lzcutter

Seen and heard on the Blvd of Dreams

34 posts in this topic

While standing in line (#325 and #326), we saw Peter coming down the hallway. He was also on his way to Best Years of Our Lives but stopped to say hello.

We talked for awhile, telling him about the "Ask Robert"event from earlier in the day.

Before we knew it, the line was moving. Once inside the theater, we had no trouble finding Paula and Texas T. Christy joined us.

Robert O came out to thunderous applause and introduced Mel Brooks.

Mel bounded out on stage. How the man is in his 80s with that much energy is beyond me.

He talked about the making of the film, how fate sometimes smiles on you.

He wanted Richard Pryor for the role of Bart but Warner Brothers said "no way". Pryor took the news very well. Thinking they wouldn't be able to find the right actor for Bart, both Pryor and Brooks were excited when Cleavon Little read for the part and Brooks wasted no time in signing him.

Gig Young was supposed to play the Waco Kid, the alcoholic gun fighter who finds recovery in his friendship with Bart. But, as Brooks told the story, "Young must have missed the part about recovering" as he showed up on the set in his cups (as they say) and then "began to spew green stuff" around the jail set.

They called for an ambulance, Young was hospitalized and Brooks was in a jam. "I called my best friend in the world, Gene Wilder" and explained the situation, Brooks told the audience. Wilder said, "don't worry", booked a red-eye flight to LA and was on the set the next morning.

Brooks rhapsodized about Madeline Kahn and how talented she was. He said her comedic timing was always off but that was part of her and she made it work wonderfully to her advantage.

Brooks also talked about the preview he had for Warner Brothers executives and how violently Ted Ashley reacted to the film demanding cuts. Ashley took Brooks aside and gave him a laundry list of cuts that had to be made.

John Calley, in charge of Production, was with Brooks and when Ashley walked away, Brooks balled up the notes and threw them in a nearby wastebasket.

"Nice filing" said Calley.

Favorite line of the film, "You'd do it for Randolph Scott"

Crowd harmonizes, "Randolph Scott".

Cracks me up every time!

After the film we stopped into Club TCM on our way to the car.

It was pretty quiet and we talked to Rich for a few minutes before calling it a night!

Was the dog ever glad to see us!

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Dateline- Saturday, April 12th

We knew that Mary Poppins was going to be very popular. Everyone we talked to said they were going to the film. In fact, there were three films everyone we talked to said they were going to, Blazing Saddles, Mary Poppins and The Wizard of Oz in 3-D.

When we got to the El Capitan, the line for Classic Pass holders was already around the building and snaking down the alley. We were relieved to find that our queue numbers were about the same as they had been the night before.

As the El Cap seats more than Graumans, we knew we would get in. Luckily for us, Paula and Texas T would get in first and save us seats.

We knew we couldn't stay for the talk with Richard Sherman which was scheduled for after the film. 

Why? Because for the last three years I had missed editor extraordinare, Thelma Schoonmaker, introduce and/or talk about a film. Yesterday, we had missed her introducing A Matter of Life and Death on the big screen.

She was scheduled to talk about her herself, her career and Michael Powell in Club TCM in the early afternoon. Since we wanted good seats, we knew we had to get there early.

While waiting for Mary Poppins to start, MrCutter took some photos of the interior of the El Cap:

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The Disney company restored the El Cap many years ago and did a beautiful job. The theater seats over 1,000 but the main floor feels small. The majority of seats must be in the balcony.

While waiting for the movie, we got to hear this guy play the mighty Wurlitzer (which ascends and descends into the stage):

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The movie was just as much fun as it was the last time I saw it 50 years ago! It really holds up.

Having seen Saving Mr. Banks, I did wonder if Mr. Dawes, Sr (the elderly banker played by Dick Van Dyke) was modeled after P. L. Travers.

We headed over to Club TCM as soon as the movie was over.

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When we got to Club TCM, the place was already filling up.  All of the comfy tables were taken except for the two that "Reserved Seating" signs on them. These tables are usually reserved for friends of the speaker, the interviewer or TCM.

 

Imagine my surprise when Rich came over and escorted us to the corner table that had a reserved sign on it. We got to sit there for the talk.

 

Author Cari Beauchamp introduced Thelma Schoonmaker, a woman I have long admired (second only to Mother Cutter, herself,Verna Fields on my short list).

 

She was shorter than I thought she would be but what a storyteller.

 

She was born in Algeria, grew up in Aruba and when she was 14, her family moved to New Jersey.

 

She wanted to be a diplomat and studied for the test but failed because it said she was too liberal. A few years earlier she had helped raise $10k for Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement.

 

She took a job as an assistant editor working for a guy at a local television station.  She figured if nothing else she would learn about movies and how to splice and use editing equipment.

 

The guy she worked for turned out to be a hack who would indiscriminately cut films to fit the necessary time lengths assigned by the station. He had no qualms about hacking out an entire reel with no regard to the story.

 

She soon quit that job and began taking courses at Washington College (which would become NYU) and it was there she met Martin Scorsese.  Because she knew how to use editing equipment, she helped him salvage his student film. He taught her about editing.

 

Influenced by the film, Monterey Pop, she was the head editor on Woodstock and hired Marty to be one of the editors. They were at the music festival, had motel rooms and Marty had even brought nice clothes, including cuff links, anticipating one evening at least they would be going out to dinner. Once at Woodstock, the festival, they were trapped and never even got to check in at the motel, much less dinner.

 

She described as a "nightmare" but in the editing room, the footage started coming together. They had a screening for the executives at Warners and she realized that they had captured not only a seminal cultural moment but something special as well.  Warners didn't agree and demanded cuts be made before the press screening.

 

Thelma stole the soundtrack out of the vault so that the cuts couldn't be made.

 

The press screening was the version Thelma and her team believed in. After the screening, Warners' executives approached her and told her she was right.

 

She was nominated for her first Academy Award for her work on Woodstock.

 

Scorsese enjoyed working with her and wanted her to cut his films. In New York that wasn't a problem. But when they came to Los Angeles, she couldn't get into the Editors Union despite her AA nomination.

 

She didn't work again with Scorsese until Raging Bull. By that time, Scorsese had enough pull that she was admitted to the Editors Union, no problem. She says, "I don't know what he did."

 

Scorsese shot 90,000 feet of film for Raging Bull and she edited it. He watched every fight film ever made. It took six weeks to shoot the fight scenes with the camera in the ring with DeNiro and the other actors.

 

It is her favorite film.

 

Scorsese had long been a big fan of Michael Powell's and Emeric Pressburger's films

 

Scorsese considers Powell and Pressburger's run of films through the 1930s and 40s to be "the longest period of subversive film-making in a major studio, ever".

 

When Scorsese met Powell in London, the older director wasn't quite sure what to think, especially when told that young American filmmakers thought of him as great source of inspiration.

 

Later, when Francis Ford Coppola brought Powell to America, Scorsese talked Thelma into going with him, despite the fact she was up to her eyeballs editing Raging Bull to a retrospective of Powell and Pressburger films.

 

It was there she met Michael Powell.

 

Over time they began dating and he moved in with her. Scorsese's wife at the time, Isabella Rossellini, not knowing the two were dating, thought Thelma was allowing Powell to stay with her because he had no place to live in NYC. She wanted Marty to find him a place.

 

Thelma quietly explained to Rossellini that she and Powell were in love and actually living together.  Rossellini was excited at the news but said, " someone should tell Marty".

 

Thelma broke the news to Scorsese, who though a bit surprised, took it in stride.

 

Powell said of meeting Scorsese, "the blood started running in my veins again".

 

Another big influence was John Cassavettes who took the young Scorsese under his wing when he came west to make Boxcar Bertha in the early 1970s.

 

He showed the film to Cassavettes who promptly said, "You spent a year making a piece of shi*. Don't let them do that to you again.".

 

Years later, Scorsese invited him to view Raging Bull in the editing room (a large apartment in NYC where they had film hanging in the shower).  Cassavettes watched the film with Thelma.

 

Afterwards he was quite taken with the film. Thelma reminded him, "You made it possible for him to become a director." To which Cassavettes replied, "But did he have to be this good at it?"

 

Raging Bull went on to be nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Editing among its many noms. The night of the AAwards was a "big disappointment. I won, DeNiro won and we thought for sure Marty would win. It was very disappointing when he didn't."

 

She didn't display her Oscar for years because of that.

 

Way too soon the talk came to an end. There were a few questions, though the one that made our eyes roll (MrC and I both spent many years editing) was the young man who asked her "what operating system do you use".

 

She cuts on a Lightworks, a non-linear editing system that was developed by the Brits and though it no longer selling the type of editor she uses, the company does help keep it running.

 

A remarkable woman who has had a great life!

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We had to move out of our Reserved Seating box for Hollywood Home Movies.

 

This is the third year of presentations by Randy Haberkamp and Lynne Kriste of the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences. As always, it was standing room only with people hanging from the rafters!

 

Because the theme this year was family, they curated a series of home movies taken by the stars themselves.

 

Highlights included:

 

Florenz Ziegfeld and Billie Burke's Family Films (1921-1924), which are some of the Film Academy's earliest home movies.

 

The Hitchcocks at Home (1929-1936) which included shots of Alfred, Alma and daughter Pat along with their pets. Restored color footage, too!

 

Jean Harlow's Dressing Room (1931) where the actress smokes, chats and strikes dramatic poses.

 

Hollywood Visits Hearst Castle (1931)with WR Hearst, Marion Davies and a host of happy guests.

 

Relaxing Aboard the Invader (1931) included rare color footage that Gilbert Roland shot of his future wife, Constance Bennett and several friends as they sailed around the coast of Southern California. Best shots of all, the ones of Gilbert Roland without a shirt!!!!

 

Behind the Scenes of Gone With the Wind (1939) rare 8mm footage from the set of the epic film. Shots included Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable, Victor Fleming and the enormous Technicolor camera.

 

It's a Wonderful Wrap, the wrap picnic party for It's a Wonderful Life includes Frank Capra participating in a potato sack race.

 

Walt Disney Rides the Rails shows Disney and animator Ward Kimble with their elaborate backyard train set-ups. Kimble's son talked about the footage.

 

Oklahoma! on Location director Fred Zinneman took home movies of both the Cinemascope and Todd A-O cameras shooting scenes. Zinnman's son talked about the footage and Gene Nelson's widow talked about the dance numbers featuring Nelson in the footage.

 

Tashlin and Lewis on Hurry Up and Wait shows director Frank Tashlin and Jerry Lewis cutting up on the set.

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We moved over to one of the non-reserved comfy tables for Leonard Maltin's talk with composer Richard Sherman which followed Hollywood Home Movies.

 

What a treat! Especially since we had missed him talking at the end of Mary Poppins earlier in the day.

 

Management had kept the keyboard from the previous event (Michael Motilla had accompanied the Home Movies on it).

 

Leonard walked Sherman through his life from a young boy growing up with his brother Robert and their father, Al Sherman, who had been a songwriter as well.

 

The Powerpoint presentation was quite good and Sherman sang songs through every phase.

 

He talked about how he and his brother had become "rock and roll" writers with their first big hit, You're Sixteen and began writing songs for Annette Funicello to sing. They over dubbed her voice to give it a bigger sound.

 

From there they began writing songs for Disney animation and features. After Walt gave them the book, Mary Poppins to read, they put together the outline that would become the movie.

 

Sherman credited everyone for making that film so memorable. He talked a bit about how difficult P.L. Travers was to work with.

 

He sang a bit from Tuppence a Bag before moving onto the The Jungle Book.

 

He talked about writing the song King of the Jungle. When Walt heard the song, he asked who did they have in mind to sing it and Sherman said there was only group- Louie Prima, Sam Butera and the Witnesses. They had to travel to Las Vegas, wait until after they finished their lounge act at the Sands to play the song for the musicians.

 

The musicians, alerted that these guys were from Disney, sat there stone-faced until the song was over. Asked what they thought, they "acted like a bunch of university professors". Finally unable to keep the gag going, they broke down and started playing tunes and told the Shermans they were in.

 

Richard Sherman is in his 80s and still going strong! MrC wondered what is that keeps some people so young. I told him it must be a combination of being creative and living in Southern California! After all, we ain't exactly spring chickens these days!

 

Here's hoping he has many, many more years!

 

Afterwards, it was dinner time. We were thinking about going to see Sorcerer and see Friedkin introduce the film. But our stomachs were hungry (you can't live on breakfast and popcorn alone).

 

We ended up at the California Pizza Kitchen with Christy and Alexa.

 

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By the time we were done eating, we figured Mr. Bo would appreciate it if we went home.

 

Home we went and he was so happy to see us.  His earlier sullen mood was gone and he and MrC went for a walk.

 

Just as we were getting ready to turn in, Jon asked about Gone with the Wind. Was it a restoration? I said it was.

Why weren't we going to that tomorrow.

 

I replied that we would have but the 20 Years of TCM On-Air panel was at the same time. Since I had been such an advocate for the idea, I felt I really ought to be there.

 

He agreed and said he had never seen GWTW on the big screen. I told him well that was new information and since he had only seen the film on television, VHS and DVD, he should go.

 

He agreed.

 

Lights out.

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Dateline: Hollywood-  Sunday, April 13th
 
The Final Day
 
Where the heck did the last four days go? They flew by in a whirlwind. It should only be Friday but, alas, it was Sunday, the final day of the Festival.
 
Other Festivals have whirled by but this one seemed to rush by at the speed of sound.
 
MrC had decided he was going to see Gone with the Wind on the big screen. I wanted to hear author John Fricke talk about the legendary Judy Garland.
 
As we stood in line to get into Club TCM, I caught sight of the "button" man from Canada. I had seen a glimpse of him while in line at Mary Poppins but this time we actually got to talk.
 
For those wondering, the "button" man is this terrific young guy from Canada whom we met last year in line for Cinerama Holiday. He has small buttons made up each year to pass out at the Festival. Last year he gave me a "I heart TCM" button and one for It's a Mad, Mad, Mad World.
 
This year I scored a button with Robert O's face, Ben's face and one for Blazing Saddles.  We talked for a few  minutes and then he was off to get in line for a movie!
 
MrC and I also talked to a young man from Pennsylvania who was at the Festival again for the fourth time. His wife gets him a pass each year for his birthday.
 
He had been at the Nutty Professor screening the evening before and said it was terrific. The discussion with Jerry Lewis went almost 45 minutes and Jerry was in rare form, gracious and enjoying talking with his fans.  
 
At the handprint ceremony in the forecourt of Graumans, earlier on Saturday, Quentin Tarantino surprised Lewis by showing up.
 
So, it sounds like Jerry had a good time!
 
Once we were inside Club TCM, we were able to score a comfy table. Texas Theresa was going to join me as soon as Fiddler on the Roof finished up.
 
MrC went off to see GWTW and John Fricke took the stage to talk about Judy Garland.
 
He had a terrific presentation and had some great stories to share. He had the good fortune to meet Judy Garland when he was 16 and she was performing. He went to dinner after the concert and she was there with Sid Luft. He worked up the nerve to go over and talk to her and she was very gracious.
 
He signed books afterwards and Theresa wanted to get one but the store was sold out. I encouraged her to go talk to him anyways and she did:
 
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Next up was the presentation of 20 years of TCM On-Air.  TCM's own Scott McGee brought Director of the department, Pola Chagnon to the stage as well as producer Tim Reilly.
 
It was a terrific presentation full of wonderful moments from the last 20 years:
 
Bill Cosby's noir homage that he did to help publicize the channel:
 
 
The "Win Tony Curtis for a Day" (where he comes to your house to hang out - an homage to an old Flintstones episode) was lots of fun!
 
"Sunny Side of Life":
 
 
The Big Band roll film promo:
 
 
"You will never want to leave this place" promo
 
"Everybody's Most Wanted" promo.
 
As Tim Reilly said, "We wanted to establish a place more than a network. A destination, a place to go to escape to this other world."
 
They succeeded very well!
 
Other promos included:
 
Star of the Month Jean Harlow's promo:
 
 
 
 
 
Ride the Rails theme promo that included a salute to James Wong Howe, 
The infamous telescope girl promo that blew up the TCM Message Boards in September, 2006
"Every Western but Shane" promo
 
Directed by John Ford promo:
 
 
The always wonderful 2008 31 Days of Oscar promo:
 
 
 
A wonderful retrospective that showed just how talented and creative the folks at TCM can be!
 
 
After that presentation, I waited for MrC to get out of GWTW and met up with the usual suspects for one last dinner together at Public Kitchen:

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I had thought of going to see The Great Gatsby or The Wizard of Oz but decided spending the time with people I usually only get to see once a year was more important.
 
After dinner, MrC hit the road as he had to work the next day.  Texas Theresa and I hung out in Club TCM talking till others started finding their way back:
 
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When Club TCM got too crowded we headed down to the pool area and sat by one of the fire pits.
 
We talked well into the night. Other friends stopped by including TCM's own Shannon Clute and Sean Cameron.
 
We had one final toast to the Chief and it was time to hit the road.
 
Peter graciously gave me a ride home and as if it had all been a wonderful dream, the TCM Film Festival, 2014, ended on a high note.
 
But there will a sequel in 2015!
 
And we will gather with Larry for another great dinner, see some wonderful movies and hear great talks but most of all, TCM Nation will gather again and we will be able to spend five days with good friends!
 
Can't wait!

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Ms Cutter.. thanks for posting all the play-by-play and pictures. What a fun read. (and thanks for posting the clips of all those older TCM promos too.. I remember a few of them.. ha.. loved the Cosby one, especially.) 

 

So glad  you and so many others had such a great time. I think TCM must really put on quite the show (or several of them all rolled into one, as it were) based on what you and so many others have had to say about it. Thanks for taking the time out to put it all on here for the rest of us to share too. 

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Thank you, ma'am, for your photos and updates. Looked like fun. And thanks for the links to the old promos. I still love the Sunny Side of Life and Big Band movie intros more than any.

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