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*News and views from the TCM Film Festival*

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As I write this, it is 6:01 AM and I am tired (VERY!), about to get up for a new full day, starting with Damn Yankees at 9:30. Yesterday was a great deal of rushing around, with the highlights of my day being the Safety Last screening, accompanied by the Robert Israel Orchestra, and Singin' in the Rain. Both were at the Egyptian and it was especially great seeing SITR. Like so many in the audience, I've seen the film about 50 times, but seeing it on the Egyptian's huge screen and in a packed house, it was pure joy as everyone laughed like seeing it for the first time. There never was a better musical. Robert Osborne introduced it and interviewed co-director Stanley Donen, who was very humorous.


Today marks the 4th and last day of the Festival, and while some would think Sunday would be a slow half-day of wrapping things up and getting packed up to leave, it is going to be anything but for the TCM staff and fans. There are 15 showings, two panels, and a book signing by Tony Curtis. Among the showings are Cleopatra (with intro by Martin Landau), The Good Bad and the Ugly with Eli Wallach, Saboteur with Norman Lloyd, The Good Earth with Luise Rainer, Some Like It hot, and tonight's very special showing of the restored Metropolis, which doesn't end until around 10 pm.


While I am excited about the screenings today, I am also sad that these all people from TCM in Atlanta, whom I call my friends, will be departing tomorrow. I felt sad at parting from them when I was in Atlanta doing the Fan Guest Programmer awhile back to head home to L.A., and now it is reversed and they are the ones to go from L.A. back home to Atlanta. These people are the best, believe me. They are like a family, and they are like family to me. I can't tell you how much joy it has been seeing SO MANY of the TCM staff again. And what an event they have put on! Also, when I stand in Club TCM and look around, I see a great many attendees - fans of TCM - that I have never met but how great it is knowing they are all classic movie fans. By the way, Club TCM had a swing band last night, and I got a sly sense of satisfaction seeing a lot of L.A. nightclub goers out on a Saturday night - all dressed super sharly, leaving the other nightclub at the Roosevelt and wanting to enter the club but getting turned away from entering because they didn't have a TCM pass. : )


It is now almost 6:30 am, and I just sat back for a moment and closed my eyes...which is all the time I have to get rested for this exciting last day. See you later.

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I couldn't agree more about the TCM staff. They have been an integral part of the festival by their very presence (not to say their planning and hard work). They have been gracious, friendly and so open. I will take memories of meeting them as much as memories of watching the wonderful films on the big screen. I handed Charlie Tabesh a long list of films that I want to see on TCM. NO-I'm just kidding!


Yesterday, Eva Marie Saint declared Robert Osborne to be a "rockstar". He has been so gracious and friendly to everyone.


Well, it's off to coffee and the film fragments program...

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I only have one deep and abiding regret about yesterday and that is that I went to Pandora and the Flying Dutchman instead of The Adventures of Robin Hood. Pandora, while nicely restored, was so slow storywise that I was asleep not too long after the film started and woke up when James Mason finally made his appearance. I kick myself for not going to the glorious, fun Robin Hood!!!

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Friday - Day Two


_*The Eighth Wonder Of The World*_


Got up and out early to see *King Kong* in the Chinese Theater. It was the first time in years that I had sat foot in the Chinese. This was the first screening there after the showing of *A Star Is Born* the previous night. Leonard Maltin gave a wonderful introduction making sure everyone knew that *King Kong* had it's West Coast Premiere in this very same theater in 1933. He also reminded everyone that the film premiered not just in the midst of the Depression but during Roosevelt's "Bank Holiday" when the banks were closed adn know one knew what was going to happen to their money. Yet, despite all this, the film took in record reciepts - a dime at a time. Even though it was one of only a handful of "digital projections" during the festival and the print wasn't "created" to be shown on a screen three-stories high (there was some visible "pixilation" in certain areas), it still looked great. It will be quite the experience on a tradtional size television.


_*A TCM Double Feature*_ (Part One)


I headed off to the Egyptian Theater to catch the "sneak peek" of the upcoming TCM documentary "Movie Stars and Moguls" with 'lzcutter'. It was introduced by Michael Wright, President of Original Programming for TBS, TNT and TCM. (One of the really BIG "suits" at the Festival.) He spoke of how this was originally conceived by the executive producer (and a personal friend of his) as a *Reds* -style fiction film/mini-series dramatizing the history of Hollywood which would be augmented with appearances by "witnesses" who had first-hand knowledge of the people and events and would provide running commentary of what the "actors" are doing. I believe he was the one who re-thought the project as a traditional documentary and that it he felt it not just belonged on TCM but that this project _deserved_ to be on TCM. His excitement for this presentation and the series in general set the stage for what followed - the first episode of the series titled "Peepshow Pioneers".


"Peepshow Pioneers" will cover the years 1890 to 1919 - but it goes farther back than that including as it does a (brief) history of various entertainments which first created the experience of audiences gathering to watch projections on a screen. The film includes a recreation of "Magic Latern" shows which delighted audiences with such presentations as "The Rat Eater". It segues into the pioneers of the development of motion pictures (Muybridge/Lumiere/Edison) and the developers of early motion picture projection "mechanics" - whether by "peepshow" machines that one peered into or with projectors that projected the images on screens.


Right about now, I knew I was watching a serious, scholarly piece of non-fiction. This documentary is going to be the most in-depth, far-reaching and historically detailed story of the Movie Industry that has ever been made. There was nothing superficial about this project. And it uses many new "faces" to tell the story. If one has seen a historic "Hollywood" documentary of any kind in the recent past, you will recognise some of the faces on screen providing commentary (Maltin/Haskell/Osborne). But there are other, less familiar "talking heads" too - like some of the descendants of the Zanucks, Balabans, Goldwyns and Warners, etc. chosen to speak for their families.


Besides new "faces", there were historical film clips that even I, who has watched many documentaries on the subject of Hollywood, had not seen before. The research for the visuals must have been exhaustive. The producers seem to have approached and gained access to some of the most specialized museums and archives in the world for the materials we saw.


There have been other documentary films that have covered some of the same ground in small, quick doses when discussing their topics ("Mary Pickford" or "Samuel Goldwyn" on PBS. "Cecil B. DeMille" and "Irving Thalberg" on TCM.) but, now it is going to be gathered and presented in a "single" film. A few of the highlights of Part One include the story of Alice Guy, a French (and U.S.) director and the first woman known to have directed films, the town of Fort Lee, N.J. as the popular location for filming by many of the East Coast film producers/directors and the early career of Billy Bitzer who would become the camerman of choice for D.W. Griffith. And the film lays out the case for Thomas Edison being the very first "Movie Mogul" what with all the various patents that were held by his company.


Those of us who watched this 75 minute were asked, when discussing it, to emphisize that it was a "rough cut" of the film. And there were many "work-in-progress" touches in the film we saw. Images had watermarks denoting the copyright holder or library affiliation, filmed interviews had "timecodes" visible, etc. But it was all fascinating. And it is distressing to think some ten minutes of it (or more) may end up on the cutting room floor - if the 60 minute length is strictly imposed on each episode.


TCM is going to present an episode every Monday evening beginning in November. It will be shown twice each night and also repeated at as a lead-in to the newest episode on the following Monday evening. That will be important because as the film progresses through each segment, people referenced in earlier episodes will re-appear in later installments of the series as it begins its journey detailing not just the historical significance of these people but also the cultural and social importance these persons and the work they did making movies had on the history of this nation.


Of course, there will be films presentations on TCM to accompany each episode. I am not certain what materials there may be available to accompany this episode, dealing as it does with such an early era of the history of filmmaking. Pre-1920 films are probably not too prevalent in themselves, let alone ones that are directly related to the subjects found in Episode One. But I am excited to find out. And so was every person in the Egyptian theater that afternoon. The "Q&A" afterward was one effusive remark after another about the truly landmark achievement that we all just watched.


Perhaps the best praise I could give it - even in a rough-cut presentation of the first episode - is that I think "Moguls And Movie Stars" is a documentary that could make Ken Burns jealous.


Edited by: hlywdkjk on Apr 25, 2010 8:46 AM


Edited by: hlywdkjk on Apr 27, 2010 9:06 AM

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_*A TCM Double Feature*_ (Part Two)


'lzcutter' and I headed back to the Roosevelt to sit in on the "TCM: Meet The People Behind The Network" panel discussion with five of the department heads most responsible for what a viewer sees on the channel (and the website) every day. It was a well-attended discussion. And it was one BIG love-fest. More than one attendee stood before the panel as if approaching the royal court. But there were no pleas for mercy or requests for gestures of noblesse oblige spoken by the gathered throng of passholders. They all came to praise the work of the people sitting before them. Everyone who got up to speak rose to praise the work of these people, pay their respects and thank them for what they do. Words like "Heroes" and "Inspirations" were spoken to the panel by people as varied as student archivists who want to re-open a shuttered movie palace in Texas to a young filmmaker whose exposure to classic films on TCM has taught him more than his college education could.


While many of the questions were directed to the man we know around here as 'tcmprogrammr', each of the participants were asked substantive questions about the work they do for the channel. Darcy Hettrich, V.P. of Talent for TCM, spoke about how people now come to her to inquire about being on TCM - which wasn't the case in the first few years of TCM's existence when AMC was the dominant cable outlet for classic film on television. Tom Brown spoke of TCM of being the last "niche" cable channel standing and how liberating it is for all of them to not just "own" the niche thay have claimed but not to have to worry about outside forces making them chase advertising dollars. And the two of them spoke on the "Turner Archives" of oral histories that have been compiled by TCM containing extended interviews with and the first-hand recollections of persons still around from the studio era - be they stars or craftspersons. These Archives interviews are often seen in the "Word Of Mouth" pieces.


An attendee who works in a creative video field praised the promos that are such an integral part of the TCM viewing experience and asked if they were "in-house" productions. According to Pola Changnon (yes, she's named for Pola Negri. A fact she is very proud of.) of the "On-Air Department", many of them are - especially the annual "TCM Remembers" piece which has to be rotated among the individual producers in the department because each of them cherishes the opportunity to work on it. Another person rose to speak of the new "IPhone" app from TCM lauding it as the best film resource one can have on a portable device, graciously acknowledged by Richard Steiner of the Digital Platforms division who also put in a good word for this amazing website and the DVD "On Demand" section found on these pages.


But it was Charlie Tabesh who got the real workout that afternoon. Attendees inquired about topics familiar to all ofus here. A young man from Canada, who has attempted to record a particular film a dozen times, wanted to know if he was ever going to be able to see *Topper Takes A Trip* on TCM in Canada. (Unfortunately, not likely as the Hal Roach owned titles and rights holders of that era are owned by different entities in Canada and no one knows who they are. Tom Brown offered up an easy solution to find out who does own the rights. "Show it just once without obtaining the proper clearance and we'll hear from a lawyer first thing the next morning telling us who has the rights to the film.")


Others asked about the Universal-controlled Paramount films and if they will be forthcoming on the channel, ("Yes, but in small doses as the materials aren't available from Universal."), what month is currently being planned out by the programming department, ("October" for the day-to-day film schedule with monthly spotlights and Stars Of The Month being planned as far ahead as two years out - which was the case with the recent Kurosawa 100th Birthday festival. It was two years in the making.) and where do the ideas for the thematic groupings come from. ("From the most knowledgable staff on film history in all of television and anywhere else that we can steal them - including from the TCM Message Boards.")


Perhaps the highest praise of the day was for a staffer who wasn't in attendance. A passholder who has a background in conference and convention planning for governmental, business and non-profit organizations had glowing things to say about the Classic Film Festival. It was, without a doubt, the best organised and executed event he had ever had the pleasure of attending. The recognition went to Genevieve McGillicuddy who has spent the past year or more putting together this first ever TCM gathering but she was unavailable to attend this panel discussion event. She was _still_ working - very hard - on details and fixing problems to make sure the Festival continued to be the best film festival possible for all those in Hollywood this weekend. I have only seen Genevieve once in the past three days - and it was from across the lobby of the Roosevelt Hotel. Hopefully I will have an opportunity to say my "thank you" on Sunday.


It was a fun hour for everyone in that room - both festival attendees and the staff on the stage. I think both groups came away with an even greater respect and admiration for the other - if that is possible.


_*The Stunt Man*_


My last event of the day was a screening of *The Stunt Man*. It was the first event I attended so far that drew a full house. The director Richard Rush was introduced by Tom Brown who prefaced the film by explaining that studio exectutives didn't know what kind of film it was supposed to be. Was it a drama? Was it a comedy? Was it an action/adventure film? Was it a contemporary satire? To which Richard Rush answered simply, "Yes." And it still works on all those levels thirty years later.


Post-screening, Ben Mankiewicz spoke with Rush, and the film's stars Barbara Hershey and Steve Railsback. Barbara Hershey spoke of *The Stunt Man* being the only film she has made that she has seen multiple times because she enjoys it so much. She is still a stunningly attractive woman. The woman in front of the audience didn't look thirty years older than the woman who was only minutes before been up on the screen.


And Richard Rush told of all the efforts that he had to go through to even get the film released. He would take the to the major film critics across the country and offer to screen the film for them with one stipulation - if they liked it, they could publish the review immediately. If not, fine. But don't publish the review until the film is officially released. Many critics accepted the offer and reviews suddenly started appearing in papers across the country for a film that hadn't even found a distributor yet.


Though it didn't affect me as strongly as it did in 1980, it was fun to see the film again.


Kyle In Hollywood

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There are so many great things about the festival I need to post, but for now I am at work and only have a moment to share the lyrics of a song I can't get out of my head. "Turn On the Heat," which is part of a musical review they put on in the pre-code film "Sunnyside Up" and features chorus girls in parkas amid a community of igloos setting. Here's some of the lyrics they gyrated to passionately:


"Turn on the heat, start in to strut

Wiggle and wobble, and steam up the hut

Oh, oh, it's thirty below

Turn on the heat, fifty degrees

Get hot for Papa, or Papa will freeze

Oh, oh, start meltin' the snow

If you are good, my little radiator

It's understood, you'll get a gumdrop later

Oh, turn on the heat, pour in the oil

Start in to bubble and come to a boil

You put the burn on for Papa, and turn on the heat"


Then the igloos and snow melted and turned into waves of water as they changed to bathing suits, then - LOL - huge palm trees began rising out of the stage floor?then flames began appearing all around. Everybody in the movie audience was laughing at how wild and crazy it was, then gave it a round of applause.

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I was at that screening as well and had the *exact* same regrets!


10:00 was a rough time slot for Pandora, with its languorous pacing and wordy script. The restoration was beautiful, absolutely, but me-oh-my ... when the projection stopped halfway through the film I was secretly hoping that they wouldn't be able to fix it ... :(

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My news and views are posted [here|http://blog.wfmu.org/freeform/2010/04/live-blogging-from-the-tcm-classic-film-festival-part-one.html] [here|http://blog.wfmu.org/freeform/2010/04/live-blogging-from-the-tcm-classic-film-festival-part-zero.html] [here|http://blog.wfmu.org/freeform/2010/04/live-blogging-from-the-tcm-classic-film-festival-part-two.html] [here|http://blog.wfmu.org/freeform/2010/04/live-blogging-from-the-tcm-classic-film-festival-part-five.html] [here|http://blog.wfmu.org/freeform/2010/04/live-blogging-from-the-tcm-classic-film-fest-part-five.html] and [here|http://blog.wfmu.org/freeform/2010/04/live-blogging-from-the-tcm-classic-film-festival-part-six.html] and the final and most elaborate write up will appear tomorrow night.


Edited by: AllenJenkins on Apr 27, 2010 6:27 AM

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I've missed a lot of the festival coverage, but I am still _so_ glad that several Message Board members got to go and the news that TCM will be reprising this event next year is most welcomed by me, as I hope not to miss it again.


Excellent job, TCM, this was a long time coming and it's the best idea yet for bringing attention to classic films---and who better to helm such an endeavor than this network. Bravissimo!!

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*"...the news that TCM will be reprising this event next year is most welcomed by me, as I hope not to miss it again."* - MissGoddess


Please start stashing some cash in the sugar bowl so you can make it next year. There were so many times I was sitting in a theater saying to myself, "So-And-So from the Forums should be here for this. They would so love it"


'lzcutter' represented all the Anniversary Fan Programmers by making an appearance alongside Robert Osborne on TCM the other night. (After the showing of Reds.) And member 'kingrat' recorded an appearance with Ben Mankiewicz that must have played on Sunday afternoon.


While I attended *Metropolis* out of fear of being shamed by FrankGrimes for NOT seeing it, it was the event that I will most remember from the entire weekend. (Neptune's Daughter poolside running a very close second.) Seeing that futuristic film with a live musical accompaniament was a thrilling evening. (Long Live the Alloy Orchestra!) Seeing it with a recorded score won't be the same.


This year's Festival line-up didn't have a John Ford or Gary Cooper film. We can't let them make that mistake again. Time to start the lobbying efforts for what would be nice to see next year.


Kyle In Hollywood

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> {quote:title=hlywdkjk wrote:}{quote}


> 'lzcutter' represented all the Anniversary Fan Programmers by making an appearance alongside Robert Osborne on TCM the other night. (After the showing of Reds.) And member 'kingrat' recorded an appearance with Ben Mankiewicz that must have played on Sunday afternoon.



I missed both of those. Any chance for a repeat of either?

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Some random thoughts about a fantastic film festival:


--This was a superbly run event. If there were glitches, most of us didn't know anything about it.

--You saw smiling faces everywhere you looked. Waiting in line or waiting in the theater for the show to start, many people began chatting with strangers about what they'd seen and what they were planning to see.

--The audience was very diverse. Many young people were there.

--Robert Osborne, Ben Mankiewicz, and Leonard Maltin were very friendly and approachable.

--The TCM network people, when they weren't working, were also very approachable. No one from the network had the "I'm important and you're not" attitude which pops up in so many walks of life. The corporate culture of the network obviously is to be responsive to the fans.

--The special introductions or interviews with each film were usually fun and informative. Bruce Goldstein's intro to No Orchids for Miss Blandish was hysterical. Robert Osborne's mini-interviews with Cheryl Crane and with Darryl Hickman were terrific.

--The mix of favorites and rarities was probably just right. Several people commented how much they loved seeing an old favorite like Singin' in the Rain on the big screen. I went for the newly restored films and the obscure titles and couldn't have been more pleased.


Some unexpected special moments:


--When the credits ran at the beginning of The Bad and the Beautiful, people applauded for Lana Turner, Kirk Douglas, Gloria Grahame, etc. MissGoddess would have been pleased at the applause for Gilbert Roland. When the screen showed "Music by David Raksin," there was also some applause, because there were people who recognized Raksin as the composer of Laura, among other works. Where else is that going to happen?

--When the credit of "Photography by Jack Cardiff" appeared in Pandora and the Flying Dutchman, again there were people who applauded. If that credit had run at the end of the film, people would probably have stood up and cheered--but that's another blog entry.

--Some people hadn't seen Leave Her to Heaven, so there was a wonderful gasp at that crucial moment mid-film. That's what seeing a movie with a live audience means.

--When the picture credit "Miriam Hopkins as Temple Drake" appeared at the beginning of The Story of Temple Drake, a man near me said "Wow!" Miriam did indeed look good. Our pre-Code mavens would have cherished that moment.

--I talked with a woman whose teenaged son is considered high-functioning autistic (I hope this is the correct terminology) and is a savant about classic film. Both mother and son were having a great time.

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> {quote:title=kingrat wrote:}{quote}

> Some random thoughts about a fantastic film festival:


Those all sound terrific, kingrat - some great moments there, no doubt. Kind of makes me start thinking about attending next year's fest.


Sorry I didn't catch your promo with Ben, I hope they can show it again. :)

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Thanks to all of you generous scheherazades for your splendid "you are there" reportage on the fest. I really appreciated your taking the time to share this experience. Everything I've heard about the event from here and outside of the classic film POV has been so splendid.


Kingrat, I'm so bummed that I missed your moment on TCM, though I was happy to see Lzcutter representing us all.


Let's hope that this well received event raised the profile of the robust classic movie audience to a level that might penetrate the corporate board rooms where decisions about caring for our cinematic heritage are made every day. Marketers who think there's no future in presenting classic movies to the public might want to learn from TCM's model, eh?

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Kingrat-- when the Jack Cardiff credit got applause at the Pandora screening I was absolutely swimming with pride. MY kind of people! (I was similarly pleased at the Graduate screening when Dreyfus got applause for his "I'll get the cops" line...) And of course, the MASSIVE applause for Bernard Herrmann at the North By Northwest screening was just fabulous.

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Thanks for the kind words, everyone. I forgot to mention that everyone raved about the graphics for the festival.


About some of the restored films:


The words "glorious Technicolor" were made for Leave Her to Heaven. As Robert Osborne said, "It doesn't get any better than Gene Tierney in Technicolor." Excellent restoration, although there was some fuzz on the soundtrack (not during the music).


Wild River has a muted autumnal palette which is beautifully captured. This film was not well attended, but those who saw it were deeply moved. This CinemaScope film looked wonderful.


Pandora and the Flying Dutchman is incredibly beautiful. Albert Lewin and Jack Cardiff put images on the screen that took my breath away. The colors have a rich look, deeper than Leave Her to Heaven.


Dirigible is now one of my favorite Frank Capra films. Some surprisingly poetic images that looked so good on the big screen.


The Story of Temple Drake isn't yet fully restored, but I was aware of only one patch that really needs work. Most of the film looked quite good.


Amazing work has been done on these films. They will probably show up on TCM and will probably appear on DVD and/or Blu-Ray as well.

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kingrat - could you give a brief description of your appearance? I might have seen it - the one I'm thinking of was a TCM fan telling of an experience watching a film with a parent as a child. If you don't mind. Sounds like we were well represented there. Thanks, cinemafan

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Deeper than "Leave Her to Heaven." Ava in color like that???? Now I DO envy those of you who went to the festival.


I've enjoyed all the positive accounts written about TCM's first ever Film Festival from all of you who attended. From being a guest fan programmer to seeing "All About Eve" at the Ziegfeld, I have an inkling of what it must have felt like to talk movies with people who love to talk movies and who traveled far and wide for this festival. I have an inkling of what it must have felt like to see films that I've seen many times before...but on a big wide screen...in the dark...with hun-dreds of other patrons who also love classic films.


Sadly and predictably, some here have tipped their hand, once again. Me, I tip my hat. I rooted for the success of the festival b'cuz I love this movie channel and by all accounts it was a grand success.


Congratulations TCM!


I look forward to devouring more of all the attendees' memories of such a great weekend. Bring 'em on. I'm starving!!

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It was a wonderful four days that absolutely flew by. It was great to meet posters from TCM City and be with folks who love classic film. Everyone involved in organizing this festival is to be congratulated, and I am grateful that I had the time to be a part of it.


The restorations were a highlight for me, and being able to enjoy these films in a theater instead of on a small screen was inspiring. Robert Osborne and Ben Mankiewicz were affable, approachable, and charming.


I really don't have much to add to the excellent posts by kingrat, Kyle, filmlover, Countess De Lave, Allen Jenkins, and others except to say that I can't wait for next year!

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Kyle, the festival had a little taste of Ford and Cooper. The "Fragments" screening shared the last reel of an otherwise-lost John Ford feature called "The Village Blacksmith" from 1922. It was one of the most dramatic films at the festival, with a paralyzed young fellow using his elbows to drag himself through a violent rainstorm on his belly in order to clear his name from accusations of theft. Then, Gary Cooper made a brief appearance as himself in the glamorous "Star Night at the Cocoanut Grove" (1934), part of Leonard Maltin's Festival Shorts program.


I'm not trying to talk you out of lobbying for more, though!

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