The four-day TCM Classic Film Festival happening this week in Hollywood April 25-28, features many restored and anniversary screenings of popular classics such as The Birds, Shane, Giant, and The Great Escape.
Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is presenting its fourth classic film festival starting this Thursday, and I am very excited. I’ve attended the festival since it’s inaugural year and have so far enjoyed every minute of the annual four-day event. This year, as in past years, I and many other classic film fanatics are greatly anticipating the appearances of beloved stars, as well as special guests such as notable film historians, critics and famous aficionados. The TCMFF is the ultimate event of the year for those who love the classic films of days gone by. So, don’t bother to try and reach any of us devotees for the rest of the week. We will be soaking in the rays cast by the glow of the silver screen. If you only knew what you were missing you’d be here too.
To start with, opening night features a presentation of a world premiere screening of the newly restored 1968 musical Funny Girl. In honor of the event legendary stars and filmmakers such as Max von Sydow, Ann Blyth, Eva Marie Saint, Mitzi Gaynor, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker, Jim Abrahams and many others are scheduled to walk the red carpet before the screening. And of course there are all sorts of additional appearances and tributes slated including a 50th anniversary screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds with the film’s star, Tippi Hedren expected to participate in a post-screening Q&A. The festival lineup will also feature a world-premiere screening of the newly restored World War I film The Big Parade starring John Gilbert.
This is really just the tip of the iceberg as TCM canvasses the spectrum of cinematic history and genres. If you like cartoons there’s the celebration of Bugs Bunny's 75th Birthday with a special collection of classic Looney Tunes shorts curated and introduced by film critic and historian Leonard Maltin. For those who appreciate the zany antics of an all-star comedy extravaganza there’s a 50th anniversary screening of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, presented in the widescreen glory of the Cinerama Dome. And for those who love Westerns there’s a 60th anniversary screening of the John Wayne western Hondo, presented in its original 3D format (I had no idea it was ever in 3D!). Other anniversary screenings include a 40th anniversary world premiere of Terrence Malick's Badlands, a 60th anniversary screening of Shane, and an 80th anniversary presentation of Flying Down to Rio, which was the first-ever musical pair up of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. All you can see the festival truly has something for everyone.
I’m probably most looking forward to the closing night presentation of Buster Keaton’s, The General. After seeing last year what a live orchestra can do for The Thief of Bagdad I have high hopes for continuing a tradition begun with my first festival experience– ending my four days of cinematic gluttony with a highly satisfying Silent Classic. Oh, please, please, please TCM don’t let me down next year! Keep the Silents coming, and with live music as often as possible. It’s an experience one has to live to appreciate, one well worth the yearly wait. And I love it!
Although passes for the 2013 TCM Classic Film Festival are completely sold out you can still purchase tickets for individual screenings by going standby and waiting for available seats. It may be a slim chance for some of the films showing in the smaller theaters, but you will have a strong possibility at getting a seat for most films playing in the main theater of the Chinese.