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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Specht

TCMFF 2012 to Celebrate Paramounts 100th, Film Noir, and More

In case you haven’t guessed, I am a huge fan of the TCM Classic Film Festival, and I love learning about the particulars as they unfold. For the past couple of years, as soon as the New Year begins I keep an eager eye out for any news associated with the cinematic celebration, particularly when it comes to programming. As each bit of information is announced, for me it’s kind of like revealing the winning numbers to a super lottery, and I hold a winning ticket. Each new reveal exponentially adds to the excitement and my anticipation of the event itself. And so far it feels like the pay off for the 2012 Festival is the biggest one yet.

The theme for the 3rd annual Classic Film Festival is “Style in the Movies”, so naturally there is a focus on production design, wardrobe and overall atmosphere. So, you know Film-Noir will be well represented with such classics as Gun Crazy, and Cry Danger. And of course you can’t talk about style in the movies without at least a nod or two to the wonderfully flamboyant look of Retro Design in the late 20s and 1930s. Which means you’ve just got to have at least one Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movie, and that slot this year goes to Swing Time.

In addition to the obvious, there will be special recognition made for films celebrating milestone anniversaries. You probably already know that this year’s festival opens with the world premiere of a new 40th anniversary restoration of Bob Fosse’s Cabaret. But what you might not know (and what I’m even more excited about) is that the festival will also be presenting the 85th anniversary restoration of the 1927 Best Picture winner Wings, and a restoration print of All Quiet on the Western Front, the 70th anniversary restoration print of Casablanca, and a world premiere of a 60th anniversary restoration of Singin' in the Rain. These are all pretty big films, each celebrating a significant benchmark, and we all actually have the opportunity of participating in that celebration just by attending the festival. My one hope is that they aren’t all scheduled to play against each other, because that would be hell trying to decide which one to see over the others.

Another special aspect to this year’s schedule is an anniversary salute to Paramount Pictures in consideration of their 100th birthday. In fact, Robert Evans himself (a former head of production at Paramount) is set to take part in the tribute, which will focus on the studio's 1970s renaissance that includes The Godfather, Chinatown, Marathon Man, and Love Story (the film credited for saving Paramount from bankruptcy)! During his reign supreme Evans churned out one critically acclaimed hit after another, re-establishing Paramount during the Disco era as the most successful studio in Hollywood. Fortunately, Evans will be attending as many of the Paramount screenings as possible.

And don’t forget about the eagerly awaited Silent Film, which takes place at the Egyptian Theatre and features the accompaniment of a live performance of a new score. Harold Lloyd is once again honored, this time with his 1924 film Girl Shy, and of course the composer of the new score, Robert Israel will be on hand to conduct the orchestra. This is always a highlight for me. There’s just nothing like seeing a silent film with live music, and the Egyptian is the ideal venue for such a presentation. Not only is it a beautiful theater with an interior design reminiscent of the grand movie palaces of yesteryear, it’s the oldest operating movie theater in Los Angeles. So, with a resume of premiers harking all the back to the silent era, the Egyptian is literally steeped in Hollywood history.

One other particularly interesting bit of scheduling to point out at this time is the Rarities and Shorts program which will include a restored print of George Melies, A Trip to the Moon. This is the 1902 short featured in the Martin Scorsese film, Hugo currently nominated for Best Picture of 2012. This one hundred and ten year old film was previously presented with much fanfare at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, and at the 2012 TCM Classic Film Festival, the historical piece will be a featured part of a special presentation of rarities and rarely seen shorts from the earliest days of film.

The complete 2012 TCM Classic Film Festival schedule is yet to be finalized. I’m very excited to find out what else TCM has in store for its 3rd go around at a festival that is like no other in the world. One thing’s for certain, TCM’s own Robert Osborne will once again serve as official host for the four-day, star-studded event, which will take pace Thursday, April 12 – Sunday, April 15, 2012, in Hollywood. Passes are on sale now through the official festival website. But don’t hesitate! High-end passes sell out quickly, and as much as I enjoy telling you all about the festival I know you’d have a much better time actually being a part of it. Hope to see you there!

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