Turner Classic Movies Film Festival Day One: April 25th
So, where do I begin? This was my first ever TCM Film Festival — and I wish it wasn’t over! But that said, although it is over, I have wonderful memories to share and I’ve met some marvelous classic movie fans who I now happily count among my friends! And, now, via a few relatively short blog posts (all things considered), I am here to sing the praises of this year’s festival while I wait in eager anticipation for next year’s event!
There are so many reasons to love this film festival: the films (of course), Robert Osborne and Ben Mankiewicz (knowledgeable and personable), the wonderful celebrity interviews (how classy those stars are!), the informative and entertaining panels (wish I could have seen them all), the little surprises (like Lulu singing “To Sir, With Love”), meeting so many like-minded classic film fans (happiness and joy) — and last but not least — finally being able to meet my many twitter friends (such a treat)! The only downside for me (but really an upside) was that there were so many wonderful films and panels to see, it was impossible to see everything on my wish list — so some hard choices had to be made…
The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel – the ‘Hub’ for all things TCM Film Festival including Club TCM and Celebrity Events and Panels
The film festival’s ‘hub’ was the historic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel which was founded in 1927 by movie pioneers Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Sid Grauman, and Louis B. Mayer. The hotel is rich with Hollywood history and lore, and it is important to note that TCM created ‘Club TCM’ — a private space where fans could relax, meet new friends, or attend special events and celebrity panels — in the hotel’s Blossom Ballroom, the site of the very first Academy Awards banquet. It is also fun to note that the hotel was the residence of Marilyn Monroe when her modeling career took off (her first magazine shoot was taken on the diving board on the pool behind the hotel; diving board no longer there), and for those who are willing to believe, the Roosevelt is also the home of some notable apparitions including the ghosts of Marilyn Monroe and Montgomery Clift.
Now for my TCMFF exploits:
Day One: Thursday, April 25…
Funny Girl Opening Night Gala Red Carpet Event at the TCL Chinese Theater: (as intriguing as this sounds, I must admit this was a tough choice as I had to skip seeing Mitzi Gaynor and the screening of South Pacific poolside at the Roosevelt Hotel):
Of course all of us were hoping ‘against all hope’ that Barbra Streisand would appear to introduce this world premiere 4K restoration from Sony Pictures — but to our disappointment, no Barbra — except as her glorious 26 year old self in her glorious Oscar-winning film debut. However, in Barbra’s stead, there was a nice ‘surprise’ — a stunning Cher appeared to help Robert Osborne introduce the film, and although of course, Cher is no replacement for Barbra, she did an admirable job as Robert Osborne’s ‘Friday Night Girlfriend’ (a reference to Cher’s role as Osborne’s guest-host on TCM’s Friday Night Spotlight series). As for the film itself, it was beautifully restored and nothing beats seeing those iconic Streisand songs performed in bold, vibrant, breath-taking color on the big — or shall I say huge — screen.
Cher as Robert Osborne’s “Friday Night Girlfriend”
And the incomparable, Barbra Streisand, as “Funny Girl” Fanny Brice:
Unfortunately I was too jet-lagged to attend any later screenings, so… onto Day Two via a separate blog post…
–Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub