Apr 14, 2020

TCM Classic Film Festival Home Edition: Memories and Plans

Nothing can match the feeling of community and excitement about classic films you find at the TCM Classic Film Festival. When I first attended in 2014, I decided almost right away that I had to return the next year. The glow you get from this event stays with you throughout the rest of the year.

While I am disappointed that I will not be spending my seventh festival in Hollywood, I'm impressed by the Special Home Edition that TCM has put together. The schedule, which you can find here, is a beautifully-crafted collection of films and interviews which serve as a sort of greatest hits of the past ten years of the festival.

For those who have not attended, it offers a taste of what the event has to offer. For past attendees, it is a bittersweet brew of nostalgia, full of happy events, though many of the guests featured here are no longer with us.

At a media roundtable this morning, TCM General Manager Pola Changnon said that they will be closely monitoring the response to the home edition to gauge whether it may possibly continue alongside the Hollywood event, which is an exciting possibility for those who cannot make it to California for the festival.

I'm planning to have TCM on throughout the four days of the event, but there are a few things that I am going to make a point of watching with extra attention.

On first glance at the schedule, I decided I had to revisit these moments:

Friday, 4/17, Grey Gardens (1975): One of first films I saw at the festival. I had the magical opportunity to see Albert Maysles who was was physically frail, but still had a razor sharp mind and memory.

Saturday, 4/18, Mad Love (1935): Witnessing Bill Hader's Peter Lorre impression made this screening one of the best of 2019. I also adore this absolutely bonkers horror flick.

Saturday, 4/18, Vitaphone Shorts: As Ron Hutchinson of the Vitaphone Project has now passed, I am especially glad I got to see him present this entertaining program of shorts at the 2016 festival. His passion for these groundbreaking sound films thrilled the audience.

Sunday, 4/19, Red-Headed Woman (1933): I will watch any pre-code, but watching this film at the Egyptian was one of my favorite festival experiences just to hear the reaction of the crowd to Jean Harlow's audacity as a home-wrecking secretary.

New to me picks:

I'm pleased that several of the selections were things that I didn't have the chance to see at previous festivals. These are films and interviews I am especially excited to see for the first time:

I still haven't seen the version of Metropolis (1927) with the restored footage found in Argentina, so this is a must-see.

I have seen a recording of Luise Rainer: Live from the TCM Classic Film Festival (2011), but it's such a remarkable interview: her hearing aid wasn't working, but Robert Osborne and Ms. Rainer made it all work. 

I'm seriously considering watching Neptune’s Daughter (1949) in the bath since this was a poolside screening at TCMFF 2010.

As festival guest Max von Sydow has recently passed, I want to pay tribute by watching The Seventh Seal (1957), which I haven't seen for a long time.

I was disappointed to miss the screening of Sounder (1972) at TCMFF 2018, so that is another must-see.

The one-two punch of Eva Marie Saint:  Live from the TCM Classic Film Festival (2014) and North by Northwest (1959) should be great. I saw Ms. Saint at another festival and she is a witty and charming interview subject.

After hearing raves about Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story (2015) for years, I'm looking forward to finally watching this documentary.

I also can't wait to see the pre-code Night Flight (1933), followed by Kim Novak: Live from the TCM Classic Film Festival (2013). I saw Ms. Novak before a screening at the 2014 festival and appreciated her refreshing honesty about Hollywood and the life of a film star.

The pre-code Double Harness (1933) is notorious among TCMFF regulars for having two screenings with overflow crowds. Lots of humor in making this programming choice.

I nearly passed out when I realized Norman Lloyd was behind me at a screening of Panique in 2017. I've never been able to make one of his interviews before though, so I am looking forward to Norman Lloyd: Live from the TCM Classic Film Festival (2016).

On the last day of the festival I will be most attentive during Peter O’Toole, Live from the TCM Classic Film Festival (2012) and Floyd Norman: An Animated Life (2016), but as with the rest of the line-up, I will have a hard time tearing myself away from this amazing selection of films and interviews.

Check out the TCMFF Home Edition page for more information about the schedule and links to many opportunities to watch content by the TCM hosts and connect on social media with other fans. It is going to be a great four days!

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