A few days ago TCM released the final schedule of the TCM Classic Film Festival, and there has been a lot of chatter about it already. Much of the discussion has centered around an idea that I have often brought up on this blog, a point of contention among classic film fans–the definition of “classic film” and what constitutes a classic.
This year’s festival features an unusually large number of films from the 1970s and beyond, and for some die-hard TCM fans this has proven a bitter pill to swallow. Many are devoted to films made in the “classical Hollywood era” (an academic designation for films made between 1927 and 1963) and purport that a classic film festival should prioritize films made between the birth of sound on film and the final waning years of the Production Code in order to truly be considered a “classic film festival.”
As I have mentioned before, there is no singular definition for what makes a classic. The term “classic film” is as diverse as the movies themselves, and the vast majority of film fans would not be able to give you a clear-cut definition of what the term means to them–“I know a classic when I see one” is commonly heard among film devotees, perpetuating the enigma of the concept. For me, though I am unabashedly a devotee of the classical Hollywood era, I am familiar with the difficulty of programming a classic film festival that is unbiased and fair to people with varied definitions of “classic,” and trying to make as many attendees happy as possible.
On my part, I have grown to truly love the TCM Festival schedule this year and have already mapped out my timetable. Go to filmfestival.tcm.com for the full schedule, but here is what you may expect from Backlots this year:
MY MAN GODFREY
INHERIT THE WIND
THE PROUD REBEL/THE PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO (I’m loyal to my Olivia, but man, Purple Rose of Cairo…and on the big screen…I’m torn on this one.)
STEAMBOAT BILL, JR.
BOOM! (I’ll have to leave Rebecca early, but there is no freaking way I’m missing the camp factor that is Boom!)
WHY BE GOOD? (I saw this a few months ago and it is so fantastic. Viva Colleen Moore!)
THE MIRACLE WORKER
Hollywood Home Movies
THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME
GUNGA DIN/THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK (I’ll probably decide the day of)
THE PHILADELPHIA STORY/THE CHILDREN’S HOUR/JUDGMENT AT NUREMBERG
KISS ME, KATE