Last year I attended my first TCM Classic Film Festival and it was a dream come true. Imagine my delight this year when I was invited back as a member of the media. TCM is the only television channel I have a real interest in and the annual festival is a wonderful celebration of the riches it brings.
The festival started on Thursday but due to prior obligations I couldn’t attend until Saturday. As soon as I got to the Hollywood Roosevelt (festival headquarters) I jumped right into the festivities and made a beeline to Club TCM – my favorite part of the fest.
I sat down and got my bearings while listening to legendary film editor Anne V. Coates discuss her lengthy career. Interesting as it was, I had a film to catch so I headed on over to the Chinese Multiplex to catch a screening of The Picture Show Man.
This film is one of the reasons the TCM Classic Film Fest is so special. I had never heard of this movie prior to the festival. I knew none of the actors except Rod Taylor. I had no idea there was an Australian New Wave film movement in the 1970’s. But the description of the film – two competing silent film showman traverse the Australian bush during the 1920’s – intrigued me. So I went and it was a delight.
Straight from that film I ran next door to the Chinese IMAX to catch a screening of The Apartment. This was my one must see event of the festival. Not only is it one of my favorite films but Shirley MacLaine was there to present it. In person! I ended up waiting in a HUGE line but it was worth it.
Not only did I get into the theatre with ease (thanks to TCM’s super organized ticketing system) but I also had an amazing evening. Shirley MacLaine was a pure delight and seeing one of my favorite movies on such a huge screen was an experience I’ll never forget.
After the film ended I was pretty tired so I headed on home to get some shut eye. The very next morning I headed back to Hollywood for day 2. Before joining the festivities I made a quick stop at Larry Edmunds Bookshop to catch a reading by Carl Reiner.
It wasn’t an official festival event but it sure was a good way to get into the classic Hollywood spirit. I then headed on over to the Roosevelt…and stayed there for the rest of the day. Not in the mood to catch a film I hunkered down in Club TCM because Shirley MacLaine was scheduled for an in depth conversation with Leonard Maltin.
I love Shirley MacLaine. Love, love, love. Sure, her writing’s a bit cooky but she is a fantastic actress. The Apartment. Irma LaDouce. Two for the Seesaw. The Children’s Hour. Bernie. Have you seen Bernie? It came out a couple of years ago and stayed under the radar but it’s such a good film. She mentioned it was a recent favorite and I must agree. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
While waiting I decided to try a drink mixed with Bogart’s English Gin.
As I’m a huge Bogart fan I’ve long been tracking the release of this spirit. Luckily, it was a sponsor of this years fest and drinks were on the house. I must say it was mighty tasty. As I waited for Ms. MacLaine Club TCM grew more and more crowded. She’s one popular gal. I ended up standing for over two hours but it was well worth it.
In the course of an hour we ran through her entire career from her early days as a contract player at Paramount to her upcoming film, Wild Oats. The stories she told were just wonderful. At Paramount she shared a block of dressing rooms with Shirley Booth, Anna Magnani, Lizabeth Scott, Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, Danny Kaye and Elvis Presley. She told how they would sit around and discuss their project and gossip. To be a fly on the wall at that time! She also gave insight into many of her male costars and I was delighted to learn that Dean Martin and James Garner had amazing senses of humor, Jack Lemmon was wonderful and kind, Elvis was very polite and Michael Caine is fantastic. I even loved learning that Fred MacMurray was a nice guy but super cheap. As Ms. MacLaine said “When he opened his wallet his money blinked. It had never seen the sun.” Ha! I could listen to her for hours.
Alas, before I knew it the conversation was over and the festival was drawing to a close. There were more screenings but as I had to get up early the next day I made my way home.
Words cannot express how much I love my time at the festival. I’ve been a classic film lover my entire life and to spend days in the company of folks who share my passion is truly a delight. Add to that amazing film screenings and incredible access to Hollywood legends and it makes for an unforgettable weekend. I’ve gained so many memories that I’ll cherish throughout my life. Thank you, TCM.