Mar 10, 2015

Joy! The TCM Classic Film Festival Schedule is Here: What I Plan to See

It is once again that beautiful, horrible time of year when the TCM Classic Film Festival schedule is released!

Like many film fans, I found it difficult to tear myself away from this page yesterday, as I delighted and agonized over the offerings for TCMFF 2015. There's been a lot of controversy this year over the many newer films on the schedule, but I found plenty of older classics that I am excited to see. Some of those newer flicks look pretty good to me too.

My biggest disappointments this year are that I won't be able to fit in a poolside screening or one of a pair of 60s epics (Doctor Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia) on the schedule. For the most part though, I should be able to see the things I really want to see.

I plan to watch seventeen films, as I did last year. It's a pretty tight schedule, but I've got it arranged so I should be able to sit down for a meal at least once a day (in addition to snacking like crazy) and spend some time soaking up the ambiance of the festival beyond waiting in line (though that can be lots of fun at TCMFF).

My priority: live appearances. Those are always the most memorable, and as sad as it sounds, can sometimes be the last opportunity to see a star in person. My other selections are a mix of films that are completely new to me and some favorites that I've wanted to see on the big screen with an enthusiastic audience.

So here they are! My choices, arranged by day (and subject to many, many changes):

Lombard and Powell in My Man Godfrey (1936)

Day 1, Thursday, March 26

I enjoyed the Meet TCM panel last year--lots of good insight into what's going on behind the scenes for the channel--so I plan to check that out first at Club TCM.

The trivia event So You Think You Know the Movies? sounds like fun, so I might check out that at Club TCM too, depending on what else is going on. I remember changing my mind a lot that first day of the festival.

Though I don't have access to attend The Sound of Music (1965), I'm sure the red carpet for the opening film will be amazing, so I'm planning to check that out. It was great fun catching a glimpse of Shirley Jones from across the street last year.

I'm going to attend the opening night party for a while too before attending my first movie of the festival. Right out of the gate, I've got a tough decision to make. I adore Garbo and John Gilbert in Queen Christina (1933) and it would be amazing to see it on the big screen. However, I also love Too Late For Tears (1949), and after years of watching this film noir on terrible public domain prints, it would be great to see the restored version.

My Man Godfrey (1936) was my first Carole Lombard film, and I saw it for the first time on the big screen. The experience is such a happy memory for me, and this remains one of my favorite comedies. It'll be a great way to end the first day of the festival.

Christopher Plummer in 2007

Day 2, Friday, March 27

The Christopher Plummer hand and footprint ceremony will likely keep me from attending the first time slot of Friday films and maybe even the second too, but it will be worth it to see this amazing actor honored. In addition to the man of the hour, Shirley MacLaine and William Shatner will speak.

If I do catch something in the second time slot of the day, it will probably be The Proud Rebel (1958). I will have already seen most of the films I plan to attend at TCMFF and I want to watch be sure to catch a few which are entirely new to me. I like Alan Ladd and Olivia de Havilland, so I figure this western is a good gamble.

Then I will be lining up at the Egyptian Theater in the hopes of seeing the marvelous Ann-Margret introduce The Cincinnati Kid (1965), which also stars Steve McQueen, Edward G. Robinson and Joan Blondell. This was the first announcement that got me excited about the 2015 festival. I can't wait to see one of my favorite actresses in person.

If I can dash to the Chinese Multiplex in time (I've managed this before, so fingers crossed) I'm going to check out the entirely new-to-me pre-code Don't Bet on Women (1931), which features Jeanette MacDonald in her only non-singing role.

Then I will boomerang back to the Egyptian to see my silent movie crush Buster Keaton in Steamboat Bill Jr. (1929). I hope to see more silent movies at this year's festival, as the reaction of the crowd is almost as amusing as what's up on the screen.

Then perhaps another run down Hollywood Blvd. will be necessary (note to self: wear the comfiest shoes this day) to get a good seat for On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), my favorite Bond flick, introduced by George Lazenby. I'm looking forward to seeing the actor, but oh to have seen co-star Diana Rigg as well!

This year I'm going to attempt two midnight movie screenings, because both of them are sure to be can't miss experiences. The first: Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor costarring in Boom! (1968). This movie looks campy as hell, and I've been dying to see it for years.

Shirley MacLaine in The Apartment (1960)

Day 3, Saturday, March 28

I'm going to start the day with the Colleen Moore silent Why Be Good? (1929), which I enjoyed seeing for the first time on a Warner Archive MOD release last year. Long thought lost, it's amazing that now this amusing film will play before an audience.

Though I'm disappointed to miss both of the great 1960s epics on the schedule, Lawrence of Arabia (1962) plays during the Plummer ceremony and Doctor Zhivago (1965) during 42nd Street (1933), which I am determined to see on the big screen! It was one of the first pre-codes I enjoyed as a teenage film fan.

Then I'm going to grab a place in line to see Robert Osborne interview Sophia Loren at the Montalban Theatre. I really wanted to see the John Ford pre-code Air Mail (1932), which is also playing in this time slot. Fingers crossed that it will play again in one of the TBA slots the last day of the festival.

If I can make it, I'll follow the interview with a peek at Christmas in July (1940), a Preston Sturges-directed and scripted comedy that I saw years ago, but don't remember well, except that I enjoyed it, as I tend to do anything with Sturges attached.

I adore the Grauman's Chinese Theatre (aka, TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX, but I'm still having trouble adjusting to the name change) and am looking forward to the one-two punch of Shirley MacLaine introducing The Apartment (1960) and director William Friedkin speaking before The French Connection (1971).

That last time slot is a tough one, because I really wanted to see the hand-cranked films (including my beloved A Trip to the Moon (1902)!), watch Robert Morse introduce The Loved One (1965) and revel in the craziness that is Earthquake (1974) poolside.

The French Connection will be an amazing on the big screen though, it's something I've wanted to experience since I first saw the film years ago. I also treasure festival guests that are fascinating interview subjects, like Alan Arkin and Albert Maysles (RIP dear man) were, and I hear that Friedkin always has great insights to share.

I'm going to finish up the night with a midnight showing of the extremely rare Nothing Lasts Forever (1984), which I was devastated to miss when it recently aired on TCM (I still don't know how I managed to do that). I feel lucky to have another chance to see it.

Sophia Loren in 2009

Day 4, Sunday, March 29

As I recall, I began Sunday morning of TCMFF 2014 mistakenly washing my hair very squeaky clean with body wash because I was so tired. Fortunately, I'll be starting the day with a dose of sunshine, courtesy of Doris Day in Calamity Jane (1953), one of my favorite Day films. The snappy opening number is so much fun and will be a great eye-opener.

Then, in a bizarre shift of mood, I hope to see Psycho (1960), because I'm sure that will be interesting with an audience. It's such a familiar movie that I often take it for granted, but every time I see it, I am reminded of how remarkable it is, from its soundtrack, technique and performances, to the dread it inspires.

Hopefully I'll be able to catch the Conversation with Shirley MacLaine at Club TCM next, but if not, I'm hopping into line at Grauman's again for The Philadelphia Story (1940).

For my third film of the day in Grauman's Chinese, and my last film of the festival, I want to see Sophia Loren introduce Marriage Italian Style (1964). Loren has such a delightful personality. I'm sure seeing her will be a TCMFF highlight.

Then I'll head over to the closing night party to say goodbye to my fellow film geeks by the Hollywood Roosevelt pool.

It's all going to go by fast, but it will be an amazing four days, no matter what I end up seeing or doing.

If you're traveling to the festival this year, I'd love to know what you plan to see. Please share links or lists in the comments!


  1. I love this! Many of our picks are the same, yay!

    When you saw the red carpet last year, did you have a credential or just watch from afar? Trying to figure out how I want to handle that this year. I just want to see them and take some photos. :)


  2. It is a tough schedule this year! I know I would have problems deciding to watch if I were attending TCMFF, although I would have to see The Apartment and The Loved One!

  3. Yay Laura! I'm so glad we're on the same wavelength again. I just gawked at the red carpet from across the street last year, totally unplanned. I know they have bleachers, but I'm not sure how all that works. I'm not ready to cover it from the actual red carpet yet. It makes me weary even thinking of getting all dolled up for that. Some day!

    Terry--It was tough deciding to let The Loved One go, because I remember that being delightfully dark and I adore Robert Morse. I'm pretty happy with my choices though. I'm not missing anything from the top of my list at least!

  4. That's my issue too, I don't want to take time out to get dressed up (not to mention the need to shop for something appropriate LOL). I've seen photos of people sitting in the bleachers -- I would love to do that and simply take pictures to use on my blog. Maybe we should ask Chellsey if that's possible rather than actual red carpet coverage?


  5. Yeah Laura, who has time to get fancy when there are so many other things to do? I don't know if that's the kind of coverage I want to offer anyway. I mean, I'm media, but I'm *fan* media. Good idea to ask Chellsey about it. I'm pretty sure we could do that.