The Third Annual Turner Classic Movies Classic Film Festival opened Thursday with a grand Red Carpet event outside the fabled Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard.
Held over four days in the heart of historic Hollywood, the TCM Classic Film Festival is a place where movie lovers from around the world gather to experience classic movies as they were meant to be seen: on the big screen, in some of the world’s most iconic venues, with the people who made them. The Festival presents multiple, simultaneous film screenings and events starting early in the morning and going into the late evening. All official venues are within walking distance along star-studded Hollywood Boulevard.
The opening event was a premier screening of the brand new, digital restoration print of Bob Fosse’s award winning 1972 film, CABARET. In attendance for the event were the stars, Liza Minnelli, Joel Grey and Michael York.
The festival drew an astounding range of stars from both the past and the present. You couldn’t help but wonder at the arrival of Mickey Rooney for one. There with Ms. Minnelli, daughter of his co-star from the hey-day of classic Hollywood, Judy Garland. I mean, how many times, for so many years, had Rooney tread those same steps outside that theatre, the very ones that hold his hand and foot impressions in concrete? We’ve seen the footage of the premiers from the 30’s and 40’s with Judy and Mickey arriving tux’ed and bejeweled with the searchlights scraping the skies and flashbulbs popping. Old, but spry, what must have been going through his head as he soaked up the adulation of the crowds cheering his arrival?
And the stars just kept on coming! The Hitchcock Blondes were there, Eva Marie Saint of NORTH BY NORTHWEST, (not to mention ON THE WATERFRONT with Marlon Brando) Tippi Hedren of THE BIRDS and MARNIE and, although she was not on the Red Carpet for this premier, Kim Novak of VERTIGO will be introducing and leading discussion and other films in the festival. These girls are still working, most have films in production still, amazing!
But that wasn’t the half of it. Peggy Montgomery who if you look her up on IMDB you will find had died in 1984! Well, I guess not ’cause there she was, the child star actress from the 20’s who was most likely the character model for Bettie Davis’ role of Baby Jane Hudson in the 1962 suspense-drama with Joan Crawford, WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE.
There was the cast of the original TV series DALLAS, Larry Hagman (also of I DREAM OF JEANNIE), Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray, interesting because the new re-do of DALLAS just premiered on TNT which is a Turner channel. Debbie Reynolds was there, Barbara Rush (of the original Payton Place TV series), Jerry Mathers (The Beaver!) and Robert Wagner (IT TAKES A THIEF and countless other roles…).
It wasn’t just the old-timers though, Rose McGowan (GRINDHOUSE and an occasional host on TCM), Illeana Douglas (CAPE FEAR), Reid Ewing (MODERN FAMILY), Jennifer Grey (DIRTY DANCING) who, it turns out, is the daughter of Joel Grey, Colin Cunningham (THE 6TH DAY, BEST IN SHOW) and too many more to count.
Last but not least, the host to most of the films shown on TCM, the film historian Robert Osborne. This guy has taught us all so much about the history of “the Industry” from his introductions to the movies from the TCM archive. If you haven’t seen it, TCM produced a series called Moguls & Movie Stars: A History Of Hollywood, under his direction which is a must see!
The festival continues, tonight we’re going to a screening of CHINATOWN introduced by its producer, Robert Evans and writer, Robert Towne really!