Thursday, March 12, 2015

My thoughts on the 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival Schedule

Robert Osborne at last year's TCM Classic Film Fesitval

On Monday TCM released the much anticipated (and rather late) festival schedule. Reactions were mixed however when everyone had time to analyze the full schedule and make their selections. I’m thrilled by many of the festival offerings, most notably the special events and guests, but I did notice fewer conflicts this year because many of the films were a pass for me. I consider this a blessing because it gives me a lot more flexibility and a lot less heartbreak.

Folks online have complained about an increase of newer films added to the line-up as well as some missed opportunities. There has been a slight shift but as my Excel chart below shows it isn’t very much. Most of the films still cluster in the 1930-1970 time frame and this year TCM tested the waters with films from the edges of film history, most notably from the 1910s and the 1990s. There was a shift in which titles selected and which ones got the big venues and prime spots. The term “classic” is very subjective and everyone has a different definition. While I like to see the older classics, my husband likes to see the more modern ones. Our festival experiences are very different from each others because of that.

Quick count by decade and festival year. Not a final tally.

I think the 2015 festival has a lot to offer and personally I’m very excited about it! Looking back at previous festivals the 2013’s schedule was really the best in terms of films selected but this one has even better events. My biggest disappointment was the cancellation of the Spartacus (1960) restoration event. I was hoping to see this film on the big screen, possibly with Kirk Douglas in attendance, but it wasn’t meant to be. Also, actress and singer Monica Lewis has been reaching out to the folks at TCM for years but keeps getting overlooked for the festival. TCM missed an opportunity having her there this year at the screening of Earthquake (1974) which features Lewis and was produced by her late husband Jennings Lang.

I noticed TCM was much later in their communications this time around. We knew very little from the start and even with an earlier festival the information was released much later than in the two previous years. TCM’s restructuring as well as the hiring of a new top-level executive might have had some big effects on the festival and how it was put together.

The TCM Classic Film Festival can be compared to a subscription box much like Birchbox, Quarterly, etc. You pay up front, not exactly knowing all of what you’ll get but having a rough idea of what to expect. The element of surprise makes it a gamble. You could be very happy with what you get or you could be disappointed. You trust the brand to deliver but still cross your fingers that they do.

This year I’ll be covering the 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival as a member of the media and below is what I plan to cover. I have back-ups for everything and my focus is primarily on seeing the special guests. My picks are subject to change.

Too Late for Tears (1949) - Photo Source

Opening night red carpet event for The Sound of Music (1965)

Too Late for Tears (1949)
Special Guest: Eddie Muller of the Film Noir Foundation

Ann-Margret in The Cincinnati Kid (1965)


Christopher Plummer Imprint Ceremony
Special Guest: Christopher Plummer, Shirley MacLaine, William Shatner and more.

Reign of Terror (1949)
Special Guest: Norman Lloyd

The Cincinnati Kid (1965)
Special Guest: Ann-Margret

Fonda The Actor, Fonda the Man Panel
Special Guest: Peter Fonda

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
Special Guest: George Lazenby

The Apartment (1960)

A Conversation with Norman Lloyd
hosted by Ben Mankiewicz (to be televised at a later date)

1776 (1972)
Special Guests: William Daniels, Ken Howard and Peter H. Hunt

The Apartment (1960)
Special Guest: Shirley MacLaine

The Loved One (1965)
Special Guest: Robert Morse

The Diary of Anne Frank (1959) - Photo Source
The Diary of Anne Frank (1959)
Special Guests: Millie Perkins & Diane Baker

TCM repeats earlier screenings so I left this spot open as a surprise

Marriage Italian Style (1964)
Special Guest: Sophia Loren

Malcolm X (1992)

My husband has a Palace Pass this year and here are a few of the events he’s excited about.

Malcolm X (1992)
Special Guest: Spike Lee

The Man Who Would Be King (1975)
Special Guest: Christopher Plummer

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
Christopher Plummer Imprint Ceremony
The Cincinnati Kid (1965)

The Apartment (1960)

Here are some films I might not be able to see at the festival but I highly recommend:

42nd Street (1933)
Adam’s Rib (1949)
Calamity Jane (1953)
Imitation of Life (1959)
My Man Godfrey (1936)
The Philadelphia Story (1940)
Steamboat Bill Jr. (1928)
They Won’t Forget (1937)
Why Be Good? (1929)

What are your picks for the 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival?


  1. Limelight is such an auto-biographical movie for Chaplin, can't wait. Also the Club TCM events

    1. There are so many amazing Club TCM events I wish I could attend them all.

  2. This chart is really interesting! The '30s took a definite hit this year.

    TOO LATE FOR TEARS is *so* much fun. If I hadn't gone to see it for the second time at the Festival of Preservation last weekend I'd be there. In fact if my first choice (QUEEN CHRISTINA) is full I'll go anyway -- twice in one month! So much fun to see it with an appreciative audience. Dan Duryea=my hero.

    Best wishes,

    1. Laura - I'm excited to fit in a new-to-me noir for this festival. Also it'll be a great way to honor Lizabeth Scott.

      I disagree with you on the 1930s taking a hit. In fact it really just got a bump last year because of all the 75th anniversaries of various films from 1939 including the Wizard of Oz, Gone With the Wind, Bachelor Mother, etc.The 2013 & 2015 numbers are more on par with each other.

    2. That's a good point, I hadn't noticed the leftmost column for the '30s -- I feel better now. :)

      Best wishes,

  3. I'm glad we're going to see a lot of the same things again! Especially the red carpet and the imprint ceremony. Looking forward to catching up.

  4. I'm glad we're going to see a lot of the same things again! Especially the red carpet and the imprint ceremony. Looking forward to catching up.


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