After missing the last two years, TCM is returning to the streets of Hollywood on Thursday April 21 as our thousands of their fans who want to celebrate movies with like-minded folks. The full schedule is listed on their website as is information about buying passes or individual tickets. My tentative schedule at the time of publication is below.
Not counting the star-studded Official Opening Night Presentation of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, celebrating its 40th anniversary, there are five films in the first time slot for festival goers. I am going to attempt to check off a couple spots on my TCMFF bingo card with a pre-Code in the dreaded Chinese Multiplex House 4 with William Dieterle’s Jewel Robbery (1932) starring William Powell and Kay Francis as a thief and a Baroness who meet when he robs her. At what is likely to be a last-minute decision still I haven’t made a selection at the time of this writing, I am torn with keeping the crime theme going with a new restoration of Jules Dassin’s Topkapi (1964) about a crew after a jewel-encrusted dagger and laughing at Preston Sturges’s wartime comedy Hail the Conquering Hero (1944) about Woodrow Lafayette Pershing Truesmith (Eddie Bracken) whose phony story about his military exploits, intended to put his mother at ease, gets out of hand when word gets around his hometown.
If I feel like taking the hike from my hotel to the Hollywood Legion Theater, I might hoof it over for George Cukor’s Dinner at Eight (1933), but knowing I am not a morning person, odd are better I’ll be seeing Roy Del Ruth’s Maisie Gets Her Man (1942) starring Ann Sothern and Red Skelton. I haven’t see anything from the Maisie series am curious how not seeing any of the previous five films will impact my viewing.
My next couple films I am choosing movies I have seen before. Laughter with an audience is tipping the scales for this pair that finds male stars exploring their feminine side. Sydney Pollack’s Tootsie (1982) stars Dustin Hoffman as a difficult actor who poses as a woman to get a job on a soap opera. Then Carl Reiner’s All of Me (1984) finds Steve Martin’s character accidentally inhabited by the spirit of Lily Tomlin, who will be interviewed before the film.
There are more tough choices this day. I don’t have a musical on the agenda yet so Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly’s It’s Always Fair Weather (1955) about three World War II GIs reuniting fits the bill. But the mystery of William Wyler’s The Letter (1940) starring Bette Davis, as a woman who murders a man and lies about the reason why. While I have The Letter on my DVR thanks to TCM, it sounds the more compelling of the two. Am wavering between Michael Schultz’s Cooley High, a landmark African American film with cast members in attendance, and Harry Essex’s I, The Jury (1953) as I started reading Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer novels and about to finish the second, My Gun Is Quick, which was also adapted into a movie. Plus, it’s in 3D. If up to it, I will watch (likely catnap in) the midnight screening of Steve De Jarnatt’s apocalyptic rom-com Miracle Mile, a cult hit starring Anthony Edwards and Mare Winningham as a young couple in love as world War III commences.
I am leaning toward going to the Legion for John Sayles’s directorial debut The Return of the Secaucus 7 (1980) with him and his partner, producing and in life, Maggie Renzi then I’ll likely stay for Jacques Tourneur’s swashbuckler The Flame and the Arrow (1950) preceded by an Academy Conversation by Oscar-winning sound designer Ben Burtt and Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor Craig Barron.
Hope to make time for Jeannot Szwarc’s Somewhere in Time (1980) with Jane Seymour in attendance. Then returning to the Legion for another Wyler film, Counsellor at Law (1933). I’ll bookend end the day with another director’s debut, Barry Levinson’s Diner (1982) with four cast members on hand for a discussion. I might peek in for the discussion about John Waters’s Polyester (1981) and am curious if there will be Odorama cards handed out.
Sunday is filled with TBA spots whose titles are revealed on Saturday, so this day is the least likely for my choices now to be correct and there are timeslots I don’t want to commit to without knowing what’s playing and when I have to get in line. I’ll start the day with Peter Bogdanovich’s Paper Moon (1973) starring the father-daughter team of Ryan and Tatum O’Neal. Robert Siodmak’s comic thriller Fly-by-Night (1942) sounds intriguing as an intern on the run for a murder he didn’t commit uncovers a Nazi spy ring. Am torn between closing with Penny Marshall’s A League of Their Own (1992) and Jack Hill’s Coffey (1973). Both will have star power at the screenings as Pam Grier will be on hand for the latter while a few actors from League are also set. Hope the programmers don’t make my choices any tougher on Sunday.