Tuesday, May 17, 2016

TCM Classic Film Festival 2016 - The Pictures that Moved Me

The theme for this year's TCM Classic Film Festival (TCMFF) - Moving Pictures - was intended to apply to the films that were chosen for the event's four days of screenings. The programming team accomplished that mission and then some as you can see by some of the films I saw (above). That said, some of the most moving pictures from the festival had to do with the ones I got from the event itself. I've said it before - and others have said it before - but the best thing about TCMFF is the people. This is the place where I've made such strong friendships that they're now more like family. And that family seems to grow year after year. These relationships are often sustained by social media since so many of us are present there, but TCMFF allows us an intense family reunion where we get together to celebrate the thing that we love so much - classic cinema.

This year the schedule had a couple films that I include in my public talks and are among The Style Essentials here on GlamAmor - 1932's Shanghai Express and 1976's Network. They were practically the bookends that began and ended my personal programming for the festival, and both were accompanied by very special guests. Shanghai Express was preceded by a discussion with Josef von Sternberg's son Nicholas, and it was intriguing to listen to his stories about shooting the movie as well as seeing his father's vintage viewfinder. Watching this stunning film, with costume design that means so much to me, literally brought tears to my eyes. For those who attended the screening who would like to learn more about the costumes from Shanghai Express, be sure to take a look at the article I wrote on the collaboration between Marlene Dietrich and Travis Banton.

Then my last movie at the festival - Network - was preceded by a special 2-hour interview between TCM host Ben Mankiewicz and star Faye Dunaway at the Montalbán Theatre. Right after that discussion, I hustled over to the Egyptian Theatre (after a quick bite at Musso & Frank's) to watch another intro from Ben and Faye and the screening of Network. Of course the movie is eerie in how it predicted the future of ("reality") television back in the 1970s. But now, after working a year at Sony Pictures Television and managing marketing for three of their channels, I can attest how on point many of Network's scenes are. It certainly reached even more levels of meaning for me.

In between Shanghai Express and Network, the festival was filled with other films and incredible moments. An absolutely beautiful restoration of 1937's When You're in Love was screened at the festival, introduced by Cary Grant's daughter Jennifer. More important was that one of the main people responsible for the restoration - Sony's Rita Belda - was also at the festival. If you saw the film and would like to learn more about the restoration process, you can read this interview I did with her for the getTV website. I adore Rita, and we were able to see one another a couple of times at the festival and shared a wonderful dinner together at the Roosevelt Hotel.

Other highlights included celebrating a couple of the genres I love - Pre-Code and film noir. Though shut out of a screening of Double Harness with William Powell (which was also sold out on Sunday, too), I was able to see 1933's Pleasure Cruise. It completely lived up to the reputation of a Pre-Code - opening on what seemed to be the body of a naked woman (turned out to be a clever use of a painting) and centering on the subject of adultery in such a humorous way that almost every conversation seemed to be about sex. And then for fans of film noir, it's hard to do too much better than 1946's The Big Sleep at the Egyptian Theatre. It was even introduced by my friend and Film Noir Foundation founder Eddie Muller. Though not technically on my Style Essentials list, it does get an honorable mention due to its close tie with another Bogart-Bacall classic To Have and Have Not. Both have beyond influential style. The Big Sleep also has extra meaning for me as you'll see if you read my article on the film (linked above).

As with any TCMFF, there were multiple gatherings and many meals with friends throughout - from poolside at the Roosevelt Hotel to Miceli's and Musso & Frank's, which are two of the oldest restaurants in Hollywood. You'll see some of my escapades below.

Until next year, my friends...

The Roosevelt Hotel in its earliest days

Entering the Roosevelt Hotel - the center for all festival activities -
for the first day of TCMFF 2016

The Blossom Room in the Roosevelt Hotel, which was home to the first Academy Awards,
was the location of many festival events including the annual Meet TCM panel

My first outfit of the festival included a vintage black silk shirtdress
and snow leopard faux fur pumps (my 1950s black patent purse is off-camera)

There were many times that I found myself poolside at the Roosevelt Hotel,
including for a #TCMParty gathering right before the first evening's film

My friend Monika Henreid - daughter of Casablanca star Paul Henreid -
joined us at the festival and shared stories of the documentary she is directing on her father

So happy to see and spend time with good friends (l to r):
Annmarie Gatti, Aurora Bugallo, Kellee Pratt, Will McKinley, and Sara Henriksson

First film of the festival for me was the 1925 silent film The Freshman
starring Harold Lloyd - screened poolside at TCMFF 2016

The film was introduced by friend Eddie Muller and Harold Lloyd's granddaughter Suzanne

Next film of the festival for me was a personal favorite - 
Marlene Dietrich in 1932's Shanghai Express

A discussion with director Josef von Sternberg's son Nicholas preceded the film,
which had several of my friends with me in attendance

Though I tried to see the Pre-Code Double Harness with William Powell, 
it was sold out so I headed straight for another from the genre - Pleasure Cruise

Next film on my agenda was the restoration of 1937's When You're in Love
introduced by Cary Grant's daughter Jennifer

Saturday morning began at the historic Egyptian Theatre

First film there that day for me was 1957's A Face in the Crowd 

My position at #1 in line for A Face in the Crowd allowed me to meet and greet many friends,
including Kellee who seemed to get the same fashion memo I did - mine is 1970s vintage

Another friend dropped by to say hello -
Sony's film restoration queen Rita Belda (who worked on When You're in Love)

Next at the Egyptian Theatre was The Big Sleep
introduced by Film Noir Foundation founder Eddie Muller

Next...standing in line with friends John Ball and Karin Baker (along with 900+ other people)
to see The King and I at the Chinese Theatre

The King and I began with a discussion by Leonard Maltin and the movie's star Rita Moreno
(who seems to have similar taste in shoes to my own)

Photo below courtesy of Turner Classic Movies

Back at the Roosevelt Hotel that night I bump into
both Monika Henreid and Margaret O'Brien (Meet Me in St. Louis)

My closing day began by watching a live 2-hour interview with 
Ben Mankiewicz and star Faye Dunaway at the historic Montalban Theatre

Photo below courtesy of Ted Pio Roda for TCM

Final film of the festival for me - and one of the best - 
was Network at the Egyptian Theatre introduced by Ben and Faye

The closing night party is always bittersweet - 
a great celebration, but so hard to say good-bye

Until next year...

1 comment:

Silver Screenings said...

Terrific overview of the Festival! I'm sorry I missed you there this year, but your photos have brought back all kinds of wonderful memories. It was an intense time, and it was over so quickly! Thanks for sharing these fabulous memories.

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