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Movies: Past, present and future

Category: TCM Film Fest

'The Artist' is the buzz at the TCM Classic Film Festival

April 16, 2012 |  2:52 pm

TCM Classic Movie Festival at Grauman's Chinese Theater

The TCM Classic Film Festival highlights decades-old movies, but one of the most buzzed-about titles at the event in Hollywood over the weekend was 2012 Oscar winner "The Artist."

A silent black-and-white homage to Hollywood's early days, "The Artist" was name-checked several times at festival Q&As, in concession lines and in the lobby of the Roosevelt Hotel where attendees mingled between films.

The ubiquity of "The Artist" at the festival, which was attended by more than 25,000 people Thursday to Sunday, suggests the symbiotic relationship the movie has had from the beginning with ardent classic film fans. Outlets like TCM, which plays silent films on Sunday nights and programmed several silents at its festival, have helped stoke the fan base, while a well-funded Oscar campaign for the French movie about a silent era star (Jean Dujardin) having trouble transitioning to talkies brought newcomers into the fold.

At a sold-out screening of Douglas Fairbanks' "The Thief of Bagdad" (1924) on Sunday night at the Egyptian theater, Fairbanks' biographer Jeffrey Vance described meeting "The Artist" director Michel Hazanavicius at a party and learning that Fairbanks had inspired the character played by Jean Dujardin.

"Thanks to 'The Artist,' people are curious about Douglas Fairbanks now," Vance told the crowd, seeming almost stunned to be newly hip.

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Kim Novak says she's bipolar, regrets leaving Hollywood

April 13, 2012 |  6:31 pm

Kim novak jimmy stewart vertigo
Actress Kim Novak told an audience at the TCM Classic Film Festival Friday that she has bipolar disorder, and sometimes regrets her decision to leave Hollywood in the late 1960s at the height of her fame.

The star of such films as "Vertigo," "Pal Joey" and "Picnic," Novak was teary-eyed and emotional when she told Turner Classic Movies host Robert Osborne before an audience of about 300 people at the Avalon in Hollywood that she suffered from mental illness while making those films.

"I'm bipolar ... but there's medicine you can take for this now," Novak said. "I was not diagnosed until much later. I go through more of the depression than the mania part."

Novak, 79, is in Los Angeles to have her handprints and footprints enshrined in the forecourt at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on Saturday, a sign of the recognition she said she hungered for throughout her life.

In her conversation with Osborne, Novak was introspective, but not maudlin, laughing about a runny nose and fixing her makeup using a hand mirror she had tucked in her armchair.

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TCM Classic Film Fest: Stanley Donen on Hepburn, censors and more

April 13, 2012 |  9:00 am

Stanley donen tcm festival
When director/producer Stanley Donen took home an honorary Oscar in 1998, “in appreciation of a body of work marked by grace, elegance, wit and visual innovation,” he turned on the charm at the Academy Awards, hoofing it up and singing “Cheek to Cheek.”

A former Broadway chorus dancer, he made his mark on Hollywood co-directing and choreographing musical classics with Gene Kelly — 1949’s “On the Town,” 1952’s “Singin’ in the Rain,” and 1955’s “It’s Always Fair Weather.” Beginning with 1951’s “Royal Wedding” — best known as the film in which Fred Astaire dances on the ceiling — Donen also had great success as a solo director. He went on to helm 1954’s “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” with Jane Powell and Howard Keel; in 1957 he came out with both “Funny Face” with Astaire and Audrey Hepburn and “The Pajama Game,” starring Doris Day. In 1958 came the romantic comedy “Indiscreet,” with Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman, and later the 1963 romantic thriller “Charade” (with Hepburn and Grant) and the 1967 romantic drama “Two for the Road” (with Hepburn and Albert Finney).

Donen, who turns 88 on Friday, is appearing three times at the Turner Classic Movies Festival in Hollywood this weekend for screenings of “Funny Face,” “Charade” and “Two for the Road.” We caught up with him recently.

The TCM Film Festival is screening all three movies you did with Audrey Hepburn. She is my favorite actress. I hope you had a great time working with her.

She was wonderful.... We only had one disagreement.... On “Funny Face,” there was a scene where she danced in a black slacks and top. She said [I want to wear] black socks and I said no, white socks. She said it will ruin [the uniformity]. You can’t have white socks. I made a test with her in the white socks and she kept saying black socks. We were right up to the moment of starting the sequence. I went into her dressing room and said, “Audrey. We are never going to agree — you will have to wear the white socks.” She said all right. When the rushes came in she wrote me a little note: “Dear Stanley, you were right about the socks.” She was glorious looking. She was a lovely, lovely person. We stayed friends.

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TCM Classic Film Fest: See home movies made by stars

April 13, 2012 |  7:45 am

Long before reality shows, viral videos and TMZ, Hollywood types loved to make home movies of their lives — on sets, hanging out at their mansions in Beverly Hills, relaxing on their boats in the Pacific, visiting Disneyland.

On Saturday evening, the TCM Classic Film Festival will be screening a selection of such home movies at  the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel — you can see Esther Williams teaching her children how to swim, Steve McQueen taking his two kids to Disneyland, and Fred MacMurray and his family relaxing and having fun at home.

The films are from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ archive. Randy Haberkamp, managing director, programming, education and preservation at the academy, and Lynne Kirste, special collections curator at the archive, will present the one-hour treasure program of silent 8mm and 16mm films.

Film history professor Bob Koster, the son of veteran director Henry Koster (“Three Smart Girls,” “The Robe,” “My Cousin Rachel”) will be appearing at the program commenting on behind-the-scenes footage his father shot of two Margaret O’Brien films he made for MGM: 1944’s “Music for Millions” and 1947’s “The Unfinished Dance.” The former child star O’Brien will also be talking about her experiences on the films. Also participating will be McQueen’s ex-wife, Neile Adams McQueen Toffel.

The program, said Haberkamp, calls attention to the academy archive “and specifically home movies, because it’s such a unique thing — when you get these home movies, particularly that were shot by or featuring celebrities, it is a unique window [into their lives]. You have people just being themselves. You get to see them as kind of how they are as opposed to being in a role or being a star. It’s fun to see that ‘normal people’ reflection.”

Koster said that his father was “almost a compulsive picture-taker. We have about 10 hours of movies. There is altogether way too much stuff of me as an infant playing on the lawn.”

Hollywood’s elite loved taking home movies, said Koster, because “don’t forget people in the movie industry, and this is not meant in any pejorative way, but in order to be successful they have to have a tremendous sense of themselves. They have to have an ego much larger than the average Joe. So of course they wanted to take movies recording what they did because it fed their ego. It was satisfying to them to have this record of their lives and work.”

Kirste said that the academy archive has some 2,000 reels of home movies. “They vary in length,” she said. “We probably have several hundred hours. We are getting more all the time.”

She noted that unlike many of the films these Golden Age of Hollywood stars appeared in, these home movies are in color. “There is great color footage of people you have only seen in black and white up to that point,” she said. “I have never seen Fred MacMurray in color in 1936. We have footage where you see [actors] really young and in color.”

The behind-the-scenes footage shot on productions were also shot in color. “We are going to show some behind-the-scenes of ‘Heidi’ with Shirley Temple,” said Kirste. “The film is in black-and-white but the footage is in color. There is something really great about that. It kind of brings it to life in a different way.”

For more information on the event, go to tcm.com/festival.

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TCM Classic Film Fest kicks off with 'Cabaret,' Liza Minnelli

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— Susan King


TCM Classic Film Fest kicks off with 'Cabaret,' Liza Minnelli

April 12, 2012 |  8:15 am

Liza minnelli cabaret
After more than six decades in show business, Liza Minnelli has learned a few tricks. “I surround myself with talented people and I wear jeweled costumes because I sweat when I dance,” said Minnelli, now 66, who first appeared on film at age 3. “The jewels make me look wet all over.”

Minnelli will share reminiscences and maybe even a few secrets with fans in Hollywood on Thursday at the TCM Classic Film Festival, which is opening with a newly restored version of “Cabaret.” The singer-actress honed her stagecraft in the 1972 musical and developed much of her winking, vampish style under the direction of choreographer Bob Fosse. Minnelli and her costar, Joel Grey, who both won Oscars for their performances, will speak to the audience at the screening and mingle with festival-goers at an afterparty.

Forty years after its debut, Minnelli said, the film about the politically oblivious, sexually decadent atmosphere of a 1930s Berlin nightclub still has cultural resonance.

“People hear ‘Cabaret’ and they think, ‘Oh Christ, it’s a musical about happiness.’” she said. “It’s not about that at all. It’s about opinions and politics and survival.”

“Cabaret” is one of 78 vintage features playing over four days in Hollywood this weekend as part of the Turner Classic Movies network’s event, which also includes appearances by Kim Novak and Debbie Reynolds, programming devoted to film noir and Hollywood fashion and fan-friendly activities like screenings of stars’ home movies and appraisals of Hollywood memorabilia by Bonhams auction house.

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Bond girls, movie monsters, Cole Porter in TCM Classic Film Fest

March 28, 2012 |  4:10 pm

Highsociety

The TCM Classic Film Festival announced its final lineup Wednesday, including last-minute additions such as a screening of the Cole Porter musical "High Society" (1956) poolside at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, appearances by filmmakers Mel Brooks and John Carpenter and a conversation with former Bond girls Maud Adams and Eunice Grayson before a 50th anniversary screening of "Dr. No."

Movie monsters will take center stage at the festival: Carpenter will introduce a screening of "Frankenstein" (1931), John Landis will appear before the sequel "Son of Frankenstein" (1939) and Brooks will discuss his satire "Young Frankenstein" (1974). Carla Laemmle, the silent film actress and 102-year-old niece of Universal Pictures founder Carl Laemmle, will participate in a screening of "Dracula" (1931).

Hollywood style is also a theme of the event, and various fashion designers will appear at screenings, including Bob Mackie at Cecil B. DeMille's "Cleopatra," (1934) Barbara Tfank at Otto Preminger's "Bonjour Tristesse" (1958) and Todd Oldham at "The Women" (1939) and "Auntie Mame" (1958).

Previously announced events include a screening of "Cabaret," with appearances by Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey, a conversation with Kim Novak, a restoration screening of "How the West Was Won" in Cinerama and the U.S. premiere of the documentary "Baby Peggy: The Elephant in the Room" about the silent film-era child star.

The TCM Classic Film Festival will take place Apri 12-15 in Hollywood. A full schedule is available at www.tcm.com/festival.

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-- Rebecca Keegan

twitter.com/@thatrebecca

Photo: Grace Kelly, Louis Calhern and Bing Crosby in "High Society." Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures


Kim Novak to be honored at 2012 TCM Classic Film Fest

March 6, 2012 | 12:06 pm

Kim Novak and James Stewart in "Vertigo."

The 2012 TCM Classic Film Fest will honor "Vertigo" star Kim Novak next month with a series of events including a dedication of her hand and footprints in a ceremony in front of Grauman's Chinese Theatre.

Novak, 79, will also introduce a screening of the Hitchcock thriller at the theater and participate in a conversation with TCM host Robert Osborne at the Avalon in Hollywood.

The festival marks a rare public appearance for the actress, who also starred in such films as "Picnic," "The Man With the Golden Arm," "Bell, Book and Candle" and "Pal Joey."

Novak, who left Hollywood in the 1970s and moved to Big Sur, made headlines this year when she criticized the score for the Oscar-winning film "The Artist," which borrowed from and credited the "Vertigo" score.

The TCM Film Festival will run from April 12-14. Previously announced events include a screening of "Cabaret," with appearances by Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey, a restoration screening of "How the West Was Won" in Cinerama and the U.S. premiere of the documentary "Baby Peggy: The Elephant in the Room" about the silent film-era child star.

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TCM Classic Film Festival: Warren Beatty on sex, politics and being 'a delicate flower'

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TCM Film Festival: Peter O'Toole on camels, booze and an Oscar "outrage"

 

— Rebecca Keegan

twitter.com/@thatrebecca

Photo: James Stewart and Kim Novak in "Vertigo." Credit: UCLA Film & Television Archive


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