Celebrating Classic Movies While Making People Laugh!

Celebrating Classic Movies While Making People Laugh:

Turner Classic Movies Opens Its 8th Annual Film Fest in Hollywood

By Dr. Tom Snyder, Editor

Turner Classic Movies (TCM), the channel for lovers of classic Hollywood and foreign movies, opened its Eighth Annual Film Festival in Hollywood today.

The classic film festival has everything cinephiles could ever want in a classic film fest, but it will be missing one ingredient this year for the first time: TCM’s long-time host, Robert Osborne, who started the channel in 1994 but who passed away March 6 at age 84.

As Bernstein says in the beloved classic movie CITIZEN KANE, old age is the one disease we don’t look forward to getting cured of.

The show must go on, however. In addition to some tributes to their beloved late leader, this year’s fest has a lot of goodies for classic movie lovers of all ages. And, it also has some famous guests.

In a press conference Wednesday afternoon in Hollywood, the management of TCM, including Host Ben Mankiewicz, discussed what this year’s fest holds in store for movie fans.

The theme of TCM’s 8th Annual Classic Film Festival is “Make ‘Em Laugh:  Comedy in the Movies.”

Hence, one of the highlights of the festival is a special showing of HIGH ANXIETY, a gutbusting spoof of Hitchcock movies, with a special live appearance by its legendary writer/director, Mel Brooks. Another highlight will be a special live appearance by Writer/Director Peter Bogdanovich for his hilarious salute to Hollywood’s screwball comedies, WHAT’S UP, DOC?

Classic comedies aren’t the only cinematic dish being served up by the festival.

A 50th Anniversary screening of IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT, featuring a live appearance by its groundbreaking star, Sidney Poitier, is the opening night screening tonight at the Mann Chinese IMAX Theater, the theater with all the handprints and footprints of major Hollywood stars, from the silent era until now.

Also, Oscar-winning actor Michael Douglas will appear at a special live interview on his life and career, as well as introduce a special screening of his controversial movie THE CHINA SYNDROME.

There will also be special screenings of pristine nitrate prints of the classic film noir movie LAURA, Hitchcock’s 1935 classic THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH, a technicolor musical starring Ginger Rogers (LADY IN THE DARK), and the acclaimed 1947 color movie BLACK NARCISSUS.

“The festival is the biggest embodiment of what we do. . . celebrating classic movies with fans of classic movies,” TCM General Manager Jennifer Dorian said. “We really see ourselves as the keeper of the flame.

“We’re always looking for new ways to reach out to fans,” she added.

Although the festival’s theme is comedy movies, Senior Vice President of Programming Charlie Tabesh said his goal in programming the festival was to make sure that, at any given time during the festival, attendees would have a choice of seeing one or two comedy movies while also being able to see other kinds of movies.

“This is the channel that connects most with people in an emotional way,” Mankiewicz said about TCM.

“We have no preferred age level,” Dorina noted, immediately after which Tabesh chimed in, “We want to get all people, young and old, in love with classic movies.”

Talking about their leader, Robert Osborne’s, recent passing, Dorian said, “The past three, four weeks have been really difficult. We hope to do him proud this week and throughout the year.”

For a complete schedule of the festival’s lineup in Hollywood this weekend, please visit http://filmfestival.tcm.com/programs/schedule/?layout=grid.

Editor’s Note:  Dr. Snyder has a Ph.D. in film studies from Northwestern University in Chicago.