It is no surprise that the annual mecca of classic film is set deep in the heart of Hollywood. With over 100 screenings and events, the TCM Classic Film Festival returns this March 26th – 29th to delight lovers of historic movies. This is a film festival truly like no other for three simple reasons: the locations, the star guest list, and the movies you see (most importantly how you see them).
Let’s first look at the architecture of the festival. Beyond the movies themselves this inaugural resurrection of classic Hollywood is multi dimensional, TCM carefully select venues for their own cinematic cultural legacy. The trail this year includes The Egyptian Theatre, the site of the first “Hollywood” premiere, opened with the Douglas Fairbank’s epic adaptation of Robin Hood in 1922; The Montalbán Theatre in honour of its builders, was the first legitimate Broadway-style theatre in Hollywood, its opener being the 1927 acclaimed production of Theodore Dreiser’s An American Tragedy; also TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX, built the same year as the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel premiering Cecil B. DeMille silent epic, The King of Kings on its opening night.
The festival will explore the theme of ‘History According to Hollywood’, re-creating historical moments and bringing to life the heroes and villains of the past. It is fitting then, that the 4 day event will open with The Sound of Music – one of the world’s best-known musicals set in wartime Austria. Now to the star guest list; Christopher Plummer and Julie Walters will appear in person on stage to present the film, which enjoys its 50th anniversary this year.
Italy’s most renowned actress Sophia Loren will be interviewed by TCM host Robert Osborne to talk about her life on and offscreen, Loren will then introduce Marriage Italian Style (1964) for which we she was Oscar nominated. Generating further excitement in the movie press, Dustin Hoffman and filmmaker Spike Lee are also confirmed to join the line up of stars that this event attracts year on year.
Perhaps the TCM Film Festival has built this star following due to its purist approach to the screening of the films themselves. Each movie shown receives a personal introduction, often, as illustrated with Loren, by the film’s protagonist or maker. In the case of Buster Keaton’s Steamboat Bill Jr. (1928) it goes even further, with the comedy accompanied by legendary silent film composer Carl Davis. The festival is also careful to hold true to the method film production in it’s scheduling. For example, films shown at TCL Chinese 6 Theatres will be, in the majority, pre 1959 shown as originally intended on 35mm film reel.
If you are in LA during March and can secure a ticket, we’d highly recommend adding the TCM Film Festival to your to-do list.