TCM Film Festival 2019 Picks

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TCM is a beloved channel for classic film fans in the United States and beyond. In addition to offering classic film fans quality, commercial-free viewing, TCM is also noted for its annual Classic Film Festival held in Hollywood, California. Two milestones, in particular, are of significance this year: TCM is celebrating its 25th anniversary, in addition to its 10th TCM Classic Film Festival. The festival’s theme this year is “Follow Your Heart: Love at the Movies.”

This year, I am delighted to be attending the TCM Classic Film Festival as a first-time attendee. In addition, I was able to secure media credentials for my coverage of the festival. I look forward to meeting fellow classic fans, enjoying wonderful films, and enjoying the enthusiasm and energy of this special festival.

Of course, the line-up is stellar and leads to some tough decisions for festival attendees. Granted that this is my first time attending both in general and with media credentials, my schedule may fluctuate and impact some of my film choices as I learn more about the events I will be covering, in addition to any issues concerning theater capacity. Nonetheless, films are “the stuff dreams are made of” and it’s high time to dream about my top picks for this year’s festival.

Overall, I tend to lean towards musicals, Pre-Codes, and comedies. As an archivist, I can hardly resist any sort of nitrate showing or film restoration. While I do have my usual genres and films that I enjoy time and again, I like to view films that I have not yet seen in order to increase my exposure even more talents and plots. Every film tells a story–both in front of the camera and behind–and it is a joy to celebrate and enjoy this medium, even more so with the talents, techniques, plots, and histories that classic cinema brings. With that being said, here are my picks for this year’s festival:

Day 1: Thursday, April 11

  • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953). Showgirls Lorelei Lee and Dorothy Shaw travel to Paris, pursued by a private detective hired by the suspicious father of Lorelei’s fiancé, as well as a rich, enamored old man and many other doting admirers. Stars Jane Russell, Marilyn Monroe, and Charles Coburn.
    • Programming Series: A Celebration of Fox
    • Location: Egyptian Theater, 6:45pm-8:30pm
    • Reason for Pick: While I am familiar with some of the musical numbers in this film as well as the stars, I have never seen it from start to finish. Time to fix that with a big screen.
  • The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer (1947). A high school girl falls for a playboy artist, with screwball results. Stars Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, and Shirley Temple.
    • Programming Series: Nitrate
    • Location: Egyptian Theater, 9:30pm-11:30pm
    • Reason for Pick: I adore the stars of this film. Moreover, it’s the first nitrate showing for this year’s festival. Count me in!
  • Most Excited About: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)

Day 2: Friday, April 12

  • Merrily We Go to Hell (1932). A drunken newspaperman is rescued from his alcoholic haze by an heiress whose love sobers him up and encourages him to write a play, but he lapses back into dipsomania. Stars Sylvia Sidney, Fredric March, and Adrianne Allen.
    • Programming Series: Discoveries
    • Location: Chinese Multiplex House #1, 9am-10:30am
    • Reason for Pick: It’s a Pre-Code I have not yet seen. Hooray!
  • Love in the Afternoon (1957). A middle-aged playboy becomes fascinated by the daughter of a private detective who has been hired to entrap him with the wife of a client. Stars Gary Cooper, Audrey Hepburn, and Maurice Chevalier.
    • Programming Series: Better with Age
    • Location: Chinese Multiplex House #6, 11:30am-1:45pm
    • Reason for Pick: This film was directed by Billy Wilder, who is one of my favorites. I have not seen this film yet, so it’ll be a new Wilder endeavor to enjoy.
  • Vanity Street (1932). A New York City police detective rescues a down-and-out showgirl from a bad situation, gets her a job in the Follies, and falls in love with her. Then, as he is about to lead her to the altar, he has to arrest her for a murder she did not commit. He sets out to find the real killer and clear her name. Stars Charles Bickford, Helen Chandler, and Mayo Methot.
    • Programming Series: Discoveries
    • Location: Chinese Multiplex House #6, 5:30pm-6:45pm
    • Reason for Pick: Another Pre-Code that I have yet to view.
  • The Opposite Sex (1956). Kay Hilliard, a former nightclub singer, married ten years and mother of a young daughter, is informed that her husband Steve is having an affair with chorus girl Crystal, so she goes to Reno for a divorce. After that, Steve marries Crystal, but Crystal isn’t true. When Kay hears about this, she starts fighting to win her ex-husband back. Stars June Allyson, Joan Collins, and Dolores Gray.
    • Programming Series: Special Presentations
    • Location: Poolside at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, 8pm-10:15pm
    • Reason for Pick: Besides being a musical with gorgeous color, it has a fabulous cast. This is another film I have yet to view and I’m looking forward to enjoying it poolside.
  • Most Excited About: The Opposite Sex (1956)

Day 3: Saturday, April 13

  • Double Wedding (1937). Two sisters of differing temperaments, the younger’s milquetoast fiancé, and a free-spirited artist in an auto trailer are all experiencing romantic complications. Stars William Powell, Myrna Loy, and Florence Rice.
    • Programming Series: ‘Til Death Do Us Part
    • Location: Egyptian Theater, 9am-10:30am
    • Reason for Pick: I love any Powell-Loy collaboration–especially one that is new to me!
  • Tarzan and His Mate (1934). The idyllic life of Tarzan and Jane is challenged by men on safari who come seeking ivory and come seeking Jane, as well. Stars Johnny Weissmuller, Maureen O’Sullivan, and Neil Hamilton.
    • Programming Series: Special Presentations
    • Location: Chinese Multiplex House #6, 11:45am-2pm
    • Reason for Pick: I’ve actually never seen any films from the Tarzan series. I think this will be an interesting one to catch.
  • Father Goose (1964). During World War II, a man persuaded to live on an isolated island and spot aircraft finds himself responsible for a teacher and several students, all female. Stars Cary Grant, Leslie Caron, and Trevor Howard.
    • Programming Series: Essentials
    • Location: Chinese Multiplex House #1, 2:45pm-5pm
    • Reason for Pick: Cary Grant. This film is also one I have not yet viewed.
  • Life Begins at 40 (1935). In small-town America, the easy-going publisher of the local paper finds himself in opposition to the local banker on the return to the town of a lad jailed–possibly wrongly–for theft from the bank. Stars Will Rogers, Richard Cromwell, and George Barbier.
    • Programming Series: A Celebration of 20th Century Fox
    • Location: Chinese Multiplex House #6, 7:30pm-9pm
    • Reason for Pick: Will Rogers is one of my favorites and this film will be new to me.
  • Samson and Delilah (1949). When strongman Samson rejects the love of the beautiful Philistine woman Delilah, she seeks vengeance that brings horrible consequences they both regret. Stars Hedy Lamarr, Victor Mature, and George Sanders.
    • Programming Series: Nitrate Films
    • Location: Egyptian Theater, 9:30pm-11:45pm
    • Reason for Pick: Hedy Lamarr in Technicolor. Moreover, the film is in nitrate and new to me.
  • Most Excited About: Life Begins at 40 (1935)

Day 4: Sunday, April 14

  • Mad Love (1935). In France, an insane surgeon’s obsession with an actress from England leads him to replace her pianist husband’s hands that got mangled in an accident with the hands of a late knife murderer which still have the urge to throw knives. Stars Peter Lorre, Frances Drake, and Colin Clive.
    • Programming Series: Magnificent Obsessions
    • Location: Egyptian Theater, 9:15am-10:45am
    • Reason for Pick: This film is new to me and I need more Frances Drake in my life.
  • Magnificent Obsession (1954). A selfish playboy enamored by a woman he seems to hurt more than he intends begins to understand a deeper meaning to their relationship. Stars Jane Wyman, Rock Hudson, and Agnes Moorehead.
    • Programming Series: Magnificent Obsessions
    • Location: Chinese Multiplex House #1, 11:45am-1:45pm
    • Reason for Pick: I have seen very few Rock Hudson films and this is the one that started it all for him. I feel like I need to add that into my repertoire.
  • Buck Privates (1941). Two sidewalk salesman enlist in the army in order to avoid jail, only to find that their drill instructor is the police officer who tried having them imprisoned. Stars Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, and Lee Bowman.
    • Programming Series: Essentials
    • Location: The Legion Theater at Post 43, 7:30pm-9pm
    • Reason for Pick: This was a tough choice for me since I adore June Haver and The Dolly Sisters (1945) is playing during this slot but I’ve enjoyed her other film roles more. Given the options, I would go with Buck Privates purely for the “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” on the big screen and the antics of Bud and Lou.
  • Most Excited About: Buck Privates (1941)

All in all, the festival has an exciting lineup that I am eager to enjoy even if I do not make it to all of the picks mentioned here. I’ll see you at the festival!

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