Last year's TCMFF was a long weekend of veritable Sophie's Choices. My heart was set on Peter-O'Toole-a-Thon, but this was at the expense of some lovely other screenings, like The Outlaw Josey Wales, Manhattan, La Dolce Vita, Bigger Than Life, The Third Man and tons of others. To choose between all-star post-film discussions and Kevin Brownlow? So painful. Digital projection of a movie I've seen and loved or a restored 35mm of something I've never heard of? These are the manifold painful pleasures of the TCMFF, which is like an edenic fever-dream for cinephiles wrapped up in an absurdly jam-packed schedule of anxiety-inducing psychological torture and sadness.
But looking over this year's schedule has come as a pleasantly less heart-wrenching experience. 2012 seems a year programmed just for me, chock-full of westerns, films noir, silents, and classic Universal horror films. I mean, I take it these program decisions were a direct shout-out to yours truly. Holla, TCMFF programmers.
Check out the 2012 schedule here.
Thursday, April 12
Luckily, the first day is always the easiest. After what I assume will be a busy socializing (read: drinking) period in the morning and afternoon, my noir adventure begins at the 3PM Club TCM panel The Maltese Touch of Evil. What is this? Who knows, who cares; it sounds awesome.
Since nobody and their mother gets into the super-duper VIP screening of Cabaret, the rest of us rabble will no doubt congregate at the 5PM Club TCM Festival Welcome Party, where the scoring of free drinks gets top billing. If it's anything like last year, everyone will stand around awkwardly, there will be absolutely no breathing room and lots of very excited nerds talking with their hands.
Hopefully retaining at least a semblance of sobriety, I'll be spending the evening at the Chinese Multiplex 3 where the silent Joan Crawford-starring Our Dancing Daughters begins at 7:15PM. There I will remain to geek out over Eddie Muller, Burt Lancaster and noir in 35MM; yes, it's Criss Cross at 10PM.
Friday, April 13
Rise and shine to CRUSHING INDECISION. Will it be The Searchers at Grauman's or Wings at the Chinese Multiplex 1? Both films are digital projections, which kind of breaks my heart, but I've already seen Bringing Up Baby on the big screen and neither of the other films scheduled in the morning interest me. Ultimately, I think this will come down to which of my friends goes where. I'll follow the lemmings.
Lunchtime will find me again in the Chinese Multiplex 3 for Raw Deal and staying there for Nothing Sacred. This is a tough choice because I LOVE Frankenstein (playing at the Egyptian at 3:30PM), but I've seen it in 35mm before and Nothing Scared is a screwball comedy starring Carole Lombard, directed by William Wellman and written by Ben Hecht. So basically all of my favorite people.
The first evening program represents probably the worst scheduling conflict of the fest: Do I wait in the gigantic line to see Vertigo at Grauman's GIGANTIC screen and hear Kim Novak talk about it? I mean, I probably will. It's Vertigo. Those colors. On that screen. With KIM NOVAK HERSELF. How could I say no? Even though I'd really like to go to continue my noir-a-thon with Cry Danger at the Egyptian...
The tough Friday choices continue late into the evening. I'd love to see Young Frankenstein because Mel Brooks will be there. But I've never seen The Grand Illusion on the big screen. And how often to both Robert Towne and Robert Evans discuss Chinatown together? I think Chinatown will probably win on this one, but it might depend on how punch-drunk I am after 12 hours of movie-watching...If I'm still conscious: Chinatown. If I've got the giggles: Young Frankenstein.
Saturday, April 14
Saturday is always the worst. And by worst, I mean the best. But also the worst. Your hyped up anticipation energy is replaced by oh my god I'm so tired lethargy meets I MUST WATCH ALL THE FILMS psycho-determination. The most important survival supplies on a long TCMFF Saturday are coffee and good friends to rib you in the guts when you nod off during the fourth, fifth, or sixth screening of the day.
If any screening typifies Saturday at TCMFF, it's The Longest Day, which ironically will kick it off for me. Wayne, Mitchum, Burton, Ryan, Fonda, everybody and their mother, WWII, black and white. Yeah, this movie has everything. After that light jaunt through the European campaign, I'm really anticipating the weird uniqueness of Retour de Flamme/3-D Rarities, presented by film historian Serge Bromberg. This program will include screenings of early cinema's most famous and experimental masterpieces. And how often can you say you saw a 100+ yr. old movie on the big screen?
The third show of the day is literally killing me. I'm absolutely committed to seeing Girl Shy (see my campaign to Save the Harold Lloyd Birthplace), but those rascals scheduled it opposite Night and the City, which is one of my absolute favorite noirs--and I've never seen it in 35mm. Hopefully, someday I'll get to watch Richard Widmark's giant, sweaty, crazy face on the big screen because this year my vote goes to Harold.
I'll make myself comfortable at the Egyptian, where Gun Crazy screens at 6:45PM. More than Night and the City, this is really top 10 noir for me and Peggy Cummins will be there IN PERSON. Amazing. At 9:30PM, it's the restoration of the Clara Bow-starring silent Call Her Savage (yay film preservation!), followed by a midnight screening of Duck Soup. The Marx Bros. at midnight? Try and stop me.
Sunday, April 15 (providing I'm not completely comatose by this point)
Sunday begins bright and early at 9AM with me trying my damnedest to stay awake during How The West Was Won. I mean, it's a Cinerama picture at the Cinerama Dome! How can I sleep in?
And since How The West Was Won is a million hours long, that basically eliminates a lot of choices. Why not continue the western epic theme with Rio Bravo at 3:30PM? Sounds good to me.
The festival ends with a bang, and possibly my most anticipated screening of the weekend: The Thief of Bagdad with live musical accompaniment from the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra. 7PM at the Egyptian; be there or be square!
I'll see you all at the Festival Closing Party...and then probably talking and laughing and eating and drinking and reminiscing into the wee hours of the morning on Hollywood Blvd.