Tuesday, April 18, 2023

2023 TCM Classic Film Festival: Day #2 Recap


My festival experience this year was scaled back immensely due to unforeseen circumstances, both good and bad. For the rest of the festival I was able to attend two events each day while also building in some time with friends.

On the first full day of the festival, I sat down with documentarian Daniel Raim whose films Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story, Image Makers: The Adventures of America's Pioneer Cinematographers and Fiddler's Journey to the Big Screen I have reviewed on here. He has some exciting projects coming up and I look forward to checking them out!

Then I got in line for Blood on the Moon (1948), Robert Wise's noir western starring Robert Mitchum. I'm a huge Robert Mitchum fan and have been disappointed to attend every year and not see a Mitchum film on the line-up. A few were shown the first year I went and I attended River of No Return (1954) which was life-changing. I looked at the schedule every year I attended and couldn't find another Mitchum film (unless I missed one!). So I was particularly thrilled for this opportunity.

Blood on the Moon was a hot ticket at TCMFF and it quickly sold out. Introducing the film was Alan K. Rode who recently wrote and published a book exclusive about the film with the University of New Mexico Press.

I had a new appreciation for this film seeing it up on the big screen with a crowd. The noir elements, Wise's direction and Mitchum's charisma really enhance what might have been just a standard Western.

After Blood on the Moon, I headed over the pool at the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel for a special screening of Beach Party (1963). A lot of us got there early. In fact I was there two hours in advance to get a good spot to see the screen and to catch a glimpse of special guest Frankie Avalon.

Photo courtesy of TCM

TCM host Dave Karger introduced Frankie Avalon before the screening and Frankie still has that youthful spirit you see in the movies. He talked about working with Annette Funicello, how he only had to take one pie in the face, how he thinks the dancing hasn't aged well and more. There was a shooting (!!!) that happened nearby so a news helicopter was hovering over us which made it a little difficult to listen to. But we were all safely tucked away and thrilled to see Frankie Avalon and Beach Party. The true fans stayed afterwards to watch the whole movie.

During the introduction, a photographer was literally in the pool getting shots of the main stage. He got some cool ones like this photo which makes it look like Dave Karger and Frankie Avalon are hovering over an abyss!

Photo courtesy of TCM

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