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SueSueApplegate

SUE SUE'S TCM FESTIVAL TRAVEL BLOG...

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Hi, Dominique.

 

I believe that after folks had purchased their tickets to the festival, they were asked to submit

interesting personal stories concerning classic film and selected from those entries, and the powers that be probably reviewed all passholders on this site to see if they were involved in positive interaction with others and had any knowledge of classic film, plus several other factors that I'm sure I know nothing about.

 

I feel very, very lucky! :)

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Friday, April 23, 2010. Dateline: L.A.

(About 3:15 p.m.)

 

***SPOILER ALERT***

 

Dave, the Buick chauffeur, extended the royal treatment. When we pulled up to Grauman's for the screening, he told me to wait.

 

"Don't touch that door! I'll get it."

(He obviously recognized that I was a go-getter, but that I also responded well to command.)

 

Then he marched around curbside and officially allowed me to begin my entrance to Grauman's most fashion-oriented and biography-rattling feature, *Imitation of Life* , starring Lana Turner, Juanita Moore, Sandra Dee, and Susan Kohner.

 

As he opened the car door, he lifted me out of the passenger-side back seat of the brand new Buick with one strong, swarthy hold on my baubly, bracelet-laden self.

 

Nobody noticed that I was strutting and strolling through the handprinted, footfall laden courtyard. Tourists were busy seeing if their feet fit the form or their fingers filled the mold. Lots of folks were bending over, stretching their camera sights, smiling for their personal photo-op, and totally ignoring that I had arrived. Oh, well. It was like that everytime I showed up at a screening. Where were all the cameras and reporters? Wasn't anyone informed of my arrival?

 

No, I don't guess they were. I was treated just like any Hannah from Hickville. But, that was o.k. I wasn't really expecting anything more.

 

The real stars attending the post-discussion screening were Robert Osborne, Juanita Moore, and Susan Kohner, and ,of course, the beautiful print of Douglas Sirk's *Imitation of Life*, Universal-International's biggest grossing film at that time. Sirk, who would often turn a genre on its ear and give an audience a much different emotional ride than publicity or conformity would expect, revealed the major players of this epic melodrama to be Moore and Kohner even though Turner and Dee were the names that set the scene and drew the patrons who ultimately benefited from the dramatic peaks of the Moore/Kohner emotional heights.

 

Yes, it was a glitzy soap opera. Yes, Lana had wardrobe. Yes, Sandra was sweet. But the attitudes of the Pre-Civil Rights era and the classic mother-daughter duality struggle were present in vibrant TechniLana. Would it have had such high production values without Lana and Sandra and Sirk? I don't know. That's a question for historians. I'm just a blogger with some attitude, a little vocabulary, and some cute clothes.

 

The film was beautiful in its intensity of colors, fashions, and sets. All the jewels, the clothes, and the sighs on screen were merely camouflage for the struggles of the characters. But Juanita Moore and Susan Kohner are the actors that send me for the kleenex. If a viewer doesn't cry when Moore pretends not to be Kohner's mother or when Kohner runs to embrace the hearse with her mother's body, then the viewer probably didn't choose to attend this screening. A passholder was unwittingly forced to accompany someone who already had a dramatic agenda and a packed purseful of tissues.

 

Applause accompanied the credits and dramatic swell of the score. Some folks knew what they wanted and were grateful for the stylish soap soaking the sensibilities.

 

The post-screening discussion was just as dramatic as the film itself. Robert Osborne, Juanita Moore, and Susan Kohner were engaging and lively with information about the times, the players, and the contributions of the filmmakers.

 

Moore's comments were more closely associated with the emotional impact of the moments during the filming , while Kohner's lively comments were filled with specifics dealing with the details of the filming itself, and its aftermath.

 

Moore, looking lovely at 88, has appeared in 30 films, and most recently was in "The Kid" in 2000. Evidently, Moore still felt some sort of ambivalence concerning Cheryl Crane and her treatment of her mother, because she often contradicted Osborne's leading questions concerning Crane and Turner, and Moore stated sometime during the discussion (and I am paraphrasing) that Lana had been preoccupied during filming with Crane's behavior in light of the Johnny Stompanato scandal and its ensuing difficulties, and Lana's confidences to Moore, as Moore stated them, seemed indicative of their friendship during the shoot. Moore's grandson is also preparing a film or cable program concerning his grandmother's experiences and was introduced at the end of the discussion as he assisted her offstage. (I can't read my notes here, so I am unsure of his name, but if any reader can provide it, please feel free to do so.)

 

Kohner, who played Sarah Jane, married John Weitz in 1964 to raise her family. Mother of Chris Weitz and Paul Weitz, Kohner was perky and energetic about her experiences during filming of *Imitation of Life*, and was forthcoming about her feelings concerning her career and how she felt that she had been stereotyped into certain roles. She seemed happy that so many folks remembered and respected her performance in the landmark film under discussion, and vividly recalled the scene in the film when she was assaulted by Troy Donahue.

 

Even though Moore didn't respond quite as Osborne might have planned, he was calm, cool, and collected under pressure, as always. Kohner also deflected and redirected some of Moore's comments with her remembrances, and audience members applauded and left the theater chatting about all the interesting and lively comments during the discussion.

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Hi SueSue...Another fascinating account of your festival experiences. I'm a Douglas Sirk fan who has never seen any of his films on the big screen and I realized, as I read your post, that I missed an opportunity last month. Amazing and inspiring that Juanita Moore was game to take part in the event at age 94. I'm curious what the bone of contention was between Juanita and RO regarding Lana.

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Thanks, Eve. I'm sorry if I mislead you on that count. There was no contentious nature or

animosity towards Robert Osborne. It's just that Ms. Moore, at 94, didn't give necessarily

expected responses to some of Robert Osborne's questions, but she was frank, funny and honest

in her answers that revealed her lack of enthusiasm for Cheryl Crane and some of Ms. Crane's

actions and/or comments, but Susan Kohner and Robert Osborne focused more of their Q and A to the making of the film and its aftermath.

 

And Robert Osborne was to be commended that afternoon for his composure, his avoidance of negativity, attention to detail, and his commitment to TCM and the audience, and I would add

that Susan Kohner, who was lovely, by the way, followed his lead, and smoothed over any

misunderstandings with her opinions,comments, and remembrances.

 

Morlock Jeff has a great play-by-play of all the TCM Festival action. Follow this link

to Day 3 for the information about *Imitation of Life*:

 

http://moviemorlocks.com/2010/04/

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Sue Sue -

 

I enjoyed the rich way your words evoked the Douglas Sirk screening - your use of colorful adjectives and descriptive phrases really mimics Sirk's style. Nice job!

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Thank you so much, JackFavell!

More installments later...I'm busy at work

so I can attend TCM Film Fest 2011!

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Dear Sue ..I have one little question of someone that was there last year..what does it mean..that seats come on a first serve basis..even if you have a pass..do you have to wait in line for all events..even if you have the best pass....I don't understand this..thank you so much...Railfan..

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If you have the most expensive pass, you are seated immediately when the theater is available. If you have the other passes, they start letting people get in line about an hour before the show. They pass out numbers and ask you to return about a half hour before showtime. When they're ready to begin seating, they seat groups of people by numbers. People who are buying only single tickets (not passes for the whole festival) are in a separate line and are seated only if there is space available. The system worked very well this year.

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Sue Sue, I never got a number in queue, but then I never left, as I got to the line usually less than an hour before. In fact, several times less than 30 minutes before. Maybe I just weird taste?

 

David in Seattle

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They seemed to have a different way of doing things at the Chinese vs the Egyptian. The TCM Chinese theather attendants would allow you to get a number and wander around until it was time to open the doors to seating.

 

At the Egyptian, the attendants seemed to be more adamant about once you had a number and were in line, you were supposed to stay in line until the doors opened.

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I was in a bubble pretty much the whole time, and I just waited in line. I think someone in

a uniform handed me a number, but I can't remember whether it was at the Egyptian or at Graumann's Chinese... I'm usually talking to people in front of me or behind me because I am

so bored waiting in line, and all the attendees were so much fun to talk to...

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One of my favorite conversations with one of the presenters happened at Club TCM and

I was totally in awe.

 

Angela Allen--- absolutely unbelievable her career! And the folks she's met.

 

I was able to hear her introduce *Pandora and The Flying Dutchman.*

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I am so happy that I have received the informatiive letter about the next TCM Festival's Passholder Options. If you have subscribed to the Festival information list, you might have already received the information in your personal email.

 

I found this link to an earlier Athens, Georgia, Film Festival with information about Angela Allen:

http://www.robertosbornefilmfestival.net/archive/2008/films/africanqueen.php?page=guests/allen

 

Here's a short article about Ms. Allen:

 

The African Queen (1951)

Saturday, April 12, 8:30 PM

SPECIAL GUEST: ANGELA ALLEN

A Classic Couple...

 

Special guest: Angela Allen

 

Angela Allen is one of Britain?s film industry treasures, having worked on hundreds of films for the past half century. Angela started work at an artists agency, Filmrights. She trained as a script supervisor (known as Continuity) at the Korda studios and worked on the second unit of the Third Man. Romulus films hired her for Pandora and The Flying Dutchman, and as the youngest continuity working in England, she was chosen by Sam Spiegel to work for John Huston on The African Queen. She then worked on 13 more of his films including Moby Dick, The Misfits, The Man Who Would Be King, Night Of The Iguana. In Georgia, she worked with Huston on Wise Blood, and in Hollywood she worked on the television movie The Patricia Neal Story. She worked in New York for NBC, and for Ray Stark on his stage production of Funny Girl. In California she worked for Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin and as script supervisor on some TV shows for Universal. More recently she worked with John Frankenheimer and has been involved with Franco Zeffirelli on his films and stage work. Her list of credits includes Tea for Mussolini, The Dirty Dozen, Women in Love, Downhill Racer, Murder on the Orient Express, Kenneth Branaugh?s Hamlet, among many others.

 

I was able to visit with this wonderful lady at Club TCM. She is very lovely and energetic, and is quite

willing to share her experiences with passholders. She talks about Ava, Marilyn, Clark, and John Huston like I might discuss a neighbor or cousin, matter-of-factly like someone who just passed the potatoes at the other end of the dining room table.

 

She laughs readily and enjoys listening to jokes as well as she relishes telling them. And she was a stand-in for AVA GARDNER and KATHARINE HEPBURN!

 

From the following website, http://www.gbct.org/script2.html, I found information about her on-camera

antics on The African Queen in 1952 in an excerpt from The Hustons by Lawrence Grobel:

 

 

"...a long shot was needed of Hepburn on the river, Angela Allen doubled for her. ' I was the only female...I was meant to be on the tiller...we had to go around this terrifying place with all those crocodiles lying on the bank. But I got to direct those pickup shots for two days'...Huston liked his script girl's spunk and professionalism. Over the years John would try to catch her in an error, but rarely succeeded.?

 

She was also featured in a lengthy documentary with Sir Carol Reed, "Shooting the Third Man" in 2004. If you ever have a chance to see Ms. Allen in person, or view the documentary, don't miss either one!

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SueSue...you sound like you were the belle of the ball out in Cali. You really got the most out of the TCM experience. Great! Way to go, girl.

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And both of them look gorgeous!

 

Actually there are TCM posters in other photos on the festival site.

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