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The TCM Festival 2016 : The Hollywood Experience

Now that I’ve returned home to my small town in Canada, it’s time to reflect over the next couple weeks on my crossing both the Hollywood trip and attending the TCM festival off of my own personal bucket list.

To be granted a media credential for the festival only made it that much more memorable.

Hollywood_Sign_(Zuschnitt)

Over the course of 5 days, I attended a total of 18 TCM sponsored events or movie showings. When you stop to consider that on the first day, the only event I attended was the opening press conference, that makes the final 4 days that much busier with 17 events sandwiched in.

“Members of the press you may enter.”

I’ve seen countless movies where that phrase has been used but never once did I think there would come a day when it applied to me.

Some of the topics covered by the panel that consisted of TCM members Jennifer Dorian, Charles Tabesh, Genevieve McGillicuddy and TCM host Ben Mankiewicz ranged from just who to bring in as celebrity guests to digital vs. actual film being run through the projectors. Struggling to secure prints of rare films for theatrical showings like this years One Potato, Two Potato or bringing back smell-o-vision for the first time since 1960.

sidney and oscar

For celebrity appearances there was discussions on iconic stars like Sidney Poitier and Barbra Streisand hopefully making an appearance in the coming years. This year the festival saw the likes of Elliott Gould, Gina Lollobrigida, Talia Shire, James Cromwell and Faye Dunaway appear among many others.

gina in trapeze

The theme of this years festival was moving pictures and that meant plenty of tears at times mixed with smiles and the uplifting story of characters like George Bailey and Rocky Balboa. I had more then my fair share of goose bumps at the various viewings I took in. That isn’t to say there weren’t other emotional rides of terror either. Look no further then a rare gem titled Personal Property from 1960. A film that deserves a write up of it’s own in the near future.

Film restoration and the preserving of so many titles of the past is of utmost importance which leads to the sometimes heated debate over the digital process vs. 35mm presentations. This is not necessarily up to TCM. If a studio has spent money on restoring a classic from the past then they’ll want to ensure it is that copy being presented to show off the new look of an old title. I for one was knocked over at seeing the crystal clear copy of Marlene Dietrich’s The Shanghai Express on the big screen.

shanghai_express_marlene_deitrich

The launching of TCM Backlot : The Ultimate Fan Club was announced this year that I would urge people to look into. Click the link to see what is involved and the user privileges included. Perhaps you’ll find yourself sitting down with Robert Osborne as a guest programmer. (That one’s still on my bucket list) It is hoped that a club such as this might broaden the overall fan base.

Striving for diversity is a constant thought process when picking and choosing films for each year’s festival. Films like Ida Lupino’s 1949 directorial effort Never Fear or an Argentine Noir from 1956 titled Los Tallos Amargos fit the bill. Then there is the range of decades being represented. Silent efforts of the twenties, the enormously popular pre-codes right up to more modern fair like Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid from 1982.

dead men wear plaid

The number 26000 was tossed out as a number of attendees. It’s no wonder that TCM host Ben Mankiewicz feels a certain amount of pressure to deliver the goods for the people who have journeyed from all parts of the world to participate in the festival where I quickly learned anyone standing beside you in the many lines out front of theaters are more than willing to share there favorites and suggestions of what my be worth seeing in the days ahead.Think about it, no matter who you are standing next to at any venue is certain to have at least one thing in common with you ……… movies!

To be continued ……

8 Comments »

  1. Seeing you as a guest host would be awesome. Smuggle Kristina over in a suitcase for double the fun, although scaring Osbourne that way probably isn’t a capital idea. What would your film picks be, if I may ask (and too late, I already asked!)?

    • Aren’t we impatient….lol. I did mention Personal Property which is a must see for a thrilling exercise in independent film making circa 1960. And it’s got Warren Oates! Also saw The Fallen Idol with Ralph Richardson for the first time and it stands out….. more to come. Last year when Kristina went I tried to smuggle myself into her suitcase but she only wanted an on flight bag and I just couldn’t fit. Believe me I tried.

  2. Great start, look forward to your thoughts on the rest. The cool thing is that no two people could have the same fest, which is why I love reading all these posts.

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