Saturday, May 8, 2010

TCM Classic Film Festival- (Part 4 of probably many)

My sincerest apologies for the delay in posting about Day 4, but I was finishing up some online seminars for school that I needed to finish before midnight tonight.  I successfully completed 3 of the 4 that I needed to complete and the 4th one will have to be completed at a later date and time.  I'm a little peeved but I've altered Meatloaf's song 2 out of 3 ain't bad to fit my situation and that somehow makes me feel better about it so... 3 outta 4 ain't bad. :)

Anyway, that's probably not why you stopped by my blog you want the scoop on Day 4 of the TCM film festival, right?  Well here we go....Day 4, April 25th, 2010 began with a 9:30 screening of Damn Yankees at the Grauman's Chinese 6.  I was very excited to see this fun musical, directed by Stanley Donen, starring Tab Hunter and Gwen Vernon and! featuring a dance with none other than Bob Fosse!  I was definitely looking forward to this.

It was introduced by Leonard Maltin who gave some history regarding the transition of Broadway musicals into films and how more often than not much of the cast from the Broadway show didn't make it into the film and that many songs were cut because Broadway shows are innately longer than the usual running time of a movie.  He told us that Damn Yankees was a bit different, in this situation almost the entire case of the Broadway show, which included Maureen Stapleton and Gwen Verdon, was in the movie and the only Hollywood addition was Tab Hunter.  In fact, Jack Warner purchased this play FOR Tab Hunter.  So that was an interesting bit of trivia. 

The movie was amazing to see in a theater (much like all the other movies I saw during the film festival) and afterwards Tab Hunter was interviewed by Ben Mankiewicz.  He talked about what it was like to be part of the studio system and when Ben asked him about being a heartthrob he said that he tried to separate himself from that and focus more on his family, friends and his horses (he seemed to have a great affinity for horses).  He, like all the other speakers, was very gracious and candid about his experiences.  He said that he had an interesting time assimilating into the Broadway cast while filming and that eventually they all got along very well and that the most important thing to remember is that you can't go into things with preconceived notions; that doesn't help anything.

After the interview Ben was approached by some people for autographs so I decided to join the group and he was nice enough to take the time to meet me and give an autograph.  I then left the theater and was surprised to see that Tab Hunter was in the lobby surrounded by a bunch of movie-goers and they were posing with him for pictures and he was giving autographs.  I, again, decided to jump on that band wagon and got his autograph and lent my green pen to another film fan so he could get an autograph too.


Here's the autograph ---------------------------->

And here's my green pen in action :)

After all that excitement I decided to take a little break and I was planning on grabbing lunch with a friend, but it ended up not working out so I did some more tourist-y site seeing and decided to grab lunch by myself and then head over to the Roosevelt Hotel.  I originally had planned on just sitting in the lobby and relaxing until I went to see Saboteur around 3:30ish.

But I then remembered that Tony Curtis was going to be signing his books at Club TCM, so I decided to wait in line for that.  It seemed like a good opportunity to meet Tony Curtis and seemed like a better use of my time.  I ended up in line behind a woman who was also named Diane, she had come all the way from Detroit with her husband to the festival.  The line took quite awhile, but everyone was very nice, one of the people on the staff went and got water for everyone in line!  I thought that was very nice.  After about an hour and a half I made it up to the front of the line.  While waiting I kept going back and forth about whether or not to buy a book or just have him sign my little spiral notebook.  The book was quite costly, I was already running out of space in my suitcase.  But, by the time I made it to the front I just decided to go for it, when was I going to get another opportunity to have Tony Curtis sign a book for me.  I guess I got swept up in the excitement.  I decided to get his book called: The Making Some Like it Hot.  The whole thing was set-up very nicely; they had a lot of Tony's artwork and pictures of him from his various films. 
Anyway...I finally made it to the front of the line, I told my first name to Tony's wife, who was very nice.  I felt kind of silly saying another Diane, but she wrote it down on a post-it, gave it to Tony and explained it was another Diane.  He then signed the book and we posed for a picture and he shook my hand and kissed it.  It was pretty exciting to get to meet someone like Tony Curtis and I think it was really nice that he took the time and energy to be part of the film festival.  It also kind of solidified my decision to see Some Like It Hot later that evening.  Here's a picture of him with a fan (not me) and his autograph:

I'm really glad I decided to wait in that line to get to meet Tony Curtis.  I hadn't planned on making that a part of my festival experience, but it worked out nicely.  It was nice to see that so many people turned out to meet him and that he took the time to take a picture with pretty much every person there and sign anything that they brought.  It also made me realize I hadn't really seen that many movies with Tony Curtis, I'd seen The Sweet Smell of Success, Some Like it Hot, Spartacus, and The Defiant Ones.  And I think that's it, since being back from the film festival I've tried to catch some more of his movies.  So far I've seen Who's that Lady?  Sex and the Single Girl and The Great Race (the last 2 were on Netflix Watch Instantly) and I've gotta say they were pretty fun movies.  I enjoyed them and I enjoyed him.  Anyway, back to the festival.

Next up was Saboteur at Grauman's Chinese 6.  I was looking forward to seeing another Hitchcock film on the big screen and this one did not disappoint.  I had seen this movie and for some reason I thought Dana Andrews was in it, I don't know why, but I was very surprised when he was not in it.  I still don't know why I thought he was in it.  But anyway the movie was great, very suspenseful.  It was a lot of fun to hear everyone gasp at all the right moments.

After the movie Norman Lloyd came out and was interviewed by Leonard Maltin.  He mostly talked about how movie making has changed over the course of his career.  It was very interesting to hear him speak.  I didn't think I knew him from anything other than Saboteur, but then he mentioned that he had been in In Her Shoes and that jogged my memory of him.  It's always interesting to hear people talking about working with people who are no longer around, in this case he talked about Hitch (Alfred Hitchcock) and how he had storyboarded almost every frame of the film before they began shooting.  I find that stuff interesting and he also talked about his stunt work and how they had made a true to size replica of the top of the Statue of Liberty (I'm trying not to give away any spoilers, hence the vague-ness).  But yeah he's a great speaker and seemed happy to be there.

I then made my way over to the Egyptian Theater for Some Like it Hot.  I had been conflicted all weekend over whether to see Metropolis with the new footage since it was the official final evening event or to enjoy Some Like it Hot where I knew I would laugh my butt off and have an amazing experience seeing it on the big screen with a crowd.  I've seen Metropolis and really liked it, but I just decided to go with Some Like it Hot.  I felt like I was lucky enough to be able to go to the opening night event (A Star is Born) and didn't want to push my luck.  It was a tough decision.

Before the movie Tony Curtis was introduced and interviewed by someone who worked at TCM (I don't remember his name) and who had known Tony Curtis for a number of years.  Tony gave a very, shall we say, colorful interview.  He shared some very funny stories and some of his experiences shooting Some Like it Hot.  He told a story about working with Marilyn Monroe.  Her line for the scene was "what is it?"  She had to point to a fish and ask, "what is it?"  She'd point, and stare, but wouldn't say the line, she then whispered to Tony, "what is it?" (meaning the line, what's the line?)  And he'd respond, "what is it?" (thinking he was giving her the line, but instead just confusing things further)  And this would repeat for a number of takes.

He also talked about how he and Jack Lemmon walked around the studio lot and went into women's bathrooms trying out their womanly ways and trying to blend in.  But it sounded like they were easy to identify.  He also told a story about a dress fitting with designer Orry Kelly for himself, Jack Lemmon and Marilyn.  At one point Orry pointed out that Tony had the nicest tush of the bunch and Marilyn retorted by opening her blouse and saying, "but I'll bet he doesn't have the nicest...well you can guess what :).

After the interview he sat in the audience; that was a pretty surreal experience to watch the movie with him in the audience.  The film was more amazing than I had remembered it, the audience applauded and laughed with such enthusiasm that it was intoxicating, it made me feel like I had never even seen the movie before.  Every joke seemed fresh and new.  At the end of the movie Tony received a standing ovation.  It was sincerely one of the most thrilling experiences of my life and ultimately a great way to end the festival.  Although if it were up to me the festival would've never ended.  I was quite sad to have to go back to the real world after all the excitement.

So there's the re-cap of Day 4!  I hope you enjoyed reading about my experience at the TCM Film Festival, I'm seriously counting down the days til next year's!  And really hoping that I can skip work again to go!!  I had the best time, and this was maybe one of the most phenomenal experiences of my entire life.  I met so many nice people, saw some amazing movies and got to be back in LA.  All in all a wonderful way to spend 4 days.

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