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*News and views from the TCM Film Festival*


filmlover

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As the old Peter, Paul and Mary song goes, "I'm leaving on a jet plane". Just hope SueSue remembers to pick me up at the airport. She is over the moon excited about the Festival.

 

See everyone tomorrow!

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L.A. woke up this morning to two nice articles on the festival in the L.A. Times. One only seems to be available online:

 

*TCM Classic Film Festival to be in L.A. from Thursday to Sunday*

 

By Susan King, Los Angeles Times

 

April 22, 2010

 

Movies that include 1954?s ?A Star Is Born,? ?The Story of Temple Drake? and ?The Day of the Triffids? have been laboriously restored for the screenings.

 

Preserving our film heritage is an arduous, time-consuming task. Kinetic and ever evolving, film preservation runs the gamut from high-tech digital restoration to hand-picking dirt off a negative.

 

The many preserved films screening at the TCM Classic Film Festival ? running Thursday through Sunday at the Grauman's Chinese, the Mann Chinese 6 and the Egyptian Theatre ? have all been restored to their former glory through one means or another.

 

The festival opens at the venerable Grauman's with the premiere of Warner Bros.' new digital restoration of the 1954 classic "A Star Is Born," with Judy Garland and James Mason in the Oscar-nominated lead roles. The film is a musical version of the 1937 drama about an actress on the rise who marries a dipsomaniac actor whose career is on the skids. The lavish, three-hour movie directed by George Cukor wasn't a hit upon release; about 30 minutes ? including two musical numbers ? were excised shortly after it opened to try to squeeze in some more viewings.

 

The late film historian Ron Haver restored the film in 1983 to its original length using the soundtrack with rediscovered footage and production stills.

 

"What Ron Haver did was basically to reconstruct the film to the best of his ability," says George Feltenstein, senior vice president of the theatrical catalog for Warner Home Video. "But at that time there wasn't a digital restoration of the film itself."

 

Because of the flaws with early CinemaScope lenses, the original negative had jumps at the end of every splice. And the movie was turning red because the yellow layer of the Eastman color stock was fading.

 

Because Warner is releasing the film on Blu-ray in June, it was imperative that the film be restored. "It has taken over 21/2 years," Feltenstein says. "You are dealing with a very long film and an enormously complex piece of film."

 

The Museum of Modern Art, which is also represented in the festival, prefers to restore its films in the traditional hands-on photochemical style.

 

"We haven't embarked on the digital frontier yet," says Katie Trainor, film collections manager. "We are waiting for the right title to consider. We very much believe in the photochemical process."

 

But the audio of its three films in the festival, "The Big Trail" from 1930, 1929's "Sunnyside Up" and 1933's "The Story of Temple Drake," was digitally restored. "It has been told to me that Fox, when they were recording their sound, it wasn't of the best quality. They were printing it too late, which makes the sound not optimal. Digital audio work restores it to what is believed the best sound at the time."

 

"The Story of Temple Drake," based on William Faulkner's controversial 1931 novel, "Sanctuary," revolves around a society girl (Miriam Hopkins) who is raped by a big-time gangster (Jack La Rue). The film caused such an uproar that it led to the strengthening of the rules of the Production Code. It was even pulled from release.

 

TCM is billing the Saturday evening screening as a work-in-progress restoration. "The normal time frame to do a real, true photochemical preservation is that you have to give yourself six to eight months because of the labs," Trainor says. But MOMA and TCM began talking about "Temple" in December, so the process was accelerated, with a lab in Pennsylvania working nonstop on the film. What it is unveiling Saturday, Trainor says, "is very close to the finished product."

 

Michael Hyatt spent years working on the restoration of the original negative of the 1963 British sci-fi classic "The Day of the Triffids," starring Howard Keel and Janette Scott.

 

"Because scratches occur on the emulsion side of an original negative," he explains, it is put through a bath that is "made out of basically water. The intention is to make the emulsion swell up and make the scratches disappear. You are supposed to use perfectly clean water in a clean tank. What happens to the film is if the water in the tank is dirty, all of the residue at the bottom of the tank settles back on the emulsion and it bonds on it. So nothing will take it off."

 

The end result is that the prints made from these dirty negatives are filled with white snowy star figures.

 

Hyatt says one can either do a digital fix or take the dirt off one speck at a time. He opted for the one-speck process. "I went through the negative with a needle over a period of several years. Some frames had as many as six or 10 specks on them."

 

Hyatt doesn't use any special needles. "I just use the sharpest needle you can get. You develop a Zen relationship with the film. It's not quite as difficult as it sounds, but you have to be very careful. You are really getting to the original image ? you can't get any closer than that. The end results are spectacular."

 

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/movies/la-et-tcm-film-20100422,0,668083.story

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This is fantastic that two of last year's Turner Classic Movies Fan Guest Programmers will be our eyes and ears for TCM's First Film Festival. I'm sure your thoughts will really make it come alive for the rest of us. I'll check here for your reporting.

 

Congratulations filmlover & lzcutter!! Have a F A N T A S T I C time!!!!!

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Well, Christi did remember to pick me up at the airport last night. We ordered Chinese food and talked with MrCutter (who is working insane hours right now). This morning we are getting ready to leave for the drive over the hill.

 

Christi has an appointment with TCM this morning at the Roosevelt so we have to be there by 10, thus we are leaving as soon as she is ready as the morning commute will likely be bumper to bumper.

 

This afternoon we are having lunch with Kyle and Filmlover and (hopefully, if they aren't caught in traffic) some posters from here at TCM City that we haven't met yet. "In-N-Out, In-N-Out, that's what a hamburger is all about!"

 

Then there is the TCM Meet and Greet!

 

Tonight we will be joining Kyle poolside at the Roosevelt for *Neptune's Daughter* with Esther Williams, Betty Garret and the Aqualillies.

 

The best news of all: I got to see Mr. Cutter even if it was only for about 12 hours.

 

Second best news: The sun is shining in the City of Angels!

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I will be wearing a black top hat (which I shall remove when the film starts!) and my purple boa - will be at the party at 4:30 and A STAR IS BORN tonight - come up and say hello! Looking forward to meeting fellow classic film lovers from around the globe!

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=31169787&id=1038366576

 

- Jurgen Vsych, aka "The Woman Director"

[The Woman Director|http://thewomandirector.com]

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Have fun everyone. Wish I was able to go.

A former employee of mine from here in Ohio who set out for work in the animation industry earlier this year will try to attend some screenings and pick up some swag for me.

Anyway.. ENJOY and HAVE FUN!

Keep us fans "back home" updated...THANKS!!!

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_God Must Be A Fan Of TCM Too._

 

Or else TCM has some great karma. (As they should.)

 

The threatened rain didn't materialize so the Red Carpet Arrival went off with nary a droopy pin curl. And the Aqua-Lillies Synchronized Swimmers were the only ones all wet around the pool of the Roosevelt.

 

Even an erupting volcano wasn't about to bring down the TCM Classic Film Festival as the Parisian Cargo marked Belmondo and Rainer has arrived safely from Europe. (Or so I heard)

 

The "Meet & Greet" was a rousing success - with a buffet and a _hosted_ (WOW!) bar courtesy of Turner Classic Movies available for the many hundreds (Few thousand?) of guests in the Hotel Lobby and in Club TCM. Everyone seemed sated - but not one was "sloppy". (A rarity for a hosted bar event.)

 

One couldn't swing a cat without hitting a few dozen "Glamour Girls" done up in their best Forties attire. And the same goes for the men in their tuxes and white dinner jackets. (Memo to the Ladies: a few less "starlets" and few more "Vampy Dames" next time. Just for a change of pace.)

 

There was quite a contingent of press photographers and videographers on the Red Carpet so checkout the usual suspects of entertainment news this weekend to see what a remarkable night it was in front of the Chinese. (And one of our members sat next to Juanita Moore at the *A Star Is Born* premiere!)

 

But _the_ place to be was poolside at the Roosevelt to see *Neptune's Daughter* with Esther Williams and Betty Garrett in attendance. Many folks snuck out of the Chinese early to see the two MGM stars and the performance by the Aqua-Lillies. And they weren't disappointed. Ben Mankiewicz was the host for the screening and he was perfect in tone and humor. He also was smooth at covering the faux-pas of "one too many" chairs set up for the guests of honor as Esther Williams was sitting in a wheelchair. Ben got rid of that superfluous seat with the panache of a maitre'd palming a twenty dollar gratutiy.

 

Betty Garrett related the story of being recruited by the film's producer to help find two voices to dub the singing of Esther Williams and Ricardo Montalban. She found two wonderful voices and had them record the Oscar-winning duet "Baby, It's Cold Outside" and presented the recording to the producer. He was very impressed at how "perfect" they sounded for the two stars. He thought it remarkable and agreed to let these two "finds" of Betty Garrett sing the roles. It was only then that she told the producer all she had done was have Williams and Montalban record the song themselves. Chagrined, the producer let the two sing all the songs in the picture themselves.

 

Time to call it a night. And it was quite a night. But I have plans to spend tomorrow morning with the "Eighth Wonder Of The World" in the same theater where his (painstakingly restored) film debuted in 1933.

 

And _that's_ a Classic Film Festival.

 

Kyle In Hollywood

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Good morning, all. Wow, am I bleary-eyed this Friday morning (though it feels like Saturday)! An amazing day of films this morning to start the day (if I can get my weary self out there ASAP). My plan was to be at the opening of The Bad and the Beautiful to catch the intro and then race over to King Kong at Graumann's but I am so tired from last night I may forego on B&B and check out Club TCM to see what is happening there, then go to Kong. After that I had planned on attending The Big Trail, but I am leaning more now to Sweet Smell of Success at 1 pm. Then comes the real hard choice: Jubal, In A Lonely Place, Imitation of Life (with Juanita Moore, who I got to meet yesterday) or the TCM Network panel. Then a dinner break and back to Graumann's for Breathless, which I have never seen, because I want to see Jean-Paul Belmondo in person, and either then either see somethiing else or call it a night.

 

What an opening day it was for the festival yesterday. We started with sunny skies, then overcast with a drop of rain here or there (that's all - a drop, which here in Los Angeles means some newsstation would have mounted a "Stormwatch!"broadcast.)

 

Getting to the Roosevelt, I immediately saw a lot of people dressed up very nicely, some in vintage clothing. Did a quick bypass of Club TCM for a few minutes so I could pick up my pass and program. On my wayto the check-in room on the second floor, I suddenly encountered Mr. Osborne, looking slender and robust. I reintroduced myself to him and he remembered me from being a guest programmer, then I got to meet Juanita Moore.

 

Then down to Club TCM...and what an amazing job they did there. I was so amazed that I just realized a few minutes ago I never took any photos! I will make up for that today and will post them tonight or tomorrow morning. They had a large screen set up where clips of classic musicals were being shown (minus soundtrack, regretably), then hooked up with lzcutter and a few others from the board, plus running into so many TCM staff friends friom Atlanta. LOL, everywhere I went someone from TCM would call out my name! So great seeing these people again!

 

I did walk over to get a quick outside look at Graumann's to see the people arriving for A Star is Bornm then back in to the Roosevelt to line up for Neptune's Daughter, whch has been described here in this thread already. And I think it turned out to be the MAJOR event of the night for all because people were leaving A Star is Born early in order to see Esther Williams and Betty Garrett, and the synchronized swimming team.

 

Okay, everybody, time for me to get ready for Day 2. Later!

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G'morning, you guys! I too am bleary eyed this morning--and itching to sneak out of work early to rejoin my comrades up the street!

 

Last night, The Chinese Theater was our Graceland, our Abbey Road?our Stratford Upon Avon. The A Star is Born premiere may have looked like a 'celebrity' event, with its red carpet hubbub, but at heart it was a reverent convention of like-minded enthusiasts for pure, classic film. (And it was just toooo fun crossing the notoriously slovenly Hollywood Blvd with hoards of people puttin' on the ritz in their Hollywood best!)

 

Edited by: littletramplover on Apr 23, 2010 11:42 AM

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I'm enjoying the "reports" so far, but pictures! We need more pictures! I don't watch

TV news or the entertainment news shows, so I miss most of this kind of stuff and

am relying on you all and TCM to fill me in.

 

If they have a festival next year, I'll be sure to bring along my "vamp" regalia, Kyle. :D

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Looking at the photos...reading the accounts of the attendees, hotel...screening rooms...theatres...classic film stars...advertising...my goodness! This looks like a

lovingly mammoth undertaking by TCM to put on this Film Festival. And a great

tribute to classic films. Looking forward to reading more experiences as the festi-

val continues.

 

Fantastic!!!

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It's been great meeting everyone: the great TCM staff, fellow message board friends and other attendees. Such enthusiasm. I saw Sunset Blvd. this AM. Wow! I've seen it half a dozen times but I feel like I saw it for the first time. And, I'm I'm running from one event to the next. More later...

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Sunset Boulevard second hand report:

 

Received a text this morning from the before mentioned person who now lives out in CA and he did in fact get up early this AM and while it was a hard decision between Sunset Blvd and The Magnificent Ambersons he chose Sunset, but I digress...

 

He got up up early and headed down to Hollywood and got in line early at the Chinese Theatre (the text says 11:18am here so 8:18am there) and was11th in line for tickets.

 

After the film and event a phone call revealed that:

 

Sunset Boulevard actress Nancy Olson appeared and gave a 20-25 minute talk on the film and her experiences. One story mentioned was how BIlly Wilder asked her to keep kissing William Holden until Wilder said "CUT." He did not get the chance as Mrs William Holden was on the set that day and beat him to the direction.

 

If anyone attended the Magnifcent Ambersons showing and panel please post anything new or just anything by Peter Bogdanovich and David Kamp.

 

That's all from me...not there in body, but in spirit for sure.

 

Take Care and Enjoy!

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