A Preview of TCMFF 2020: Special Home Edition
April 2, 2020
As fans know by now, the 2020 TCM Classic Film Festival was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. A hard but necessary choice for sure, but the fest’s cancellation meant much more than missing out on a long weekend of movies. Every year, fans flock to Hollywood from around the world to celebrate the classic film community, spend cherished time with friends, bask in the company of special guests and celebrities, and yes… watch a ton of movies and somehow sustain life on a diet of popcorn and little else.
Just last week, TCM announced the TCM Classic Film Festival: Special Home Edition, a celebration of all things TCMFF from the past decade. The on-air and online event will take place the same time as the big affair would have, April 16-19, and will feature on-air hosts, special guests, and classic moments from past festivals. As always, TCM has their fans at the forefront of their mind, and I am ecstatic that we can still partake in a different version of TCMFF, one that allows for so many fans to join in the fun!
For the past several years, I’ve compiled a schedule before each fest kicked off. With multiple venues screening five or more films a day all against each other, this undertaking was always intense/frustrating/exciting/exhausting + 25 other adjectives. So, in the spirit of past festivals, I’m going to share my 2020 virtual TCMFF picks here. At least we only get one movie airing at a time, but the new twist is that now it’s around the clock!
8pm: A Star is Born (1954)
Here’s a confession: I’ve never seen this adaptation of A Star is Born. The Judy Garland vehicle opened the inaugural TCMFF back in 2010, and since I didn’t watch it back then, there’s no time like the present!
11pm: Metropolis (1927)
Another classic I’ve yet to see. Undoubtedly, experiencing this silent masterpiece with a live orchestra would be the way to go, but I’ll take what I can get. I’d normally never be able to tune into a silent movie (or any movie, for that matter) at 11pm and stay awake, but lucky for me, I can watch this live on the west coast at 8pm PST. That significantly increases the probability that I’ll get through it all.
1:45am: Luise Rainer: Live from the TCM Classic Film Festival (2011)
Missing an icon like Rainer appear and share her Hollywood tales during the early days of TCMFF is something that I regret, so I’m happy to catch them – PST, baby! – here.
6:45am: The Seventh Seal (1957)
What better way to wake up on a Friday after weeks of self-quarantine than with Ingmar Bergman’s dark masterpiece set during the Black Plague co-starring the Grim Reaper? But seriously, I would love to hear about star Max Von Sydow’s experiences filming this movie and working with Bergman.
12:30pm: A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
Let's be real – it's been several hard days and nights. I’m working all day in real life, so why not have the Beatles on in the background? (Who are we kidding? I’ll probably have TCM on all day.)
2pm: Eva Marie Saint: Live from the TCM Classic Film Festival (2014)
OK, at this point I will have to take a break and pay some serious attention to this saint. I’ve interviewed her on the red carpet before, and she’s absolutely wonderful, so I know this special will brighten my mid-day.
5:45pm: Some Like it Hot (1959)
I feel like by this time on Friday I’ll need a gigantic comedic release, and who better to deliver that than Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe?
8pm: Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story (2015)
What a beautiful movie to give a prime-time spot to. I didn’t catch this at TCMFF but I did see it in theaters not long after, and it’s a charming, feel good love story mixed with tales from Hollywood’s older days. Lillian was also in attendance at the screening I attended, and now I want to be her when I grow up, please.
12am: Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)
Because considering all the menaces society is facing right now, this classic monster movie basically qualifies as a comfort film.
3:15am: Night Flight (1933)
There’s no way I could stay up for all of this, EST or PST, but it’s a pre-Code so I shall try. (And does this mean I can say that I’ve attempted a TCMFF midnight movie?! I’m gonna say yes.)
8am: Mad Love (1935)
Hands down (pun intended), this was one of my highlights of the 10th annual TCMFF. I’m always in the mood for batsh*t Peter Lorre.
9:15am: Double Harness (1933)
I was shut out of this terrifically popular pre-Code twice at TCMFF 2016, and NOW IT’S TIME TO GET REVENGE! And by revenge I mean just watch the movie. I’ll still line up outside my living room for an hour beforehand with queue card #462 to relive the camaraderie of theatre #4 for ~atmosphere~ though.
10:30am: Vitaphone Shorts
I’m pretty sure I saw this program at TCMFF 2016, because Vitaphone is too cool for school. Also, any chance to see Baby Rose Marie on screen must be savored.
1:30pm: Safety Last! (1923)
Because it’s nice to dream of being outside watching all the daring feats Harold Lloyd performs outdoors in this silent comedy while we’re all staying inside.
5:45pm: Network (1976)
I’ve never seen this satire, and who knows, I may find it some sort of soothing to be surrounded by familiar network news chaos or I may start screaming, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore!” It’s a coin toss.
10pm: The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)
Yes, yet another bona fide classic on my ‘to-watch’ list. I’m very much looking forward to what co-host Peter Bogdanovich has to say about this Orson Welles masterpiece – and seeing the movie, of course.
11:45pm: Night and the City (1950)
As I mentioned in my preview for Noir City Hollywood 22, I always get The Naked City (1948) and Night and the City (1950) mixed up. Since I didn’t get to see The Naked City at Noir City, hopefully I can get this whole thing straightened out once and for all.
1:30am: Norman Lloyd: Live from the TCM Classic Film Festival (2016)
NORMAN LLOYD IS A NATIONAL TREASURE and though I’ve probably heard all these stories three times he treats these things like a PERFORMANCE. Falling asleep to his voice is the perfect gateway to slumber.
4:15am: The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
There’s no way, EST or PST, that I’ll catch this in real-time, but I’m putting it down to remind myself that I do need to see this classic eventually.
7:45am: The Set-Up (1949)
Malcolm Mays did a live reading of the poem this film is based on at TCMFF 2018? How did I not know that? And how did I not know this hard-hitting boxing film noir was based on a poem?!
2pm: Red-Headed Woman (1932)
One of my 2017 TCMFF regrets was not catching this with an audience (and I had two chances!). And I’m still not seeing it with an audience, but at least I can pretend like everyone else who’s tuning in is laughing at Jean Harlow with me in my living room.
3:30pm: Auntie Mame (1958)
Cause I’m in a serious Roz Russell mood as I write this three weeks before the film airs. I’m assuming that mood will stick around.
8pm: Floyd Norman: An Animated Life (2016)
Norman, an animator who worked with Walt Disney and many others, was apparently an acquittance of my old boss, so I’ve heard his name mentioned a few times. Since he won’t get his TCMFF honor this year, the least we can do is learn more about him and his work.
12:15am: Baby Face (1933)
I have literally never been better prepared for anything in my life, particularly if we get to see Bruce Goldstein’s presentation about the film’s censorship. See below.
Months of archival research and writing a 130-page paper about Baby Face’s censorship history with an in-depth analysis of the differences between the two existing versions for my senior thesis in college: Check
Can basically recite the differences in both versions by memory: Check
Kate Gabrielle Barbara Stanwyck Baby Face T-shirt: Check
Let's do this.
1:45am: Bardelys the Magnificent (1926)
Movies I’ve never heard of usually get precedence over all else (except pre-Codes) at TCMFF, which is why this silent restoration makes the list. Also, French preservationist/producer/ amazing human Serge Bromberg was supposed to present this picture at TCMFF 2020, which means it would have been hovering around the #1 spot on my fest list this year.
Those are my line-up picks, but since I'll be home, well, the whole time, who knows what will actually happen! What TCMFF movie are you most looking forward to watching in the comfort of your own home?
thanks for stopping by!
I See a Dark Theater is a website dedicated to classic movie-going—and loving—in the City of Angels. Whether it's coverage on screenings, special presentations, or Q&As around Los Angeles that you're looking for, or commentary on the wonderful and sometimes wacky world of classic cinema, you've come to the right place for a variety of pieces written with zeal, awe, and (occasionally) wit. Enjoy.