Saturday, April 25, 2015

"I have a goat...I have a goat" Day One of the 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival

A little ditty about...

Before diving into a total Film Festival overview I just want to share how absolutely wonderful it was to get to share this experience with my dad.  I'd been trying to get him to come to the festival since the first year.  Each year he would make wonderful recommendations (The Pawnbroker in 2014, The Swimmer in 2013) and get excited about all of the movies, but would never bite the bullet and commit to coming to the festival.  This year he finally did it and it was all kinds of wonderful.  It made being a Social Producer that much more enjoyable, which isn't an easy task considering that the social producer group was filled with so many friendly, kind and knowledgable people. I really hope he decides to go again next year.

Thursday, March 26th

Brunch, Meeting, Lunch, Hotel Check-in

Thursday morning started very early, around 6am to be exact.  This was due to the fact that one of us was on east coast time and the other of us one was clearly just too excited to sleep.  I'll let you determine which was which :).  The early start allowed us to finish packing up for the relocation to Hollywood.  Even though I only live about 15 minutes away from Hollywood staying in a hotel seemed to make the most sense and it ended up being a wonderful decision and made it easier to make it to our 8 am meetings.  We also decided to grab some brunch on the way, we stopped at my usual/favorite brunch place Quality, where the waiter noted that I had a new date and asked what our plans were for my Dad's visit.  We told him we were heading to the TCM Classic Film Festival, he then asked if I had a movie in the festival...clearly he either misunderstood or didn't hear me, but I clarified and he said, oh yeah you wouldn't have a movie in that festival unless you were Myrna Loy.  And with that comment he may have become one of my favorite people.  He then asked which movies we were planning to see, we ended up telling him which ones were trying to decide between and he then shared a tidbit about the ending of Queen Christina.  A real quality experience.  Oh and we celebrity spotted Marlon Wayans, so we knew our weekend was off to an excellent start.

The next few hours were a whirlwind of information, meeting new people, eating some food and checking into the hotel.  It was so wonderful to reconnect with friends from last year, like Jeff (@jeffllundenberger), Kellee (@IrishJayhawk66), Kristen (@salesonfilm), and AnnMarie (@ClassicMovieHub) and to meet people that I had only ever followed or seen on twitter or Tumblr.  My dad bonded with Kristen (@journeys_film) over Armageddon.  It was also really great getting to meet other LA locals, Kim (@kimbo3200) and Emily (@vintagecameos).  I always forget that there are people in the real world who I can actually talk to about old movies without worrying about boring to tears.

We then headed back to the Roosevelt in hopes of checking out the Meet TCM Panel, but it was beyond crowded and we decided to see if we could check-in to our hotel instead.  Lucky for us our room was ready.  We checked in, relaxed for a few moments and then headed back to the Roosevelt in hopes of participating in the trivia contest.  Unfortunately they weren't accepting anymore teams, however quite fortunately I spotted Will (@willmckinley) at Club TCM and we got to chat for awhile.  I got to introduce him to my dad and we had a great conversation about our Social Producer assignment.  He was hoping for some blood and fights, I think we may have kept things too clean for his liking.  But we did give it our best effort.  After being rejected by the trivia contest we decided to try to get some water and had another fortunate run-in with Raquel! (@quellelove)  She had spotted me from across the bar and we got to have a lovely reunion.  We then joined her and a group that consisted of Laura (@LaurasMiscMovie), KC (@classicmovieblg) and others to wait in line for the red carpet bleachers.

Red Carpet

Our first line of the festival was in the blistering sun, I ran into the Roosevelt to buy a hat and we reapplied our sunscreen.  But it was all worth it.  We got to watch so many lovely guests arrive on the Red Carpet for The Sound of Music at Graumans (I still refuse to call it TCL, sorry, I'm not sorry).  The previous festivals I have been lucky enough to walk the red carpet so it was really interesting and exciting to watch it this year.  We caught glimpses of the 2 big stars, Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, but we got to see some other wonderful stars stop for pictures and talk to Sean Cameron on the red carpet.  Here are some of our pictures.

Beautiful signage
We had a great view of the carpet, but the people walking down it were essentially walking directly into the sun.  Most of the red carpet walkers were cool with it, but others carried large umbrellas to shield them from the sun.

A sea of awesome-ness, Keith Carradine, Robert Morse, Leonard Maltin, Shirley Jones, Marty Ingels, and Charlie Tabesh

Some more awesome-ness, I spy some cast members of Grease, Marty Ingels, and others

Many of the red carpet walkers stopped to chat with the emcee Sean Cameron.  

Diane Baker stopped to let us know that we're the ones who make Hollywood classy.
I'm gonna pretend Keith Carradine is smiling at me 
Keith Carradine waved to us.
The many faces of Robert Morse
Robert Morse said a nice Hello.

We caught a quick glimpse of Christopher Plummer before he was whisked into the theater.

Gregg Proops showing you how very bright it was on the carpet.

Who could that be under the umbrella?  Why it's Julie Andrews of course.

Shirley Jones looking lovely.

Leonard Maltin stopped for a little chat.

Anne V. Coates (honored editor) took a load off to get out of the blazing sun.

Marty Ingels, Shirley's husband regaled us with a little stand-up routine worthy of the Catskills.

Also spotted Peter Fonda, Christine Ebersole and Illeana Douglas down the carpet.

Rory Flynn (Errol Flynn's daughter) and her son.

Here's a short clip of Norman Lloyd and Ben Mankiewicz.

We left the red carpet a smidgen early to try to make it into Too Late for Tears, but alas there were already 177 people in line ahead of us.  We thought about Queen Christina, but instead grabbed our first and only real sit down meal of the festival.  We stopped by Johnny Rockets and went over the schedule for the hundredth time.

Godfrey loves me!  He put me in the shower!

After eating we decided to head back to the hotel, I contemplated turning in for the night, but the pull of My Man Godfrey was too great.  I'm really glad I ventured back out because I knew it was going to be a great start of the festival.  I stood in line with Jeff and talked with Kim and the pin man, who's name escapes me, sorry pin man!  I also ended up sitting next to Lou Lumenick and we talked a bit about film preservation and he shared some experiences he had had in NY watching movies at revival houses and theaters.  The movie was introduced by Illeana Douglas.  The movie was so much funnier than I remembered.  It probably helped that there was an audience laughing at every joke.  But what really stood out to me during this screening were the performances of supporting cast.  I found Alice Brady's portrayal of Angelica Bullock, the Bullock family matriarch to be beyond hilarious (hence the title of this blog post).  Every line she delivered was so funny, mostly because her character wasn always genuine and never trying to be funny.  Mischa Auer as Carlo, Angelica's protege had many ridiculous moments.  And Eugene Pallette, as always, was the perfect seemingly clueless patriarch of the Bullock family.  Of course, William Powell and Carole Lombard's performances were stellar, it was just that seeing the movie in the theater, on the big screen, gave these somewhat smaller performances a chance to shine.

Well that does it for day one of the festival.  Tune in next time for Day Two, which was also known as the day that was spent entirely at the Egyptian Theater.

For other (more timely) coverage of the fest check out all of these wonderful blogs:

Out of the Past- Red Carpet Coverage

Cinematically Insane- Will was D.O.A

Laura's Miscellaneous Musings- TCMFF in Review

Outspoken and Freckled- Hollywood Dreams Come True at TCM Classic Film Fest 2015

A Classic Movie Blog (Hey!, cool blog name :) ) - All TCMFF 2015 Posts

Aurora's Gin Joint- Citizen Screen's 2015 Fest

Blog of the Darned- Days 1-3

I'll be sure to update once I come across more posts.  I know I mentioned this on Twitter, but I just can't get over the difference in social media presence and blogs this year compared to the first few years.  I remember googling in hopes of finding any posts and now it's everywhere I turn.  I love it!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

TCM 2015 Classic Film Festival Picks

Hello all, anyone else been obsessively picking and choosing movies for the film festival and then completely starting over?  No, just me then :).  This year has been particularly tough cause I find myself with a number of conflicts and the added bonus of thinking about another person.

As most of you know, my dad is going to be attending his first film festival this year.  We also have the extreme pleasure of covering the festival as part of the Social Producers Program, which is absolutely thrilling.  I've been coy about sharing the news, but now I'm gonna say it loud and proud :).  I was contacted by TCM, submitted 2 proposals, they liked one and got approved.  My dad and I are extremely excited to tackle this really exciting and awesome opportunity.  Look for us on twitter: @diandapanda.  I went ahead and made some cards for use at Moo.  I loved the cards I made last year and had to make more:

I'm not totally sure how much use we're going to get out of them, but it was really fun to find classic Father/Daughter duos from film and real life.  If you see me or my dad feel free to ask for one. Anyway, back to the schedule.

And now onto the schedule!  The much anticipated full schedule was released this past Monday, I randomly checked the festival website before getting out of my car at work on Monday morning and was thrilled to find that it was available.  I quickly tweeted about it and then texted my dad to let him know that we had some decisions to make.  But, unfortunately, I didn't have much time to peruse it until my lunch break.  When I did finally get a full look at the schedule I noticed some tough choices that had to be made. Over the past 6 days I've ended up with about 4 different schedules, some that primarily focused on absolute favorite movies that I just HAD to see on the big screen,  one that showcased all the special guests, one that deferred completely to my dad's interests and taste, and one that consisted of new to me films.  And now I finally think that I have arrived at a happy mix of all these different schedules. So without further ado, here comes our (tentative) schedule.

Thursday Afternoon: Meet TCM, So You Think You Know Movies, Welcome Party at the Roosevelt Hotel.  Easy choices, since there aren't any conflicts :)
Here's the Roosevelt during the fest last year
Thursday Time Slot: Embracing New Things and Special Guest
The first conflict comes right off the bat.  For all previous festivals I've had the unbelievable pleasure of attending the Opening Night Red Carpet Movie at Grauman's, however this year I won't have access to that.  So how does one choose between Queen Christina and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance?  For me the deciding factor was the inclusion of special guest Keith Carradine at The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.  I have been trying to embrace Westerns more, so perhaps this will help.

Thursday Second Time Slot: Favorite/Must See
Again, hard to pick, but we're gonna go with My Man Godfrey, it's close to impossible to pass up a chance to see Carole Lombard and William Powell on the big screen.  Although the screening of The Sea Hawk with Errol Flynn's daughter in attendance is extremely tempting, I think the late ending time is a deterrent for us.

Friday First Time Slot: New to Me vs. Must See
For this movie block, I'm leaning towards The Dawn of Technicolor, while my dad is leaning towards Inherit the Wind.  I'm not sure what we're going to decide on here.

Friday Second Time Slot: Special Guest
We're gonna go with Lenny with a Q&A with Dustin Hoffman with Alec Baldwin.  This is one of those blocks where 3 of the movies had been previously announced and we were looking forward to all 3.  I had wanted to see Reign of Terror with Norman Lloyd and my dad was looking forward to The Proud Rebel with Alan Ladd's son, but in the end Dustin Hoffman wins.

Friday Third Time Slot: Special Guest and Must See
For this time slot The Cincinnati Kid with Ann-Margaret in attendance wins out even though I had been looking forward to the screening of Limelight and hearing Norman Lloyd.  It'll be wonderful to hear Ann-Margaret and to see Steve McQueen on the big screen.

Friday Fourth Time Slot: Too difficult to decide
This happens to be one of our tougher time slots.  When titles were first being announced I knew that I had to see Steamboat Bill, Jr.  It was pretty much number one on my list of must sees.  My dad and I were also interested in seeing Rififi, which would be a new to us title, and I was also very excited about getting the chance to see Raiders of the Lost Ark on the big screen.  So, imagine my surprise when I saw all 3 of them pitted up against each other!  And to add to that there is also a screening of The Invisible Man at the same time.  We are completely at a loss for this time slot and it may be our first time splitting up during a screening.  I had my heart set on Steamboat Bill, Jr. and The Invisible Man is one of my dad's favorite movies and was one of his father's favorite movies.  Not sure what will happen here.

Friday Fifth Time Slot: Dad's interest
If I were going by myself this time slot would be Roman Holiday at the El Capitan all the way.  It would've been a nice change of pace, since it's possible that we would be spending this entire day at the Egyptian Theater and it is by far one of my favorite movies.  And my second choice would've been Rebecca, to satisfy my Alfred Hitchcock fix.  But here's where other factors come into play.  I recently saw Roman Holiday at UCLA and I know my dad has been looking forward to the opportunity to see a real-life James Bond.  So, in the interest of embracing new things and seeing a wonderful celebrity guest I think we will end up seeing On Her Majesty's Secret Service with special guest George Lazenby.

Saturday First Time Slot: Special Guest and New to me
For the first time slot on Saturday my father and I have decided on The Man Who Would Be King.  The deciding factor here was an opportunity to see Christopher Plummer and to see a new to me movie.

Saturday Second Time Slot: Undecided
For this time slot my dad and I are trying to decide between Rebel Without a Cause and The Miracle Worker with Andrew Prine in attendance.  Both are movies that we've seen before and love.  We may also take this undecided opportunity to check out Sophia Loren Live from the Film Festival.  I have never attended one of these in the past and it may be our one chance to see Sophia Loren since we are most likely attending The Grim Game as our closing night movie.  This time slot may come down to a day of decision.  And as James Dean says in Rebel Without a Cause, "You're tearing me apart!"

Saturday Third Time Slot: Special Guest and Must See Movie
I'm pretty sure we're going to the screening of The Apartment with special guest Shirley MacLaine during this time slot.  This feels like one of those quintessential must-sees and a great opportunity to see Shirley MacLaine.  My dad has expressed interest in both Madam Curie and Viva Zapata! Both of which sound wonderful, but I don't know if I could see them instead of The Apartment.  Another we shall see and possible split up moment.

Saturday Fourth Time Slot: Wait and See
For this time slot, we're still trying to decide between The French Connection at Grauman's with William Friedkin being interviewed by Alec Baldwin and the amazing hand-cranked presentation of Return to the Dream Machine.  This may be another decision we make the day of, perhaps depending on our mood.  Both offer something very unique.

Sunday First Time Slot: New To me
Sunday morning we're going to start off with The Hunchback of Notre Dame, this is a movie I have always wanted to see and what better way to see it than at the Film Festival in Grauman's.

Sunday Second Time Slot:
This may be where I get my Alfred Hitchcock fix with Psycho, but my dad is making a compelling case for the Diary of Anne Frank complete with Diane Baker and Millie Perkins, another we will see.

Sunday Third Time Slot:
If we end up seeing The Apartment on Saturday then we will skip The Children's Hour during this block, for now we are trying to decide between The Philadelphia Story and Judgement at Nuremberg.  They could not be more different, a light fun rom-com or a heavy courtroom drama.  This may be another decide on the fly movie block.  My dad also mentioned interest in seeing Houdini, so all bets are off.

Closing Night Movie:
We have been excited about The Grim Game since it was first announced and it would make sense for us to close out the festival at the Egyptian Theater since we will possibly spend all day Friday in the Egyptian Theater.  It will be tough to miss out on Sophia Loren and the screening of Marriage Italian Style, but I think we're set on this decision.
We will then attend the Closing Night party at the Hollywood Roosevelt and then pass out from movie watching fatigue. :)

As you may have noticed I have no set definitive plan, I'm really on the fence about a lot of time slots, but it was fun pulling up all the movie posters for my first, second and third choices and I know that whatever movie, panel or event I attend it will be a wonderful, once in a lifetime experience.  I am really excited (as per usual) to attend the festival and especially thrilled to share this experience this year with my dad.  We may have different movie tastes, but I kind of like the fact that I may end up at screenings I wouldn't normally attend.

Other bloggers picks for the 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival:

Out of the Past: My thoughts on the 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival Schedule

Blog of the Darned: March Movie Madness Baby

Laura's Miscellaneous Musings: The 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival Schedule

A Classic Movie Blog: Joy! The TCM Classic Film Festival Schedule is Here: What I Plan to See

The Black Maria has Cary Grant's reactions to the schedule

I'll be sure to update as soon as more bloggers post their picks.


Once Upon a Screen: My Picks for #TCMFF 2015 are not made of stone

Joel's Classic Film Passion: 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival

Happy Film Festival-ing everyone :)

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Classic Film Related Activities- A not so brief update

Since my last post, I have been up to a great many classic film related activities.  Some of which I plan on blogging about, just give me some time.  I'll briefly share the highlights before devoting full posts to some of these events.

I've been to the Hollywood Costume exhibit a number of times, it has become my go-to activity for family members visiting LA.  I went myself the opening weekend in October and then took my aunt in November and just this past weekend took my mom while she was visiting.

In October, one of my friends was singing in a choir that sang along to a screening of The Passion of Joan of Arc at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.  It was a very unique and surprisingly emotional experience to have an orchestra and choir performing live during a silent movie.

In November, I was invited to a very interesting conversation/panel at the LACMA called, Defining Character.  It was moderated by Deborah Nadoolman Landis and was associated with the Hollywood Costume Exhibit.  I really enjoyed it.

In December, I went to a wonderful event thanks to Street Food Cinema and a deal on Amazon local.  There was a screening of The Princess Bride with Cary Elwes doing a book signing and a Q&A at a lovely old theater downtown.

While home in NY for winter vacation I encouraged my mom to see You Can't Take it With You on Broadway and was lucky enough to meet Mark Linn Baker and tell him how much I love Noises Off.

Upon returning to LA I went to the Aero theater (in Santa Monica) for 2 Frank Capra double features. I was surprised to see Ron Howard seated in my row the first night, I wanted to ask him if he would be attending the TCM Classic Film Festival along with Apollo 13, but I resisted.

Earlier this month I finally made it back to the New Beverly Cinema for a Fosse Double Feature (but I didn't stay for the second movie).  I always love going to that theater.

This past week my mom came to LA for a visit and to escape the super cold East coast winter.  While she was here we came up with a fairly even balance of things she wanted to do (see West Coast sunsets) and things I always like to do (film related things).  And even combined the 2 one night by seeing the sunset at Griffith Observatory.

So there you are, a brief-ish update of the things that I've been up to the last few months.  I'd like to devote whole posts to some of these events so keep an eye out for that.  In the meantime I expect another post, soon-ish, with some very exciting TCM Classic Film Festival News.

Happy Oscar Sunday to all.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Good Evening, The Big Picture: Hitchcock! at the Hollywood Bowl

This past weekend (now a couple of months ago) I had the great pleasure of attending The Big Picture: Hitchcock! extravaganza at the Hollywood Bowl.  This was actually my first visit to the Hollywood Bowl after living in Los Angeles off and on for about 12 years.  I now can't believe that I had never been there before and certainly plan to attend more concerts and events there.  It is such a great venue and they offer such interesting programs.

I decided to go to the concert the day of the event, Sunday, August, 31st.  I had hemmed and hawed about it for a couple of days before and then decided to go for it.  I was lucky enough to have lunch with a very well informed friend who had been to the Bowl numerous times and he advised me to bring a blanket, sweatshirt, water and snacks.  I, of course took his sage advice.

Next, came the decision of where to park and whether or not to take advantage of the shuttles.  I decided to park at the Hollywood and Highland structure and then take the shuttle up the hill.  It worked out pretty nicely.  While lugging my things on the shuttle and to my seat I was a little worried that I may have over-packed, but my friend did not steer me wrong.  The blanket came in very handy on the benches, although you could rent a cushion for $1.  It didn't get quite cold enough for the sweatshirt, but I could imagine that on another night it would be necessary and how can you go wrong with snacks?

It was really exciting to soak in this venue, I didn't even mind the trek up the hill to get to my seat, there was something so cool about ascending the hill and then seeing the actual half dome, really amazing.  I was very lucky and ended up with an extremely centered seat, although I have a feeling that any seat in the venue is phenomenal.

Before the concert began they kept the profile of Hitch up on the center screen (as you can see below).  It was really cool to catch a glimpse of the Hollywood sign past the dome waiting for the show to begin.

While waiting for the concert to begin I spoke to a few people seated around me, one man asked me what my favorite Hitchcock movie was, which is always a tough questions.  I also had a chance to look over the program, which was sold for also $1, quite reasonable prices for this day and age.

Before too long the show began with this:

It was lovely to get an introduction from Hitch himself.  After the intro Eva Marie Saint graced us with her presence and became our emcee/teacher/stand-up comedienne/hostess with the mostest for the evening.  She was so charming and delightful.  It's hard to believe that she turned 90 this year, she was very sharp and witty, really kept the evening moving nicely.

Since this was the best picture I could get of her that night I'm also sharing one of my pictures from the 2013 TCM Classic Film Festival where she intro'd On the Waterfront. And a picture from the First TCM Classic Film Festival where she and Martin Landau were interviewed before North by Northwest.

She gave short introductions before each clip/performance.  Her intros were a combination of interesting information and personal stories.  For example, she told us that while filming North by Northwest, Hitch was unhappy with her wardrobe in the movie.  So he took her on a little shopping spree at Bergdof Goodman in New York City and when she saw the beautiful black dress with the red roses she said she liked it and Hitchcock immediately had them wrap it up.  From then on she called him Sugar Daddy.

That is a lovely dress
During one of her introductions she said that it felt like this was a masterclass and she was so right, how often to you get to focus so specifically on the music in a movie?  And have it be performed by a stellar orchestra.  She also had some very hilarious moments, when she was introducing a montage of romance themes she  introduced To Catch a Thief and accidentally said, "starring Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint."  She then started laughing to herself and declared that it was a very Freudian slip.

Before the Foreign Correspondent clip it was revealed that the conductor for the evening, David Newman's father, Alfred Newman was the composer of the musical score for the film! What a fun connection. When the night came to an end it was hard to believe that they didn't play the haunting, shrill, frightening strings from Psycho.  There was then an encore and Eva Marie suggested that all of us stay away from our showers for the next day or so.

The whole event was wonderful and I'm so glad that this was my first experience with the Hollywood Bowl.  It was a lovely blend of music, film clips and a great opportunity to see Eva Marie Saint.  And it was particularly creepy to see the strings from Psycho played in person.  Since then I've been back for the Simpsons concert there.  I apologize for the delay, oh and you can also check out Laura's post about the event.