TCMFF 2019, Day 1: Dinner and a Movie
April 16, 2019
Though I spend weeks preparing for TCM's Classic Film Festival, it always seems to rush in like a cinematic tornado—sweeping in quickly and catching all us film fans up in 3.5 days of movie madness, just to drop us back in the real world on Monday, which is where I am right now.
(This was live footage of me this morning, waking up for the first time in three days to the realization that I have to go to work rather than spend the whole day at the movies with friends):
... Or it's Joan Blondell in 1931's Night Nurse.
But back to TCMFF! Day one, Thursday, began with me (plot twist!) at work, furiously finishing things up before bolting out at 3pm. I was notified three days prior that I won a spot on the red carpet interviewing guests, which was fantastic news—and nerve wracking. I scrambled to formulate questions to ask, and I'm happy I did, because they went to good use. Like last year, I was placed next to Jessica, and it was a relief seeing a friendly face next to me. The two of us teamed up with the lovely Nora to ask group questions for the most part, which helped ease some of my nerves. All in all, it was one of the better red carpets (for me, personally) and we got some great feedback from the likes of Diane Baker, Barbara Rush, Patty McCormack, Ileana Douglas, and more! Stay tuned for quotes and photos from the carpet soon.
TCMFF's 2019 red carpet.
I really wanted to make the first block of programming, specifically Night World (1932), a pre-Code I've never heard of, but as in line with all my previous red carpet experiences, that just didn’t happen. (Luckily, it ended up being awarded a TBA slot on Sunday, and I was able to catch that.) Instead, I enjoyed a nice meal—at an actual sit down restaurant!—with my pal Christy. We caught up on life and the book she’s writing on Thelma Ritter, among other things. Though I'm able to see so many people at TCMFF, I rarely get to engage in conversations longer than 10 minutes with them, so it's always a treat to be able to sit down and have a long chat with friends!
The only time I take selfies is at TCMFF. Here I am with Christy!
From there I was able to hop in line early for my first film of TCMFF #10, The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947) on nitrate. I was happy I didn’t have to rush—I was 4th in the queue!—and I got to share a nice conversation with some fest first timers in line. It's rare for me to attend TCMFF screenings of movies I’ve already seen, but I did so for two, maybe three, movies this year, Bachelor included. While I adore this film, the choice was more so made due to the nitrate factor and the fact that comedies play so much better with an audience—and this was a packed crowd, at that!
Waiting for my first film of the fest at the Egyptian Theater.
Mike Pogorzelski, director of the Academy Film Archive, told us in his introduction that this nitrate print was donated by Shirley Temple Black herself, along with many other items. The print was gorgeous and in very good condition—I’m assuming it had to be at least 70 years old, but the age didn’t show; the image was crisp and beautiful. Watching the wondrous duo of Cary Grant and Myrna Loy is always magical, and the audience got a hoot out of the film’s rousing hijinks. (Honestly, I never realized how *on* Cary Grant was until I watched this with a large group of people.) And luckily, parts of the Shirley Temple-Grant storyline were not as cringeworthy as I recalled, which is certainly a good thing.
Yeah, that tagline wouldn't fly today.
Though I was a tad sad to miss the first programming block, I don’t think I could have asked for a better way to open my 10th festival. Stay tuned for coverage of Friday's activities, including that time I lost my wallet in a movie theater, later this week.