Of the many wonderful aspects of the annual TCM Classic Film Festival, one of the most inspiring is how very young it can make one feel. When confronted with so many vibrant, energetic and happy filmmakers (and film lovers), age seems to become irrelevant, and the time capsules/time machines that movies embody become a focus of celebration for all who attend. In this ninth running of perhaps the most beloved film festival, one couldn’t help but be inspired by the joie de vivre of so many guests and honorees and their passion for all things cinema.
Perhaps foremost among these was ninety-something actress and activist Cicely Tyson who would be honored mid-festival with her own handprints/footprints ceremony in the historic Grauman’s Chinese courtyard. Arriving with her niece for the Opening Night gala celebration, Miss Tyson was a bundle of energy in fringe, ripped metallic jeans, and high-heeled sneakers (an ensemble I don’t recall my grandmother ever sporting).
The energy level definitely rose as the diminutive Miss Tyson made her way up the carpet in the warm Southern California sunshine, bound for that most hallowed of Hollywood cinema shrines, Sid Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. The evening’s festivities inside the beautiful movie palace were twofold: a fiftieth anniversary screening of Mel Brooks’ hysterical first feature The Producers, as well as the inauguration of the first Robert Osborne Award, recognizing an individual whose work has helped maintain the legacy and preservation of classic films.
Who better to fit that bill than Martin Scorsese, perhaps the definitive filmmaker of his generation, as well as a tireless warrior in the battle to preserve the heritage of film. To date, the Film Foundation (which Scorsese founded in 1990) has rescued and preserved over 800 films which otherwise might have been lost forever. Taking the Grauman’s stage to introduce and present Scorsese with the inaugural Osborne award was frequent collaborator Leonardo DiCaprio. (The previous time the two had met here was when they recreated the Hell’s Angels Grauman’s premiere for The Aviator.) DiCaprio praised Scorsese as his “teacher, collaborator, mentor, and primarily friend,” whose impact is immeasurable as he’s worked relentlessly to preserve film and film history.
Scorsese took the stage before the sold-out Opening Night audience to sing the praises of the award’s namesake, Robert Osborne. Likening the former TCM host (who rallied for the creation of this festival) to a popular historian that welcomed people in with a shared cinematic love, Scorsese praised the recently departed Osborne as a dignified, reassuring, and accessible font of cinematic lore, even likening him to the ‘Book People’ at the end of Truffaut’s Fahrenheit 451. “I have to go on the record…” waxed Scorsese. “I LOVE TCM!” The cable channel is always running on the televisions in his home, and even in the editing room where he creates his own films. He garnered his biggest laugh of the evening when he informed the crowd, “I won’t stay at a hotel that doesn’t have TCM.”
Continuing on, Scorsese bemoaned the fact that these days so much of cinema has simply become ‘content’ to fill the ubiquitous (and growing) number of screens at our disposal. The fulfillment of what was once desired by so many cinephiles in the past (the ability to view any film, at any given time), has now become a problem in itself. “The great 20th century art form has been reduced to content,” explained Scorsese, pointing out that when film is everywhere, it’s not as special anymore. “The devaluation of cinema itself is a perhaps even bigger threat than the physical problems,” he noted. “The problem is they can be sampled in bits and pieces, or turned off, another turned on.”
“We must stand together for the value [of cinema],” Scorsese passionately exhorted. “We must advocate to make sure the legacy of cinema is there for future generations. We have to agitate!” Praising fellow film lovers who buy tickets to see films in cinemas (noting that Kubrick’s 2001 will be re-released in 70mm next month), he continued, “Support every chance to see films BIG. Take young people with you. It makes an impact on owners. No complacency. Nobody else is going to do it for us. It could all go away. It’s up to us, the ones who love cinema … you and me!” The audience gathered there inside one of the grandest movie palaces in the world jumped to their feet for a sustained standing ovation, as a new TCM festival tradition was happily inaugurated.
Moments later, current TCM host Ben Mankiewicz brought out living comedy legend Mel Brooks (yet another ninety-something) to introduce that evening’s gala screening of The Producers on its fiftieth anniversary. A veritable bundle of energy, Mel refused to take his seat, preferring instead to roam the large Grauman’s stage, and had the audience laughing from the get-go. Following the hard-to-top appearance of DiCaprio and Scorsese, Brooks enthused, “He’s a treasure. So remarkable and so important to those of us who make films. And he’s so much shorter than me!”
Incredibly enough, when the Academy Awards were passed out for 1968’s top films, Mel Brooks’ screenplay for The Producers actually won the coveted prize (something that would likely never happen with the current calcified virtue-signalling group). The fact that it won out over screenplays for The Battle of Algiers and 2001: A Space Odyssey makes this bad-taste bonanza of a win even more stupefying (and delicious). Mel was so surprised (and happily ashamed?) that he even penned a letter of contrition to Stanley Kubrick stating, “I apologize for winning. I really didn’t deserve it.” (Side note: Kubrick actually did win an Academy Award for the film – his sole Oscar – but for 2001’s groundbreaking Special Effects instead.)
Obviously one of the great thrills of the TCM Classic Film Fest is to view a film in state-of-the-art presentation with a packed audience of like-minded film lovers (as Scorsese encouraged). This is even more the case when the film is a comedy, as sustained laughter is so often infectious in the darkened cinema. And Mel’s fifty-years-fresh The Producers most definitely filled the bill and had the joint a-jumpin’.
A paragon of bad taste and lowball humor, The Producers (along with Blazing Saddles) is perhaps Mel’s funniest of all. Speaking on the film’s (perfect) casting, Brooks stated that he always wanted mighty Zero Mostel for the lead role of Max Bialystock, and despite Peter Sellers’ interest in playing Leo Bloom, he knew Gene Wilder would be perfect for the part (as he was, garnering Wilder his only Oscar nomination). Ironically enough, Brooks wanted (then unknown) Dustin Hoffman for the role of Nazi(!) Franz Liebkind, but had to settle on wonderful Kenneth Mars instead when Hoffman bagged his career-launching role in The Graduate opposite Mel’s wife Anne Bancroft. All’s well that ends well …
Earlier, on the pristine red carpet stretched out in front of the famed Hollywood movie palace, the filmmakers, actors, and hosts featured in the upcoming long weekend of screenings ambled in under brilliant, sunny skies (a lighting bane to the gathered photographers). There in support of their former director Martin Scorsese were beautiful Rosanna Arquette (After Hours, New York Stories), and garlic-slicing Paul Sorvino (Goodfellas).
Celebrating their own iconic film’s fiftieth anniversary were Romeo and Juliet stars Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey, who along with co-star Michael York would introduce the film the following day. Young love, a half-century later, never looked so good.
Once again snagging the honor of eldest festival participant, 103-year-old stormin’ Norman Lloyd spryly bounded up the red carpet, looking dapper as ever, even finding enough energy to clown around with that young whippersnapper Mel Brooks en route.
I would catch Lloyd’s (second) Hitchcock film Spellbound on a rare nitrate print later in the fest, but perhaps the less said about that misfire, the better. Even Hitch denounced the film in his interviews with Truffaut … “Well it’s just another manhunt story wrapped up in pseudo-psychoanalysis.” Despite the enticing creamy look of Bergman’s skin projected on nitrate, as well as the intriguing early use of theremin in an otherwise overwrought, intrusive Miklós Rózsa score (which true-to-form would go on to win the Oscar), I found the following on-set photograph of its two stars far more interesting than anything in the ridiculous film itself.
Returning festival regulars, who obviously greatly love this celebration of cinema, were on hand to introduce and reminisce about their films. Vibrant Ruta Lee (one of the Seven Brides for Seven Brothers) would introduce her Billy Wilder collaboration Witness for the Prosecution later in the festival.
Lovely Juliette Mills (last seen at the fest with her Juvenile Academy Award-winning sister Hayley) would also introduce a stunning restoration (funded by Scorsese’s Film Foundation) of her father John Mills’ Tunes of Glory.
Yet another Juvenile Academy Award winner (ah, those were the days) … Claude Jarman Jr. returned not for The Yearling this time, but for the moving 1949 Faulkner adaptation, Intruder in the Dust. In what turned out to be a breakthrough year for black performers, Juano Hernandez starred as a proud, unapologetic black man wrongfully accused of murder in 1940s Mississippi. This strong, stoic performance was quite the rarity in pre-Sidney Poitier days, and despite the film’s disfavor with studio head Louis B. Mayer (who basically dumped it with little support), it went on to win a BAFTA award as well as multiple NYFCC nominations (including one for Hernandez). Along with a sensitive performance from teenager Jarman, the film is lifted by a sprightly no-nonsense turn from Elizabeth Patterson, who as the story’s conscience got a rousing round of applause towards the film’s end.
While Intruder in the Dust came out just as the Civil Rights era was beginning, some twenty years later Melvin Van Peebles broke cinematic ground of his own with his seminal 1971 film Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song. When Columbia (who had offered him a three-picture deal) wouldn’t touch his controversial script, Van Peebles raised the funding himself, then went on to write, produce, direct, score, edit, and star in this game-changing film. Sweet Sweetback became the top-grossing independent film of the year and is widely credited for giving rise to the Blaxploitation film movement, as well as eventually opening doors for other great black filmmakers such as Charles Burnett and Spike Lee. What a thrill it was to see three generations of Van Peebles walk the red carpet together, and what an overdue honor for Melvin, the groundbreaking patriarch who truly changed the rules of the game.
Returning again to the red carpet and TCM Fest were radiant Diane Baker as well as another member of a Hollywood dynasty, Keith Carradine. The latter (excellent in last year’s A Quiet Passion) introduced a number of films throughout the fest, along with hosting a rousing Roaring Twenties poolside screening at the nearby Roosevelt Hotel.
Perhaps the loveliest of regular TCM Fest guests, nonagenarian Eva Marie Saint returned yet again to charm grateful attendees. Winning an Oscar her very first time at bat (as well as presenting at the most recent ceremony), Miss Saint personifies grace and class, and always entertains her film audiences with fascinating behind-the-scenes stories of Hollywood’s past.
Having recently lost both her beloved husband as well as the man she called the #2 in her life, Robert Osborne, Eva Marie Saint remains faithful to the festival Osborne created, and returned once again to introduce a pair of her better starring efforts, Fred Zinnemann’s A Hatful of Rain and John Frankenheimer’s Grand Prix. Despite radically different subject matter, both films were wide-screen wonders (Cinemascope and Super Panavision 70, respectively), with the latter getting a special fest screening inside Hollywood’s Cinerama Dome.
Before the screening of A Hatful of Rain, Saint sat down with Ben Mankiewicz for a loose and funny chat (they obviously adore each other) about the film as well as her career. Despite being one of the first films allowed by the Production Code to focus on heroin addiction, A Hatful of Rain is primarily an actor’s film, and boy was there a lot of … acting. Unlike her co-stars, Saint managed to underplay most of her scenes in a naturalistic manner. Being an alumnus of Lee Strasberg’s Actors Studio (along with many of the actors in the film), Saint shared how she’d been raised in a straight-laced home where there was even a specific ‘Crying Room’ should one be so inclined. It wasn’t until a breakthrough moment in a scene requiring tears at the Actors Studio that she overcame this reticence, when during this dreaded exercise, looking out into the classroom, she could see all of her fellow actors crying along with her.
Other random observations (that only made the audience love her more) were her initial passionate life desire to become a third-grade teacher (her mother had taught in a one-room school), and a fun tidbit about what was going through her mind during the intimate face-to-face seduction scene aboard the train with Cary Grant in North by Northwest. Mindful of her very large feet, apparently all Miss Saint could think of as they filmed this flirtatious, radiantly sexy moment was … oh PLEASE don’t step on my big feet, Cary! The lady has class, and is funny as hell … what’s not to love?
This year, it seemed to me there were more filmic connections and cinematic overlaps than in any of the previous eight TCM fests. Continuing with the Cary Grant connection, his former wife Dyan Cannon was on hand to introduce a Grauman’s screening of Heaven Can Wait, while another previous wife (Betsy Drake) was featured in one of the wildest films of TCM Fest 2018 … Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?
As a diehard fan of director Frank Tashlin (and his real-life 3D cartoon-come-to-life star Jayne Mansfield), it was a particular treat to see this exuberant, fun-filled, colorful Cinemascope epic on the BIG screen where it clearly belongs. It’s undoubtedly one of the most self-referential films ever made, mentioning not only Mansfield and Tashlin’s previous hit (The Girl Can’t Help It, my favorite), but two additional Mansfield films (The Wayward Bus and the soon-to-be released Kiss Them for Me … with Cary Grant!). Another fun coincidence (considering my recent viewing just that afternoon) was a poster for A Hatful of Rain inside one of the theaters in the film.
Having created the role of Rita Marlowe in the Broadway hit, Mansfield gives her best ever screen performance here, and is matched each step of the way by manic Tony Randall as the film’s titular advertising man. His is a vanity-free achievement, a rare no-holds-barred, aim-for-the-rafters melding of role and performance, which leaves one beaming with admiration. I felt this earlier with Gene Wilder’s performance in The Producers (and to a slightly lesser degree with Dick Shawn’s cameo in the same film). Also knocking it out of the park in Rock Hunter are the incredible Joan Blondell and put-upon Henry Jones, who are given amazing monologues (Blondell’s on a milkman beau, Jones’ on the executive washroom). It’s no surprise (yet still a joyous wonder) that the Library of Congress included this romp on its National Film Registry as a film “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant” and worthy of preservation. Touché!
One of the final scenes of Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? features Jayne and Tony setting their handprints in wet cement in the Grauman’s Chinese courtyard, which was the perfectly surreal closure to a full day which began for me out in that very courtyard, witnessing the great Cicely Tyson do the same.
The spirited Miss Tyson was born in Harlem in the 1920s and has devoted her sixty-year-long career to portraying positive images of African-American women, often turning down roles that did not meet her high standards. After co-founding the Dance Theatre of Harlem in 1969, her big breakthrough on screen occurred in 1972, a year overflowing with great female performances, for her touching lead role in Martin Ritt’s Sounder. Her heartfelt acting in the film earned her both the National Board and NYFCC Best Actress honors, and if not for Liza Minnelli’s iconic Cabaret performance, might also have won her the Oscar (nearly three decades before Halle Berry’s breakthrough win in that category).
Miss Tyson followed up her Sounder triumph with one of the most moving television movies ever made … The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. Her incredible performance in that film was a touchstone to so many, exemplified by her character’s final long, triumphant walk to sip from a ‘Whites Only’ drinking fountain. It was dignity and determination personified, and Cicely ended up winning two Emmys for her beautiful performance. She continues to act (and collect awards) into her nineties, including accolades such as the Kennedy Center Honors and the Presidential Medal of Freedom (the highest civilian honor given by the U.S. government), which was presented to her by President Barack Obama in 2016.
In a heartfelt speech at the start of the ceremony, Tyson reminisced about her first visit to Hollywood, where (as is her style) she hopped on a bicycle to explore the new environment. She came upon Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, jumped off her bike, and wandered the courtyard, awestruck by all the famous names and prints planted in cement. “And my first thought was,” laughed Tyson, “Why in the world would they do that?! Never dreaming that one day, I would be asked to do the same. To say to TCM, the fact that you thought enough of what I was trying to do my entire career is worthy of this moment, I cannot tell you how grateful I am, and how thankful I am.”
After explaining that she was the sole surviving member of her entire family, she closed her speech on a spiritual, even defiant note. “Obviously I am here for a reason. When I think HE knows that I have served his purpose, then he will call me. I’m not so sure I’ll be ready to go, but I will hear him, and make the decision. Thank you.”
With that she stepped from the podium, and to the cheers of the gathered crowd, set about immortalizing her name and prints among those she’d admired so many years ago. Judging by her seemingly limitless energy, her strength of character, and obvious joy for life, as Tyler Perry mentioned in his introduction, one wouldn’t want to bet against her outliving the very cement she was about to imprint.
What would a successful TCM Fest be without at least one pre-Code comedy, without a Preston Sturges film, or a restored Silent film with live accompaniment? This year I succeeded on all fronts, and true to form, these movies ended up being some of the highlights of my long, cinema-filled weekend.
Preston Sturges was a total original, even by Hollywood standards, and he had an unparalleled run of twelve fantastic films in a nine-year stretch, all of which pass the test of time, evoking laughs galore these many decades later. His stock company of players imbue their characters with originality and are always bursting with life, as well as cockeyed grand schemes. With some of the funniest character names in the history of film, and faces that seem to prefigure those who worked with Fellini, Sturges’ films invariably leave audiences smiling. Surprisingly, until this weekend I’d never seen his The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek, but it was worth the wait as this is one of his most enjoyable romps. Sturges’ plots are often beside the point, but this one involves an unplanned pregnancy, and the problems it creates with these small-town families in WWII America. Production Code be damned, this was Paramount’s biggest grosser of 1944, and possibly the best work by its three principals: Betty Hutton, Eddie Bracken, and particularly the cantankerous William Demarest as patriarch of the Kockenlocker clan. Like those earlier performers I mentioned (Randall, Wilder, Shawn), Demarest knocks it out of the ballpark with his mugging, physical humor, pratfalls, and even a surprising tenderness. It’s performances like his that truly should be winning supporting Oscars, but alas, the Academy has almost always turned a blind eye to comedy, preferring instead maudlin dramatics. Betty Hutton was the bee’s knees as well, and her wide-eyed, fast-talking performance was a delight to behold.
Without a Joan Crawford vehicle on offer this go-around (the nerve!), I was forced to settle for costumes from Mildred Pierce on display inside the Roosevelt’s Blossom Room (aka Club TCM).
Aside from a display of iconic movie costumes from Hollywood’s Golden Era, one of the best recent TCM Fest traditions inside the historic room (site of the very first Academy Award ceremony) has to be the wall-sized montage of characters from the current festival’s films. This year’s edition with the Black Lagoon’s creature rubbing up on Norma Desmond (The Shape of Water influence?) was no exception, and particular kudos to whichever TCM staffer decided to include the great Billy Barty sporting giant muffs of fur!
My pre-Code choice this year was 1934’s Finishing School, starring Ginger Rogers and Frances Dee, with the added bonus of being the only ’30s film directed by a woman not named Dorothy Arzner. Like the Sturges film, it involves an unplanned pregnancy, and director/screenwriter Wanda Tuchock leads with a sure, non-judgmental hand. Dee supplies the heart of the film as a young woman discovering adulthood out in the big world, but it’s a pre-stardom Ginger Rogers who gets all the best lines and gives the film its zip. Naturally, this was one of the first films to be condemned by the newly formed Legion of Decency, which goes to show how short-sighted and unnecessary they were, as this really is a sweet little gem.
Two years later, Jean Harlow, Clark Gable, Myrna Loy, and a very young Jimmy Stewart starred as two loving couples who must work through misconceptions and jealousies in Clarence Brown’s fantastic Wife vs. Secretary. Gable really was a magnetic force of nature in his films, while Jimmy Stewart in this, his breakout year, already seemed to possess his fully formed screen persona. Myrna Loy and Jean Harlow bonded and became fast friends during the shoot, and it truly is one of the great tragedies in cinema’s history that Harlow would be needlessly gone within about a year of the film’s release. In hopes of shaking her blonde bombshell image, Harlow had fought hard for a mature role such as this, and she was wonderful as the working-class secretary here. Hollywood was shaken to the core by the loss of one of its greatest stars, and Myrna Loy always faulted Harlow’s Christian Scientist mother for not permitting the medical care that could have saved her life. Still, we’re fortunate to have Harlow’s films still available, and to see them projected up on a big screen with an appreciative audience at the TCM film festival, ‘Baby’ it’s a wonderful thing.
Two classic Westerns and two incredible Silents rounded out my 2018 TCM Fest experience, and these were the highlights of the fourteen films I ended up viewing over the long weekend. A noticeable synchronicity existed with the Westerns, despite being released twenty-five years apart. Both films dealt with tragic hangings, and both starred Henry Fonda, who himself had witnessed a horrendous lynching early in his life, affecting him until the end of his days.
William Wellman’s 1943 classic take on mob mentality, The Ox-Bow Incident, was one of the director’s favorite films, as well as one of Henry Fonda’s. No studio wanted to make a film about lynching so Wellman had to commit to make two more films for producer Daryl F. Zanuck, and then had only a small budget to shoot it on Fox’s back lot. Wellman was forced to get creative working around such restrictions, increasing his use of tight close-ups and atmospheric lighting during the shoot. He also knew he’d chosen the correct lead actor in Fonda, when he discovered that they both shared a passion for drinking whiskey and eating chocolate at the same time! The tight 75-minute film has a rushed inevitability to it (much as an actual lynching might), and a tragic bleakness regarding man’s inhumanity to his fellow man. A financial failure upon release, its reputation has only grown with time, and The Ox-Bow Incident is now considered one of the greatest of all Westerns.
Twenty-five years later Henry Fonda did an about face, taking on the rare role of an amoral villain in Sergio Leone’s epic masterwork, Once Upon a Time in the West. With his steely, emotionless blue eyes and darkly tanned face, Fonda could not be more different than his Ox-Bow character. Leone, who had wanted to put Westerns behind him at the time, changed his mind when Paramount offered him a large budget and a chance to work with his favorite actor, Fonda. With solid support from Jason Robards, stoic Charles Bronson, and a voluptuous Claudia Cardinale, the film was a work of pure cinema and breathed new life into the Western genre. A major factor in this was Ennio Morricone’s iconic and influential score. Leone insisted that Morricone write the score before the film was shot, so he could then play it on set during the shoot (Italian films were all dubbed post-production at the time). The music, combined with the stunning Techniscope cinematography (alternating wide, wide shots with extreme close-ups), all gelled under Leone’s mastery to create this indelible work. And to see it sitting in perhaps the best, center seat inside Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, is a once-in-a-lifetime moviegoing experience I’ll not soon forget.
My annual TCM Fest Silent movie fix was satisfied by two of my favorites … director King Vidor and the peerless Lon Chaney. A forerunner (and perhaps inspiration) to Frank Tashlin’s Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? mentioned previously, Silent master King Vidor (The Crowd, The Big Parade) had a sure hand with comedy as well, and proved it in his delightful riff on early Hollywood, Show People.
Filmed ninety years ago on the very streets and studios surrounding this classic film festival, Vidor’s enchanting comedy stars William Randolph Hearst’s paramour Marion Davies in what is likely her loosest, happiest performance (and certainly best film). Tracking the rise of a naive newcomer to Tinsel Town as she rises up the Hollywood ladder with the assistance of a happy-go-lucky fellow actor (William Haines, perhaps the Chris Pratt of his day), the film is as self-referential as can be. Davies even shows up on the studio grounds as herself in one scene, while her character Peggy Pepper looks down her nose and states how little she cares for the actress. Ditto for director Vidor, as well as cameos by many of the superstars of the day – Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, John Gilbert among them. Accompanied by organist Ben Model with a rousing, spot-on score, seeing the delightful Show People in a pristine 35mm print on loan from the Library of Congress was truly an event. The fact that this screening occurred inside Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre (site of the first-ever Hollywood premiere in 1922), smack dab in the heart of Hollywood, made the experience all the more meaningful.
Even more impressive was the festival’s final screening, 1925’s The Phantom of the Opera, starring the inimitable Lon Chaney.
Chaney, perhaps the greatest dramatic actor of the Silent era (Buster Keaton takes the comedy title), wanted a film to top his earlier Hunchback of Notre Dame, and found it in this first adaptation of the original 1910 novel. As usual, Chaney did all of his own makeup, and what an achievement it was. The final results were kept completely hidden from the press, and apparently even from his leading lady right up until the filming of the great reveal. It’s a cinematic shock that is not easily forgotten, and one worthy of all the physical pain Chaney had to endure to achieve it.
Aside from the traditional color tinting of complete scenes, early two-color Technicolor was utilized for a handful of sequences, as well as frame-by-frame coloring of the Phantom’s cape as he lurks on the Opera House roof. The enormous Opera House set built on the Universal lot still partially exists to this day (rumor has it that the ghost of Chaney will bring harm to anyone who tries to tear it down). The beautiful print on display is the best currently available (truly a bonus for a nearly century-old film), and was projected at a slower 20 frames per second to make movement more realistic.
But aside from the jaw-dropping visuals, what brought this screening to an incredibly high level was the live accompaniment by the sublime Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra. Utilizing source material available at the time in the 1920s, pianist Rodney Sauer compiled the amazing score, even perfectly matching the music played by the Opera orchestra in the film itself. All elements (including another close up, dead-center seat which had me completely engulfed in this cinematic world), combined with Chaney’s towering incarnation reminded me of why the TCM Classic Film Festival is such a thrilling, essential experience. Next year’s 10th anniversary edition is already in the planning stages, which brings immense joy and eager anticipation to this cinephile’s heart.
all festival photos by Steve Striegel, exclusively for ICS