Bill Dudley Headed to 5th Annual TCM Fest

Author: Bill Dudley

Film fans of all ages from all over the globe will be walking on the very same concrete that Marilyn Monroe, Charlie Chaplin and Frank Sinatra once did . Old Hollywood comes alive this weekend at the 5th annual TCM Festival. The Hotel Roosevelt, TCL Chinese Theatre (formerly Grauman’s), Egyptian Theatre, The El Capitan and several other historical hangouts will happily celebrate over 100 years of what made Hollywood famous, great movies! Last year I saw about 20 films, I’m hoping to see even more this year.

I have had the distinct pleasure of covering the TCM Fest for all 5 years of it’s existence. At TCM Fest, I’ve seen classic film stars of all genres in person,including Mel Brooks,Tony Curtis, Kim Novak,Martin Landau, Eva Marie Saint, Jane Fonda, Angela Lansbury, Peter O’Toole,Liza Minnelli,Kirk Douglas and many more. All giving us their personal take on the classic films they were a part of. Writers, directors, producers and one hit film wonders are also present. This year will feature Richard Dreyfuss to tell the story of ‘The Goodbye Girl’ and ‘Mr Holland’s Opus’. The iconic ‘American Graffiti will play poolside at the Hollywood Roosevelt on Thursday night with special guests Candy Clark, Paul Le Mat and Bo Hopkins.  A Mickey Rooney tribute is scheduled for Sunday, which I’m told he was going to take part in until his passing earlier this week. One of Mickey’s very best films will be screened “National Velvet”, also starring a very young Elizabeth Taylor. Child star, Margaret O’Brien is also scheduled to attend.

The ground-breaking film that made Lena Horne a star will be presented on Saturday. ‘Stormy Weather’ was one of the first major film releases that featured an all African-American cast. Huge stars of the era, Louis Armstrong, Fats Waller, Dooley Wilson, Cab Calloway, and The Nicholas Brothers are also featured. Mel Brooks will be present for what I think is the funniest film he (or anyone else) has ever made ‘Blazing Saddles’. Mel told me a few years ago the film was shot partly in Palmdale. He actually got the great Count Basie to appear in that segment.”Gone With The Wind” will be back where it belongs on the big screen for it’s 75th anniversary. Comedian Jerry Lewis will step into wet cement at the TCL Chinese Theatre, probably screaming “LADY!”  The original ‘Nutty Professor’ will be shown after Jerry wipes the cement off his feet.

This year’s theme is ‘Family In The Movies’ and will feature film legend Charlton Heston’s family commemorating a postage stamp in his honor. In a seven decade career Heston played Presidents and prophets, fought Romans and apes among his 70 plus films. Heston will be joining Humphrey Bogart, John Wayne,Bette Davis and others as the 18th  release in The Legends Of Hollywood Series. Ceremonies are  April 11th, also at The Chinese Theater, followed by a screening of the fully restored  ‘Touch Of Evil”. This was a 1958 black & white film noir directed by Orson Welles, that Heston was very proud of.

If you only know Robert Redford or Leonardo Dicaprio as ‘The Great Gatsby’, check out the 1949 release starring Alan Ladd. Believe it or not, Joan Crawford made a Western called  ‘Johnny Guitar’, which is very chic. If you like the weird ones,1933’s once banned ‘Freaks’ will hit the screen for a late night show, as will ‘Eraserhead’.The biggest event kicks off  tonight with a Red Carpet showing of the digitally restored 1955 musical ‘Oklahoma’ with the still very vibrant Shirley Jones in attendance.  This is also the 20th anniversary of Turner Classic Movies.By the time you read this, I will already have spoken to TCM hosts Robert Osborne, and Ben Mankiewicz, which is one of my favorite parts of the festival. Check the entire list of Hollywood’s best films showing this weekend at filmfestival.tcm.com.

Robert Osborne and Bill Dudley (Photo courtesy of Bill Dudley)

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