The TCM Classic Film Festival opens this evening in Los Angeles with a 50th anniversary screening of The Sound of Music. Christopher Plummer will be there—Malina Saval interviews him for Variety—and so will Julie Andrews. Rebecca Keegan talks with her in the Los Angeles Times about how critics responded to the musical in 1965, how Hollywood’s changed over the past half-century and, of course, about Lady Gaga.
“Now in its sixth year, the TCM Classic Film Festival draws 25,000 people to Hollywood for four days each spring in a celebration of the idea that they don’t make ’em like that anymore,” writes Keegan in a separate overview. “In the case of The Sound of Music, it’s hard to argue…. The festival will also present world premiere restorations of 1939’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame and the 1928 Buster Keaton comedy Steamboat Bill, Jr., featuring a live orchestra performing a new score by silent film composer Carl Davis. A kind of Comic-Con for people who know their Crawford from their Stanwyck, the TCM festival draws fans paying up to $1,649 for passes that allow them to mingle with their screen idols and fellow film buffs, and see movies rarely shown on the big screen.”
Also in the LAT, Susan King: “For years, the only remaining footage of Harry Houdini‘s 1919 silent adventure thriller The Grim Game was a five-minute excerpt of an actual mid-air collision involving some spectacular derring-do from the legendary magician and escape artist.” But film preservationist Rick Schmidlin discovered the last remaining full copy last year and the new restoration sees its world premiere on Sunday. “Composer Brane Zivkovic will be conducting a live performance of his new score.”
For Thompson on Hollywood, Bill Desowitz reports on the restorations of The Sound of Music and 1776 (1972), “a cult favorite about the intense political struggle by the Continental Congress to declare independence that gets better with every viewing.”
“And as usual, the festival has much of LGBT interest,” writes Trudy Ring for the Advocate. Among the highlights:
- Shirley MacLaine will be on hand for the screening of William Wyler‘s The Children’s Hour (1961).
- A conversation with Sophia Loren.
- Boom! (1968), which the festival notes has been declared “beyond bad” by John Waters: “It’s the other side of camp.” With Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.
What’s more: “Homoerotic undercurrents between James Dean and Sal Mineo in Rebel Without a Cause. Judith Anderson as a delicious lesbian villain in Hitchcock’s Rebecca (it’s OK to portray us as villains if it’s done well). The gorgeous and possibly bisexual Errol Flynn in The Sea Hawk, and a conversation with his daughter Rory, who’s just published a memoir. The also-gorgeous Peter O’Toole as the possibly gay T.E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia, costarring the equally breathtaking Omar Sharif. Greta Garbo as the butch Queen Christina. The recently deceased Lizabeth Scott, the subject of lesbian rumors during her life, in the just-restored film noir Too Late for Tears. Bisexual actor Anthony Perkins as the scariest nice young man ever in Psycho. Cole Porter’s Kiss Me, Kate in 3D. The pre-Code classic backstage musical 42nd Street—there’s at least one scene that will make your gaydar go off. The gay-beloved musical Grease, screening poolside at the Roosevelt, and the gay-beloved Douglas Sirk melodrama Imitation of Life.”
In the Notebook, Adrian Curry has a spectacular entry on Mike Kaplan’s new book, Gotta Dance! The Art of the Dance Movie Poster. Kaplan will be signing copies on Saturday and posters from his collection will be on view in Club TCM.
Meantime, the festival’s a-tumblin’, too.
Update, 3/29: TCM’s blog Movie Morlocks has posted two dispatches so far, the first from Richard Harland Smith, who’s got notes on John Ford’s My Darling Clementine (1946), Anthony Mann’s Reign of Terror (1949), The Cincinnati Kid and Peter Watkins’s The War Game (1965).
The second comes from Jeremy Arnold: “Day 3 of this year’s festival, for me, was heavier on interviews than actual screenings. With the likes of Norman Lloyd and Sophia Loren in town, ready to talk about their lives and careers, I was eager to take advantage of the incredible opportunity to hear from them firsthand.”
Updates, 4/25: “Hardly a seminar on cinematic historical representation, TCMFF’s overriding focus this year proved to be interesting as much for its subdivisions as for its main idea,” writes Dennis Cozzalio in a terrific overview of this year’s edition for the House Next Door. Among the films warranting a few paragraphs of their own are John Ford’s Air Mail (1932), Anthony Mann’s Reign of Terror (1949), Orson Welles’s Chimes at Midnight (1965) and Mark Robson’s Earthquake (1974). At his own site, Dennis has posted a photo gallery.