Thursday, May 2, 2013

TCM Classic Film Festival Day #5 Recap


The last day of the TCM Classic Film Festival was bittersweet for several reasons as you'll see below.


I went to the Cinerama Dome to attend a screening of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963).


And I took the obligatory photo of the Honeycomb ceiling.

Press Photo
Tom Brown of TCM hosted and the special guests included actors Mickey Rooney and Marvin Kaplan, actress Barrie Chase and Director Stanley Kramer's widow actress Karen Sharpe Kramer. Carl Reiner couldn't make it and Jonathan Winters had recently passed away. They screened a short tribute to Jonathan Winters and left an open seat for him. It was very sad not to have him there.

At one point during the screening, I went to the bathroom and I saw Mickey Rooney on his way out! Thank you to my weak bladder because I had several run ins with classic film stars and TCM staffers (especially Ben Mankiewicz who I saw about a dozen times) on my way to and from bathrooms. The stars are well protected though and Mickey had staff members nearby who were shielding him from some curious fans. I was just happy to see him up close again.

I plan to do a more thorough post on the talk that happened before the screening!

One of the sad things about the festival is that in order to attend everything you have planned to attend and also eat food in between screenings, you have to leave a few screenings early. I left this film during the intermission to grab a late lunch and to head over to the Grauman's Chinese in time to see Three Days of the Condor (1975).


Press Photo
I really love Three Days of the Condor (1975). I had seen it for the first time shortly before the festival and was happy to see it again. I have to say, of all the films I saw at the festival, I kinda regret going to this one. I regret leaving in the middle of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) to come see a film I had seen recently. When Robert Osborne interviewed Max von Sydow before the screening, they barely even talked about the movie! It's not even worth it for me to do a separate post about it. Considering I had seen Max von Sydow the day before and the film wasn't brought up then either, I didn't see much value in leaving the Cinerama Dome screening to attend this one. Although it was still wonderful to see the film on the big screen and Max von Sydow and his wife stayed to watch it with us for a bit which was nice too.

I ended up leaving Three Days of the Condor just after one of my favorite scenes and before the film ended to get in line for The General (1926). The thing about watching two films back to back in the same theater is that by the time you get out of the first one, a line has already formed for the next one. They won't let you stay in the theater so you have to get into the new line. I really wanted to see The General and knew a lot of people seeing Three Days of the Condor were going to get back in line for The General so I hightailed it out of there early and got in line. 

Laura of Laura's Miscellaneous Musings had written the seating capacity of each of the theaters. I copied her notes and this was incredibly useful. When you are in line, they give you a number and if you know the theater's seating capacity then you know how good your chance is of getting in. Grauman's Chinese seats 1,100 so I know that being #106 that I had the best chance of getting in. By the way, there are two lines. One for Spotlight and VIP passes. They go first. Then Media and the other passes get in. If you have a Matinee or Palace pass or no pass at all and it's after 6 PM, you have to wait in a standby line and if there are any leftover seats then you can get in for $20 (or $10 if you have a student ID). Carlos had a Matinee Pass and had his student ID and cash on hand and got into several night time screenings this way.


The General (1926) was the grand finale of the festival. Robert Osborne came out to introduce it. He read from notes which he doesn't normally do but did in this case so that he wouldn't forget anything. He thanked the sponsors, especially Porsche because he got to ride around in one during the festival (lucky!) and he also thanked all the TCM staff members who helped make the festival happen. Osborne  announced that there will be a TCM Classic Film Festival in 2014. In fact, April 14, 2014 will be TCM's 20th anniversary so the festival will be tied into that. He also announced that December 3rd, 2013 is the official starting date for the TCM Cruise which will be on the Disney Magic. Osborne said that TCM is very particular about which ships they'll host their cruise on and Conde Nast has ranked Disney Magic as the #1 cruise ship in the world.

Then came some sad news. This screening was the penultimate one before the TCL Chinese Theatre (Grauman's Chinese) converts to IMAX. That means they will rip out all that seating, put in stadium seating and an IMAX screen. They will be closed from now until the summer for renovations. There will be fewer seats and who knows what this will mean for the future.

Osborne told us to look around the theatre after the screening. To take a really good look around because it will be the last time we will see it this way. We all booed and he asked us not to throw anything at him. (LOL). Osborne said that he's been told that they will do a great job and TCM has faith in them. It was nice of him to say that but no one really knows how things will turn out. The way we saw the theatre that night was the same way it had been since 1926! They had held the Academy Awards there and Casablanca (1944) won for Best Picture in that theatre.

The 25 minute Buster Keaton short One Week (1920) was screened before The General as an added bonus which was really great. The Alloy Orchestra played music to both films and it was just a wonderful experience. Seeing Buster Keaton and his hilarious antics on such a gigantic screen, in a beautiful historic theatre that had been that way since the film was released and to be with a thousand other appreciative fans was an experience that just blew me away.

Take a look at the picture above. After the film ended and the Alloy Orchestra took a bow to a standing ovation, we all took Robert Osborne's advice and took a good look at the theatre. We snapped pictures and marveled at the theatre's beauty knowing that we were some of the last people to see it that way. It was a really bittersweet moment.


After the screening, I headed over to Club TCM for the Opening Night Party. It was quite chaotic. There were so many people there and I felt a bit suffocated. Also, they turned me away at one entrance but let me in at another. I ended up hanging out with Carlos and a few others at the Roosevelt Hotel pool which was open to everyone and a lot less crowded. I said my goodbyes to many of the wonderful classic film bloggers I've known for years but got to meet for the first time at the festival. It was sad but I was happy to have had this experience. It's one I will never forget.

5 comments:

  1. I've been grateful to get all these TCM Festival updates from people like you and Jessica (Comet Over Hollywood) and Laura. Really captures the experience for people who aren't there. How amazing and sad that you guys will be the last ones to see Grauman's in its original state. I hate when old movie theaters get revamped, progress be damned.

    I'm now convinced that I will have to attend the 20th Festival, even if I have to beg, borrow, or steal the money to get there :)

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    1. Aubyn - Start saving now! That's what I'm doing so I can go to the 5th festival for the 20th anniversary. I'm sure it's going to be really good. This one was run very well and seemed to all work seamlessly. TCM put a lot of effort into it and it showed. And yes progress be damned! What about history?!

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  2. How wonderful!!! Thanks again for your coverage! As a nice coincidence, as you were watching Three Days of the condor on Sunday, I was also watching a Robert Redford movie, The Electric Horseman.
    Here in my city we have a book fair this week, so I consider this to be my annual festival of fun. :)
    Kisses!

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    1. Le - How was Electric Horseman? I haven't seen that one. I hope you have fun at the book fair this week. I love books and book fairs especially.

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    2. Oh, The Electric Horseman is nice, yet I didn't like Robert's mustache. Jane Fonda looks amazing, specially wearing high heels in the desert!

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