Tuesday, April 17, 2018

My Top Picks for the 2018 TCM Classic Film Festival

This time next week I'll be in Hollywood for the TCM Classic Film Festival. It'll be the sixth year attending the festival and also my sixth covering the event as press. Stay tuned as I'll have lots of posts coming up including daily recaps and in-depth looks at individual screenings and panel discussions.

Last year I scaled my TCMFF schedule back a bit and had more fun than I had ever had in the previous 4 festivals. I'm taking that approach this year as well. Leaving time for food, shopping at Larry Edmund's Bookshop, hanging out at Club TCM and having drinks with friends. Most of all it will let me appreciate the events I do go to, take care to take notes, record audio and report back. Last year my reporting was better for it so I'm excited to take a similar approach.

Below is my tentative schedule. I left room for some free time but also for some last minute decisions. Flexibility is key. No one's TCMFF ever goes according to plan! Also, because I live near a city where classic films are shown on the big screen on a regular basis, my focus in planning is always on the special guests. These are people I don't get access to here but do get to see at TCMFF!

Are you going to TCM Film Festival? If so what are you planning to see?


Red Carpet - Over the past three years, the opening night red carpet has been the #1 highlight of the entire festival. And for the last two years I've been on the red carpet interviewing and photographing some of the special guests! This year I'll either be reporting from the red carpet or being a spectator on the bleachers. Either way this is not something I'll want to miss. This year's opening night picture is The Producers (1968) with special guest Mel Brooks. There will also a ceremony to honor director Martin Scorsese for the inaugural Robert Osborne Award. I won't be able to attend either the ceremony or the film but it will be a blast to see all the guests saunter on the red carpet!

Fail-Safe (1964) - This Cold War drama starring Henry Fonda piqued my interest recently. I'm glad I haven't watched it yet because TCMFF is an ideal way to watch a film for the first time. 98 year old screenwriter Walter Bernstein, who worked on numerous movies and TV shows and was blacklisted during the HUAC era, will be on hand to discuss the film. I can't miss this opportunity!


Intruder in the Dust (1949) - Usually I attend the Hand and Footprint Ceremony at TCMFF but I decided to do something different this year. I'll be heading over early in the AM to catch this William Faulkner adaptation starring Juano Hernandez and David Brian. Former child actor Claude Jarman Jr. will be on hand to discuss the film and the discussion will be moderated by Donald Bogle Jr., one of the top experts on African-American film history.

Witness for the Prosecution (1957) - Another first for me! I look for those when I peruse the schedule. This courtroom drama will be playing on the big screen at the Egyptian and actress Ruta Lee will be discussing her role in the film. The discussion will be moderated by The Hollywood Report journalist Scott Feinberg.

None Shall Escape (1944) - This was a tough block. I would love to see the Pigeon Sisters at The Odd Couple screening, to see The Set-Up on the big screen at the Egyptian or to see the 1 hour interview at Club TCM with James Ivory. But seeing Marsha Hunt in person has been a dream of mine for years and all of those events put that dream in danger. So I'm blocking out as much time as possible to make this dream a reality.

Romeo and Juliet (1968) - This adaptation of Shakespeare's famous play is one of the first classic films I ever watched. It had a profound affect on me in my teen years and I still hold it dear to my heart. The stars Olivia Hussey, Leonard Whiting and Michael York will all be on hand to discuss. This is my #1 pick for the festival. It will be the 50th anniversary of the film and I just can't wait for this screening.


Bullitt (1968) - I love Steve McQueen. After seeing The Great Escape at the TCL Chinese Theater back in 2013 (when it was still Grauman's) I knew I had to repeat with another McQueen movie. Seeing the King of Cool race down the streets of San Francisco on that gigantic screen will be EPIC. Actress Jacqueline Bisset will be on hand to discuss the film beforehand.

Maurice (1987) - Before I fell in love with classic movies, I was an angst-ridden teen who lived for period pieces. The Merchant-Ivory films of the 1980s and 1990s and the other adaptations of that era fueled me. Maurice was a recent discovery for me. I watched it after I was quite moved by Call Me By Your Name (2017). James Ivory wrote the script for CMBYN and directed Maurice and he'll be on hand to discuss the film.

Scarface (1932) - This classic gangster film has eluded me for years and I'm going to finally watch it. TCMFF will be a perfect venue for this! Legendary director John Carpenter will be on hand to discuss the film. How can I miss that?

Note: This is only three films on a packed Saturday but I'm leaving room for a last-minute choice. Wish I could see the only Robert Mitchum film (the first they've played since 2013!), The Story of G.I. Joe but it conflicts with Maurice. Darn.


I take it easy on Sundays because TCMFF exhaustion will have kicked in and I'll need some time to pack. I might be able to sneak in a TBA, which would be a TCMFF first for me, or I might use the time to do some writing and browse the TCM gift shop before it closes.

Places in the Heart (1984) - Is it terrible that I'm going to this because I want to see Robert Benton and Sally Field? Because that's all I got and it works for me.

Mostly Lost at Club TCM - It's not TCMFF without going to one of the fascinating panels or presentations at Club TCM. I might only be able to fit in one and this is a goodie! Rachel Del Gaudio and Rob Stone of the Library of Congress will be on hand to discuss unknown films that have yet to be identified. Silent film accompanist Ben Model, who I had the pleasure of meeting at CineFest back in 2015!, will be on hand to play music to the screened clips.

Animal House (1978) - I've never seen Animal House and I would love a get a chance to see this with my husband Carlos who adores the film. Last year Best in Show had an impressive special guest list and this year it's Animal House. On hand to discuss the film are Stephen Bishop, John Landis, Tim Matheson, Bruce McGill, Mark Metcalf, Martha Smith and James Widdoes.

Closing Night Party at Club TCM - This will be a somber moment to drink to the end of TCMFF and say goodbye to friends.


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