The 2023 TCM Classic Film Festival officially kicks off on the afternoon of Thursday April 13 as attendees pack into Club TCM withing the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. The full programming schedule is listed on their website as is information about buying passes or individual tickets. My current schedule at the time of publication is below, although changes are not only possible but likely.
Last year, my festival viewing began with Jewel Robbery, a pre-Code romance starring William Powell and Kay Francis. I think I am going to continue that tradition with Tay Garnett’s One Way Passage (1932), which finds the duo getting involved in a shipboard romance. Helping make my decision is having seen most the other titles playing in the time slot except for George Seaton’s star-studded disaster film Airport (1970), which is very tempting seeing as its playing in 70 mm down at the Hollywood Legion Theater. In the second block, I will make it a romantic double feature with Delbert Mann’s Touch of Mink (1962), starring Cary Grant as the pursuer and Doris Day as the pursued. If I do head out for Airport, odds aren’t I won’t make it back in time for Mink, so I would try Henry Cornelius’s Genevieve (1953), a British comedy that finds two friends competing in a road race.
If I can get going for the first block, I hope to take in Edmund Goulding’s The Old Maid (1939), starring Miriam Hopkins and Bette Davis as it’s the only one I haven’t seen. However, a Harvey (1950) refresher with guest Joe Dante would be a nice start to the day. The early afternoon has two Lloyd Bacon pictures competing, Footlight Parade (1933) featuring Busby Berkley’s choreography or Larceny, Inc. (1942) with Edward G. Robinson. That’s going to be a game time decision.
Had it just been solely the movies competing, I would attend Robert Wise’s noir western Blood on the Moon (1948) starring Robert Mitchum, but Raoul Walsh’s The Strawberry Blonde (1941) is getting the “Warner Night at the Movies” treatment, which means it will be accompanied with cartoons, short subjects, and trailers from the era, followed by the studio’s new restoration of our feature presentation.
George Stevens’s Penny Serenade (1941) sees Irene Dunne and Cary Grant, who had previously been paired together in screwball comedies The Awful Truth (1937) and My Favorite Wife (1940), try their hand at a family drama. I always enjoy gimmicks at the festival so I must take in Andre de Toth’s House of Wax (1953) in 3D starring Vincent Price as a “demented sculptor who creates lifelike statues by murdering people and coating their bodies with wax.” Depending on my fatigue level, I aim to take on René Cardona’s The Batwoman (1968) and expand my Luchador cinema knowledge.
Although I am very interested in seeing Stanley Donen’s Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) for the first time and Russ Tamblyn in attendance is a bonus, there’s a great line-up at the Hollywood Legion that makes sense for me to stay there for a while. Berthold Viertel & Victor Viertel’s Wiser Sex (1932) finds Claudette Colbert having to clear her fiancé (Melvyn Douglas) who has been framed for murder. I have yet to see sound designer Ben Burtt and visual effects artist Craig Barron do one of their special presentations, but I hope to for Rudolph Maté’s When Worlds Collide, which legendary special effects wizard George Pal worked on. Co-stars Amy Irving and Peter Riegert will be on hand to talk about Joan Micklin Silver’s Crossing Delancey (1988), a romantic comedy about a young Jewish woman deciding her future and how her familial past affects her choice.
The next block is tough, but I am leaning towards Anatole Litvak’s Sorry, Wrong Number (1948) starring Barbara Stanwyk as a woman who overhears a murder plot that strikes close to home. Having only seen Disney’s version, this seems like a perfect time to take in Wallace Worsley’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) starring Lon Chaney. My level of exhaustion after a long day of watching movies will determine how long I stay (awake) for Robert Greenwald’s Xanadu (1980). It’s a bit silly but has some catchy songs.
This is where the planning gets tough because there are a few TBAs that might affect my choices. I am torn between Busby Berkeley’s Strike Up the Band (1940) musical starring Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland and Don Chaffey’s Jason and the Argonauts (1963) featuring work by special effects giant Ray Harryhausen and composer Bernard Herrmann. But after two midnight movies, I might be compelled to sleep, causing my day to start with Wesley Ruggles’s pre-Code romance No Man of Her Own (1932) starring Clark Gable and Carole Lombard. There’s going to be trouble with a capitol T, if I don’t get into Morton Da Costa’s The Music Man (1962), which is scheduled to have co-star Shirley Jones attending. I won’t know until Saturday night how my Sunday might look.