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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Specht

A Wish List for the TCMFF

For guest writer, Amanda Glenn no time is too soon to start planning the lineup for the next TCMFF. There are some basics she recommends for creating the perfect festival. First, you need variety, a feast for the eyes, ears, and mind with silents, and musicals, and more.

I was reading through the Program Guide from the 2015 Turner Classic Movies Film Festival (the TCMFF) remembering the great enjoyment of the films I saw, and thought of how I made a list of the films I could not fit in but still want to see – on the small screen if no other way. Those responsible for scheduling the program seem to have been reading my mind as so many of the selections were on my personal wish list. I suppose it’s too much to ask for some of this year’s selection to be added to next year (a replay of some kind). More than once I had to make that Solomon of decisions and choose between two or more adored favorites, as I have yet to figure out how to be in two or more places at the same time.

For me there are some basics standards for programming the perfect classic film festival (per my personal standards, of course) that the 2015 TCMFF managed to fulfill almost perfectly. First and foremost there was a wonderful variety, an absolute feast for the eyes, ears, and mind with charming silents, films based on classic books, and musicals to set you singing in imitation of Julie Andrews or Doris Day. And there were romances and dramas, farces and westerns. The only possible thing missing for me was Fred and Ginger. All though, I guess they can’t be expected every year, since they only made nine films together. Still, I certainly hope one or the other will be in attendance next year, perhaps A Damsel in Distress with Fred Astaire. I love the dance scene with his co-stars, George and Gracie (Burns and Allen), and then perhaps the one with Ginger Rodgers and Cary Grant with Marilyn Monroe in a bit part. I think it’s called Monkey Business.

Certainly there needs to be a silent film, two or three would be fine, and all ones I have never seen, please. It would be hard to top The Thief of Bagdad but I do hope they can find something with similar energy and fun or, on the other hand, something wonderfully dark and suspenseful – that would be a nice change of pace. And far more Doris Day, please! The Man Who Knew Too Much would be nice, or one of the older black and white musicals. I’m not picky there, so I’ll leave that up to dealer’s choice. And of course I require a John Wayne film. Western if you must. All of the Duke’s films are fine and fun but quite honestly I would like to have the big screen experience of Island In The Sky. The film does a good job proving the big man could act, and what a supporting cast! Or perhaps we could be alone in the dark with a few hundred new friends and have the fun of watching Gary Cooper romance Merle Oberon in The Lady and The Cowboy.

As far as western fare goes I should love to see some Randolph Scott, Joel McCrea, or how about Gregory Peck? Actually my list of favorite cowboys is very long, as almost every actor who ever worked in Hollywood seems to have worn a Stetson at least once and I am a push over for a man (or woman) on a horse. The western is a fine frame work for the telling of murder and mayhem, of pioneer endeavor, of human relations, of a young country finding its way. The tension is always high and the fights satisfying. (My absolute favorite fight is the all out free for all in the John Wayne/Maureen O’Hara romp, McClintock.

Of course, every classic film festival needs a bit of Noir, with a Sylvia Sidney, Audrey Totter, or Shelley Winters looking sultry and chewing scenery in a wonderful dark and twisted tale or two would be great. Though the ladies did make some fine and funny films as well come to think of it. Wicked or witty, I should like to see the memorable dames of the dark screen next year in any shape or form. Oh, and a musical or three, like Annie Get Your Gun? Jumbo? Anything Irving Berlin or Cole Porter. How about a little Gilbert and Sullivan? Gershwin? While we’re at it we should have some adventure and romance. Elephant Walk with Elizabeth Taylor? And what about that film with the ants, no not the James Arness sci-fi (Them!), the Charlton Heston in the jungle one (The Naked Jungle)? Actually either one would be entertaining.

And, and, and… and by the time next spring rolls around this is going to be a very long wish list. But it’s never too soon to start a wish list. If I go to enough Classic Film Festivals I know that list will eventually be fulfilled.

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