On Sunday, I leave for my first-ever Turner Classic Movies Film Festival (TCMFF)!! I am so excited. This is something that I’ve always wanted to do. My husband and I splurged on Spotlight passes and we’re staying at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. I wanted to go all-out for my first experience. We’ve been saving for for months, so it’s very exciting. If we go again next year, I am not sure that I’ll go all out again; though I will definitely have quite some time to save, so who knows. Anyway, but I digress.
My husband and I leave on Sunday on a 6AM flight from Portland to Los Angeles. Oof. However, prior to going to Hollywood, we are spending two days at Disneyland. This was a last-minute (decided less than a week ago) decision and we came just under the wire in booking a package and making reservations. Now I’m in the world of cutthroat dining reservations. After Disney, we’re headed to Hollywood and are going to visit the Los Angeles Zoo and hopefully Griffith Observatory. On the 12th at the un-godly hour of 6:45am, we are visiting the Los Angeles Breakfast Club for breakfast with Eddie Muller. We’re also scheduled for a WB Studio Classics Tour. I have dinner reservations at Formosa Cafe and Musso & Frank’s. I’m also hoping to fit in visits to: Frolic Room, Amoeba Music, Boardners, Hollywood Heritage Museum, Edelweiss Chocolates in Beverly Hills, Pink’s, and Tail O’ the Pup. We’ll see.
Then Thursday is when the 14th annual TCMFF starts. I have been obsessing over the schedule since it was released. My husband and I are trying to collaborate on a schedule, as we’re planning on attending the whole event together, no splitting up. He’s pretty easy going, so it hasn’t been difficult, but I definitely want him to have input. We’re also trying to take advantage of book signings and other activities that would be difficult to have outside the festival. While we are definitely going to watch movies, actually getting to see the big stars, and attending book signings is something I want to do as well. I hope that we’ll be able to see all five of the hosts.
This year’s festival has the overarching theme of “Legacy” with special emphasis on WB’s 100th anniversary. My goal is to see at least one program at each of the venues. Without further ado, these are our stream of consciousness decisions as we work through the schedule:
Thursday, April 13th, 2023
Since we have spotlight passes, we’ll definitely be doing the red carpet and attending the opening night film, which is Rio Bravo. Angie Dickinson is set to appear as well as Steven Spielberg and Paul Thomas Anderson. Neither my husband nor I have seen Rio Bravo, and while Westerns aren’t my favorite, I don’t want to miss a chance to see Angie, nor am I planning on missing an event that my premium pass allows me to attend. We were going to see the opening night film regardless of what it was. After the film, we’ll be attending the opening night gala cocktail party. I imagine that the cocktail party will fill the remainder of the evening, so we’ll probably be missing out on the rest of the evening’s events. If for some reason we were back at the festival in the evening and it’s not too late, I’d see The Wild One, but I doubt it.
HAVE I SEEN RIO BRAVO? No
HAVE I SEEN RIO BRAVO IN THE THEATER? No
BACK-UP CHOICE: N/A.
Friday, April 14, 2023
Friday morning we’re getting up early and heading down to the Chinese Multiplex #1 to see James Stewart in Harvey. I’ve heard a lot about this movie and have never seen it. It was also a title that my husband was interested in watching and has expressed interest in seeing it in the past. This is a tough timeslot as King Kong is scheduled at the same time at the IMAX. However, my husband and I literally just saw ‘Kong’ a couple months ago in the theater. If The Old Maid had been the originally-scheduled Old Acquaintance, that would have also been on my list.
HAVE I SEEN HARVEY? No
HAVE I SEEN HARVEY IN THE THEATER: No
BACK-UP CHOICE: King Kong (1933)
After Harvey, we are moving to Chinese Multiplex #6 for James Cagney and Joan Blondell in Footlight Parade. I’ve always wanted to see a Busby Berkeley movie in the theater, so this is the perfect chance. I would have preferred my favorite, Golddiggers of 1933, but I will settle for ‘Footlight.’ This is a tough timeslot, because I would have also happily selected East of Eden or Larceny, Inc. I could potentially risk ‘Footlight’ in hopes that it would repeat on Sunday in one of the TBA slots and see ‘Eden’ instead, but I really want to see Berkeley’s choreography on the big screen and don’t want to risk missing it.
HAVE I SEEN FOOTLIGHT PARADE? Yes
HAVE I SEEN FOOTLIGHT PARADE IN THE THEATER? No
BACK-UP CHOICE: East of Eden (1955)
At 3:00pm, we are planning on attending the Club TCM event devoted to the Looney Tunes. Looney Tunes are definitely a big part of WB’s legacy and I am happy that they are being celebrated. It’s painful that the event is blocking Blood on the Moon which I wanted to see; but I just purchased the blu ray during the recent WB Archive sale. Maybe I’ll get lucky and ‘Moon’ will be a TBA.
BACK-UP CHOICE FOR CLUB TCM EVENT: Blood on the Moon (1948)
This is where the evening gets tough, because I want to attend the poolside screening, but it starts at 8pm and Looney Tunes ends at 4pm. My husband isn’t interested in the 5pm Club TCM event and I could take it or leave it. There’s definitely room in the schedule for a film; but TCM has scheduled the poolside screening in a way that completely interferes with two entire blocks of films. I hate to be that person who leaves early from something; but that might be the situation this evening so that we can use our time the most efficiently. We might go to American Graffiti to see Richard Dreyfuss. Or perhaps Paris Blues, because it’s awesome and it ends only a little bit before the pool event so that we wouldn’t miss as much of the film. We’d also see The Killers, but we just saw it in the theater a few months ago. I know Penny Serenade is a big deal; but that movie was so sad, I don’t know if that will be the movie I’ll be drawn toward at the festival. Regardless of what film we see, we’ll be leaving early to get to the poolside screening.
HAVE I SEEN AMERICAN GRAFFITI? Parts of it
HAVE I SEEN AMERICAN GRAFFITI IN THE THEATER? No
HAVE I SEEN PARIS BLUES? Yes
HAVE I SEEN PARIS BLUES IN THE THEATER? No
HAVE I SEEN THE KILLERS? Yes
HAVE I SEEN THE KILLERS IN THE THEATER? Yes
BACK-UP: These are all back-ups to each other.
I wanted to go to a poolside screening, and of the three offered, Beach Party is the most appealing. Frankie Avalon is scheduled to appear, which makes this event even more exciting. I even have a “Beauty School Dropout” shirt for the occasion. This film would also be really fun to see poolside. However, its 8pm to 10pm timeslot effectively interferes two blocks of films. The entire block is awesome. I’m interested in the Spencer Tracy/Loretta Young precode, Man’s Castle, and I love Ball of Fire. Dana Delany is introducing ‘Fire,’ and I liked her appearances on TCM. She’s the one who introduced me to Alain Delon in Once a Thief. So we might leave Beach Party early, so that we can get to either House of Wax in 3D or 12 Angry Men. I can hope that ‘Castle’ or ‘Fire’ are one of Sunday’s TBAs.
HAVE I SEEN BEACH PARTY? Yes
HAVE I SEEN BEACH PARTY ON THE BIG SCREEN? No
HAVE I SEEN HOUSE OF WAX? No
HAVE I SEEN HOUSE OF WAX IN THE THEATER? No
HAVE I SEEN 12 ANGRY MEN: Yes
HAVE I SEEN 12 ANGRY MEN IN THE THEATER? No
BACK-UP: House of Wax 3D or 12 Angry Men
Then, because it looks so ridiculous, we’ll probably close out the evening with the midnight movie, The Batwoman. I don’t expect quality; but I expect a lot of fun.
HAVE I SEEN THE BATWOMAN? No
HAVE I SEEN THE BATWOMAN IN THE THEATER? No
Saturday, April 15, 2023
Straight off the bat, at 9am, the schedule is difficult. I want to see the precode, The Wiser Sex with Claudette Colbert, The Muppets Take Manhattan, and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. I’d even watch Paths of Glory which I really like, though for me I think I’d rather watch it later in the day. I’m going to gamble on The Wiser Sex being one of the TBA, because I wanted to see one of the two films that Russ Tamblyn is appearing at. He is introducing Peyton Place on Friday, but it’s interfering with Looney Tunes. Of the two films he’s introducing, ‘Brides’ would be my pick for a movie to see in the theater.
HAVE I SEEN SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS? Yes
HAVE I SEEN SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS IN THE THEATER? No
BACK-UP: The Wiser Sex (1932)
‘Seven Brides’ ends at 11am. We could possibly go to the Laurel & Hardy Shorts (though I think I’ve seen all the ones being featured) and leave a little early for our next event. Or we could take this time to eat an early lunch (if we’re hungry). We’re planning on attending the Club TCM event The Evolution of Henson Puppetry with Jim Henson’s son, Brian, leading the discussion. I’m hoping that Kermit the Frog or Grover make an appearance. The Club TCM event ends at 1:30pm. The next event we want to attend is at 3:00pm, so we could attend the Paramount Short Subject feature or go eat lunch if we didn’t eat earlier.
Because at 3PM…
Once Ann-Margret was announced as a guest, it didn’t even matter to me what was scheduled against her. We were going to go see Ann-Margret. Thankfully my husband was in complete agreement. Ann-Margret is scheduled against Crossing Delancey, The Jackie Robinson Story, A Club TCM event with Russ Tamblyn, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde and Treasure of the Sierra Madre. In any other world, the pre-code Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde or Treasure of the Sierra Madre would be my choice. I’ve seen ‘Treasure’ and have even seen it in the theater; but I’d love to hear the discussion with John Huston’s son, Danny. I’ve also seen the precode Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, and can only hope that it is one of Sunday’s TBAs. But it’s Ann-Margret, this block isn’t even open for debate. Bye Bye Birdie it is. I have an Ann-Margrock shirt and Conrad Birdie and Paul Lynde buttons!
HAVE I SEEN BYE BYE BIRDIE? Yes
HAVE I SEEN BYE BYE BIRDIE IN THE THEATER? No
BACK-UP: There is no back-up for this event in my world; but if I had to pick a back-up, it’d be Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948).
After the excitement of Ann-Margret wears off, we’ll be into another whole block of great films. Despite liking Donald Bogle and him receiving the Robert Osborne Award, I am not a fan of Carmen Jones. I hate that Harry Belafonte was dubbed. Now if Harry Belafonte himself were to appear at the screening, I would definitely go see him. But he’s 96 and not announced, so this film is not on my list of must-sees. The Exorcist is immediately eliminated, because I don’t like that movie. The equally awesome Sorry Wrong Number and How to Steal a Million are both scheduled at 6:30. Of the two, I want to go to Sorry Wrong Number with Barbara Stanwyck and Burt Lancaster, because I think that movie would be really exciting to see in the theater. I’m interested in A Mighty Wind poolside, which I have seen before and in the theater even. I liked that movie because they declared my birthday “National Folk Music Day.” But I think the allure of Stanwyck and Lancaster is more appealing than ‘Wind.’ Now if it were This is Spinal Tap, we might be having a different discussion.
HAVE I SEEN SORRY WRONG NUMBER? Yes
HAVE I SEEN SORRY WRONG NUMBER IN THE THEATER? No
BACK-UP: How to Steal a Million (1966)
At the 9pm block, I’m leaning toward Enter the Dragon, because I’ve never seen a Bruce Lee movie, and if I don’t go to 12 Angry Men, this would be the first potential screening for me at the Hollywood Legion. If I don’t go to ‘Dragon,’ I’d be interested in In the Heat of the Night, which I really like, or Unfinished Business, an Irene Dunne movie I’ve never even heard of, let alone seen. But of these films I mentioned, ‘Dragon’ might be the one I will try to attend. I hope Unfinished Business ends up as a Sunday TBA.
HAVE I SEEN ENTER THE DRAGON? No
HAVE I SEEN ENTER THE DRAGON IN THE THEATER? No
BACK-UP: In the Heat of the Night (1967)
Then at midnight is one of my most-anticipated events, Xanadu, starring Olivia Newton-John who passed away in August. I love Xanadu, so seeing it in the theater would be really exciting. I even have a silver sequined bomber jacket and other things just for the occasion.
HAVE I SEEN XANADU? Yes
HAVE I SEEN XANADU IN THE THEATER? No
Sunday, April 16, 2023
A lot of this day is up in the air because of the TBAs. So we’ll have play this day by ear somewhat. We possibly might head out for the 9am screening of Heaven Can Wait at the Chinese Multiplex #1. Or we can sleep in a little and head down to Larry Edmunds, because Nancy Olson is scheduled to appear at 11am. I already have an autographed copy of her book, but she’s supposed to have a talk with Alan K. Rode prior to the signings.
The 12 o’clock hour is difficult. I am thinking either the pre-code No Man of Her Own with Carole Lombard and Clark Gable, or the tried and true Casablanca, which I’ve seen in the theater four times, but never in an IMAX at the classic Grauman’s Chinese Theater no less! It’s a safe bet that No Man of Her Own will be a precode that will not repeat, seeing that it’s airing for the first time on the day of all the repeats.
HAVE I SEEN NO MAN OF HER OWN? No
HAVE I SEEN NO MAN OF HER OWN IN THE THEATER? No
HAVE I SEEN CASABLANCA? Yes a million times
HAVE I SEEN CASABLANCA IN THE THEATER? Yes. Four times.
HAVE I SEEN CASABLANCA IN AN IMAX? No
After whichever film we decide on, I’m trying to decide between Mr. Cohen Takes a Walk with Leonard Maltin, who I’ve always wanted to see. Or possibly All About Eve or The Music Man with Shirley Jones scheduled to attend. I’ve seen ‘Eve’ in the theater before. There’s also a 3PM TBA that could completely change my mind. The “con” with The Music Man is that it’s such a long event, it blocks a lot of the evening. There are also a bunch of other TBAs that could change my mind. We’re considering Clash of the Wolves, because we wouldn’t have seen a silent film yet and seeing it with live music would be really neat. However, there are more TBAs that could seem more exciting.
Then of course, we’ll close out our festival and our vacation with the Closing Night Party.
As one can clearly see, Sunday is really up in the air. The TBAs could help me catch up with all the films I missed in the previous days due to the interfering events.
I will have another post after the festival to report back on what we actually ended up doing!
4 thoughts on “My TCMFF 2023 Picks”
So excited for you! You are going to come home needing a holiday. Looking forward to your summary of events but do not rush. Enjoy the waves and let them wash over you. Happy Days🥂🍾
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Thank you! I am going to make a post about my experience at the festival, but I joined too many blogathons. Lol. I’m trying to fulfill my obligations to those and also make my post. I still need to upload all my photos.
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Loved reading all about your choices, Kayla! You’re going to have the time of your life. My main must-see is Bye Bye Birdie — and I’ll be at Rio Bravo, too. There are so many painful choices, but these two were no-brainers. See you soon!
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Thank you! We made it to Bye Bye Birdie and Rio Bravo. Were Ann-Margret not in attendance at ‘Birdie,’ I would have gone to “Treasure of the Sierra Madre.” But when she was announced, nothing else mattered, we had to see Ann-Margret.