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TCM Fest Highlight, A Review by Gary Meyer

TCM Fest Highlight, A Review by Gary Meyer

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the TCM
Festival in Hollywood. I had a full weekend and got to enjoy the true
experience—great movies projected on big screens with
enthusiastic and appreciative audiences. Between films we’d emerge onto
Hollywood Boulevard
with its own movie being created live and in the moment. As comedian
Dana Gould
said in his introduction
to FREAKS “the Boulevard was the only place you are likely to stand next
to Cher at the urinal in the men’s room. Take a look at the schedule, HERE

Among the celebrities I saw on the red carpet and clicked photos of were Maureen O’Hara (still
gorgeous), Kim Novak, Shirley Jones and Margaret O’Brien—and
in the background were Chaplins, Marilyns, Elvis, Michael Jackson and
multiple copies of Spiderman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Iron Man,
Star Wars characters, Transformers, Pirates (I heard one woman excitedly
say, “Oh my
god…it’s Johnny Depp.”), Mickey and Minnies and Elmo. In the
parking lot elevator one night I stood next to a tall African American
male, his Elmo
head ticked under his arm next to his furry red body. I asked if
he had a long and hot day. He told me that he comes around 4pm when it
isn’t so warm
and works until midnight. “Do you do ok?”

“An average weekend brings in $700-800 and it is fun.” I asked
him what he does the rest of the week and he told me he created movie
money props for
films and sells copies on ebay.

I saw 17 films and three special events. What a pleasure to
see classics projected on the big screen (a mix of 35mm and DCP) to
packed houses of
appreciative fans. Once again I was impressed with the
diversity of the audiences. Couples, young people and people of color
far out-numbered the
stereotype of middle aged white film geek guys. And they
knew their movies.

I saw a few classics I had never seen — Mary Poppins
(when it came out in 1964 a left-leaning high school kid would not be caught dead seeing that) and The Best Years of Our Lives (I
just never saw it–no excuses). Both were great for different reasons.

There were rare discoveries such as the pre-code Hat Check Girl
(racy Ginger Rogers) and the
powerful and all but forgotten

The Stranger’s Return

directed by King Vidor withLionel Barrymore and Miriam Hopkins (when will someone
do a major tribute?)

But the true revelation was the 1944 British comedy of mannersOn Approval . This was a joy of witty banter, great acting and certainly one of the most bizarre finales I have ever experienced with stuffed
animal heads coming to life among other visions you have never seen. The first show sold out so an extra screening was scheduled and it too was
full. Lucky or me I got in after being turned away from the first one.

The film was restored by that hero of lost cinema, David Shepard.

I just got an email from Jessica Rosner
that she will have a 35mm print available. There is also a BluRay and if there is enough demand the owners might consider making a DCP.

She wrote:

“It is about two couples in Victorian England ( and Scotland) who try a shocking experiment in living together to see if they are “compatible” before
marriage. The magnificent foursome is led by Clive Brook who also directed and
adapted the famous play upon which it is based. The extraordinary Beatrice Lillie co-stars in one of her
very few film appearances and she is aided by the lovely if oddly named Googie Withers and the
always fine Roland Culver.

This BRAND NEW print is from a negative made from a nitrate fine grain at the BFI. It is not flawless but it looks excellent.

Below is a link to the write up on the fest site about On Approval and audience reaction to it. I urge you to read it as it really captures the film much better than my write up.

This second link is for local news station festival write up highlighting On Approval as fest fave

(scroll down till you see the still)


Thanks Jessica. After the screening I wanted to know how the film could be shown in cinemas and you have answered my question.

And here are some good articles about the movie.

Anthony Slide writes:

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