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TCM Fest Highlight, A Review by Gary Meyer

Festivals
by Gary Meyer
April 20, 2014 2:00 PM
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TCM Festival

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the TCM Festival in Hollywood. I had a full weekend and got to enjoy the true movie experience---great movies projected on big screens with enthusiastic and appreciative audiences. Between films we'd emerge onto Hollywood Boulevard with its own movie being created live and in the moment. As comedian Dana Gould said in his introduction to FREAKS "the Boulevard was the only place you are likely to stand next to Cher at the urinal in the men's room. Take a look at the schedule, HERE

Among the celebrities I saw on the red carpet and clicked photos of were Maureen O'Hara (still gorgeous), Kim Novak, Shirley Jones and Margaret O'Brien---and in the background were Chaplins, Marilyns, Elvis, Michael Jackson and multiple copies of Spiderman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Iron Man, Star Wars characters, Transformers, Pirates (I heard one woman excitedly say, "Oh my god...it's Johnny Depp."), Mickey and Minnies and Elmo. In the parking lot elevator one night I stood next to a tall African American male, his Elmo head ticked under his arm next to his furry red body. I asked if he had a long and hot day. He told me that he comes around 4pm when it isn't so warm and works until midnight. "Do you do ok?"

"An average weekend brings in $700-800 and it is fun." I asked him what he does the rest of the week and he told me he created movie money props for films and sells copies on ebay.

I saw 17 films and three special events. What a pleasure to see classics projected on the big screen (a mix of 35mm and DCP) to packed houses of appreciative fans. Once again I was impressed with the diversity of the audiences. Couples, young people and people of color far out-numbered the stereotype of middle aged white film geek guys. And they knew their movies.

I saw a few classics I had never seen --- Mary Poppins (when it came out in 1964 a left-leaning high school kid would not be caught dead seeing that) and The Best Years of Our Lives (I just never saw it--no excuses). Both were great for different reasons.

There were rare discoveries such as the pre-code Hat Check Girl (racy Ginger Rogers) and the powerful and all but forgotten The Stranger's Return directed by King Vidor withLionel Barrymore and Miriam Hopkins (when will someone do a major tribute?)

On Approval
But the true revelation was the 1944 British comedy of mannersOn Approval . This was a joy of witty banter, great acting and certainly one of the most bizarre finales I have ever experienced with stuffed animal heads coming to life among other visions you have never seen. The first show sold out so an extra screening was scheduled and it too was full. Lucky or me I got in after being turned away from the first one.

The film was restored by that hero of lost cinema, David Shepard.

I just got an email from Jessica Rosner that she will have a 35mm print available. There is also a BluRay and if there is enough demand the owners might consider making a DCP.

She wrote:

“It is about two couples in Victorian England ( and Scotland) who try a shocking experiment in living together to see if they are "compatible" before marriage. The magnificent foursome is led by Clive Brook who also directed and adapted the famous play upon which it is based. The extraordinary Beatrice Lillie co-stars in one of her very few film appearances and she is aided by the lovely if oddly named Googie Withers and the always fine Roland Culver.

This BRAND NEW print is from a negative made from a nitrate fine grain at the BFI. It is not flawless but it looks excellent.

Below is a link to the write up on the fest site about On Approval and audience reaction to it. I urge you to read it as it really captures the film much better than my write up.

http://filmfestival.tcm.com/on-approval-sparkles-with-wit/

This second link is for local news station festival write up highlighting On Approval as fest fave

(scroll down till you see the still) http://www.kpbs.org/news/2014/apr/14/rants-and-raves-tcm-film-festival/

===========

Thanks Jessica. After the screening I wanted to know how the film could be shown in cinemas and you have answered my question.

And here are some good articles about the movie.

http://www.examiner.com/article/clive-brook-adapts-directs-and-stars-on-approval-1944

http://www.examiner.com/article/classic-films-focus-on-approval-1944

Anthony Slide writes: http://books.google.com/books?id=Rf5CCA7_Lv4C&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

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