Mar 26, 2019
TCM Classic Film Festival 2019: My Schedule Picks (For Now)
I am thrilled to be a part of the media covering TCM Classic Film Festival for the sixth year. I look forward to this event every year, and not just for the films, but for the opportunity to spend time with the sweetest, most interesting movie mad people I’ve ever known. This festival is as much a community affair as it is an opportunity to watch great films the way they are meant to be seen. This is sure to be a special year at the festival, which is celebrating its 10th year, while TCM is now in its 25th year.
This year’s theme is Love at the Movies, which I adore because we all need a little more love these days. TCM had fun with the programming categories: I saw Bromance and Magnificent Obsessions in there. As can be seen by that, the interpretation of love here goes far and wide.
This is my tentative schedule. As anyone familiar with TCMFF knows, things can change dramatically once you are in the thick of the festival:
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) was one of the first film announcements that got me excited this year; I love this musical and could hardly wait to see it in all its bodacious glory on the big screen. Then came Night World (1932). A pre-code with Boris Karloff always wins, especially when his daughter Sara is a guest at the screening. Sorry Marilyn and Jane.
What I see next will depend on my mood. I’d love to see The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) to honor composer Michel Legrand, who passed in January, but if I’m not up for the heartbreak, I’m catching The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947) on nitrate at the Egyptian.
If I could start a morning with Kiss Me Deadly (1955) in 2018, I can certainly begin the day with the tragically, but charmingly alcohol-addled Fredric March in Merrily We Go to Hell (1932). Call it a little hair of the dog. In a dramatic bit of counter programming, my next pick is Sleeping Beauty (1959) at the Egyptian Theatre. This is my favorite Disney film and I can’t wait to see the gorgeously-detailed animation blown up larger than life.
The next programming block is a tough one. My Favorite Wife (1940)/Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)/A Patch of Blue (1965)/ Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) all tug at me in different ways. I’ll probably go with Sunrise though, because while it’s been a while since I’ve seen this film, I remember being stunned by the visuals. This is definitely one to see in a theater.
I have no idea what Vanity Street (1932) is. I have no intention of finding out before I watch it. It’s a pre-code, so I’m in. I might keep the details of my next choice, Open Secret (1948), a secret (har har) as well. It’s good to go into a couple of things cold.
The next block is another toughie. I ADORE Ida Lupino in Road House (1948) and it would be fun to see on nitrate at the Egyptian. I have heard wonderful things about Desert Hearts (1985) though and I missed it when it was on FilmStruck (RIP). It’s also my first opportunity to check out the new festival venue this year, the Legion Theater.
I would never miss a Midnight screening at TCMFF, but I am especially excited to see Santo vs. the Evil Brain (1961). Mixing that crowd with a luchador super hero flick is going to be big fun.
I'm planning to start the third day of the festival with When Worlds Collide (1951). As much as I would love to behold the glory of From Here to Eternity (1953) on the massive Chinese Theater screen, I try to see at least one sci-fi flick at the festival, because it’s a genre I don’t know well and I’ve found it a lot more fun to watch these films with an audience. It will also be great to see Barbara Rush and Dennis Miller discuss the film beforehand.
Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949) is one of the great British comedies, Alec Guinness in nine roles! And Tarzan and his Mate (1934) is my favorite of the series. Gotta love that gorgeously photographed pre-code nude swimming scene. But there is no way I am missing the chance to see my heroine Gena Rowlands before a screening of A Woman Under the Influence (1974) a film I have somehow had the misfortune to miss so far, but will now enjoy for the first time on the big screen.
Love Affair (1939) is a sentimental favorite of mine, I don’t even know how many times I’ve seen it, but I might skip it to take a lunch break and then get into line early for Nashville (1975), because JEFF GOLDBLUM will be there with Ronee Blakely, Keith Carradine, and Joan Tewkesbury for a discussion before the film. I am wondering if I can even handle seeing Goldblum, or if I will go into a trance the way I did when I saw Anna Karina in person at the festival three years ago.
If I can’t get into Nashville, I plan to catch Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) at the Chinese Theatre, because there are no other films I plan to see there and I look forward to soaking up the atmosphere of that magnificent venue every year.
I am extremely torn about the next block. Victoria Mature introducing her father’s swords and sandals flick Samson and Delilah (1949), Kurt Russell and John Carpenter before Escape from New York (1981) or the pre-code, and best version, of Waterloo Bridge (1931). It’ll be my toughest decision of the festival, but I figure I can’t lose no matter what I go with.
Next up, my second Midnight screening: The Student Nurses (1970). That is going to be wild.
Scheduling the last day of the festival is always especially tentative due to the five TBA spots. If I can pick up something I missed because of a long line or other schedule choices, everything could change.
I love the idea of starting the morning with a creeper like Mad Love (1935) with Peter Lorre, but Holiday (1938) is such a sweet flick. That’s going to be up to my mood.
One of the easiest decisions of the festival: going to see the deliriously gorgeous Magnificent Obsession (1954). My first Douglas Sirk film on the big screen. Oh how I would love to attend a festival of his films, though I would probably expire from beauty.
After that, I’ve got no plans other than seeing The Dolly Sisters (1945) on nitrate at the Egyptian. Maybe I’ll actually have time to fit a meal in.
I love the variety of films this year. For the first time in a while, there are several I haven’t seen that appeal to me and I’m excited to potentially make some fascinating new discoveries. My only disappointment is that none of my must-sees are in the Chinese Theatre this year. There are a lot of good choices, but there’s always some other option pulling me in another direction.
Overall though, I think this is going to be a great year at TCMFF.
Are you going to the festival? Or are you not going but eager to share your picks? I’d love to know your schedule choices. Please also share your links to your own schedule choice posts if you’ve got them and I’ll add them to my post.