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Broaden Your Cinematic Horizons with TCM’s Classic Film Festival

With its vast and ever-evolving film library the cable channel Turner Classic Movies is a cinephile’s dream and serves as a benchmark to other movie channels. Since its debut in 1994, TCM has offered a wide array of movies covering the medium’s history, from silent pictures to foreign films, all uncut and commercial free. This spring the brand will be venturing out with the inaugural TCM Classic Film Festival, scheduled for April 22-25 in Hollywood, CA.

Previously announced events were already very impressive. The Opening Night Red Carpet Gala is to feature a newly restored version of George Cukor’s A Star Is Born. Fritz Lang’s Metropolis is also newly restored and will be accompanied by Alloy Orchestra performing an original score. Roger Ebert calls them “the best in the world at accompanying silent films.” Continuing the science fiction theme, visual effects artist Douglas Trumbull presents Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Long overdue, Mel Brooks will finally be awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He will also introduce The Producers.

The TCM Classic Film Festival has just added a number of intriguing events to the schedule:

Recent centenarian Luise Rainer will introduce The Good Earth. She won her second of two Oscars in this adaptation of Pearl S. Buck’s novel. Cinematographer Karl Freund won an Oscar for his work as well.

Two other actors will be on hand to present what are arguably their best film performances. Jerry Lewis will introduce a new print of Martin Scorsese’s The King of Comedy and Tony Curtis will do the honors for Billy Wilder’s Some Like It Hot.

Family members step into the spotlight to honor their ancestors. Joan Crawford’s grandson, Casey LaLonde, introduces A Woman’s Face and Harold Lloyd’s granddaughter, Suzanne Lloyd Hayes, does double duty on An Eastern Westerner and Safety Last. Both Lloyd films feature music composed and conducted by Robert Israel.

Attention will be drawn to the restoration work of the Museum of Modern Art and their partners with premieres of the musical Sunnyside Up with Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell and Raoul Walsh’s Western The Big Trail starring John Wayne in his first lead role. Also planned is a screening of the work-in-progress on The Story of Temple Drake. Based on William Faulkner’s controversial Sanctuary, this Pre-Code film inspired the Roman Catholic Church to create the Legion of Decency.

The festival offers a number of films about Hollywood. Currently scheduled are Wilder’s Sunset Blvd., Nicholas Ray’s In a Lonely Place, Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly’s Singin’ in the Rain, and Vincente Minnelli’s The Bad and the Beautiful. Just added is The Stunt Man with director Richard Rush on hand.

For animation aficionados there is “Removed from Circulation: A Cartoon Collection” featuring shorts with negative racial or cultural stereotypes. The event is hosted by Donald Bogle, author of Bright Boulevards, Bold Dreams: A History of Black Hollywood, who will discuss the attitudes of the times. Titles include “Clean Pastures”, “Coal Black and De Sebben Dwarves”, “Goldilocks and the Jivin’ Bears”, “Hittin’ the Trail for Hallelujah Land”, “The Isle of Pingo Pongo”, “Sunday Go to Meetin’ Time”, “Tin Pan Alley Cats”, and “Uncle Tom’s Bungalow”. Of a less awkward nature, The Adventures of Robin Hood will be paired with Bugs Bunny’s “Rabbit Hood”.

Festival passes and additional information are available at the Turner Classic Movies website.

El Bicho started writing reviews online in Jan 2003 for The Masked Movie Snobs (www.maskedmoviesnobs.com) and has slowing been infesting other websites ever since. The scope of his resume ranges from crushing the dreams of budding screenwriters at Phoenix Pictures to 2nd AD work on low budget films that never got completed due to producers being involved in grand theft, fraud, and drug use. He currently works in video production. Although he attended UCLA film school, he is a reject in other ways.

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