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CineMaven

[U]TALL T's TALES OF TCM's FILM FESTIVAL[/u]

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ChipHeartsMovies -

 

I just wanted to say hi, and say I've missed your posts. It's nice to see you again!

 

CineMaven - I completely agree with Bronxgirl - TCM would do well if they offered you a full time position as spokesperson. You've got IT.

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"Yay! Saw you tonight with Robert and am always in awe of your ease, poise, and charismatic presence in front of the camera. You're definitely in your element and TCM should seriously consider giving you co-hosting duties a la Ben Mank and Alec Baldwin..." - < ( Bronxgirl ) >

 

Thank you so much Bronxgirl. I appreciate that. That would be a dream come true. And to be frank with you, I do feel very comfortable with all that. But I've already had a coupla dreams come true thanx to TCM. Besides, if I did get the chance a la Mank and Alec, my name would probably be mud here on this Message Board. What's that you say? It's mud already?? Aye yi yi. Let me tell you about Saturday...

 

Saturday - April 30th

 

This whole trip hasn't just been about movies and sightseeing. 5% of the time was about eating. Yeah I had a Subway hero sandwich, but I did treat myself to a burger at the famed IN 'N OUT, linguini at MICELI'S, angel hair pasta at the PIG 'N WHISTLE, and the tenderest salmon filet at MUSSO & FRANKS (along with magic tricks from the waiter, and stories of celebrities from the two bartenders). But I'm no foodie. I'm a film buff:

 

12:30PM CONVERSATION WITH KEVIN BROWNLOW

 

Club TCM did double...triple duty as a breakfast place, a panel discussion auditorium and a general gathering place for passholders.

 

Today, historian, archivist and recent Academy Award winner Kevin Brownlow holds court regaling tales of Hollywood; he was informative, riveting, emotional and passionate about silent films and talked of how he started to take interest in these great films. I sat in the first row, mesmerized by his gentle accent and tales of Louise Brooks and Buster Keaton and how good a director Clarence Brown really was. I must get thee to a bookstore and find Brownlow's masterworks including his groundbreaking documentary "HOLLYWOOD" and his book "THE PARADE'S GONE BY." He was a wonderful raconteur. An hour went by in five minutes.

 

JULIE or MARILYN?!!

 

There were a couple of hard choices I had to make during the festival between which films I wanted to see. The worst of the choices I had, happened b'cuz TCM added a surprise guest to the viewing of "BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S." Before the screening JULIE ANDREWS was to appear. My historical sensibility dictated that I go see Julie Andrews speak. I mean it's JULIE ANDREWS! But at the same time in a neighboring theatre, TCM was screening Marilyn Monroe in "NIAGARA." Now who wouldn't want to see Marilyn in TECHNICOLOR on a gigantic screen...especially singing.

 

I wanted my cake, but I wanted to eat it too.

 

So I went to "BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY's." I couldn't pass up Julie Andrews. They showed another great montage of Blake Edwards' career (like they did with Kirk Douglas) and then introduced Ms. Andrews. WoW! She spoke of her life with him and he seemed to be a darkly humorous man who was still amazed by today's movies. ("How the hell did they do that?!" he said of "Avatar"). After Robert Osborne's interview with Ms. Andrews ended, I dashed to the "NIAGARA" theatre only to be told it was sold out...no more seats. I feebly replied, "...but I have a pass." No seats, I'm sorry.

 

I walked away like a little kid, I have to tell ya. I knew that I missed most of Marilyn's scenes but there was more to the picture still. As I schlumped away, the lady with headphones and clipboard came up behind me, took my arm and said: "I think I saw one seat."

 

YAY!!!

 

I saw Marilyn just after she 'faintly' recognizes the body in the morgue. A gentleman named Foster Hirsch had introduced the movie and I was told that he said before the film, and then afterwards...that after "NIAGARA" 20th Century never allowed Marilyn to play a role like that again in her career, and put her in a series of comedies. Seeing Marilyn Monroe on a large screen, she really looked breathtaking.

 

9:30PM "GASLIGHT"

 

Angela Lansbury spoke at the introduction to her first motion picture. I'm telling you, even with my fancy schmancy expensive pass, I had to get to these screenings very early to get a good seat for these interviews. I had seen her speak at the Road To Hollywood show of "The Manchurian Candidate" so I feel like she's an old friend. (Uhmmm...no, I'm not crazy and I realize that she and I are not friends). She came out, looking as elegant and tall-ly regal. She's got such a pretty smile (and looks so good next to our Robert O.). She spoke of how she got the role, and how mean she had to be opposite many people in her films when that was not what she wanted at all. (But that's what the parts called for).

 

I wasn't going to stay for the whole film. I cannot bear to watch Ingrid Bergman tortured. But again, as with "Spartacus" once I started watching I was hooked. Is that the same Charles Boyer who got his heart shredded in "The Constant Nymph"? Yeah buddy, it was. He was a cold calculating so and so. ("Paula, where is your broach?!!! FIND IT!!!") But why I still found him sexy as hell with his low baritone growl-y voice was my inner conflict that made me feel disloyal to Ingrid Bergman. Well...she comes out of it okay, but not after much psychological torture. "GASLIGHT" was and is a very well-done movie (IMHO) and Ingrid Bergman looked exquisite. Her terror was palpable and her Oscar, well-deserved.

 

Now the Olympics begin as I sprint about five/six blocks to the EGYPTIAN THEATRE. < Huff! Puff! Huff! >

 

MIDNITE - "THE MUMMY"

 

I didn't get there for Ron Perlman's introduction and I missed the credits of the movie. But the first image I saw of "THE MUMMY" had that cute blonde archaeologist reading a scroll, and having the mummy take it from him. "He died laughing.?

 

A couple of people were chuckling throughout the movie (which annoyed me), but the majority of the audience was deadly silent. This is no comedy. This is nothing to camp up like and "ALL ABOUT EVE." This was a quietly done, fast-moving horror film of the brilliant kind. It's eerie to go to the Egyptian late at night because of the long courtyard you must walk through before you get to the theatre's entrance, so I felt slightly spooked to go there. But I'm glad I made the effort and the sprint. I waited for and felt warmly happy to hear many of my favorite lines and moments in "The Mummy." My very favorite is the last line of the film:

 

"Call her. He has dragged her back to ancient Egypt. Call her. Her love for you may bridge the centuries."

 

Again, I must say to those of you who choose to read my accounts of the film festival, that seeing this movie on the big screen made me see and feel things for the movie that I just didn't pay attention to on television. I never realized truly, how sad it is to see Karloff's Ardeth Bey's joy and pain, for finding and wanting to be with his lost love again.

 

My walk back to the Roosevelt Hotel along Hollywood Boulevard was quiet and slow and satisfying...even in the midst of the circus that is Hollywood Boulevard on a Saturday night.

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That was so lovely.

 

My favorite part of your review here is not about any star or film personality. It's about seeing *The Mummy* on a large screen, appropriately in the middle of the night and at the Egyptian Theatre. This is the way it was seen 80 years ago and it gives me chills thinking about it. I can feel what it must have been like for you to see those beautiful black and white images of Karloff's face.

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ANY DIANE BAKER FANS???

 

One of my friends sent me this link. Check it out if you're a fan:

 

http://blogs.indiewire.com/thompsononhollywood/2011/05/05/diane_baker_talks_best-kept_secr

et_san_franciscos_expanding_academy_of_art/#more

 

HAPPY MOTHER?S DAY

 

I wish all you posters out there who are Moms, or are still blessed to have your Mother, to have a great day with her and your family!!!

 

TCM FILM FESTIVAL

 

I've felt slightly melancholy and reluctant to write about my last day at the Film Festival and have been putting off writing about it, b'cuz it ends the four halcyon days Turner Classic Movies gave me as a movie fan. < ( SIGH! ) > But as they say, all good things must...

 

SUNDAY - MAY 1st - THE LAST DAY of MOVIES

 

The condemned Maven ate a hearty meal. How shall I spend my sad last day at the Turner Classic Movies Film Festival? Well...I'll do it with:

 

* one film not seen in 60-70 years

 

* an historical perspective of one group's contribution to motion pictures and...

 

* the Terpsichorean feats of two young men, unparalled in the history of movies.

 

A hearty meal??? Why this'll be my smorgasbord.

 

10:00AM "NIGHT FLIGHT"

 

This stodgy curio features Gable, Myrna Loy, Helen Hayes, Robert Montgomery and the brothers Barrymore ( John & Lionel ). Whew! It creaked. But the aerial shots were interesting. I thought Robert O. was poisoning the well when he introduced the movie and told us it wasn't really very good. It was the first time I heard him say something negative about a film. I'm afraid Osborne knows best. Whew! I wasn't crazy about a movie about the history of night flying over South America. But it was very interesting to see the stars that were in the film...and probably early in their careers.

 

It was great to see DREW BARRYMORE being interviewed...not just b'cuz she's a movie star in her own right, but as the continuing progeny of the Barrymore line. And she says SHE is a big film buff herself. "I'm one of you." Whoa! She's so pretty, so friendly and so aware of her family. She felt closest to her grandfather while watching his films. Someone in the audience yelled out "DOWN IN FRONT!" It stopped everything dead in its tracks. Drew Barrymore said, "I love a loon!" It broke everyone up. She was a complete joy!! And she will soon join the ranks of TCM Guest Programmers.

 

12:30PM "BRIGHT BOULEVARDS AND BROKEN DREAMS"

 

I've got a couple of historian Donald Bogle's books. But there is The Man himself coming out of Club TCM. I got over my shyness and swarmed around him with others and got my picture taken with him. When they finally open the doors to Club TCM I grabbed myself a seat, and prepared to sit back and listen to Mr. Bogle's very engaging storytelling style. He walks us through the history of African-Americans' participation and contribution to motion pictures.

 

Starting with MADAME SUL-TE-WAN (who appears in Griffith's "BIRTH OF A NATION"). Mr. Bogle weaves and wends the history all the way up to Sidney Poitier. He talks of meeting up with FREDI WASHINGTON. She played Louise Beaver's daughter in the original "IMITATION OF LIFE." He talked of meeting her at the train station in upstate New York. She is alone. He sees her green eyes. I don't think I took one breath while he relayed that account. He actually got to see her, talk to her. I don't know why...but I feel the most sorrow for Fredi Washington not making it in films. She was beautiful, had a great voice, poise. So unfair, what might have been...what should have been.

 

Mr. Bogle's prepared a slide show of some of the great stars who's "peppered" the screen with their talents and have supported some of Hollywood's great major stars. Seeing some made me wince while others made my heart race: THERESA HARRIS, STEPHIN FETCHIT, ETHEL WATERS, MANTAN MORELAND, NINA MAE McKINNEY, EDDIE 'ROCHESTER' ANDERSON, JAMES EDWARDS, LENA HORNE, SIDNEY POITIER, HATTIE McDANIEL, DOROTHY DANDRIDGE and the dear beautiful FREDI WASHINGTON et al...they survived the Hollywood that was inside the America that wasn't very fair to everyone. They carved their niche. They belong. And today's stars stand on their shoulders. It was a lovely presentation I was sorry to see end.

 

4:20PM "A TRIBUTE TO THE NICHOLAS BROTHERS"

 

Introduced by filmmaker Robert Townsend and hosted and narrated by its director Bruce Goldstein, "A Tribute to the Nicholas Brothers" was a sight to behold.

 

"You have to see this to believe what these two men could do in dancing shoes. Not even Astaire and Kelly...could top them. This alone was worth the trip." - << ( WOULDBESTAR ) >>

 

Yes, Wouldbestar, you took the words right out of my mouth. I know, I know...

you've all seen The Nicholas Brothers in film, but to see their routines back-to-back, in one fell swoop...well, it is simply breathtaking. They conquered movies, Broadway and in later years received the prestigious Kennedy Center Honor for their body of work.

 

Brothers Fayard and Harold came from a musical, middle-class background. They were really cute as a button, two good-looking kids. They had natural born talent. Their dancing was magical. But don't for one minute get it twisted and mistakenly think their dancing came magically out of thin air. There were hours of practice, rehearsal and skill. I purposely chose to end my festival experience with this film, and rose from my seat to applaud them. The film..the brothers received a standing ovation. Their widows and children, grandchildren and great grandchildren were in the audience to witness and hopefully feel the warmth, affection and appreciative gasps from the audience throughout the movie, which included home movies as well. Mr. Goldstein said in his presentation, that after one of the Nicholas Brothers dance numbers appeared in a film, the movie crowd was so exuberant they demanded projectionist re-wind the film to re-play their dance routine.

 

My goodness..to say the Nicholas Brothers are unique, is an understatement. They will remain unequalled.

 

And for the programming of all these films, we have CHARLES TABESCH to thank. He came up to me on line and asked me how I liked the festival. (I tried to hide my awe and shock that he remembered me and came up to me on a line-full of people. Folks started looking at me because they knew who HE was. GULP!) I said I hated it because of all the very wrenching choices he put before me with his scheduling. He smiled. I cannot thank him enough for presenting us with a fantastic cornucopia of cinematic treasures. I think everyone's tastes were served and satisfied.

 

Thank you Charles!

 

THE CLOSING NIGHT PARTY.

 

I got a l'il gussied up, put on my fancy dress shoes again < ( OUCH! ) >...and went to TCM's Closing Night party. The band DOOZY entertained the crowd with their good old-fashioned musicianship. How the heck am I back in the 40"s? I was invited to sit at a table with a lovely couple who were a riot as we watched the party unfold. The Husband kept yelling out for the band to play "IN THE MOOD." "If they do, you're going to have to dance with her, 'cuz I ain't dancin',"[/b] said the Wife to her husband, about me. Me dance? I can shake a leg if I have to...but, me dance? My stomach was in knots at the thought of dancing in those heels I wore! We movie gossiped and talked about what excited us about what and WHO we saw. They were over the moon about seeing Jack Larsen and Jerry Mathers. (Uhmmm...that's Jimmy Olson and the Beaver to you & me!) I saw the court officer from the "JUDGE JUDY" show. He had a passholder's badge just like the rest of us. (What?!!) I felt brave enough to go and talk to him.

 

CineMaven: "You like old movies too?!!!" not doing a very good job hiding my incredulity.

 

Officer Byrd: "Oh yeah. I used to watch them with my grandmother all the time."

 

CineMaven: "Really? Who did you like from back then?" I admit, pressing him...testing him.

 

Officer Byrd: "Spencer Tracy, Charles Laughton. Clark Gable."

 

And then Officer Byrd busted out doing a damned good dead-on Clark Gable imitation, that got a squeal out of me. (Ugh! I'm such a big baby!)

 

I watched a couple of brave souls cut a rug out there on the dance floor, and I re-connected with several festivalgoers who stopped by my table to say hello...and goodbye. Everyone looked so nattily dressed and was in good spirits. Everyone here knew all the movies I knew, and I knew if I walked up to a stranger and said the name Warren William, they wouldn't look at me like I had two heads. It is SOMETHING SPECIAL to be in a room with people who share a common interest. I know this intellectually but to FEEL it...is something else again. I felt this in an intense way when I was invited to TCM in Atlanta two years ago, with such a smaller group. The feeling was intense...surreal. But here in Hollywood, the feeling was that I was part of a community. I've read all the other posts about this film festival and seeing the word "community" rings so true with me.

 

I walked the streets of Hollywood. I was up and down Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard. I saw the sights suggested that'd be of historical interest. I looked down at many of those great names cemented at Graumann's (I patently refuse to call it Mann's, I don't care WHO buys it!) Chinese Theatre, and the stars on the Walk of Fame. I took lots of pix and video to capture what I was seeing so I could look at it later and hold on to what I was feeling.

 

Near midnight the party ended, the band stopped playing and people were leaving or milling about. I couldn't prolong the fun, the glamor, the excitement or avoid Reality any longer. I had to say Goodbye to it All.

 

IT'S OVER.

 

I'm packed and have to check out of the Roosevelt by noon, though my flight out of LAX is not until Midnight. (Whew!) I was trying to figure out what I would do next having not been able to connect with an old high school friend who lives out there. As I was about to start more walking around, I got a phone call from SueSue Applegate, who had time to kill before being picked up by a relative. (Aaah! Saved by the bell) so we hung out together. Now...without the hubbub and excitement and distractions of all that was going on, I was able to sit and chat and connect with her. (GIRL!!! You need to write those books!)

 

As we sat in the lobby before going out, we both noticed Marge Champion sitting with Darcy Hettrich (the woman who single-handedly wrangled all the celebrities we saw at the festival. Three cheers for Darcy!!) Sue Sue went over and got a picture of them, but I was too shy. We left the lobby and SueX2 needed a smoke. So I gained my last bit of courage to go back in and approach these two ladies.

 

As I waited for a lull in their conversation I went over and reminded Ms. Hettrich who I was...that I STILL have her voice on my cellphone answering machine message inviting me to be a guest programmer two years ago. She didn't remember my name, but she definitely remembered me (WHEW!) and then introduced me to Ms. Champion. We shook hands and I told her how much I've enjoyed her films. I told her that just the night before one of her films was on TCM ("GIVE A GIRL A BREAK"). What a sweet little face she has. She told me of her then-husband having directed Peter O'Toole in a movie and she was sitting out in the desert of Israel in 135 F weather talking to Peter O'Toole. I didn't want to intrude too long so I bowed and scraped my way from their presence and back outside where SueSue was finishing up her cigarette.

 

SueX2 and I hung out, took a cab to the Formosa Cafe, found it closed, and went to eat at the Pig ?N Whistle right near where the cab picked us up in the first place. We walked back to the Roosevelt and sat by the pool to gab a little more when I finally said my goodbyes to her.

 

As I looked around the hotel, there was no trace TCM was ever there. No hustle. No bustle. No neon sign for Club TCM. No boutique. No interviewing stage set up. It was quiet...quiet. Even the music on the elevator was changed back to modern music. (HA! THAT made me realize that TCM planned down to the smallest detail. They even thought of putting music everywhere from the 30's and 40's).

 

The Roosevelt looked like a ghost town except for the trendy youngsters that pranced about. I saw two gigantic TCM trucks pull out of the parking lot. The sign on the CineGrill marquee was now empty.

 

To be honest, the heart and soul was taken out of the Roosevelt Hotel with TCM's departure....with the community's departure. I felt sad to have even stayed long enough to see things empty. When I'm brave enough and strong enough, I'll look at all the footage I took of my trip out West and if I can technologically get it together, I'll share that with you.

 

:-( I feel kind of sad. But you know what, I've got a lot of memories.

 

And I feel kinda happy too.

 

:-)

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{quote:title=CineMaven wrote:}I know, I know... you've all seen The Nicholas Brothers in film, but to see their routines back-to-back, in one fell swoop...well, it is simply breathtaking.{quote}

This was one of the highlights of the Festival. Of course, it was amazing to see their routines back-to-back, but what shot this presentation over the moon for me were the home movies that were included; especially of the brothers dancing in the middle of the street on the studio lot with Fred Astaire. The Nicholas Brothers were the greatest. A very moving tribute.

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I wish I had seen the Nicholas Brothers tribute. I had the good fortune to meet them years ago, and I have never forgotten it. I would dearly love to see TCM do an original production, with the home movies featured.

 

And Harold Nicholas is STILL the most dapper, handsome man I have ever met. He should have been a huge star.

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When I move through my day, I occasionally get into conversations with "normal" folk about classic film. Once I start talking, I realize how much I know vis-a-vis the average person. Then, I come here, to this special place, or go to Hollywood for the FF, and am humbled by how little I really know.

 

You people are my role models.

 

David in Seattle

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OH good gravy..

 

I only NOW just found this thread.. I am sorry to be late to the party, Tall T. I have been a bit "otherwise occupied" lately but I do still pop in here once in a blue moon. But to my embarrassment.. ha.. my REAL (lame) excuse for not seeing this sooner is.. ha.. I have been trying to find you pretty much everytime I look on here (about once or twice a week) but I have been looking in THE WRONG PLACE (everytime unitl NOW).. ha..

 

(DUH! Did I ever tell you that I am "Queen of the Doofuses?" Or is it "doof-i" when it's plural??? But I digress, ha)

 

ANYWAY.. yippeeeeee!! I found you. I am going to HAVE to make some time to catch up on your trip and all the exciting details SOON.

 

And I am looking forward to a little down time SOMEtime in the hopefully not too distant future.. so eventually I will be catching up on all this FUN stuff for sure. (So don't give up on me just because by now you are likely scratching your head and calling me, "ro"who"naka"... ha)

 

I will be looking forward to the fun read. I can't wait to hear all the details! (did I mention YIPPEEEE??)

 

Oh what the hay.. I'll just say it again.. YIPPEEEE! :D

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Madame Sul-te-wan! I remember her from KING OF THE ZOMBIES.

 

My celebrity encounters when I lived in Hollywood back in the late 70's were not, as a whole, so wonderful. Aldo Ray, in his cups, tried to get romantic. Robert Quarry barely said "Hello". (who wants to get chummy with Court Yorga anyway?) However, I had a nice chat with Bela Lugosi, Jr. at his law office. Told him how much I loved papa, which he appreciated. The spit of his old man, if you can imagine Dracula dictating legal briefs with an American accent.

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Aldo a few years younger, a couple of drinks fewer and fifty pounds lighter, and I would have been begging him to get frisky.

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