Friday, May 6, 2016

TCM Classic Film Festival: Day #4 Recap


TCL Chinese Theater (formerly Grauman's Chinese Theater)
TCL Chinese Theater

The first full day of the TCM Classic Film Festival started with one of my favorite events: a hand and footprint ceremony at Grauman’s Chinese Theater (now the TCL). This time around the honoree was legendary director Francis Ford Coppola. This is the fourth imprint ceremony I’ve been to and the third I’ve covered as a member of the media. These ceremonies are always a fun opportunity to celebrate an important person’s contribution to the entertainment industry. There are several of these events held every year and some of the selections are questionable. The imprint ceremonies hosted by the TCM always feature someone classic film fans will appreciate.

Francis Ford Coppola's Hand and Footprint Ceremony
Set-up for Coppola's imprint ceremony

This year we got a much better spot for photography. Some of the bloggers covering this event with me included Paula, Jessica, KC, Anne Marie and Carrie. Carlos got in line early and managed to get a decent spot in the general viewing area. He’s gone to all four imprint ceremonies with me and was the most excited about this one. He was hoping to spot some special guests (basically he really wants to see Al Pacino in person) but there weren’t many of them there.

Carlos hanging out beneath the I Love Sugar sign trying to get a better view

I’ll have a full report of the event soon.


KC, Raquel and Jessica and the Coppola ceremony


Francis Ford Coppola hand and footprint ceremony
Francis Ford Coppola after imprinting his hands in cement

Afterwards, Carlos and I headed over to 25 Degrees, the restaurant in the Roosevelt Hotel, for a quick meal. During lunch we spotted Salvatore Cascio, the child star of Cinema Paradiso, having a drink at the bar. I love the intimacy of the festival. You see familiar faces everywhere.

Mankiewicz, Vanderbilt, Mapes, Bradlee Jr. and Singer at TCM Classic Film Festival
Mankiewicz, Vanderbilt, Mapes, Bradlee Jr. and Singer

We attended the Club TCM panel From Headlines to Ticket Lines: Journalism on the Big Screen. It was moderated by TCM host Ben Mankiewicz and included James Vanderbilt, the director of Truth (2015), Mary Mapes, portrayed by Cate Blanchett in Truth, Josh Singer, screenwriter of Spotlight (2015) and Ben Bradlee Jr., formerly of the Boston Globe and portrayed by John Slattery in Spotlight. Carlos and I had seen both films recently and were excited to check out this panel. Most of the discussion revolved around the portrayal of journalism on film, the state of the business today and what films like Network (1976) and All the President’s Men (1976) represent in the overall narrative of the business. I was particularly interested in what Mapes and Bradlee had to say about the actors who portrayed them. Mapes said meeting Cate Blanchett was a bit unnerving because she gave Mapes an “emotional MRI”. Blanchett observed Mapes carefully in order to mimic her mannerisms and gestures on screen. I’d be unnerved too if someone gave me an emotional MRI! Bradlee Jr. is a big fan of Mad Men so he seemed pretty happy with John Slattery. Or he could have been being nice. I thought Slattery’s performance was ok, more like a serious version of Roger Sterling.

Signage for Mark A. Vieira's book signing


I left the panel early to get in line for author Mark A. Vieira’s book signing in the Roosevelt Hotel lobby. There were no lobby interviews this year and this made room for a lot more book signings, all of which were run by Larry Edmunds bookshop. It was nice to see TCM support a local independent bookstore instead of selling the books themselves. I purchased Vieira’s newest book Into The Dark: The Hidden World of Film Noir, 1941-1950. I’ll be reviewing it on my blog in the near future. I told Vieira how much I enjoyed his Cecil B. DeMille book and he seemed to appreciate that. I was suffering from “festival brain” (forgetfulness enduced by heightened emotion) and neglected to bring my copy of Harlow in Hollywood for him to sign. Oh well! I did ask him if he was working on any new projects and he said he’s shopping around possible books on Norma Shearer and Mae West.

Mark A. Vieira signing his book Into the Dark



I made my over to the Chinese Multiplex for a special screening of Tea and Sympathy (1956). It’s not a film I wanted to see but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to hear Leonard Maltin’s interview with actor Darryl Hickman. On this viewing I appreciated the movie in a way I wasn’t able to before. It was an important film in Hickman’s career and the discussion was fantastic. I’ll have a full report about this screening on the blog soon.

Leonard Maltin and Darryl Hickman at the TCM Classic Film Festival
Leonard Maltin and Darryl Hickman
Pre-Codes were really popular at the festival this year as anyone who got shut out of Double Harness (1933) will tell you! I was happy to make it into the sold out Pleasure Cruise (1933), a wacky pre-code starring a bunch of popular character actors and introduced by historian Cari Beauchamp. The highlight for me was watching Una O’Connor as the “sex-crazed heiress” chasing after Roland Young. Danny of Pre-Code.com has a lot to say about this film which stars his favorite actress Genevieve Tobin. You should check out his review as well as his TCMFF recap of when he attended the event (and read all of his recaps which are wildly entertaining). There were a lot of familiar faces at this screening, I chatted with Em of Vintage Cameo and I didn’t even realize I was sitting to New York Post film critic Lou Lumenick until the film started! I’ll have a full review of the film here soon.

There was another Pre-Code 6 Hours to Live (1932) showing immediately after but I opted to skip it to get in line for The Manchurian Candidate (1962). Angela Lansbury was going to be interviewed before the film and there is no way, no how that I was going to miss seeing her. A lot of people felt the same way so getting in line early was a must. Carlos and I met after the screening of Boyz in the Hood (1991) he attended (yes some people actually went to that and that’s okay!) and got in line at the TCL Chinese Theater. We had a nice long chat with Jay of The James Bond Social Media Project before we headed in. I had tweeted my queue number and Jay happened to see it and met us in line. I love how social media connects people in real life!



My number for the Manchurian Candidate screening.

Jay and Carlos in line for The Manchurian Candidate

I cannot tell you what a delight it was to see Angela Lansbury in person. It was annoying that most folks didn’t stay for the movie. Our aisle cleared out pretty quickly. We stayed for the entire screening even though we drifted in and out of consciousness. There will be more on my experience here soon. 

Angela Lansbury and Alec Baldwin
I regret not going to the midnight screening of Roar (1981) which looks like a crazy film. The folks who did go developed a bond that continued well after the festival ended. Why couldn’t I be one of the Roar people?! Alas, I’m a morning person and needed some sleep for what would be another epic day. Stay tuned for my next TCMFF recap!

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