The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

An Annual Tradition: The TCM Classic Film Festival

Written by: Jill Blake, CC2K Film Editor

CC2K will be covering the 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood. Here is film editor Jill Blake’s schedule picks for this year’s event.

For the third year I’ll be attending the TCM Classic Film Festival. This year marks the 5th anniversary of the annual event in Hollywood, in addition to the 20th anniversary of the TCM network. It promises to be an amazing festival, filled with special guests, events, and plenty of surprises. 

This year the theme for the TCM Classic Film Festival (TCMFF) is Family in the Movies: The Ties that Bind. It’s the perfect theme to celebrate TCM’s milestones since the classic film community is truly one big family, with many traveling in from all over the world to attend. The TCMFF is a festival created for the fans. It’s an amazing experience, one where friends are made and underrated gems have their moment on a big screen in front of appreciative audiences. As my friend and fellow Black Maria editor, Carley Johnson wrote in her pre-TCMFF piece on her personal blog:

“The Turner Classic Movies Film Festival has been described as a classic movie Comic-Con, and this is hardly an exaggeration, as it brings with it a flood of international fans for four days of pure, unadulterated fanboying.”

This is spot on. There are retro cosplayers and folks geeking out about obscure character actors (Guy Kibbee, anyone?). It’s incredible. And I love it. 

The TCM Classic Film Festival is headquartered at the Roosevelt Hotel on Hollywood Blvd. with main screening venues at the TCL Chinese IMAX (formerly Grauman’s Chinese Theatre), The Egyptian Theatre, and The Chinese Multiplexes 1, 4, & 6. There will also be five screenings at the El Capitan, which is significantly more than in the past. The Cinerama Dome is not a featured venue this year, nor is the Avalon. However, two new venues have been added: The Hollywood Museum and The Montalbán Theatre. Each of these locations will host special events such as the Sons of Gods and Monsters panel and the Ask Robert Osborne Q&A. 

Each year one of the most difficult things is deciding which films to attend. In the past I’ve jokingly referred to it as a form of torture…a beautiful torture. The TCM Classic Film Festival offers an embarrassment of riches and you really can’t go wrong with any of the offerings on the schedule. This year is absolutely no exception. Matter of fact it blows past years out of the water. And that’s saying something. 

I will be covering the 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival primarily here at CC2K with supplemental coverage at The Black Maria and my personal blog Sittin’ on a Backyard Fence. You can also follow my instant coverage of the #TCMFF over at Twitter @biscuitkitten and over at Instagram

My general approach for this year’s Festival? Laid back. Have fun. Drink cocktails. Meet amazing people. Watch new-to-me films.

Here are my picks for the 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival:

Thursday, April 10th

3:30 pm at The Hollywood Museum: TCM Senior programming producer Scott McGee hosts the panel Sons of Gods and Monsters with special guests Rick Baker and Joe Dante. Very excited for this new event. 

5:00 pm at Club TCM: Welcome Party/TCM at 20 Exhibit. This is when the festival officially gets underway! I’ll grab a cocktail, mingle with my fellow classic film fans and head over to the pool. 

7:30 pm Roosevelt Hotel, poolside: American Graffiti featuring a reunion with cast members Candy Clark, Bo Hopkins, and Paul Le Mat. The poolside screenings are a fun, casual way to kick off the weekend. 

9:45 pm Chinese Multiplex 6: I’ll cut out of American Graffiti a little early and head over to the Hollywood and Highland complex for William Wyler’s 1949 masterpiece, The Heiress. I’m a huge Wyler fan and have seen a large portion of his filmography, but this is one I haven’t seen! Very excited. 

Friday, April 11th

9:15 am at the Chinese Multiplex 6: John Ford’s Stagecoach (1939) with Nancy Schoenberger in attendance. This is one of my favorite westerns and it would be a real treat to see it on the big screen. Back up plan: The Thin Man (1934) at the Egyptian Theatre

2:00 pm at The Montalbán Theatre: Ask Robert, with TCM Host Robert Obsorne. Perhaps I’ll finally get a chance to sing a duet to “Endless Love” with Mr. Osborne. 

4:00 pm at Club TCM: A Conversation with William Friedkin, hosted by Eddie Muller. This promises to be an exciting conversation. 

6:00 pm at TCL Chinese IMAX: 70th Anniversary world premiere restoration of Billy Wilder’s Double Indemnity (1944). Although I’ve seen an amazing print of this film before on the big screen, it’s hard to pass up…especially with all of my friends there. Back up plan: Paper Moon (1973) at Chinese Multiplex 1. 

8:45 pm at Chinese Multiplex 1: World premiere restoration of William Wyler’s The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) with Mark Harris in attendance. This is the absolute only can’t miss screening for me at the festival. It’s also a heartbreaker. During this same time slot? Blazing Saddles with Mel Brooks and Harold Lloyd’s Why Worry with live accompaniment. You’re killing me, TCM!

Midnight at Chinese Multiplex 6: David Lynch’s Eraserhead (1977) introduced by Patton Oswalt. This is going to be incredible. 

Saturday, April 12th

9:15 am at the Chinese Multiplex 1: Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights (1931). Such a beautiful film and will be an amazing experience to see with an audience. Back up plan: The Jungle Book (1967) at El Capitan. 

11:45 am at the Egyptian Theatre: Godzilla (1954). This is going to be a BLAST. Back up: Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) at Chinese Multiplex 6

3:00 pm at the El Capitan: John Ford’s How Green Was My Valley (1941) with Maureen O’Hara in attendance. I have never seen this film and I absolutely cannot pass up seeing Ms. O’Hara in person. Back up plan: The Goodbye Girl (1977) with Richard Dreyfuss in attendance, at the Egyptian Theatre. 

6:30 pm at the TCL Chinese IMAX: Richard Lester’s A Hard Day’s Night (1964), with Alec Baldwin and Don Was in attendance. 50 years ago my mom saw this movie in the theatre. I’d like to do the same. Back up plan: Bell, Book and Candle (1958) with Kim Novak in attendance at the Egyptian Theatre or Douglas Sirk’s Written on the Wind (1956) at Chinese Multiplex 6. 

9:15 pm at the TCL Chinese IMAX: William Friedkin’s Sorcerer (1977). Really excited to see this new-to-me film. Newly restored! Back up plan: This Is Spinal Tap (1984).

Midnight at the Chinese Multiplex 6: Tod Browning’s Freaks (1931). In a word: YES. 

Sunday, April 13

9:15 am at the Egyptian Theatre: Academy Conversations: The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938). This is probably the most exciting addition to the schedule. Robin Hood is a fun film and viewing with an audience will be a blast. Seeing Errol in his bejeweled tunic and green tights will be the most religion I’ve had on a Sunday morning in a long time. Back up plan: Tokyo Story (1953) at the Chinese Multiplex 1.

1:00 pm at The Montalbán Theatre: Live from the TCM Classic Film Festival. TCM host will interview Alan Arkin. Incredibly excited. Back up plan: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) at the Egyptian Theatre. MENDACITY!

3:00pm Club TCM: 20 Years of TCM On-Air. This is going to be a great event featuring the work of the TCM on-air staff that produces all of the wonderful tributes and promos we enjoy on the network. I hope to make it to at least the first half. 

3:45 pm at the Egyptian Theatre: The Heart is a Lonely Hunter with Alan Arkin in attendance. Back-up plan: The Quiet Man (1952) at Chinese Multiplex 1. 

7:30 pm at the Egyptian Theatre: The Lodger with the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra. As much as I’d like to go to the “official” closer over at the Chinese, I’ve seen The Wizard of Oz a million times, several times on the big screen, and I cannot stand 3D…especially when a film is “retro-fitted” (and the original filmmakers aren’t here to stand by their work). 

Then it’s over to the Official Closing Night Party for drinks and conversation! A wonderful end to a crazy weekend. 

Stay tuned for more reports after the TCM Classic Film Festival!