Ever since the schedule for the 2016 TCM Classic Film Festival went live a few days ago, festival attendees have been meticulously planning their schedules and making the difficult moviegoing decisions that define each year at the TCM Fest. With less than 2 weeks until the festival, the schedule was slightly late in coming out and the choices are difficult. Over the course of the next several days, I would like to analyze each time slot to illustrate the difficulties in choosing which movie to attend at the festival, which one I ultimately chose, and which movies might force me to make a last minute switch.
Since there are 4 packed days to cover, I am going to focus on one day per post. Here is the first installment of Backlots’ 4-part series about the TCM Classic Film Festival schedule!
THE EVENING CHOICES
The festival kicks off at 6:30 in the evening with a gala screening of All the President’s Men. This event is only open only to holders of the higher pass levels, and Backlots’ media pass is not one of those, so I am now free to consider the other options. Upon inspection of the other movies in that time slot, I see that there are several options. Dark Victory is one of my all-time favorites. The story is a five-kleenex one, about a vibrant young woman who is diagnosed with a fatal brain tumor that will make her go blind before she dies. Jam-packed with stars (including Humphrey Bogart trying to speak in an Irish accent, worth the price of admission in itself) and a well-known tearjerker, it is a great opening night pick.
A frequent dilemma at the TCM Classic Film Festival is whether to attend old favorites, or new-to-you movies. Sometimes the choices are easy, sometimes they’re extraordinarily difficult. In this particular time slot, the only thing getting in my way of attending Dark Victory is the screening of Harold Lloyd’s The Freshman at the Roosevelt Hotel pool, at which there will be an interesting new approach to silent film accompaniment–a new score played by a modern DJ. Curiosity may get the better of me, and my plans to see Dark Victory may be foiled by a modern novelty.
MY CHOICE: Dark Victory
MY MIND MIGHT BE CHANGED BY: The Freshman
The next time slot begins at 9:30. Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner, the quiet but strong 1967 piece about interracial marriage has been a favorite since I was 10 years old. As Spencer Tracy’s final film and one of Katharine Hepburn’s most nuanced performances, it stands as a cinematic monument not only for the commentary it makes on civil rights-era America, but also to the brilliance of two of Hollywood’s finest actors. In attendance will be Katharine Houghton, Katharine Hepburn’s real-life niece who plays her daughter in the movie.
Brief Encounter is considered by many to be “the best movie you’ve never heard of.” It tells the story of two strangers who meet in a train station, and begin a quick and torrid love affair. The screenplay was based on a play by Noel Coward, and the action is directed by David Lean. When it was announced in the schedule, the internet went abuzz with excitement, as the movie rarely gets the attention it deserves. For that reason, I think I will attend the screening of Brief Encounter in this time slot.
MY CHOICE: Brief Encounter
MY MIND MIGHT BE CHANGED BY: Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner.
Be sure to tune in tomorrow for Friday’s picks!