By Bill Dudley
Hard to believe but 8 years ago back 2010, the folks that produced the first TCM Classic Film Festival, weren’t sure if it would be a hit. The fact that it is now in it’s 8th year proves it HAS been very successful. I am proud to say I have attended every year and always had a great time viewing vintage films from nearly 100 years ago, right up to more recent times.
In the past I have seen and met Hollywood icons like Debbie Reynolds, Tony Curtis, Mel Brooks, and Maureen O’Hara among others. Mel is the only one (of this group) who is still with us, and he will be there again this year for a screening of High Anxiety, as the festival theme is Make them Laugh. A wide array of comedies from the silent era right on thru to the 1980’s is on tap. Vintage laugh getters like Laurel & Hardy’s Way Out West, Steve Martin’s The Jerk, Billy Wilders Some Like It Hot, the Marx Bros Monkey Business, the 1970’s cult classic Harold & Maude plus the madcap Cinerama classic It’s A Mad, Mad World will be screened. One of the best films of all time, Casablanca joins two Alfred Hitchcock gems Rear Window and The Man Who Knew Too Much.The film noir classics The Maltese Falcon, and Laura will also make appearances. Laura is one of the most haunting film noir’s of all time,and is the black & white example of Nitrate film, to be contrasted with the full spectrum color classic Black Narcissus. Nitrate was both explosive and costly. The last Nitrate film was produced in the early 1950’s. A new documentary film about the history of Nitrate will also be screened,
Guests this year include a diverse crowd from Sidney Poitier, Michael Douglas, Lee Grant and Martin Sheen, to director James L. Brooks, film historian Leonard Maltin, and actor Keir Dullea. The big Red Carpet event this year is a screening of Poitier’s 1967 gem, In The heat Of The Night, also starring Rod Steiger. It kicks off the festival tonight at the TCL Chinese Theater.
Also featured are Diana Ross’s film debut, Lady Sings The Blues, Bonnie and Clyde, The Graduate, musicals Bye Bye Birdie and Singing In The Rain, plus a tribute to the late Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher with the showing of Postcards From The Edge. Father and son Carl and Rob Reiner will have their hand and footprints join some 90 years of many others in a ceremony at the TCL Chinese Theater on Friday morning.
Another special treat for those of you who have been watching FEUD: BETTE and JOAN. TCM Fest is screening the original 1962 film it is based on starring longtime rivals and bitter enemies, actresses Joan Crawford and Bette Davis. If you have never seen this campy horror flick, it is a must see ! Film fans come from all over the world to see their favorites on the big screen, with the directors, stars and screenwriters that created such an important part of our history and culture. You may still be able to get tickets for the entire 4 day weekend or just your favorite film. Check it out at: FilmFestival.TCM.com.