Academic journal article CineAction

TCM Classic Film Festival: Hollywood 2012

Academic journal article CineAction

TCM Classic Film Festival: Hollywood 2012

Article excerpt

The third annual TCM Classic Film Festival was held from April 12th to April 15th. The location was Hollywood Blvd. with the historic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel serving as TCM's home base. In close proximity are the equally historic Grauman's Chinese and Egyptian theatres at which most of the festival's screenings took place. Despite more recent renovations, including several new buildings and up scale stores, this section of the boulevard retains some of the tackiness it had in the 80s. There are numerous souvenir stores selling sweat and T shirts, postcards and such, and fast food eateries. On a daily basis there is a flow of tourists who are occasionally entertained by paid performers who parade up and down the street dressed in costumes such as that of The Joker or Luke Skywalker. Considering the meagreness of what is being offered, it isn't surprising that no one looks engaged with their surroundings. At first glance, the overall effect is depressing but, on reflection, it serves as a reminder that the cinema's roots are in show business at its most basic.

While I have been to Hollywood previously, this was the first time I attended TCM's Classic Film Festival. My chief reason for going was that Kim Novak had been invited as the guest of honour, to receive recognition for her contribution to the cinema. There was a screening of Vertigo at Grauman's Chinese (the screening was sold out, filling the theatre's 1,100 seats), and on the following day, an official handprint ceremony took place in the theatre's courtyard. In addition, Novak was interviewed by Robert Osborne before a live audience of three hundred fans at the Avalon Hollywood theatre.

Obviously, there were other events happening at the festival that deserved attention. The 2012 Festival was themed "Style in the Movies" with 10 programming themes. For instance, one of the programs was "The Legendary Costumes of Travis Banton" which highlighted his work with 35mm print screenings of I'm No Angel, The Scarlet Empress, Cleopatra (1934) and Cover Girl. (The print screened of The Scarlet Empress, courtesy of the UCLA Film and Television Archive, was great, the best looking print of the film that I have ever seen.) Preceding the screening of Cleopatra, costume designer and historian Deborah Nadoolman Landis and costume designer Bob Mackie were present to offer commentary on the significance of Banton's contribution to the glamour associated with the Paramount studio of the 30s. Another of the style-themed offerings was "The Noir Style" that featured screenings Raw Deal, Criss Cross, Gun Crazy, Night and the City and Cry Danger. Marsha Hunt (Raw Deal), Peggy Cummins (Gun Crazy), and Rhonda Fleming (Cry Danger) joined film noir expert Eddie Muller to introduce their respective films. Also, there was a program entitled "Built by Design: Architecture in Film", a thought provoking topic that looked at how architecture reflects 'popular culture and style' with Trouble in Paradise, Bringing Up Baby, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House and The Foutainhead being screened to illustrate a range of approaches that can be taken towards the subject.

Using the umbrella of its style theme, the Festival celebrated the 100th anniversary of both Paramount and Universal studios; the former with "The Paramount Renaissance", which spot-lighted works produced by Robert Evans during his tenure as Head of Production in the 70s and, later, as an independent producer for the studio; as for the latter, the "Universal's Legacy of Horror," concentrated on the studio's 30s cycle of horror films beginning with Dracula (1931).

There were two films screened during the course of the Festival that I was particularly pleased to see. The first was a 35mm print of The Macomber Affair (1947) which was shown in a collection of films labelled "Discoveries" (the films has been out of circulation for many years) and the second a 35mm CinemaScope print of Bonjour Tristesse. …

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