Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Day 4 (finally!!!!) of 2011 TCM Classic Film Festival

Ok!!! Cutting it close here, down to the wire, but here's my final installment of the 2011 Classic Film Festival, JUST! in time for this year's festival.  There may or may not have been some 2012 Festival activities today, but I will just have to post about those later, maybe I'll put some pictures on twitter or tumblr in the meantime, or maybe I'll wait an entire calendar year before posting them, that sounds more like me.  Alright, anyway, as Mario would say in Mario Kart, Here we go!!

Day 4 of the 2011 TCM Classic Film Festival started off in a very unexpected way, it turned out that a very late announcement and addition to the festival was Drew Barrymore attending the screening of the film, Night Flight, which stars both John and Lionel Barrymore (as well as Myrna Loy and Clark Gable).  Kind of an amazing coup for TCM, although now we know that Drew has some deep love for the network with her stint on The Essentials.  I'd like to say now that I do enjoy her on the network and think she's a lovely, passionate and well-spoken co host for the Essentials.  That's not to say that I didn't enjoy Alec Baldwin, there's just something sweet and fun about Ms. Barrymore.
So! yes back to Night Flight, I hadn't heard too much about the movie, but the cast and hearing that Drew Barrymore would be there was a pretty big draw, it also looked like one of the most popular screenings of the entire festival.  Robert Osborne introduced the movie and told us that he didn't love it.  He had seen a bootleg version of it.  He also told us to watch for a particular scene, he said that John Barrymore was worried that his brother Lionel would steal the scene, even though Lionel didn't have any dialogue, the director bet him that it wouldn't happen, but in the end John Barrymore won the bet.  I enjoyed the movie, I didn't love it, but I think having that kind of introduction lowered my expectations, I knew that a lot of wonderful actors and actresses were going to be in it, so I just let myself enjoy it.  Drew Barrymore came out to speak after the film and went on and on and on! about her LOVE for TCM, she said it's the channel she always has on in the background when she's home. She shared a story about once staying up late just to watch Carnal Knowledge when it came on TCM.

  She said she loves her family's heritage, sees her resemblance to her famous relatives, especially in her profile.  She even showed everyone her profile, it was very cute.  She was so enthusiastic and seemed so beyond thrilled to be there!  She said that she was a student of cinema herself.  Robert Osborne asked her if she was ever interested in theater, she said she respects the theater, but isn't interested.  She also mentioned that she thought her famous ancestors would be embarrassed by her cadence, she said she thought she had too much of a 'valley girl' accent.  Overall it was a wonderful interview, she was very candid and showed an enormous amount of respect for classic film, TCM and her famous acting ancestors.  Here's a little 2 minute clip, I decided to just randomly start filming, I apologize for the zooming in and out, the beeping and that persons' head that's in the way:

After Night Flight I stayed in the Chinese Multiplex and headed over to a screening of The Trouble with Harry.  I never miss a chance to see an Alfred Hitchcock movie on the big screen and as an added bonus, Jerry "The Beav" Mathers was in attendance.  He ended up being a delightful person to hear speak.  he shared a lot of stories of his time on the set of Leave it to Beaver and from just being on the lot.  He ended up sharing one of the strangest story I think I have ever heard at maybe any interview or event.  He told us that when he was hanging out on the lot he helped out on the set of Psycho, how did he help out? you might be asking yourself, oh just by putting in the individual hairs on the skull used for (Spoiler Alert) the mother's skeleton in Psycho.  Can you imagine little Jerry Mathers putting hairs in a skull?!  So bizarre.  He also told us the real reason behind Barbara Billingsley's pearl necklace.  He said that it was because she thought they covered up the muscles in her neck, which she found unattractive.  Who knew?!

I loved getting to see this movie in a packed theater, I love this black comedy and really enjoyed getting to see it, I love that Alfred Hitchcock gets a lot of love at the TCM Classic Film Festival.

Up next was A Place in the Sun, in the Egyptian Theater, which was introduced was Rose McGowan and had an interview with Eva Marie Saint afterwards, which was added at the last minute.  The intro by Rose McGowan was alright, she talked about how much Elizabeth Taylor has been missed, what a wonderful movie this is; it wasn't really anything too groundbreaking, interesting, but not informative.  I'm glad they added the Eva Marie Saint interview to the conclusion of this movie.  The interview was very casual and informative.  One of the moments that was really beautiful was when Ms. Saint talked about working with Montgomery Clift, she said that when she worked with him it was the first time she worked with an actor who "when he cried, he cried, when he laughed, he laughed and when he held her and trembled she felt it."  She described him as loving to laugh, but also being very shy.  She had worked with both Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor on Raintree County, so she briefly discussed his accident, which was of course devastating.

The conversation then turned to Elizabeth Taylor.  Robert Osborne shared a very interesting story about an encounter with her.  It turns out that in the 1970s Robert Osborne was a seat filler for the Academy Awards and at one of the ceremonies Richard Burton got up, so Mr. Osborne filled his seat (next to Elizabeth Taylor, of course).  Richard ended up not returning to his seat for the duration of the ceremony and Robert stayed seated next to Elizabeth Taylor for the whole award ceremony.  Can you believe that?!  I had never heard that story before, totally amazing.  I'd love to see a picture of a young Robert Osborne next to Elizabeth Taylor at the Oscars!  It turned out to be a lovely screening and a nice way to remember Elizabeth Taylor; she is so beautiful in that movie.  Again, another wonderful movie to see in a theater, with an audience.

I decided to stay in the Egyptian Theater for the final film, West Side Story!  I love seeing musicals on the big screen, so exciting.  The screening included an interview with Ben Mankiewicz, George Chakiris, Marni Nixon and Producer Walter Mirisch before the film.  They talked about how each of them got involved in the film and what the experience was like.  It was a very light-hearted discussion.  I loved hearing from Marni Nixon, she's involved in so many movies, but since she does vocal dubbing you don't think of her as being a main element, so wonderful.  It was also great to hear George Chakiris talk about his experience, he also appeared to have not aged a day, very intriguing.  The movie was wonderful!  I'm glad I decided to end the festival with this movie.  But, it was sad that the festival had now come to an end.  I headed over to the closing night party, took some pictures and then called it a night.

It was another excellent year and another excellent film festival, I really enjoyed many of the improvements made to the festival and can't wait til the next one (and at this rate I won't have to, it kind of already started).  Thanks again TCM, you rule!

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