This post summarizes the events of my first full day at the 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival on Thursday, April 10. Check out my introductory post about the festival here.
Ok, so I’m already contradicting myself with the title of this post, but for me, the festival actually began a day before “Day 1,” on Wednesday, when I attended two of the pre-opening night parties. Although not an official part of the Fest, these were an important part of the process for me, as many of the blogs that I’ve come to known and love don’t use a personal photo for their Twitter feeds or bios, so often times I have no idea who this person is whom I’ve been interacting with for so long—I know they’re funny and quick and love Robert Taylor, but none of the biographical details people usually lead with in real life. So, meeting people in person, and getting to connect face to name to blog was a real thrill, and everyone I met was completely kind and charming, even though at times I felt a bit like the new kid in class.
Well, I’m sadly back in the “real world” after four days of classic films and fun, thanks to the TCM Film Festival in Hollywood, California. This was the fifth year of the festival, which celebrates all things classic, and was leading up to the 20th anniversary of the channel, so there were a lot of fun surprises and celebrations to be had. Throughout (hopefully) today/this week, I’ll be posting my “diary” entries for each day of the fest. They’re a bit late, perhaps to the point that they’re no longer relevant… but I’m doing them anyway! I’m starting here with my general impressions of the festival, to give some background if you’ve never been to the festival, as well as some feelings and tips for myself to remember should I be able to return in coming years.
After what seemed to be an excessively long wait considering his lengthy career, comedy icon Jerry Lewis was honored today with a cement imprint in the courtyard of the TCL Chinese Theater (née Grauman), where his newly pressed hand and footprints will join the likes of everyone from Joe E. Brown to Marilyn Monroe. The short ceremony, held in the shadow of the famous Chinese facade, featured introductions from TCM’s own Robert Osborne and director Quentin Tarantino, who expressed an entire generation’s worth of respect for the star. Lewis took the stage last, sharp as ever, cracking loving jokes at the expense of the staff, fans, and photographers, and getting his hands and feet caked in cement for the sake of Hollywood immortality. He was also a special hero for the crowd of mostly fans in the bleacher area, repeatedly asking his personal friends in the front rows to sit down so the adoring crowd could see him. What a guy!
The Hollywood Reporter reports that all three of Judy Garland’s children—Liza Minnelli, Lorna Luft, and Joseph Luft—will be on hand at this year’s Oscar ceremony to pay tribute to their late mother, on the 75th anniversary of her iconic performance in The Wizard of Oz.
Patricia Ward Kelly starts her one-woman show, “Gene Kelly: The Legacy,” by addressing a few pertinent questions about her late husband: he was 5′ 8″; he got his distinctive facial scar from a tricycle accident as a kid; and they met while filming a TV documentary series about the Smithsonian. She also candidly addresses the question perhaps most on the mind of curious audience members expecting to see a frail, 90-year-old woman, instead of the vibrant young speaker before them: when they met, she was 26 and Gene was 73.
American Cinematheque’s Retroformat began its series of early D.W. Griffith works at the Egyptian Theatre this past weekend with a handful of the films he produced for Biograph Films. This series will continue over the next few months and ultimately showcase more than 100 of Griffith’s films from 1908 to 1913, with this first night focusing on the period between 1908 and 1909.