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Are You There, Classic Movie Gods? It's Me, Kim.

April 9, 2014

TCM kicks off its 5th Annual Classic Film Festival tomorrow in Hollywood. I've been lucky enough to attend and/or volunteer every year of the festival, but I've never been a passholder, so, as usual, I'm gonna need some assistance and good vibes in getting into some of the movies.


TCM is celebrating a lot of anniversaries this year. Well, only two I guess. 2014 marks the network's 20th birthday and also the 5th year of TCM's Classic Film Festival. This year's TCMFF theme appropriately is Family in the Movies: The Ties that Bind. As stated on the fest's website: "TCM is summoning its family of movie lovers from around the globe to come to Hollywood for a cinematic celebration of the ties that bind us together." Leave it to TCM to come up with something as adorably awesome as that.

The courtyard of the Egyptian Theater at last year's festival (Picture by Kim Luperi)

As many others have done since the schedule was posted in late March, I've come up with my personal plan of action. This program also doubles as my dream wishlist. Why? Well, sadly I'll be working during the day on Thursday and Friday, and I probably won't get into everything through the standby lines.


Nevertheless, it's always so fun to mark up those schedules and see what everyone else's play-by-play looks like - the must sees, the hopefuls, the backups. Inevitably, the agendas shift and jump as a result of a variety of circumstances, including big ones such as oversleeping and lack of food. Plus, the actual logistics of making it from any one of the following venues: the El Capitan, the Roosevelt, the Chinese, and the Egyptian, to another, all within a 0.3 mile radius, makes it incredibly difficult to gauge time - you've got foot traffic, an abundance of Elvis/Marilyn/Spidey street performers, and a 95% chance that part of Hollywood Blvd. or at least the sidewalk will be shut down at some point. 


If I were a mathematician, I'd be able to figure out how many possible movie combinations I've listed below. But I'm not, so I'll just keep tally, and after the fest wraps I'll be back with a recap of how many screenings I actually made it to. 


Regardless of what I end up seeing, I know I'll have a great time - the movies, the atmosphere, and of course the people always make it an exciting and memorable experience. 





2pm (At work, dreaming) - Meet TCM: Special Edition at the Egyptian Theater

'Meet TCM.' 'Special Edition.' 'Egyptian Theater.' Enough said. 


5pm (Still at work, still dreaming) - Welcome Party/TCM at 20 Exhibit

Love all those words, particulary 'Exhibit.' 


7pm (If I escape work early and book it to Hollywood) - 5th Avenue Girl  (1939)

I love Ginger Rogers in comedies, and if she's pretending to be Walter Connolly's live-in mistress, even better.

Love this poster.

7:15pm (Backup) - Cheaper by the Dozen  (1950)

To be honest, I've only seen the remake, and I must admit that I thoroughly enjoyed it. Assuming this has to be better.


9:30pm - Bachelor Mother  (1939)

My goal is to make tonight a mini Ginger Rogers comedy marathon. Lighthearted. David Niven. Interested to see what guest Greg Proops has to say.


9:45pm (Backup) - The Heiress  (1949)

Olivia deHavilland won her 2nd Oscar for her role in this film. I've never seen the movie, and it's got Montgomery Clift to boost. Sold.





9am (Eating breakfast at work, dreaming) - The Thin Man  (1934)

Hands down one of my favorite films of all time. What I would give to see this with a packed house...(coming in to work 3 hours late may be worth it)

Myrna Loy/Nora Charles accurately portraying how I'll feel for missing The Thin Man.

9:45am (Work, beginning of longest day ever) - On Approval  (1944)

Platonic trial marriage in a movie from 1944. What does that look like?!? I'm intrigued.


12:30pm (Can I leave for 3 hours during lunch? Or just not come in at all?) - Make Way for Tomorrow  (1937)

Leo McCarey is known for his comedies, but apparently this drama is the film he thought he should have won his Oscar for (not the fabulous The Awful Truth). Better than The Awful Truth, Mr. McCarey? Let's see about that.


3pm (Work should end early on Fridays) - A Matter of Life and Death  (1946)

British filmmakers Powell and Pressburger are great, and apparently this film boasts epic Technicolor and fantasy sequences. If it's good enough to inspire a Phil Collins song, it's good enough for me.


3:15pm (If I could be three places at once and none of them would be work) - My Sister Eileen  (1942) 

Love Rosalind Russell. Love crazy neighbors. Love Greenwich Village. No brainer, but I've seen it before.


6pm (Definitely won't happen with LA traffic) - Double Indemnity  (1944)

Not my favorite Barbara Stanwyck flick, but watching a 10 foot tall feisty, deadly femme fatale Stanwyck, even with the horrible blonde wig, would be a sight to behold.

Really, who approved Stanwyck's wig?


See parenthesis. One of my absolute favorite movies. Deborah Kerr. Gothic England. Creepy children with English accents. Gorgeous photography. I feel like this is rarely played on the big screen, and it would be killer to see with an audience.


9:15pm (If it comes to this, I hope to see through my tears from missing The Innocents) - Employees' Entrance  (1933)

If I do miss one of my favorite movies, hopefully this racy pre-Code will cheer me up. I think Loretta Young and tyrannical Warren William would be up to the job.





9am - Stella Dallas  (1937)

I need some Stanwyck on the big screen this weekend, and what better way to start my Saturday morning than with some soapy Stanwyck (sans blonde wig, thankfully. I can't take that seriously).


9:15am (Backup) - City Lights  (1931)

OK, a better way to start a Saturday morning may be with a new 4K restoration of a Charlie Chaplin film. Especially if The Innocents didn't happen the night before.

Wouldn't mind spending my Saturday morning with Chaplin.

11:45am (I'll probably be waiting in line for How Green was My Valley but...) - Mr. Deeds Goes to Town   (1936)

Classic Frank Capra. Classic Jean Arthur. Classic Gary Cooper. Haven't seen this in a long time and another one that would be great with an audience.



When do they hand out numbers for How Green Was My Valley to the hopeful commoners (aka non-passholders like myself)?


3pm (I will rough it on Hollywood Blvd. for up to 4 daylight hours for this) - How Green was My Valley  (1941)

I'm very embarrassed to say I have never seen this film. Also, I flipped when I saw Maureen O'Hara would be there. MAUREEN O'HARA. Can some passholders please go see The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, The Goodbye Girl, or Thelma Schoonmaker? There's even Hollywood Home Movies from the Academy Film Archive! I've seen them, and they're great! (Please let some of the standby line get in to this).

I'll be braving the circus that is Hollywood Blvd. for this legend.

5:30pm (If I get in to How Green was My Valley and if I get out in time) -The Stranger's Return  (1933)

Love the title, and Miriam Hopkins is always such a treat, especially in pre-Codes. Also, yay for little known films on the big screen! 


8pm (If I can swing this and The Women) - Hat Check Girl  (1932)

World premiere restoration of a pre-Code I haven't heard of before. I EMBRACE ALL OF THOSE WORDS. Plus, Katie Trainor from MoMA will be there, and I enjoy hearing her speak.  If I get in to The Stranger's Return and this, it would be a pre-Code double feature, which is the best kind of double feature.


9:30pm (I will stand in the aisle for this screening) - The Women  (1939)

Such a delicious, hilarious, catty ensemble piece. It's on DVD, but I really want to laugh at Rosalind Russell and Joan Crawford's zingers and applaud Norma Shearer's jungle red nails in a packed house. Also, Anna Kendrick is doing the intro, and I think the whole world - me included - has a girl crush on her.


9:30pm (Backup) - The Naked City  (1948)    

As a film noir fan, I'm embarrassed to say I haven't seen this entire movie before. It's true. I'll crawl back into my air-raid shelter now.


12am (If my eyes can still open on their own) - Freaks  (1932)

Spot on programming, TCM: circus side show performers in all their odd, somewhat offensive pre-Code glory. 

Midnight movie (n.) see: Freaks



9:15am (This is kind of early if I'll be out until 2am the night before, but...) - Academy Conversations: The Adventures of Robin Hood

Oscar winners Craig Barron and Ben Burtt are back after presenting Tarzan Finds A Son! last year. Burtt is an alum of my tiny northwestern PA liberal arts college, so it's always fun to see him in action. And learn about old school technology.



I'm sure there will be a screening that I'll get shut out of that will be a TBA here. Hopefully.


3pm (I'm not a passholder, but one day...) - 20 Years of TCM On-Air

I love love love what TCM On-Air team does. Love love love love love. Is that enough love to gain entrance to this event?


4:30pm (Pending TBA's) - The Quiet Man  (1952)

Maureen O'Hara and John Wayne. Ireland. In color! Can O'Hara surprise us and show up for this screening too, please?


7:30pm (Please, body, stay with me) - The Lodger  (1927)

Hitchcock. Jack the Ripper. Live orchestra. Big screen. Product of a very extensive restoration project. Plus, I've always wanted to see it, and I never have. Sounds like a perfect way to end the marathon that is TCM Classic Film Fest.

I wouldn't take this lodger in. Too scary looking.

10pm - SLEEP TIME x 20.


Until next year, TCM Fest...

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.

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