Sunday, April 15, 2018

Extremely Tentative Picks for the 2018 TCM Classic Film Festival

I'm not even sure why I'm attempting to put together this post, since I feel like all of these plans will be changing, probably before I even finish writing this up.  But I'm going to give it a go and be forewarned that for pretty much every time block I'm either conflicted over my own choices and/or my dad and I have conflicting first choices.  Since the full schedule was released we have gone back and forth quite a bit.  Should make for an interesting festival this year, with so many wonderful choices.

Before diving into the films I'll start with the 2 easy picks (because they are the only events planned in these time slots), So You Think You Know Movies- Trivia Contest and the Welcome Party on Thursday afternoon/early evening.

Thursday: First Block- New Experience for Him, Film Favorite for Us, and Special Guest 🎩,  📽, & 💃
Since we have gone for the Essential Pass this year we will be attending the Red Carpet opening night screening of The Producers (1968), which will also include the Robert Osborne Award presentation to Martin Scorsese.  I'm not sure what to expect from the award presentation, but I do know what to expect from Mel Brooks and the screening of The Producers.  I was lucky enough to go to a very similar presentation at the first annual TCM Classic Film Festival, which I blogged about: here.  His films and his presence are always such an incomparable joy.  This will also be my dad's first year actually making in onto the red carpet.  The first year we attended together, we watched the red carpet from the bleachers, and last year my dad wasn't feeling super great that first night so he skipped the first evening of the festival.  So I'm hoping this one lives up to his expectations.

Our Pick: The Producers [Digital]

Thursday: Second Block- Nitrate 🔥
Seeing as this is the first block where there are multiple options, of course we have our first tough decision.  My choice for this block is: Stage Door (1937) on Nitrate, while my dad is finding himself drawn to Fail-Safe (1964).  There are a few things to consider when it comes to this time block.  One, we may not even get out of The Producers in time to make it to either.  Two, it depends on if I'm able to get to other Nitrate screenings.  And Three, someone's jetlag may have him turning in early the first night.

My Pick: Stage Door  [35mm Nitrate]

Friday: First Block - New to Us and Special Guest 🎞 & 💃
At first glance, I was immediately drawn to Strangers on a Train (1951), due to my eternal love for all things Alfred Hitchcock, but after looking more carefully at the choices and after my dad's suggestion it looks like Intruder in the Dust (1945) is the new front runner for this time slot.  In addition to this being a new to me movie, the actor, Claude Jarman Jr. will be in attendance, which will make it that much more interesting.  Plus, I'm hoping to get my Hitchcock fix the following day.

Our Pick: Intruder in the Dust [35mm]

Friday: Second Block- Film Favorite and Special Guest 📽 & 💃
Next up will likely be Witness for the Prosecution (1957), which is one of my favorite movies, directed by one of my favorite directors, with one of my favorite casts and part of the Christie's Mysteries theme of the festival.  We also briefly discussed The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1944) as a possibility, but we will most likely be checking out Ruta Lee and this Wilder gem.

Our Pick: Witness for the Prosecution [35mm]

Friday: Third Block- New to Us and Special Guest 🎞 & 💃
It is hard to pass up an opportunity to see Eva Marie Saint in person.  I've have had the unbelievable pleasure of getting to see her speak multiple times at multiple film events (I've even blogged about some over the years: here), mostly at TCMFF, but also at a special Hitchcock event at the Hollywood Bowl.  So, I'm excited that my dad will get a chance to see her in person this year, it also doesn't hurt that her attendance is paired with such an interesting movie, which will be new to both of us.

Our Pick: A Hatful of Rain [Digital]

Friday: Fourth Block - Film Favorite and Special Guests 📽 & 💃
This is a tough time slot, mostly because we are very much considering our first pool-side screening so timing may be an issue.  However, if timing doesn't end up being a concern my number one choice this block is The Odd Couple (1968).  I have such a soft spot for Walter Matthau and have been slowly going through his entire filmography this past year, in fact according to my Letterboxd account, he was my most watched actor of the year and I'm perfectly giddy about it.  And in addition to the film screening there will also be a discussion at the end of the film with the Pigeon Sisters, Monica Evans and Carole Shelley.  However, depending on how the day goes and if we're deeply drawn to and concerned about the time for The Roaring Twenties screening we may in fact grab some dinner during this block.

Our throwing caution to the wind choice: The Odd Couple [Digital]
Our timing concern choice: Dinner with time to spare for The Roaring Twenties screening

Friday: Fifth Block- New Experience and New to Us 🎩 & 🎞
For the final block of the day our goal is to make it to our first poolside screening ever!!!  As outlined above it depends on how the day goes and how strong Walter Matthau's hold is on me.  I'm excited to possibly attend my first poolside screening in 9 years of attending the festival and I'm interested in hearing the intro from Keith Carradine, who appears to be a super cool dude.  It seems like he's been present at the festival for the last few years and I have yet to hear one of his intros.  Also looking forward to seeing this movie for the first time, great cast.  So yeah, a little bit of wait and see for this block too.  However, if we end up going with The Odd Couple and there is a timing issue and The Roaring Twenties can't happen I think I might take myself down to the Egyptian for the Nitrate screening of Leave Her to Heaven (1945), which was also screened [not on Nitrate] at the first film fest or this might be another opportunity to get some food, so many options.

If the timing works out, Our Pick: The Roaring Twenties [Digital]
If it doesn't: Leave Her to Heaven or Dinner

After going over the Saturday schedule it looks like this might be our split-up day.  I always go back and forth on the pros and cons of splitting up from my dad during the festival.  It's cool because I get to hear about the interesting thing that he did and it reduces the feelings of resentment of being "dragged" to see something you aren't totally thrilled about, while also "giving up" getting to see something you were looking forward to seeing.  But then on the flip side I like to share experiences and enjoy seeing a movie with him, both when it's something that's new to both of us and when it's an old favorite, plus it counts as our time to visit with each other since I live across the country from my family.  In the past we've split up for a screening or two here and there, so I guess it's just the nature of the beast.

Saturday: First Block- Film Favorite or New to Us 📽 or 🎞
That being said for the first block of the day we haven't made a final decision, but my number one pick is His Girl Friday (1940) because I love seeing Cary Grant on the big screen.  However, we are also considering A Letter to Three Wives (1949), which would be new to both of us.  So, probably not a split during this block, but still undecided.

Indecisive Choices: His Girl Friday [Digital] or A Letter to Three Wives [Digital]

Saturday: Second Block- New to Us 🎞
Our second block also isn't our first possible split up either.  For this time slot we're most likely going to be checking out Ida Lupino's Outrage (1950).  This will be new to both of us and it sounds like it tackles really controversial and important issues.  Our second choice is also possibly, When You Read This Letter (1953), which would also be new for us.  But I think we're going to stick with this Lupino film.

Our Pick: Outrage [35mm]

Saturday: Third Block- First Possible Split: New to Him & Film Favorite for Me 🎞 & 📽
When he said it, I couldn't believe it, I must've misheard, but it sounded like he said, he quite possibly has never seen Sunset Boulevard (1950).  The shock! the horror!  So obviously this has to be remedied as quickly as possible.  However, as much as I want to watch my dad see Sunset Blvd. for the first time in Grauman's Theater, introduced by Nancy Olson, I might have to skip it for the amazing Wife vs. Secretary (1936) starring Jean Harlow, Jimmy Stewart, Clarke Gable, and Myrna Loy.  I have seen Sunset Blvd. more times than I should admit, in fact I attended the screening of it at the first TCMFF (also with Nancy Olson in attendance).  So I don't know what to do here, but this is what I'm thinking at this moment.

His Pick: Sunset Boulevard [Digital]
My Pick: Wife vs. Secretary [35mm]

Saturday: Fourth Block- Presentation or Panel in Club TCM 🎉
If I end up seeing Wife vs. Secretary then I'll have a little bit of downtime and can then get myself to the Hollywood Home Movies presentation in Club TCM.  After having checked this out last year I don't think I can miss it again.  I'm looking forward to checking out The Academy's contribution to the festival especially after interning there last Spring.  I also love getting to enjoy the peripheral/additional stuff that they do aside from the Oscar ceremony.  Depending on timing my dad should be able to join in on this block, if not he might go get in line for his next pick.

My Pick: Hollywood Home Movies

A gem from last year's presentation: Basil Rathbone's Home Movies capturing a behind the scenes moment of Claude Rains and Olivia de Haviland on set
Saturday: Fifth Block - Film Favorite and New to Me 📽 & 🎞
Next up is one of my dad's picks, The Lost Weekend (1945), which is a great movie, has a great cast, and is directed by one of my faves..  I'm going to try to catch this one too, due to my love of Billy Wilder, but there might be a time crunch.  So, if there is an issue he will watch Ray Milland's struggle with alcoholism and I might check out Show People (1928), which not only starts a little bit later, but sounds like a great movie, which I'm surprised I haven't seen and a great opportunity to see Marion Davies and William Haines on the big screen.

His Pick and My Pick if time permits : The Lost Weekend [Digital]
If time doesn't: Show People [35mm]

Saturday: Sixth Block- Film Favorite and Nitrate 📽& 🔥
Our final block of the day also happens to be one of our toughest time slots to make a decision about.  On the one hand Spellbound (1945) ticks so very many of my boxes: Hitchcock, Nitrate, Bergman and Peck, intro'd by one of my favorite film historians David Pierce, and has the added bonus of a Dali dream sequence.  But on the other hand we have The Big Lebowski (1998), which is one of my favorite movies of the last 20 years, it is probably quoted daily amongst myself and my family.  And I'm beginning to wonder if there will some special guests announced for that screening.  I do think that if Jeff Bridges ends up being announced as a guest I would not be able to pass it up.  Then on the third hand, my dad has a great interest in seeing Scarface (1932) on the big screen complete with intro by John Carpenter.  So, this block is up in the air for so many reasons, but this is the current plan.

My Pick: Spellbound [35mm, Nitrate]
His Pick: Scarface  [Digital]
Hard to Skip: The Big Lebowski

Sunday: First Block- Film Favorite 📽
It would be very difficult for me to skip Woman of the Year (1942), seeing as it is one of my favorite movies, starring one of my favorite on-screen team.  Plus, it looks like Keith Carradine is going to be doing the intro for this one as well.  So it'll be nice to go from having not had the opportunity to see Keith Carradine at a previous festival to go to seeing him twice in one fest.

My Pick: Woman of the Year [Digital]

Sunday: Second Block- Film Favorite and New to Him 📽 & 🎞
I never thought I'd ever pass up the opportunity to see Sally Field in person, but I also never thought I would have the opportunity to see Sally Field in person, but I have such a weird love for The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974), I don't fully understand my affinity for this movie, I tend not to care for violence, or watching Hector Elizondo pistol whip people, but there's something about this movie that I love.  I was so excited when it was announced and it became one of my must sees.  At that time little did I know that it would be scheduled against Places in the Heart (1984), with Sally Field in attendance.  So for now I'm decided on Taking of Pelham, while my dad is going to see Places in the Heart with Ms. Field in attendance.

My Pick: The Taking of Pelham One Two Three [35mm]
His Pick: Places in the Heart [Digital]

Sunday: Third Block- Presentation or Panel in Club TCM 🎉
I've always been fascinated by films that are "lost" or haven't been seen for decades and the stories behind them, this is partially why I obtained my most recent degree, MLIS, with a Media Archives Specialization and why I'm pursuing this new career.  All of that to say that I would love to attend the Mostly Lost: Identifying Unknown Films at the Library of Congress panel at Club TCM.  It looks like they have a great line-up of staff from the Library of Congress (which includes my film historian crush, David Pierce)

Our Pick: Mostly Lost: Identifying Unknown Films at the Library of Congress

Sunday: Fourth Block- Film Favorite 📽
For our final film of the festival we're going to go with The Phantom of the Opera (1925) with live accompaniment by the Mont Alto Motion Picture orchestra.  These screenings of a silent movie with a live orchestra have always been wonderful in the past, like the screening of The General and The Cameraman which is now making me realize there are no Buster Keaton movies that the festival this year, hmm.  It will also

Our Pick: The Phantom of the Opera [Digital]

Well that took much longer than I thought to put together, but that's our tentative plan for this year's festival.  It seems to be shaping up to be another wonderful festival with impeccable programming.  As per every other year our schedule is always subject.  Definitely let us know if we'll be going to any of the same screenings, looking forward to seeing many familiar faces.

Other blogger's festival picks, I'll add more as I come across them
Kim's picks at I See a Dark Theater: TCMFF 2018: Preview and Picks
Aurora's picks at Once Upon a Screen: Picks for #TCMFF 18: To be or not to be...
Kristen's must sees at Journeys in Classic Film: My TCM Classic Film Festival Must Sees
Chris's picks at Blog of the Darned: TCMFF Madness, Baby
KC's picks at A Classic Movie Blog: TCM Classic Film Festival 2018: My Tentative Schedule 
Laura's picks at Laura's Miscellaneous Movies: The 2018 TCM Classic Film Festival Schedule


  1. I am also doing Stage Door, Intruder in the Dust and Witness for the Prosecution. So I should see you two around! It is very likely, more than any other year, that I will be switching some things around though. No midnight movies for you? I think I may try both. We'll see how much I can stand! See you soon.--Kendahl

    1. Awesome! I definitely hope we'll get to see you, whether it's at a screening or just around. I'm always intrigued by the midnight movies, but know that I wouldn't be able to function the next day if I went to them. That's so ambitious of you to plan for both! Looking forward to seeing you soon

  2. Well Di - lots of thought went into that blog. I'm planning to actually eat this year so watch out��