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TCM Film Fest Day 1


I was hoping that the Day 1 heat would keep the lines short, I was mistaken. The crowds were large but everyone couldn't have been friendlier. 

My wife and I originally intended to see the "The Smiling Lieutenant"
But on the recommendation from some TCM Film Fest veterans and Classic movie Bloggers I took advantage of being able to see "The Dawn of Technicolor" instead. And were completely happy that we did.

This was exactly the type of programming that I paid all that good money for a Pass to be able to see. Hosted by the authors James Layton and David Pierce, they delved into a short period of time in movies and the efforts of those early pioneers of film to add splashes of color to the screen.
I not only feel much more knowledgeable about the history and evolution of movies but I am inspired to learn more. I will likely be purchasing the Dawn of Technicolor to read further.
Before our next stop we were just in time to catch Ben Mankiewicz, Shirley MacLaine and William Shatner speak kind words to Christopher Plummer as he immortalized his hands and feet in cement  in front of the Chinese Theater

Off next to "The Purple Rose of Cairo"
Introduced by Leonard Maltin, who was a trooper making his way through the festival on a busted ankle
He made the case that "The Purple Rose of Cairo" is Woody Allen's love song to the classic movies of the 30's

I have written about "Limelight" in a previous post, so not too much to elaborate on here. We did get some charming Charlie Chaplin stories from the 100 year old !!!! Norman Lloyd. He spoke about Charlie's love of Tennis and his last wife Oona. 
The movie was perfect to see on the big screen. The clever one liners were a hit with the crowd and a few got missed by the audience because they had been laughing at the well written line before it.

Off next to one of the highlights of the show for me. the World Premiere restoration of 
"Steam Boat Bill Jr."

The restoration was as perfect and crisp as a newly released movie and the live orchestra was amazing. One of the absolute highlights of the show was the live music being so in sync with the movie that when the Father and Captain of the steam boat stepped on the peanut shells over and over again, the sound from the band was right on cue to give the sound of crunching peanuts.

The seemingly everywhere Leonard Maltin was here again to introduce and tell the story about how the Cast and Crew of the movie walked out in protest over how unsafe the house falling on Keaton was, and were mad that in his passion for authenticity, he didn't take more safety precautions for himself. Alec Baldwin was spotted standing in the back for the whole movie.

 Exhausted and void of any remaining energy we stopped by the poolside of the Roosevelt hotel to watch the very cheesy movie "Pool Party".
It was the perfect ending to a crazy and non stop day. Not enough time for water or food Sleep was welcome.

Later this week.... Day 2 and 3

Most excited for?

The TCM Festival in LA is just a few days away. A schedule so jam packed it is hard to find a suitable itinerary that doesn't still lead to many missed opportunities (as I spoke about in my last post)

But what about that one movie in which you look forward to the most...

Some might say Steamboat Bill Jr.

Or possibly The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Maybe it could be the conversation with the timeless Sophia Loren?

For me, while I am excited for all of the above, my favorite movie being shown at this years film fest is Limelight with Charlie Chaplin.

Sure he has other movies that were better

- Namely- 

The Kid 

City Lights 
The Great Dictator 

Modern Times 

The Gold Rush 

But that is the problem with a talented performer like Chaplin. He has so many iconic movies and all time greats that a wonderful movie like Limelight rarely get spoken about.
Made in 1952 the movie is without question Chaplin's farewell movie, an epilogue of sorts. While he did one more movie after this (A King in New York 1957). This was clearly his take a bow and walk off stage movie.

While the spotlight burned bright for Chaplin and Buster Keaton in prior years, they were thought of as legends but beyond their prime. The casting of Keaton in the movie was a nod from Chaplin to his greatness and a help to Keaton financially who was broke at the time.

When the spotlight dimmed for the last time on Calvero, the lead character, and for Chaplin himself there is a sense of melancholy at having to walk away. You can feel it coming through on the screen as you could with most of the emotions that Chaplin wanted you to feel. By this time, the way he was treated by a country Hell bent on a witch hunt, had simply worn him down, and the sadness of being forgotten is a theme that pops up in the movie and in Chaplin's own life at this point.

This will be my first time seeing the movie on the big screen. I hope the crowd has packed the theaters, nothing would please Charlie more than to know that people would be packing the theaters almost 60 years later to see this underrated gem.


Cause the wa- ai - ting is the hardest part...

Tom Petty was right.
Well, not so much about the weird Children of the Corn haircut he seems to have had for 40 years. But waiting for the upcoming TCM Film Fest here in Los Angeles is killing me.
Having purchased my passes back in December, it seems like a decade has gone by waiting to see the movies that made the 'Silver Screen' THE 'Silver Screen' actually on a big screen.
But now the time has come.

This time next week I will be sipping a martini in the Library bar at the legendary Roosevelt Hotel, hoping to see Robert Osborne doing the same.

There has been much to complain about;
- How long it took to get the schedule
- The cost of the passes
- Some of the movie choices (Out of Sight? Really?)

But in the end you realize, that it is totally worth it. The long lines, the cost, the crowds... It is all worth it, every penny, every line you will wait in. You will be surrounded with people who's love of the Classics are on par with your own. When the lights dim and the music crescendos and the credits roll, I will not be thinking about the cost or the lines, I will be excited to be sharing this with like minded people and my lovely wife.

I have a little OCD in me and will obsess about every detail, which is why I was hoping the schedule would have come out sooner. I have been working on spreadsheets, and I think I need an abacus, but I think I have my schedule put together. I have attached it below, if anyone wants to meet up for a drink or a movie you'll know where I'll be. I will be posting everyday from the event.

My TCM Schedule

Is Silence Golden?

Is Silence Golden?
The First Talkie “The Jazz Singer”
And the Last Silent “The Artist"

When the “Jazz Singer” debuted in theaters, October 6th 1927 it was not the immediate hit with critics that modern day cinephiles would think that a historic movie of its caliber would generate. Here is an excerpt from Time Magazine
In 1927, TIME was less than impressed by The Jazz Singer. What was important about it, the review in the Oct. 17, 1927, issue stated, was that it was Al Jolson’s first movie, and that it was noteworthy that his singing voice could be preserved. “The Vitaphone permits him to talk and sing his way through the sentimental mazes of the movie adaptation,” the reviewer noted. No mention whatsoever of the real historic value of the movie.But 1920s cinemaphiles could be forgiven for missing the point. As a matter of fact, most of them would have missed the sound entirely. Within just a few years, it was eminently clear that the movie was more important than its star — but there had been a serious technical hindrance to moviegoers realizing as much when it first came out. As TIME’s 1933 review of the Jolson picture Hallelujah, I’m a Bum explained:Jolson and his career will be remembered because The Jazz Singer was the first sound picture ever made. It cost $500,000 and when it was released in Manhattan on Oct. 6, 1927, there were less than 100 theatres in the world equipped to show it. The success of The Jazz Singerdefinitely ended Hollywood’s happiest era, launched the fortunes of Warner Brothers who produced it, established Al Jolson for a short time as the greatest personality in the amusement business.Jolson’s later pictures have been less successful but he still has most of the $2,000,000 which made him a few years ago reputedly the third richest actor in the world.

Even though "The Jazz Singer" was not the first film to use sound, it proved to be the first one to use spoken dialogue as part of the dramatic action.   The combination of Jolson, America's most popular singer, and the new medium of sound helped to produce a profit of $3.5 million, causing Warner Bros. to begin its rule as one of Hollywood's top studios.

So it was not well received by critics, but audiences loved it. And now is seen as a historical cinema marker of progress, and it ushered in many copy cats which led to sound pictures to be the norm from then on.
Then there is “The Artist”
Released January 20th 2012 was met with immediate praise from critics, and while the movie goers didn't exactly run away from the theaters, the movie was not quite the commercial hit that a Best Picture winner would normally generate and it has definitely not started a string of copycats, leading to the re-emergence of silent film.
Definitely two groundbreaking films, but on two ends of the spectrum, and are opposite as much as they are the same.
There’s a scene fairly early in “The Artist” where sound is introduced into the movie. A drinking glass landing on a table. The wind in the palms. A dog barking, a phone ringing, women laughing.
By then though, the movie should have you fully in its thrall. And so you will wish, deeply, that it will revert back to silence, that beautiful, evocative silence. Not to worry, it does.
But it goes beyond imitation or gentle spoofing: The Director is all in, for all the romance and glamor and pathos of his story, and so are his extraordinary stars, who are up for the challenge.
The movie is inventive, strangely enough in its un-inventiveness. More than just simple nostalgia, since most all viewers of this movie weren’t alive when silent films were the standard on the big screen. But somehow, using the old tricks of the trade, they have managed to create something new. Sure, it is actually something old, but that is where the beauty in its ability to re-create what captured the imaginations, many generations before lies.
If it is a good story well executed people will love it, whether it has sound or not.

Double Vision

A hated word in Hollywood, but yet they have been making and re-making movies in Hollywood ever since before there was a Hollywood and movie lots in what is now the city of Edendale, had to hold pancake breakfasts to trick local residents into appearing in the movies they were making.
It seems as soon as Hollywood started having ideas, they also started recycling them. There are many types of remakes;

There are some Good
                       LA Cage Aux Follies (1978)       The Birdcage (1996)                       

Father of the Bride (1950 & 1991)

Cape Fear (1962 & 1991)

Scarface (1932 & 1983)

The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934 & 1956)

And some not so good;


There are the movies that will always be made over and over again; 

There are the movies that you didn't know were remakes;

Little Shop Around the Corner (1940)  You've Got mail (1998)

Bedtime Story (1964)  Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)

Angels In the Outfield (1951 & 1994)

And of Course the Untouchables;
Movies we all hope and pray never get remade
Among many others

Remakes are as much of a part of movie history as stale over buttered popcorn.
As long as you enjoy them... what does it matter which came first