The TCM Film Festival is the ultimate event for classic-film lovers. Held over four days in Hollywood every spring, the event, now enjoying its sixth year, attracts passionate film lovers from around the globe who bestow TCM host Robert Osborne with rock star-like veneration, and who love the camaraderie of communing with fellow film geeks in iconic old-Hollywood venues.
The 2015 festival takes place from March 26 to 29. This year’s theme, History According to Hollywood, represents such times and places as The Russian Revolution (Dr. Zhivago, 1965), 15th-century Paris (The Hunchback of Notre Dame, 1939), the American Old West (Calamity Jane, 1953), Nazi-era Austria (The Sound of Music, 1965) and the American Revolution (1776, released in 1972).
I’ve attended four of the previous five festivals and it’s always an incredible experience: I’ve met Debbie Reynolds, enjoyed movies on the big screen that seemed rather dull at home (I had no idea that Dial M for Murder, Hitchcock’s 1954 thriller starring Grace Kelly and Ray Milland, was way more exciting in 3-D, as it was originally filmed), got to know the beautiful Roosevelt Hotel’s lobby like the back of my hand, and made new friends who I continue to spend time with at the festival every year.
The schedule for the late-March event is still unfolding, but at least 70 movies will screen at the festival. Passholder-exclusive events include a red-carpet gala screening of The Sound of Music (1965), with a rare appearance from stars Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, and admission to Club TCM, a large private room at the Roosevelt Hotel offering parties, panel discussions, special exhibits, and music. There’s no better opportunity for an immersion in vintage films and glamorous old-Hollywood settings. Here are a few reasons you should attend…
Steamboat Bill Jr, one of dozens of classic films screening at the 2015 TCM Film Festival. Image courtesy of TCM.
Bask in the glow of the stars of an earlier Hollywood. This year, besides the aforementioned Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer appearance, Sophia Loren will attend a screening of the hilarious Marriage Italian Style (1964). The film, in which Loren’s character devises a very creative way to coerce her lover into marrying her, earned the actress an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. Loren will also be interviewed by TCM host Osborne. Also on the slate: Ann-Margret will be on hand for a screening of The Cincinnati Kid (1965), Spike Lee will introduce his 1992 film Malcolm X, and Dustin Hoffman will be interviewed by TCM Essentials co-host Alec Baldwin following a screening of Lenny, Bob Fosse’s 1974 Lenny Bruce biopic.
Films will screen at two classic 1920s movie palaces once owned by cinema impresario Sid Grauman, the TCL Chinese and the Egyptian, along with the newer TCL Chinese 6. Numerous non-screening events take place at the 1927 Roosevelt Hotel and the Montalban Theatre, built in 1926.
World premieres of five newly restored films — The Sound of Music (1965), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939), Steamboat Bill Jr. (1928), The Grim Game (1919), and Apollo 13 (1995) — will be presented at this year’s festival. Steamboat Bill Jr., a silent classic starring Buster Keaton, will be enhanced with live accompaniment from acclaimed organist Carl Davis, conducting a new score, while The Grim Game, a long-lost Harry Houdini film that only recently resurfaced and includes an unscripted airplane collision over Santa Monica, will also have live accompaniment.
For more information on the festival, go here.