained out anyway), but if you’re looking to have a memorable festival with experiences you wouldn’t get anywhere else, this is your ticket. The seating is extremely limited, though, so I’d get there early if you have a pass and have a back-up plan if you’re trying to get individual tickets. Note: If you go to this one, you likely won’t make it in time to any of the films in Slot 2.
The Discovery Choice: 5th Ave. Girl (7pm in Chinese 4) – A slight but enjoyable Ginger Rogers vehicle – the plot sounds like a perfect Pre-Code (after a bit of innocent fun lands millionaire Walter Connolly and unemployed Rogers in the gossip columns and reignites his wife’s interest, he hires Rogers to pretend to be his mistress), but it’s made in 1939 so it’s much tamer than your imagination suggests. Rogers is always a delight, particularly during this time in her career, so if you’re looking for something off the beaten path, this is a good choice.
Also Playing: Cheaper by the Dozen (7:15pm in Chinese 6) – It sounds like I’m relegating this to also-ran status, and I guess it is kind of my fourth choice for the evening, but it’s a solid family film with Clifton Webb and Myrna Loy as the parents of a prodigious brood of children. It’s fun times and if you have a love of nostalgia (it’s based on a fictionalized autobiography set in the 1910s) and warm-hearted family comedy/drama, you’ll find this winning. And it’s way better than the Steve Martin remake.
My Choice: Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, although if I were able to get into the Oklahoma! screening, I’d probably take that one.
SLOT 2: Starting 9:30pm-10pm
The Essential Choice: The Heiress (9:45pm in Chinese 6) – I say it’s the essential, but it’s the only one of the three in this time slot that I haven’t seen. Heh. But it’s Olivia de Havilland in one of her two Oscar-winning roles, as a less-than-attractive (!) heiress whose overbearing father refuses to allow her to see the less-than-wealthy man who loves her. Compared to the other two, it’s kind of the “safe” choice, I guess is why I gave it the Essential nod. Note that if you go to Oklahoma! or American Graffiti in Slot 1, you’ll be too late to make this one.
The Counter-programming Choice: Johnny Guitar (10pm in Chinese 1) – Nicholas Ray’s feminine Western is a pretty amazing film to have been made in Hollywood in 1954. Sterling Hayden plays the title character, but the story is ultimately a conflict between Joan Crawford’s saloon owner, who represents freedom and entrepreneurship and open-mindedness, and Mercedes McCambridge, who represents old-school order, fear-mongering, and zenophobia. There’s more than a touch of anti-McCarthyism here, not to mention an almost palpable sexuality that I almost can’t believe made it through the censors. It was understandably ill-received at the time, but its reputation has only grown in recent years. Note that if you go to American Graffiti in Slot 1, you’ll be too late to make this one, and if you go to Oklahoma! in slot 1, you’ll be cutting it pretty tight.
The Discovery Choice: Bachelor Mother (9:30pm in Chinese 4) – You can do a Ginger Rogers double feature right here by following 5th Ave Girl with this utterly delightful 1939 comedy about a young woman who ends up with an orphan baby through a series of circumstances, and who further ends up with her boss believing the baby is hers and offering to help her financially to take care of him. Well, how could she refuse that! This is quite honestly one of my favorite Ginger Rogers films, and I like most things she’s done. If you haven’t seen it and are looking for a light-hearted good time, you can’t go wrong with this. Note that if you go to American Graffiti or Oklahoma! in Slot 1, you’ll be too late to make this one.
My Choice: The Heiress, just because it’s the one I haven’t seen. If I were recommending, I’d recommend Johnny Guitar.
Friday, April 11
SLOT 1: Starting at 9am-10am
The Essential Choice: Stagecoach (9:15am in Chinese 6) – Even people who don’t like Westerns often end up loving John Ford’s Stagecoach, for the simple reason that it’s really a multi-faceted character study in disguise, as well as a microcosm of society at the time. A group of disparate people take a stagecoach west, each seeking something different and with their own prejudices and weaknesses. It’s also a star-making film for John Wayne, and remains one of his best roles ever.
The Counter-programming Choice: The Thin Man (9am at the Egyptian) – This might as well be an Essential Choice as well, and it’s easily one of my favorite films of all time. The exploits of Nick and Nora Charles, urbane detectives, spread into five more films and a TV series, but the first one (based on the novel by Dashiell Hammett) remains the best, an absolutely winning combination of comedy and mystery, with one of the best on-screen marriages in the history of cinema.
The Discovery Choice: On Approval: (9:45am in Chinese 4) – I’ve never heard of this film, but those are the ones that intrigue me the most at TCM Fest. It’s the only film directed by actor Clive Brook, who’s far from a household name today even as an actor, and based on a comedy of manners play about a pair of couples who decide to platonically cohabitate to “test out” marriage before committing. Kind of a scandalous subject for 1944, or its 1890s setting. It sounds like a Pre-Code, and I’d be curious to check it out.
The Choice I Haven’t Seen: East of Eden (9am in Chinese 1) – I’m not a big fan of Steinbeck (except I did love the film of The Grapes of Wrath, so maybe I’m wrong) or Elia Kazan films, so I’ve never had much drive to see this film, even though it would complete my viewing of James Dean films. I’m sure it’s a well-done film, and Jo Van Fleet won a Supporting Actress Oscar, but yeah. I just can’t drum up much excitement for it.
The Experience Choice: Charlton Heston Stamp Dedication Ceremony (10am at the TCL Chinese) – The USPS will be unveiling a new stamp dedicated to Charlton Heston, with his family in attendance. I’ve got little interest in stuff like this, especially as Heston isn’t around to participate, but it is an experience you won’t get elsewhere.
My Choice: On Approval, since I haven’t seen it and try to hone in on the lesser-known films. If you haven’t seen Stagecoach or The Thin Man, DEFINITELY see one of those.
SLOT 2: Starting at 11:45-12:30
The Essential Choice: Touch of Evil (12N at the TCL Chinese) – Generally regarded as the end of the classic film noir period, this film is also one of Orson Welles’ best, and a definite must-see. This is the 1998 “director’s cut”, edited by Rick Schmidlin based on Orson Welles’ notes, but it’s also listed as a “premiere restoration,” so my guess is this is probably a newly restored DCP print based on that 1998 restoration and edit. It should be gorgeous in any case.
The Discovery Choice: Make Way for Tomorrow (12:30pm at Chinese 4) – Part of the festivals “aging parents” sidebar, this is one that I’ve always heard great things about, but have never seen out of worry that it’d be too depressing, with its story about an older couple who have to split up, each going to live with different ones of their children, acutely aware of their separation and the burden they’re placing on others. It’s an oversight I’d like to rectify soon, though. Director Leo McCarey won the Best Director that year for The Awful Truth, but felt he should’ve won it for Make Way for Tomorrow, which he counted his favorite of his own films.
The Experience Choice: Grey Gardens (12N at Chinese 1) – I’m not much of a documentary person, so I haven’t seen this highly regarded one about a pair of women (related to Jackie Kennedy) who withdrew from the outside world in the 1950s, creating their own world on their estate. The big draw here, aside from the film which is supposed to be pretty great, is that director and prolific documentarian Albert Maysles is going to be giving a discussion alongside the film.
The Silent Film Fan Choice: A Conversation with Carl Davis (12:30pm at Club TCM) – Carl Davis is responsible for many of the new silent film scores being composed today – his scores are relatively traditional but always lovely and appropriate. His orchestra will be accompanying the screening of Harold Lloyd’s Why Worry later in the festival, premiering his new score for the film, and this chance to hear him talk about how he goes about scoring a silent film and everything involved with it is a great opportunity for silent film fans.
Also Playing: Zulu (11:45am at the Egyptian) and The World of Henry Orient (12:15pm in Chinese 6) – I’m not particularly familiar with either of these films, both of which came out in 1964. Alex Trebek is introducing Zulu for some reason, and The World of Henry Orient will be attended by Paula Prentiss and Merrie Spaeth, two actresses from the film.
My Choice: Touch of Evil. I’d probably choose Make Way for Tomorrow if it were against anything else, but Touch of Evil is also one of my husband’s favorite films, so if we can manage it, we’ll probably make this the one we see together.
INTER-SLOT SPECIAL EVENTS
For some reason, they’ve scheduled two conversations at 2pm, which means if you went to either of those, you’d pretty much have to skip both Slot 2 AND Slot 3 in terms of movies. But being able to see the stars talk in person is an experience you won’t be able to easily replicate, and you’ll likely be able to see all the films at least at home, so I can definitely see the value in choosing a conversation over a couple of films.
A Conversation with Richard Dreyfuss (2pm at Club TCM)
Ask Robert, with TCM Host Robert Osborne (2pm at The Montalban Theatre) – Robert Osborne is a celebrity in his own right to TCM fans, and if I were going to go to one of these two conflicting events, I’d choose Robert over Richard, to be honest.
SLOT 3: Starting at 3pm-4pm
Remember, if you go to either of the Conversations listed above, you won’t make anything in this slot, except the Conversation starting at 4pm.
The Essential Choice: Meet Me in St. Louis (3pm at the TCL Chinese) – First off, the Technicolor in this movie is going to POP off the screen in this theatre. I’d see it for that alone, but of course being a huge fan of Judy Garland doesn’t hurt either. This isn’t my favorite film of hers, but I’ve got to give it the essential nod compared to anything else in this timeslot, and it’s certainly worth your time if you haven’t seen it, or just want to see Judy strut her stuff on one of the best screens in the country. Also, Margaret O’Brien will be doing a discussion, which should be GOLD, because Tootie is one of the most memorable things in the movie.
The Discovery Choice: A Matter of Life and Death (3pm in Chinese 1) – Powell and Pressburger films are always worth a watch; this didn’t strike me that much when I first watched it, but enough people I know love it to bits that I’ve been itching for a rewatch. It’s about a WWII pilot who gets shot down and ends up in heaven pleading his case for why he shouldn’t die yet – Powell and Pressburger films are known for their use of Technicolor, but here they make the interesting decision to have the earthly scenes in color and the heavenly ones in pristine black and white. Editor Thelma Schoonmaker will be in attendance.
The Genre Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (3:15pm at the Egyptian) – Seeing genre films with an audience is the best way to do it, and classic sci-fi from the ’50s is no exception. This film is stellar, especially interesting in relation to the McCarthy witch hunts of the time period and how the film can be read either as critical of McCarthyism OR Communism. Joe Dante will be on hand to discuss the film.
The Post-60s-Movies-Are-Classics-Too Choice: Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (3pm in Chinese 6) – An early film for Martin Scorsese but led in great part by star Ellen Burstyn, about a woman seeking a singing career but stuck waiting tables instead (oh, hey, so it’s a biopic of everyone in Hollywood). TCM and the festival venturing out of the studio era into the 1970s and beyond is kind of controversial in some circles, but I’m all for it within moderation. That doesn’t mean I don’t tend to choose to watch the older films myself. :) Director Allison Anders, known for her realist indie films about women’s lives, will be on hand to discuss a film that probably influenced her a lot.
The Experience Choice: A Conversation with William Friedkin (4pm at Club TCM) – Friedkin is a fascinating figure in the New Hollywood era; he sort of straddles the line between the arty/edgy stuff most of his New Hollywood brethren were doing (Altman, Hopper, Scorsese, etc.) and mainstream studio type stuff, ending up with thoughtful but commercial films like The French Connection and The Exorcist. His film Sorcerer (which I think kind of ruined him) will be playing here in the Discoveries section. Hearing his stories of New Hollywood and after would be pretty informative – he’s come back to create several highly regarded and edgy indie horror/cult type films recently, from Bug to Killer Joe.
Also Playing: My Sister Eileen (3:15pm in Chinese 4) – I’m glad I checked the description for this, because I assumed it was the 1955 musical, which I’ve seen, but it’s actually the 1942 non-musical, which I haven’t. This one stars Rosalind Russell as writer Ruth Sherwood, charting her course in New York City with her sister Eileen (naturally) among a bevy of crazy neighbors. I don’t remember much about the version I’ve seen, to be honest, but it didn’t stick with me enough to make me want to rush out to see the original over the other films in this timeslot.
My Choice: This is a tough one. I’m tempted to go with Judy for Meet Me in St. Louis on a glorious screen, but I’m also jonesing for a rewatch of A Matter for Life and Death. Either one’s a solid bet. The Friedkin talk is also one of the few special events that’s tempting me.
SLOT 4: Starting at 5:45pm-8pm
The Essential Choice: Double Indemnity (6pm at the TCL Chinese) – There’s simply no better A-level film noir than this, with Barbara Stanwyck playing the ultimate femme fatale Phyllis Dietrichson, who connives to get insurance agent Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray) to help her kill her husband for the insurance money. It’s seedy, witty, sexy, gorgeous, and unmissable.
The Experience Choice: Why Worry? (7:15pm at the Egyptian) – The festival is kind of light on silent films this year, unfortunately – they’ve been some of my favorites at festivals past. Thankfully they’ve at least included one Harold Lloyd film with Carl Davis and his orchestra premiering his new score for the film. Silent films with live accompaniment is something you absolutely cannot replicate, and that makes this one of the best experiences you’re likely to have at this year’s fest. The film is about a hypochondriac Lloyd (an uncharacteristically rich character for Lloyd) who ends up in the middle of a Mexican rebellion. It’s plenty funny, but not up there with my favorite Lloyd films. Still, the chance to see it with Carl Davis’ orchestra shouldn’t be passed up. NOTE that if you see Why Worry, you’ll miss The Best Years of Our Lives, Blazing Saddles, and The Innocents in Slot 5, and you’ll have to really hoof it to have any chance to Employees Entrance.
The Counter-programming Choice: The Lion in Winter (5:45pm in Chinese 4) – Katharine Hepburn won her third Oscar for her role as Eleanor of Aquitaine, a woman who would’ve controlled the world in another era, but in the 1200s merely runs England and France from behind Henry II’s coattails. Oh, did I mention Henry II is played by Peter O’Toole? They have a combative relationship, split by their conflicting preferences for which of their sons should be Henry’s heir as well as the fact that Henry brought his young mistress to their family reunion, and O’Toole and Hepburn play off each other perfectly.
The Post-’60s-Movies-Are-Classics-Too Choice: Paper Moon (6pm in Chinese 1) – Actual dad and daughter Ryan and Tatum O’Neal play de facto adoptive dad and daughter in this con man caper from 1973. Ryan is a small-time con who finds that young orphan on the loose Tatum is quite an asset when it comes to running cons and takes her in tow. Director Peter Bogdanovich is known for his love of classic Hollywood, and it shows through in all of his films really – this one is sweet and old-fashioned. Ryan O’Neal will be in attendance for a discussion.
The Discovery Choice: Imitation of Life (6:15pm in Chinese 6) – This is the 1934 version, starring Claudette Colbert and Louise Beavers, not the generally more famous 1959 version with Lana Turner. I’ve actually not seen either, but am interested in both; in both films, the subplot of a black servant’s daughter passing for white and the rift that causes with her mother overshadows the supposed main plot involving the servant’s white employer – so much so that I don’t even know what that main plot is, because no one ever really talks about it.
Also Playing: The Music Man (8pm Poolside at the Roosevelt) – Looks like they’ve expanded the Poolside offerings this year (well, I don’t know about last year, since I wasn’t there). The Music Man is a film I always want to love but never seem to quite make it – I rewatched it again a few weeks ago and still came away with the same ambivalence. That said, there are some really great songs in there, and seeing it with a group of film fans relaxing by the pool could be a pretty fun experience. NOTE that The Music Man coincides with both Slot 4 and Slot 5, so you won’t be able to see anything else in either slot.
Also Happening: A Conversation with Quincy Jones (6pm in Club TCM) – Renowned jazz musician Jones has worked with most everybody in the business, and scored countless films along the way. If you’re interested in music in the movies, especially jazz scores, and are looking for some great stories about Sinatra, Martin and the rest, this could be a fun time.
My Choice: Why Worry? Double Indemnity is a more essential film than Why Worry, but seeing a silent film with live orchestral accompaniment is such a wonderful and rare experience for most of us that it can’t be missed, no matter how good the films opposite it are.
SLOT 5: Starting at 8:45pm to 9:30pm
Note that I put The Music Man in the previous slot because it conflicts with all of those films as well, but it’s basically concurrent with all of the ones in Slot 5, so if you choose that one, you won’t be able to see any of these.
The Essential Choice: The Best Years of Our Lives (8:45 in Chinese 1) – Best Picture winner in 1946, and one of the first films to deal realistically with the aftermath of WWII, showing the difficulty of soldiers coming home and reintegrating back into society. In many ways, it’s an unusual film to be made so soon after victory – though it’s warm and tender at points (the look on Myrna Loy’s face as she discovers her husband Fredric March has returned home will melt the most cynical of hearts), it also doesn’t pull any punches. NOTE that if you saw Why Worry? you won’t make it back in time for this one.
The Counter-programming Choice: The Innocents (9pm in Chinese 6) – This film is pretty well-known among fans of classic British atmospheric horror, but it really ought to be better known outside that little niche. Based on Henry James’ classic short story The Turn of the Screw, it follows an English governess (Deborah Kerr, never better) who arrives at a remote estate and thinks something’s not quite right with her little charges. It’s spooky as all get-out, thanks to some lovely chairoscuro lighting and terrifying sound design. NOTE that if you saw Why Worry? you won’t make it back in time for this one.
The Discovery Choice: Employees’ Entrance (9:15 in Chinese 4) – A Pre-Code from 1933 that combines satire of corrupt institutions (in this case, banks – a ripe target during the Depression) and bedroom hijinks (a bank manager who thinks nothing of bedding his secretaries). Those are the best kind! Warren William is a staple of the Pre-Codes, and while I’ve seen Loretta Young in a few of her later films, where she’s got kind of a wholesome demure quality, I’ve not seen much of her in the Pre-Codes, which I’d think would show a different side of her. The screening will be accompanied by a discussion of Pre-Code Hollywood with film historian Bruce Goldstein. NOTE that if you saw Why Worry? you’ll have to really book it to get back in time for this one, and even then I wouldn’t count on it since Chinese 4 is the tiny screen.
The Post-’60s-Films-Can-Be-Classic-Too Choice: Blazing Saddles (9pm at the TCL Chinese) – I’ve never been a really big fan of Blazing Saddles despite multiple viewings, but I’m in the vast minority with that opinion. Mel Brooks will be in attendance, so if you’re a fan of the film, this is probably a must-see. And I’ll stay out of your way. :) NOTE that if you saw Why Worry? you won’t make it back in time for this one.
Also Playing: The Italian Job (9:30pm at the Egyptian) – I actually like the 2003 remake of The Italian Job quite a bit (more than most people, I’d wager), so there’s really no excuse for me not having seen the original 1969 version. I’m a big fan of heist films in general, the London mod scene specifically, not to mention Mini Coopers, so, what’s not to like? Quincy Jones scored the film and will be in attendance to talk about it.
My Choice: Employees’ Entrance. I’m currently trying to work on my Pre-Code viewing, and Pre-Codes play well with a crowd. That said, I’d probably be happy seeing any of the films in this lot, except Blazing Saddles, and hearing Mel Brooks talk is almost enough to make that worthwhile. Of course, I already mentioned the connection between Why Worry and Employees’ Entrance is really tight, so I might be better off just sticking around the Egyptian and seeing The Italian Job.
SLOT 6: Midnight Film
The Only Choice: Eraserhead (12M in Chinese 6) – There’s only one midnight film any given night, so that spares us the choice of having to choose which one to see. In my experience, once you’ve seen films all day starting at 9am and hung out in Club TCM for a while, it’s rough to get to a midnight screening, but I love that they give the option. Tonight it’s David Lynch’s first film, a bona fide cult film for sure in 1977’s Eraserhead. Which happens to be the only David Lynch film I haven’t seen. I want to, but I’m not planning on braving the midnight screenings this year.
Saturday, April 12
SLOT 1: Starting 10am-11am
The Essential Choice: City Lights (9:15am in Chinese 1) – Charlie Chaplin’s last fully silent film, and one of his most poignantly beautiful. His Tramp falls in love with a blind flower seller, and through his on-again-off-again friendship with a millionaire (they’re great friends when the millionaire is drunk, and the millionaire doesn’t remember him at all when he’s sober) he’s able to pay for her to get surgery to recover her sight, but she doesn’t know who her mysterious benefactor is. It’s not my personal favorite Chaplin film, but it is for a lot of people, and it’s certainly a must-see.
The Counter-programming Choice: Father of the Bride (9am in the TCL Chinese) – Spencer Tracy is the titular father and Elizabeth Taylor the titular bride in this classic comedy of a father not quite ready to give his daughter away in marriage. This is another one that I don’t find as charming as its reputation, but I’m in the minority.
The Discovery Choice: Stella Dallas (9am in Chinese 6) – I put this under discovery even though it’s pretty well-known among classic film fans; it may not be as well-known as it should be, though. Barbara Stanwyck gets the three-hanky role of a lifetime as a lower-class woman who falls for an upper-class man. When it becomes clear things aren’t working out, she has to make a tough decision to give her daughter the best possible future. Stanwyck is great in everything; I love her comedies the best, but she could sure give an emotional scene with the best of them. NOTE that if you see this, you’ll be cutting it close if you want to get to Mary Poppins in Slot 2.
The Experience Choice: Jerry Lewis Handprint Ceremony (10am outside the TCL Chinese) – They try to get a new handprint to add to the collection outside Grauman’s Chinese (I’m sorry, TCL Chinese) done during the Festival every year, and this year it’s Jerry Lewis’s turn. If you’re a fan of Lewis or celeb sightings, this should be a fun experience.
The Post-’60s=Movies-Can-Be-Classics-Too: I Never Sang for My Father (9:15am in Chinese 4) – I know absolutely nothing about this film, so here’s an excerpt from the program blurb: “Gene Garrison, played by Gene Hackman, clearly states the theme of this moving family drama at the filmâ€™s beginning and end: â€œDeath ends a life. But it does not end a relationship.â€ In between, he sensitively captures the inner turmoil of an adult trying to cope with the demands of an aging parent (Melvyn Douglas). A respected college professor and recent widower, Hackmanâ€™s character has spent his life living in the shadow of his overbearing father. His decision to leave his family home to remarry becomes even more difficult when his mother dies, and he becomes his fatherâ€™s primary caregiver.”
The Bring-Your-Kids! Choice: The Jungle Book (9am at El Capitan) – If only my daughter were a couple of years old, we’d absolutely be taking her to this. It’s already one of the two or three movies she’s latched on to via home viewings, but at 13 months, she just isn’t quite ready for the theatrical experience.
My Choice: City Lights. It may not be my favorite Chaplin, but that’s hardly denigrating it, since all his films are so good. It’s certainly the best thing in this time slot by a country mile.
SLOT 2: Starting at 11:30am-12:30pm
Note that seeing ANY of the films in Slot 2 will likely keep you from seeing The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in Slot 3, but the TCL Chinese is large so you might stand a chance if you’re coming from one of the Chinese theatres.
The Essential Choice: Mary Poppins (11:30am at El Capitan) – Mary Poppins holds a very special place in my heart as the first film that I remember loving as a kid and then recognizing later one that it worked on multiple levels (fun romp with magic nanny, and relationship mending with father). That plus the sheer joy of the blended live-action and animation scenes have always kept me coming back for more. Composer Richard Sherman will be in attendance for a discussion.
The Counter-programming Choice: Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (11:45am in Chinese 1) – In one of Frank Capra’s quirkiest idealist dramas, Gary Cooper is Longfellow Deeds, an innocent bumpkin who inherits a fortune and has to deal with all the cunning city folk who want to swindle him out of it. Cooper is perfect in the role, and of course, Jean Arthur is always great to watch (here she’s a reporter hoping to get a big story, but she falls for his charm instead).
The Genre Choice: Godzilla (11:45am at the Egyptian) – To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of the original Godzilla; I saw it a couple of years ago and just didn’t really get into it, even though I really wanted to. On the other hand, I think this screening would be interesting anyway simply because Gareth Edwards, who’s directing the new Godzilla movie coming out this year, is going to be there, and I’d be fascinated to hear him talk about his love for the original and how he approached the update.
The Post-’60s-Movies-Can-Be-Classics-Too Choice: Hannah and Her Sisters (11:45am in Chinese 6) – I’m basically using this category on most of the post-1960s films just for convenience, but in this case, I really do pretty much think the film deserves classic status. Hannah and Her Sisters is one of my top five Woody Allen films, thanks to the way it manages to combine comedy and seriousness all together – it’s almost like a supercut of Woody Allen themes, and yet done subtly and perfectly.
The Discovery Choice: I Remember Mama (11:45am in Chinese 4) – This is a film that’s always been a little bit on my radar just because I want through a phase of really liking Irene Dunne and trying to see a bunch of her films, but I never got to this one (one of her last ones). Here’s a bit from the program: “The film has little plot, instead consisting of a series of vignettes in the lives of the Hanson family in early 20th-century San Francisco. Dunne helps her innocent sister Trina (Ellen Corby) announce her engagement, helps Uncle Chris (Oscar Homolka) deal with death and fosters daughter Katrinâ€™s (Barbara Bel Geddes) writing career.”
The Experience Choice: Mom and the Movies: A Conversation with Richard Corliss (12:30pm at Club TCM) – Richard Corliss is the main film critic for TIME Magazine and a respected film historian whose new book is about mothers in cinema. He’ll be talking about the book as well as about his career as af ilm critic in general.
My Choice: A Conversation with Richard Corliss. Maybe an odd choice in a pretty jam-packed time slot, and I have to admit, Mary Poppins might ultimately win out, but I do really enjoy hearing film historians talk about their work. It’s a job I might have had in another life.
SLOT 3: Starting at 2pm-4:30pm
The Essential Choice: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (2pm at the TCL Chinese) – I’ve actually seen The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly on this screen before at a previous TCM Film Fest (the first or second one; it’s been a few years), and I HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend it. This film has some of the best and most unusual usages of widescreen ever, and seeing it on a screen the size of this one really emphasizes how amazing Leone used the space. If you’re a fan of the film and haven’t seen it on the big screen, this is the best big screen to see it on. NOTE that if you want to see this one, you’ve pretty much got to skip everything in Slot 2 – or leave something a bit early, as it bumps right up to them.
The Star-Watching Choice: How Green Was My Valley (3pm in El Capitan) – I had to give the Leone film the nod overall, but How Green Was My Valley is also a fantastic film, and the moody black and white Wales will look stunning on a big screen. The real kicker, though, that puts this into the just-about-unmissable category is that Maureen O’Hara will be in attendance. O’Hara is an institution in classic Hollywood, and even though I’m not much of a star-watcher myself, I’m sorely tempted to pick this one just to see her.
The Experience Choice: The Family Business: A Tribute to the Hubleys (3pm in Chinese 4) – This is the only animation program on the schedule, and just about the only shorts program (there’s the Hollywood Home Movies program showing in this same timeslot, but that’s about it). A little disappointing, since these specialized programs have been among my favorites in previous festivals. The Hubleys are responsible for some of the most groundbreaking animation of the classic era, with John Hubley’s work for UPA setting the house style for that studio, and his shorts with his wife Faith in the ’60s breaking even further with tradition. Leonard Maltin, who has several books out about classic animation, will be providing commentary on the program.
The Counter-programming Choice: Stormy Weather (2:45pm in Chinese 1) – In the 1940s, MGM had a bunch of extremely talented African-American entertainers under contract, but it didn’t really know what to do with them aside from throw them in specialty numbers in musicals here and there. They did decide to make a couple of films with fully black casts, and this is one of them (Cabin in the Sky is the other major one). The story is pretty trite, but the climax is an extended musical number featuring Lena Horne singing the title song and the Nicholas Brothers doing one of the most incredible dance sequences EVER put on film.
The Discovery Choice: The Great Gatsby (3:30pm in Chinese 6) – When I first saw this on the schedule, I assumed it was the 1974 Robert Redford-Mia Farrow version, but no. This is truly a discovery, a 1949 version starring Alan Ladd that I didn’t even know existed. I literally just finished watching the 2013 adaptation (which I enjoyed a lot), and seeing an older one for comparison, especially a lesser-known one like this, would be pretty fun.
The Post-’60s-Movies-Can-Be-Classics-Too Choice: The Goodbye Girl (3pm at the Egyptian) – Richard Dreyfuss won an Oscar for this film, which I haven’t seen and don’t know much else about. He will be in attendance to discuss it, so if that’s your bag, there you go.
The There’s-Too-Much-Stuff-in-This-Slot Choice: A Conversation with Thelma Schoonmaker (2:30pm in Club TCM) – Thelma Schoonmaker is the editor on many of Martin Scorsese’s films, plus she used to be married to director Michael Powell (of the Archers). She’s had a long and lauded career in Hollywood, and hearing her speak would definitely be worthwhile. She was the special guest at a screening of Black Narcissus a few Fests back, and from what I heard, she was an excellent interviewee, so this should be a great talk.
The No-Really-Stop-Already Choice: Hollywood Home Movies: Treasures from the Academy Film Archive (4:30pm in Club TCM) – Seriously, folks. This time slot is JAM PACKED. This is a screening of stuff you literally won’t see anywhere else – home movies pulled out of the Academy Film Archive especially for this purpose. If you want to see a more candid look at how celebrities of the studio era spent their down time, this is the show for you. NOTE that if you see this one, you’ll be too late for The Godfather Part II and The Stranger’s Return in Slot 4.
My Choice: The Family Business: A Tribute to the Hubleys. I know I said I’d go to How Green Was My Valley just to see Maureen O’Hara, and that possibility is still floating around in my head, but I do so love animation history and UPA-type animation specifically that I can barely stand to miss this program dedicated to the Hubleys.
SLOT 4: Starting at 5pm-8pm
There are a lot of tight connections between Slot 3 and Slot 4. I’m not going to list them all, but a bunch are a half hour apart. Check the schedule to make sure you don’t run into problems.
The Essential Choice: The Godfather Part II (5:30pm in Chinese 1) – It doesn’t really get more essential than this. I’m not the biggest Godfather fan, but I’ll stump for Part II anytime. I’m surprised, frankly, they didn’t put this in the TCL Chinese, but I guess they have a new print of A Hard Day’s Night, so there you go.
The Other Essential Choice: Written on the Wind (6:00pm in Chinese 6) – This is not really AS essential as The Godfather Part II, I guess, but this is a crowded time slot and I wanted to make sure this one didn’t get skipped over. I never considered myself much of a fan of melodrama, but Douglas Sirk proved me wrong with this little bit of dysfunctional domesticity that is as perfectly pitched and beautifully staged as anything I’ve ever seen.
The Counter-programming Choice: A Hard Day’s Night (6:30pm at the TCL Chinese) – The Beatles burst on the American scene in a big way in 1964, including two movies, A Hard Day’s Night and Help!. This one is an absolute marvel, a combination concert film and absurdist comedy, with the boys ostensibly trying to get to their big TV debut but instead running amuck while introducing many of their best songs. This is a world premiere DCP restoration from the original negatives, so it’ll look amazing in the Chinese.
The Star-Watching Choice: The Nutty Professor (6:15pm at El Capitan) – If you’re a fan of Jerry Lewis, you probably don’t want to miss this one, because Jerry Lewis himself will be in attendance. This is probably his best-remembered film, about a girl-shy scientist who invents a potion to turn himself into a ladies’ man. It’s not a film I particularly enjoy, aside from the sly way Lewis imitates his former film partner Dean Martin as the smooth Buddy Love, but I’m in the minority.
The Other Star-Watching Choice: Bell Book and Candle (6:15pm at the Egyptian) – In case Vertigo was too depressing for you, in 1958 James Stewart and Kim Novak also starred together in this little bit of supernatural entertainment, with Novak as a witch who falls for Stewart. No, an actual witch. Yeah, and Agnes Moorehead is her witch mother and Jack Lemmon is her warlock brother. It’s a fun trifle, but little more. On the other hand, Kim Novak will be in attendance and hopefully a bit more at ease than she was at the Oscars, so that may be a draw for you.
The Experience Choice: The Muppet Movie (8pm Poolside at the Roosevelt)
Here’s your third and final chance to see something poolside at the Roosevelt, and for my money, this is the best option yet. I just watched The Muppet Movie for the first time last year and LOVED IT. Such a perfect mix of heart and absurd meta humor. With the laid back atmosphere of the pool and the genial company of other classic film fans, plus the appreciative introduction from Bill Hader, this would be a great choice. Note that this one starts pretty late – if you see it, you won’t make it to any of the films in Slot 5.
The Discovery Choice: The Stranger’s Return (5:30pm in Chinese 4) and Hat Check Girl (8:00pm in Chinese 4) – One benefit to this choice is you get two for the price of one! These Pre-Code films are short enough that they’re squeezing two of them into one timeslot. I hadn’t heard of either of these, but Hat Check Girl seems like the best bet to be my “discovery” of the festival – it’s a Pre-Code comedy with a young Ginger Rogers in a supporting role, and it’s introduced by Katie Trainor of the Museum of Modern Art, which usually means there’s a good preservation story to be told. I’m less excited about The Stranger’s Return, which is also Pre-Code, but sounds like more of a family drama instead of a risque comedy. Note that if you do see Hat Check Girl, you put yourself at risk for half of the films in Slot 5.
My Choice: The Stranger’s Return and Hat Check Girl. Like I said, Hat Check Girl stands the best chance to be the one I come away from the festival raving about anew, plus why watch one film when you could watch two?
SLOT 5: Starting at 9:15pm-10pm
The Essential Choice: The Women (9:30pm at El Capitan) – This is one of my favorite films of all-time, and I love it no matter how many times I’ve watched it (which is a lot). Seeing Anna Kendrick introduce it would be cool as she’s a favorite contemporary actress of mine and I’m glad to see so many young personalities this year gushing over classic films, but I did just see The Women at this fest two years ago, so I may give it a skip this time. Note that if you see Hat Check Girl, you’ll be running pretty tight to this one. Also, if you watch this one, you’ll be hard-pressed to make it back for the midnight screening of Freaks.
The Counter-programming Choice: Sorcerer (9:15pm at the TCL Chinese) – I somehow keep forgetting that this is retelling of The Wages of Fear, probably because “Sorcerer” doesn’t really conjure up that image. But anyway, this is the film that kind of ruined William Friedkin’s career in Hollywood, and is just starting to be rediscovered. I’m intrigued by all of that, but at the same time…I don’t like The Wages of Fear nearly as much as everyone else, so I’m a bit wary. Note that if you see The Godfather Part II or Hat Check Girl in Slot 4, you’ll have a tough time making this one.
The Post-’60s-Movies-Can-Be-Classics-Too Choice: This is Spinal Tap (9:45pm in Chinese 1) – There are only a handful of ’80s movies that I out and out love, and Spinal Tap is one of them, interestingly, because I really don’t like heavy metal music and I don’t know anything about most of what they’re lampooning. In a way, that’s what makes it so great, and the obvious precursor to all of Christopher Guest’s mockumentaries – you don’t really need to have any background knowledge to understand immediately what they’re making fun of and find it hilarious.
The Discovery Choice: Her Sister’s Secret (10pm in Chinese 4) – This 1946 Poverty Row drama is low-budget and has no name stars, but I’m intrigued by one simple fact – it’s directed by Edgar G. Ulmer, who did what I believe to be the quintessential noir film, Detour. Now, this is a domestic drama rather than a film noir, but I don’t think I’ve seen anything else by Ulmer, and I’m curious to see what else he can do.
Also Playing: The Pawnbroker (9:15pm at the Egyptian) – Widely considered Rod Steiger’s finest moment, this understated film has him playing a Holocaust survivor who moves to New York and quietly carries out the title profession, but remains withdrawn and disconnected. It was one of the first American films to deal with the Holocaust through a survivor story, and also one of the first films to appeal successfully to the Production Code Office to include nudity. I haven’t seen it myself, but it sounds like a powerful experience. Quincy Jones, who composed the film’s score, will be in attendance.
Also Playing: The Naked City (9:30pm in Chinese 6) – A 1948 police procedural from director Jules Dassin that uses location shooting in New York (one of the first films to do so) to attempt to make the film as realistic as possible. It’s an interesting beast, because it does stick pretty closely to the mundane acts of police going through an investigation from start to finish, but it also includes some extraneous detail like one of the officer’s home life. It’s not entirely successful, but it is a very interesting watch.
My Choice: Sorcerer. I haven’t seen it, and I’m intrigued by its current state of in-process rediscovery, and the director will be there. Done, done, and done.
SLOT 6: Midnight Movies
The Only Choice: Freaks (12M in Chinese 6) – Freaks has been on my to-watch list for I don’t know how long. There’s no excuse, as every time I share my to-watch list everyone, literally everyone, tells me I have to watch it. Maybe it’s been overhyped for me at this point. :) But anyway, this would be a great chance to scratch it off my list – I expect this screening will be well-attended and received – but I’m not sure I’ll manage to get to any midnight movies this year. For those of you going whole-hog on the fest…I envy you. Note that if you saw The Women in Slot 5, you’ll be hard-pressed to make it back for Freaks, and Her Sister’s Sister is close but doable, since they’re in the same theatre.
Sunday, April 13
Note that Sunday also has six TBA slots that will be filled with repeats from the first couple of days that had higher-than-expected demand. A lot of times it’s the ones from Chinese 4 that get replayed, simply because that theatre’s small capacity often means the first screening gets full. They usually announce the TBAs on Saturday afternoon/evening.
SLOT 1: Starting 9:15am to 10am
The Essential Choice: Academy Conversations: The Adventures of Robin Hood (9:15am at the Egyptian) – This is the educational screening of the festival, with a 45-minute presentation before the film about how all the special effects were done, using newly rediscovered stills and and outtakes. It promises to be a fascinating talk, and then you get to see one of the greatest adventure films ever made! Win win!
The Counter-programming Choice: Tokyo Story (9:15am in Chinese 1) – This is actually on my Blind Spot list this year, and this would be a perfect setting in which to see it. Ozu is one of the greatest masters of Japanese cinema, the more traditional counterpart to Kurosawa’s American-leaning aesthetic. His film about aging parents and the children who must take care of them is considered one of the greatest ever made (just ask Sight & Sound’s annual critic poll), and a perfect fit with TCM’s overall theme of family this year.
The Discovery Choice: Sunday in New York (10am in Chinese 6) – I’ve not heard of this 1963 film at all; the program says that it’s the film that really made a star of Jane Fonda, in the romantic comedy vein of many of her later films like Barefoot in the Park, which I have seen and quite enjoyed for the trifle it is. I expect this will be similar – a good, light time at the movies.
The Post-’60s-Moves-Can-Be-Classics-Too Choice: Fiddler on the Roof (9:15am at the TCL Chinese) – I’ve been a fan of this one since I was a kid; all that growing up on musicals and what-not. It’s a bit on the bloaty side, as ’60s and ’70s musicals adapted from stage plays tend to be, but with some catchy songs and a good story about life in a village of Russian Jews as Communism starts to take over, it’s definitely well worth seeing.
The Experience Choice: Classic Movie Memorabilia Appraisals (10am at Club TCM) – If you have any classic movie memorabilia, bring it along to the fest and have it appraised by Bonhams. You might be holding a treasure trove! Or, you could just wander around and see what other people have brought and what it’s worth. If you’re a collector, this is the place to be.
My Choice: Academy Conversations: The Adventures of Robin Hood. I should pick Tokyo Story because of the Blind Spot factor, but The Adventures of Robin Hood is one of my all-time favorite movies (it’s in my Top Twenty), and it’d be really, really tough to miss this screening of it. If you haven’t seen The Adventures of Robin Hood, then it’s a no-brainer.
SLOT 2: Starting at 12:30pm to 3pm
The Essential Choice: Gone with the Wind (1:30pm at the TCL Chinese) – Seeing Gone With the Wind on the big screen is a pretty transportive experience. You can think what you will about the portrayal (and lionizing) of the South in the film, but as a piece of epic cinema, it’s still just about never been beaten, and seeing it on the giant screen at the Chinese would pretty much be a classic film lover’s dream come true. Do note that it’s a long film, and will take up both Slots 2 and 3 if you see it.
The Counter-programming Choice: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (12:45pm at the Egyptian) – This is Elizabeth Taylor really hitting her adult acting phase, after moving from child to adolescent to ingenue; she’d had some good roles before, but Tennessee Williams’ play gave her a meaty role to tear into and an Oscar-nomination. Her two Oscar wins were only a few years down the road.
The Experience Choice: Live from the TCM Classic Film Festival (1pm at the Montalban Theatre) – If you’re a fan of TCM as a channel and a brand (and let’s face it, you probably are or you wouldn’t be here), this is a chance to see Robert Osborne do a live interview with an as-yet-unannounced celebrity which will later be shown on TCM. I haven’t been to one of these, but those who have say it’s pretty awesome.
The Star-Watching Choice: Mr. Holland’s Opus (12:45pm in Chinese 1) – This is, I think, the newest film showing at the festival, released in 1995. The only reason this is here is because they got Richard Dreyfuss to come – he’s also introducing The Goodbye Girl earlier in the festival, which is at least from the ’70s. I generally don’t get hung up on TCM Fest showing newer films, but unless you’re dying to see Dreyfuss and you couldn’t get to The Goodbye Girl, I’m not sure there’s anything very compelling about this screening.
The Post-’60s-Movies-Can-Be-Classics-Too Choice: Best Boy (1:00pm in Chinese 6) – Tagging it as a “post-’60s movie that could be a classic” suggests that I think this is a classic, and I honestly don’t know, because I haven’t seen it and hadn’t heard of it until now. It’s a documentary, which may be part of the reason, since I’m not that much of a documentary person. The filmmaker Ira Wohl decided to film a meeting between a mentally challenged boy and a neurologist and then realized that he not only had to help the boy, but tell his story. It sounds like a good (and probably teary) film, just not one I’m familiar with.
Also Playing: Judy Garland: A Legendary Career and 20 Years of TCM On-Air (12:30pm and 3pm respectively, in Club TCM) – You get both of these special programs for the price of one in this time slot. I’m a huge fan of Judy Garland, so a retrospective of her career always sounds like a good idea, and the TCM On-Air program sounds like it basically collects the best of their interstitial programming. I think they do a GREAT job with that, so I’d actually be pretty curious to see this. To be totally honest, editing that stuff for TCM would be a dream job for me, if only I could do it here instead of Atlanta. Note that if you stick around for the TCM On-Air show, you’ll be too late for The Heart is a Lonely Hunter in Slot 3, and you’d be cutting it close for Easter Parade.
My Choice: The Club TCM special programs. I should do Cat on a Hot Tin Roof because I haven’t seen it, and anybody who somehow hasn’t seen Gone with the Wind (or hasn’t seen it on a big screen) should do that. But I’m being pulled to the two Club TCM events this time; weirdly more for the TCM original programming than for Judy Garland.
SLOT 3: Starting at 4:15pm to 4:30pm
Remember, if you see Gone with the Wind in Slot 2, you’ll miss everything in Slot 3.
The Essential Choice: The Quiet Man (4:30pm in Chinese 1) – I’m frankly a little torn on this movie these days. On the one hand, it’s a charming old-fashioned romance with a gorgeous location in Ireland and John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara at the height of their chemistry and John Ford at his most cinematically sensitive, but on the other hand, it’s often old-fashioned in a pretty gender-stereotyped way. I still pretty much love it, but sometimes I hesitate to recommend it. But if you’re a fan of old movies, you’re probably used to the sort of thing you’ll see in The Quiet Man, so yeah. Go see it. :)
The Counter-programming Choice: Easter Parade (4:15pm in Chinese 6) – To be honest, I had kind of a hard time choosing which of these to make the Essential Choice in this slot. I went with The Quiet Man as a more prestigious choice, but I have insane amounts of love for Easter Parade, which pairs Fred Astaire and Judy Garland in a show-biz musical with songs by Irving Berlin. For fans of musicals, it’s hard to beat this one. Note that if you went to the Club TCM events in Slot 2, you’ll be cutting it mighty close for this one.
The Discovery Choice: The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (3:45pm at the Egyptian) – A subtle and layered story of a deaf-mute man who changes the lives of everyone he meets, based on the Carson McCullers novel. I’ve heard of the novel, but wasn’t really aware of this film version, which stars Alan Arkin (who I mostly know from irascible old man roles like Little Miss Sunshine and Argo) in a role that sounds like it really made him as a serious actor. Note that if you went to the Club TCM events in Slot 2, you’ll miss this one.
My Choice: Easter Parade. I was all set to choose The Quiet Man if Maureen O’Hara had been there (since the timeslot competition for How Green Was My Valley earlier in the fest is greater), but it looks like she’s not sticking around for this one. So the bright and shiny musical is my pick, though really, you can’t go wrong here.
SLOT 4: Starting at 7:15pm to 7:30pm
The Essential Choice: The Wizard of Oz (7:30pm at the TCL Chinese – in 3D) – The 3D version of The Wizard of Oz was released last year, I think, and even though I’m always dubious of converting classic movies to 3D, somehow it seems like it would be appropriate for The Wizard of Oz. I didn’t see it, though. Here’s a chance to see it that way on the biggest screen ever, and I must say I’m tempted. It’s weird to me that I never have any desire to see new releases in 3D, but older films in older processes, yes (like the 3D program at TCM Fest two years ago), or films I like for comparison purposes, yes.
The Counter-programming Choice: The Lady from Shanghai (7:30pm in Chinese 1) – Wow, TWO Orson Welles noir films this year – that’s pretty cool. This one is a straight-up ’40s noir, with Rita Hayworth (Welles’ estranged wife at the time) as a classic femme fatale and an absolutely stunning climax set in a hall of mirrors. Given the choice between the two Welles films here, I’d take Touch of Evil, but really, both are excellent.
The Experience Choice: The Lodger (7:30pm at the Egyptian) – Earlier in the fest we had Harold Lloyd’s Why Worry? with a new score by Carl Davis, and here’s Alfred Hitchcock’s The Lodger, accompanied by the Mont Alto Orchestra. Any time you can see a silent film in a theatre with live accompaniment, especially a full orchestra, I say do it. Add in the fact that this is a brand new restoration from the BFI, and this starts to look pretty unmissable.
The Discovery Choice: Hobson’s Choice (7:15 in Chinese 6) – The last of David Lean’s more intimate British films before he started doing epics of an ever-grander scale, Hobson’s Choice shows the relationship of a brutish father and his daughters, who rebel against him in various ways. I haven’t seen it (I’m far too weak on Lean’s pre-epic films), but it has a Criterion release, which is a definitely point in its favor.
My Choice: The Lodger. I can’t pass up silents with orchestral accompaniment, especially when I haven’t seen them, and ESPECIALLY when they’re Hitchcock. I’m a huge Hitchcock fan, and I’ve been needing to delve back into his silents for a long time, and this is the perfect jumping off point. It’s hard to make a bad choice in this time-slot though, that’s for sure.