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TCM Classic Film Festival Day 3

Backlots Posted by Lara on Apr 26, 2022

Day 3 of the festival was predominantly a pre-Code day for me. Pre-Codes are famously popular at the TCM Festival, but they’re almost always screened in the smallest theaters. The question of why is a point of contention among attendees–some think the organizers simply haven’t lea read more

TCM Classic Film Festival Day 2

Backlots Posted by Lara on Apr 24, 2022

Day 2 of the TCM Classic Film Festival was one filled with laughter. From the first moment the schedule came out, I knew it would be–with The Sunshine Boys and Tootsie on the agenda, there is no other possible outcome. I started the day with The Sunshine Boys, a wonderful screening introduced read more

TCM Classic Film Festival Day 1

Backlots Posted by Lara on Apr 22, 2022

“This California dew is a little heavier than usual tonight,” as Debbie Reynolds said in Singin’ in the Rain, and she might have been talking about this evening in Hollywood, where an unexpected downpour punctuates a full first festival day. The fun kicked off this afternoon with read more

The TCM Classic Film Festival Day 0

Backlots Posted by Lara on Apr 20, 2022

This where the classic movie faithful converge. The greatest part of the weekend, for me, is reuniting with like-minded people, who speak the same classic movie “language.” Today I realized that this is my tenth festival, and each year I envy the people experiencing it for the first tim read more

TCM Classic Film Festival Updates

Backlots Posted by Lara on Mar 29, 2022

Next month, for the first time since 2019, Hollywood Boulevard will once again be filled with classic film fans attending the TCM Classic Film Festival. The event is now less than a month away, and announcements from festival organizers are coming fast. My friend Aurora at Once Upon a Screen predic read more

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial to Open the TCM Classic Film Festival

Backlots Posted by Lara on Feb 7, 2022

The TCM Classic Film Festival is less than 3 months away, and per the annual ritual, fans have been speculating about the opening night film. Opening night is a fancy affair, complete with a red carpet for passholders and VIP guests, followed by a film and a gala party. Reserved for the highest lev read more

A Decidedly Unscientific Guide to TCMFF Pass Levels

Backlots Posted by Lara on Nov 18, 2021

Passes for the TCM Classic Film Festival go on sale to the general public today, and I have been happy to see that so many of my friends will be returning to Hollywood this year. After two of virtual festivals, the excitement of seeing our festival friends in April is palpable. Since its inception read more

Dedication of the Monttessuy Center for the Arts and the Olivia de Havilland Theater at the American University of Paris

Backlots Posted by Lara on Oct 27, 2021

In the spirit of carpe diem, I have just returned from a trip to Paris to attend the three-day opening of the Olivia de Havilland Theater. It was a trip that I hoped would happen since I learned about the event earlier this year, and by the time it came around, the circumstances were such––COVID-wi read more

TCM Classic Film Festival Returns in 2022

Backlots Posted by Lara on Oct 6, 2021

Classic film fans on social media were abuzz this morning as news emerged that the TCM Classic Film Festival will return in person in 2022. After two years of virtual programming, this announcement was met with palpable joy among long-time festival attendees. Since this morning, I have seen friends read more


Backlots Posted by Lara on May 21, 2021

When I first saw The Devil and Miss Jones several years ago, I found myself wondering how I could have missed such a funny, smart, compelling film for so long. Though seeming to have all the hallmarks of an instant classic, The Devil and Miss Jones is one of those films that too often, undeservedly read more

Olivia de Havilland and the American University of Paris

Backlots Posted by Lara on May 3, 2021

If you are a longtime reader of Backlots, you have read of my connection to Olivia de Havilland. From the evening I spent with her at the American Library in Paris, to Backlots’ coverage of her court case against FX, Olivia de Havilland has been close to my heart for many years. Her career an read more

A Resurfacing

Backlots Posted by Lara on Feb 14, 2021

Contrary to what activity on Backlots might tell you, I am, indeed, alive. Since September, I have been deep in the zone of Marion Davies work, and have a website for the project, which can be found here. I remain extremely busy, but wanted to update you on the progress of my work, and what to expe read more

CAPTAIN OF HER SOUL: The Life of Marion Davies. UC Press, 2022

Backlots Posted by Lara on Sep 29, 2020

In November of 2013, I took a trip to the Margaret Herrick Library for the first time, in search of material on Marion Davies for a prospective book. The form the book would take, if any at all, was unknown. But I was determined to start the process, and despite the fact none of the names encounter read more

Olivia de Havilland: A Celebration

Backlots Posted by Lara on Jul 27, 2020

Olivia de Havilland and her pug, Oscar. Olivia de Havilland died peacefully in Paris on Saturday. She went the way we all strive to go–in her sleep, having recently celebrated her 104th birthday. Her daughter Gisèle had just been over for a visit. She was loved and adored not only by a wide c read more

GONE WITH THE WIND (1939) Temporarily Pulled From HBO Max To Allow For Proper Context–A History

Backlots Posted by Lara on Jun 11, 2020

When HBO Max announced that it would temporarily remove Gone With the Wind from its platform, in order to place a statement in front of it putting the film’s content into the proper context, it set off a firestorm of controversy online and in the media. Some decry the decision as censorship. read more

A Statement on Current Events

Backlots Posted by Lara on Jun 4, 2020

“That’s the trouble with you readers,” Joe Gillis says to Betty Schaefer in Sunset Boulevard, “you know all the plots.” For hundreds of years, we have seen the same plots play out in our criminal justice system, as the intrinsic systems of oppression in this country do read more

Marilyn Monroe and Acts of Political Bravery

Backlots Posted by Lara on Jun 1, 2020

On June 1, 2020, Marilyn Monroe would have turned 94 years old. Though she died at the tragically young age of 36, Monroe was refreshingly candid and unbothered by the concept of aging. “I want to grow old without facelifts,” she told an interviewer, saying she couldn’t wait to r read more

The Friendship of Ingrid Bergman and Ruth Roberts

Backlots Posted by Lara on May 25, 2020

Ingrid Bergman with Ruth Roberts, to her left, and other crew on the set of Gaslight (1944) During this COVID-19 crisis, I’m finding daily routine to be a key factor in maintaining some semblance of normalcy. For me, this means daily classic movies at set times of the day. Movies keep me calm read more

Classic Film for Trying Times

Backlots Posted by Lara on Mar 28, 2020

Along with the rest of the country, I have been struggling to adjust to our current world situation. I am fortunate in many ways–with the ability to work my day job as a teacher from home, I have no lost income, and I am young and healthy. My heart goes out to anyone suffering illness or car read more

Hollywood and the Office of War Information, 1942-1945

Backlots Posted by Lara on Feb 19, 2020

The other day as I was eating breakfast, I began to think (as normal people do) about wartime food rationing. Today, few people blink an eye when eating an omelette or a cookie, which consist almost entirely of foods rationed during wartime, but when the United States entered World War II and bega read more