TCM Classic Film Festival 2016: One Last Look Back

It’s been a whole week since I came home from Hollywood after the 2016 Turner Classic Movies Classic Film Festival. For my final post on the event, I’m going to dive into each day. This will help anyone who wasn’t there get a sense of how much fun this event is. Yes, it’s exhausting, but when you’re with friends and seeing great movies, you can easily forget that.

Wednesday, April 27

I arrived in California a day before the festival started. Coincidentally, I met Jessica of Comet Over Hollywood at the airport in Atlanta! Now, that was really cool.


Wednesday night also featured a cool pre-festival event at the Hollywood Heritage Museum, which is housed at the Lasky-DeMille Barn. Authors Jay Jorgenson & Donal Scoggins were on hand to discuss Creating the Illusion: A Fashionable History of Costume Designers, their new book on the designers of the Golden Age of Hollywood. The barn is like a one-room museum, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a whole slew of cool Hollywood relics. I also hung out with Jessica, Kristen of Sales On Film and Angela of Hollywood Revue.

Hollywood Heritage Museum [photo by Daniel S. Levine]
Thursday, April 28

As I noted in my introduction, TCM had much more planned before the movies started Thursday night. They also had the TCM Boutique open early! So I met even more friends before screenings started!

My Thursday screenings were A Tree Grows In Brooklyn and Brief Encounter. A Tree Grows In Brooklyn was sadly interrupted by a fire alarm, but the TCMFF and Chinese Theatre staff kept everyone calm. We were all able to see the end of the film. It was a rough start to the festival, but the only major issue I encountered.

Ted Donaldson, who was 10 years old when he made ‘A Tree Grows In Brooklyn’ [photo by Daniel S. Levine]
Friday, April 29

Friday was my crazy day, with six screenings – and that’s without seeing the midnight screening! The day started with Ida Lupino’s surprisingly strong directing debut, Never Fear. Since Double Harness was sold out (both Casey a.k.a. Noir Girl and I were out of luck), I ran over to the Egyptian for He Ran All The Way.


I stayed at the Egyptian for Trapeze, then headed over for Private Property and 6 Hours To Live at the Chinese Theatre. (I was in line with Jandy of The Frame, Nora a.k.a. The Nitrate Diva and Fussy, a.k.a. Nora’s awesome mom.) At some point, I would like to do a full post on Private Property and I hope it airs on TCM. That’s the ind of film you go to these events to see – it’s something I had never heard of and even had no interest in seeing. But it was worth it.

The day ended with The Manchurian Candidate. Yes, I was sad that I missed The Passion of Joan of Arc, but being in the same room as Angela Lansbury more than made up for it.

Angela Lansbury [photo by Daniel S. Levine]
Saturday, April 30

The first event of Saturday was easily one of the main highlights. Ron Hutchinson’s 90th Anniversary of Vitaphone presentation was fantastic. Despite featuring shorts from 90 years ago and playing at 9 a.m., we all packed into the Egyptian theater to see these shorts on 35mm. I’ve been interested in the Vitaphone process ever since that amazing The Jazz Singer DVD box set came out in 2007. Two of the shorts hadn’t been seen in over 85 years and were shown in brand-new restorations.


Up next was Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid. This was only one of two movies I saw in the main IMAX theater. (The other was The Manchurian Candidate.) Carl Reiner had some great stories about the movie and confirmed that Mel Brooks does indeed still go to his house to watch TV with him (and sleep on the couch).

Carl Reiner [photo by Daniel S. Levine]
After that was the fascinating Academy Conversation on The War of the Worlds (1953) with Craig Barron and Ben Burtt breaking down the making of the film. Star Ann Robinson was also in the crowd! Following that was Band of Outsiders and GOG. You can click the titles to check out my full posts on them.

Sunday, May 1

For the last day of the festival, I kicked things off with The Fallen Idol and Law and Order. (I was in line with Joel for these films.) I finally got to see Eva Marie Saint at the screening of The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming. Admittedly, this was the last film I’d want to see Saint introduce, but seeing it on the big screen and with a crowd made me realize how funny it is. On the small screen, you can easily miss details and be distracted, but with a crowd, everything pops. OK, now I like the movie.

Eva Marie Saint and Leonard Maltin [photo by Daniel S. Levine]
My final screening of the festival was The Band Wagon, my favorite MGM musical. Yes, this meant I missed Network and seeing Faye Dunaway in person, but I just felt the need to end the festival on a happy note.

Monday, May 2

On Monday, I headed home. But amazingly, I was on a shuttle with Kendahl of A Classic Movie Blog to the airport! It’s like the movie gods didn’t want the event to end for me! Well, it did sadly.

[photo by Daniel S. Levine]
I do hope to attend next year and the saving starts now! The TCMFF is such a blast, not just for seeing the movies but because you get to meet all your friends in person. These are the people you talk with on Twitter and Facebook all the time. Even if you aren’t into social media, you will still make new friends. Always talk to the person in line next to you. After all, you have at least one thing in common: you love movies.

Also, if I was in line with you and I didn’t give you a shout-out here, apologies!

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