Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Coming Soon!

As readers might guess, it's been a very busy few days here getting ready to take time off for the TCM Classic Film Festival!

The fun actually began on Sunday, when my husband and I met up with Aurora and Annmarie, who arrived in town several days ahead of the festival. We spent a most enjoyable day touring Los Angeles, including dinner at El Cholo and attending the TCM screening of REAR WINDOW (1954) at the Universal CityWalk.

I hope to write about REAR WINDOW soon after the conclusion of the TCM Festival; seeing it on a big screen was a fantastic experience!

The festival officially gets underway for me tomorrow, with a busy schedule including the annual TCM press conference and a visit to the Warner Bros. backlot.

The movies will start rolling on Thursday evening; my top choices from this year's festival schedule can be found here.

I'm most excited to reconnect once more with all the online friends I've met in person at the last few festivals; I'll also be meeting some friends "in person" for the very first time, including my longtime pal Kristina!

Meanwhile, let's all send good thoughts and prayers to Robert Osborne, who will be greatly missed at this year's festival.

I'll have complete festival coverage here beginning next week, and in the meantime, you can follow me throughout the festival on Twitter! I'll be providing real-time coverage on the people, the places, and the movies which are part of the TCM Classic Film Festival.

In addition to extensive TCM Classic Film Festival coverage, in the near future I'll be writing posts on the Noir City Hollywood schedule; UCLA's fantastic William Wellman tribute; highlights from TCM's April schedule, along with a preview of TCM in June; a big Around the Blogosphere classic film link roundup; and I'll have reviews of more Warner Archive DVDs and several books, including two titles on THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1965).

As the saying goes, stay tuned!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Book Review: Charles Walters: The Director Who Made Hollywood Dance

I've been looking forward to Brent Phillips' biography of director-choreographer Charles Walters for some time now, and the recently published CHARLES WALTERS: THE DIRECTOR WHO MADE HOLLYWOOD DANCE did not disappoint.

This 368-page book, published by the University of Kentucky Press, is meticulously and thoroughly researched, covering "Chuck's" life from his childhood in Anaheim, California, to his success on Broadway and in Hollywood, then closing with an account of his teaching experiences at the University of Southern California prior to his death in 1982.

As I've written in the past, I sat in on a couple of Chuck Walters' classes at USC and had the chance to meet him; he was a very nice man. (The signed class syllabus and autographed photos seen here are from my personal collection.) My good feelings toward Walters and my love for a great many of his films made reading this detailed life history a pleasure.

Walters began his Hollywood career as dance director on MGM musicals such as MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS (1944); he then became a feature film director with the effervescent GOOD NEWS (1947). Walters' MGM musicals also included wonderful films such as EASTER PARADE (1948), SUMMER STOCK (1950), LILI (1953), EASY TO LOVE (1953), THE GLASS SLIPPER (1955), and HIGH SOCIETY (1956). He retired from directing after making WALK DON'T RUN (1966) with Cary Grant.

Although Chuck Walters has been gone for over 30 years, the author was nonetheless able to tell much of the story in Chuck's own words, thanks to old interviews.

Phillips also used primary source documentation such as Walters' birth certificate and MGM interoffice memos, and he consulted a variety of contemporaneous news reports. Some of the material in the book came from the Charles Walters and Arthur Freed collections at USC. I mention the breadth of research in part because I thought the author did a terrific job pulling together information from such a variety of sources into a book which is both highly readable and exhaustively footnoted.

I noticed the value of the author's careful research right off the bat -- IMDb records that Chuck was born in Brooklyn, but Phillips traces his birth to 325 South Grand Avenue in Pasadena. I was fascinated to learn he'd grown up in neighboring Anaheim, where he graduated from Anaheim High School.

My favorite chapters were the detailed looks at the creation of his MGM musicals. Phillips used a wealth of comments from MGM stars and minor players, mixing his own first-person discussions with recorded interviews with stars who are no longer with us. I especially loved reading quotes from relatively obscure performers such as MGM dancer Caren Marsh. These quotes consistently reveal a director who was upbeat, collaborative, and able to physically demonstrate to his cast members what he wanted to see on the screen.

Side note: If only Walters' personal choice for the lead in ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, Betty Grable, had been signed for it by MGM! What a movie that could have been, directed by Walters. As it happened, Walters didn't even make the movie, as it was "stolen" by director George Sidney, who had greater clout with the studio brass; with Betty Hutton in the lead I find it unwatchable.

One interesting tidbit among many: in the '30s Walters made his initial attempts to break into Hollywood alongside another unknown who became a good friend, Tyrone Power. One of my few unanswered questions after reading the book: did Walters and Power remain lifelong friends?

The book includes 32 pages of well-chosen photographs printed on flat (non-glossy) paper.

For more on this book, please visit Raquel's review at Out of the Past, as she brings out additional points of interest on the book. There was also recently a review by Ethan Mordden in the Wall Street Journal -- I loved his comments on "Under the Bamboo Tree" in MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS -- and there's a nice piece on the book and author Brent Phillips posted by Eileen Reynolds at New York University, where Phillips works.

CHARLES WALTERS: THE DIRECTOR WHO MADE HOLLYWOOD DANCE is a top biography which receives my very highest recommendation.

Sincere thanks to the University of Kentucky Press for providing a review copy of this book.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Tonight's Movie: The Milky Way (1936) at the UCLA Festival of Preservation

It's been an extraordinarily busy week, getting work out of the way ahead of my time off for the TCM Classic Film Festival!

I've been looking forward to sharing some thoughts on Harold Lloyd's THE MILKY WAY (1936), which I saw on Monday evening at the UCLA Festival of Preservation. THE MILKY WAY was on a double bill with THE BIG BROADCAST (1932), which I reviewed here.

It was a nice surprise that Harold Lloyd's granddaughter, Suzanne Lloyd, came to introduce the movie, as she hadn't been listed as a guest on the UCLA website. Suzanne is an engaging and interesting speaker who has done phenomenal work preserving her grandfather's legacy. I also saw her introduce WHY WORRY? (1923) at the TCM Classic Film Festival last year with Leonard Maltin.

Suzanne shared that while most of her grandfather's movies were not shown on television -- his preference -- one day when she was young and at home sick from school, she stumbled across THE MILKY WAY on TV and loved it. Suzanne was raised by her grandparents, and she said she particularly loves THE MILKY WAY because there are moments when it closely reflects the real offscreen Harold Lloyd; she said the way he talks to the colt in the movie is the way he would talk to her and their dogs!

I was especially interested in seeing THE MILKY WAY for a couple of reasons: First, I've become a fan of Harold Lloyd and had not yet seen any of his sound films; and second, last fall I reviewed the Danny Kaye musical remake, THE KID FROM BROOKLYN (1946).

THE MILKY WAY was directed by Leo McCarey, who the following year directed the comedy classic THE AWFUL TRUTH (1937); when McCarey fell ill while working on THE MILKY WAY, there was some uncredited direction by Leo's brother, Ray McCarey, as well as by Norman Z. McLeod. McLeod, ironically, directed the remake, THE KID FROM BROOKLYN, a decade later! The movie was filmed in black and white by Alfred Gilks.

Lloyd plays Burleigh Sullivan, a milquetoast milkman whose defense of his sister (Helen Mack) against a couple of mashers leads to the impression that he knocked out a boxing champ (William Gargan). Soon Burleigh is on his way to boxing stardom, thanks to manager Gabby Sloan (Adolphe Menjou), but the truth is Burleigh has no idea what he's doing in the ring. Meanwhile Burleigh's fame dampens his new relationship with sweet Polly Pringle (Dorothy Wilson).

I enjoyed THE MILKY WAY quite well. Though it wasn't on a par with Lloyd's classic silents, it was a solid '30s comedy with a good cast. It was a bit odd at first for me to hear Lloyd's voice, having previously only seen his silents, but then it seemed perfectly normal! Burleigh's fancy footwork couldn't help but remind me a bit of Lloyd's "handshake routine" in THE FRESHMAN (1925).

This was my second Adolphe Menjou film at the festival in a week's time; his BACHELOR'S AFFAIRS (1932) was the highlight of the festival for me. It was fun to see him here playing a looser comic character as the manager.

Menjou's real-life wife, Verree Teasdale, has one of her best-ever parts in this as Gabby's glamorous, sarcastic girlfriend; she's an absolute knockout in a parade of stunning gowns, and she's sharply witty as well. (Her role was played in the remake by Eve Arden.) It was mentioned before the film that Menjou and Teasdale, like director McCarey, both had serious medical issues during the filming, which delayed production.

A great bit of trivia is that Lionel Stander, who plays trainer Spider Schultz, played the same role in the remake! The cast also includes George Barbier, Charles Lane, and Marjorie Gateson, who plays the society matron which Fay Bainter played a decade later.

Of course, comparisons between the two versions are inevitable; I found them roughly equal in terms of enjoyment. I really liked THE KID FROM BROOKLYN, particularly for its great color and the presence of Virginia Mayo, Steve Cochran, and Vera-Ellen, who I found more interesting than their '36 counterparts, but that later version does run on the long side, clocking in at 113 minutes. THE MILKY WAY runs 89 minutes, which was just right, and I especially enjoyed Menjou and Teasdale in the older version.

THE MILKY WAY is available on DVD in multiple editions, including the excellent Harold Lloyd Comedy Collection, Vol. I from New Line.

Amazon Prime members can stream the movie at no extra charge.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Tonight's Movie: The Big Broadcast (1932) at the UCLA Festival of Preservation

A very nice-sized crowd came out to the Billy Wilder Theater Monday evening for another very enjoyable night at the UCLA Festival of Preservation.

The double bill consisted of Bing Crosby's first starring lead in a feature film, THE BIG BROADCAST (1932), followed by a Harold Lloyd "talkie," THE MILKY WAY (1936).

The evening started off with ME AND THE BOYS (1929), a two-song musical short directed by Victor Saville (TONIGHT AND EVERY NIGHT). While some of the very '20s dancing and behavior of singer Estelle Brody hasn't aged well, what a treat to see a very young Benny Goodman, not to mention Jack Teagarden. (Brody and some of the band are seen at the right.) Some of the restored short still has significant flaws, which makes the viewer realize just how close this slice of musical history might have come to being lost forever. It was a nice way to begin the evening.

THE BIG BROADCAST was of interest to me as I'm not yet very familiar with Bing Crosby's '30s films. He stars in this Paramount film as radio star Bing Crosby, whose professionalism has taken a slide since he's begun romancing glamorous Mona (Sharon Lynn). Bing meets Leslie (Stuart Erwin), whose hometown love Anita (Leila Hyams) is a secretary at the radio station and thinks she loves Bing, whose fiancee Mona elopes with someone else... Well, the course of true love never did run smooth!

Meanwhile things aren't running smoothly at Bing's radio station, either. His show's sponsor (George Barbier) wants him fired because of his unreliable appearances, and station head George (George Burns) is barely keeping the lights on. George also attempts to keep his sanity while dealing with zany receptionist Gracie (Gracie Allen).

The plot of this 80-minute movie is fairly loose, but the film has some unexpectedly creative visual bits of comedy as well as fantastic music. The craziness which pops onscreen every now and then reminded me a bit of the much later JOHNNY DOESN'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE (1944). I wouldn't want to try watching the zany scene where Bing and Leslie attempt to commit suicide without being stone cold sober, as it was bizarre enough seeing it with all my wits about me.

At the outset of his film career Bing is a polished, charismatic, and funny performer. I couldn't help marveling over just how young he was! I've got a couple of DVD sets with more of his '30s films which I picked up on sale and need to start delving into. Bing was still making films for Paramount over two decades later, including WHITE CHRISTMAS (1954).

The most thrilling aspect of the movie was seeing and hearing some truly great music in such pristine condition, starting with Bing's own "Where the Blue of the Night (Meets the Gold of the Day)." I couldn't help marveling over the gorgeous sequences with the Mills Brothers, the Boswell Sisters, and Cab Calloway. The UCLA audience was appreciative, and some of the musical sequences received enthused audience applause.

Stuart Erwin is someone who's grown on me, while the leading ladies were fine but not particular standouts. I enjoyed watching Burns and Allen interact, especially as they were restricted to a couple of scenes together so their routines didn't wear out their welcome. I liked that his warm appreciation for her came over in a very nice way, when he could have been nastily exasperated. They would go on to appear in two of the three additional BIG BROADCAST films released by Paramount in the '30s.

THE BIG BROADCAST was directed by Frank Tuttle, whose many Paramount films included Alan Ladd's star-making THIS GUN FOR HIRE (1942) a decade later.

All in all, THE BIG BROADCAST was a very different and enjoyable film which was well worth making the drive to L.A. to see.

A review of THE MILKY WAY will be coming soon! (Update: Here it is!)

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

In honor of the holiday, a selection of classic film era actresses enjoying lovely spring-like weather while wearing green!

Debra Paget:

Elizabeth Taylor:

Janet Leigh:

Ann Blyth:

Linda Darnell (with dyed hair!):

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Tonight's Movie: Kathleen (1941) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

Shirley Temple stars as a poor little rich girl in MGM's KATHLEEN (1941), which was recently released by the
Warner Archive.

Kathleen (Temple) is largely ignored by her wealthy widowed father (Herbert Marshall), and to make matters worse she's saddled with a very unsympathetic governess (Nella Walker). Kathleen finds some solace in her friendship with a kindly antique dealer (Felix Bressart), but she's lonely and given to making up stories about the nonexistent happy family life she wishes she had.

Matters go from bad to worse when Kathleen's father comes home with a new ladylove, Lorraine (Gail Patrick). Lorraine suggests that Dr. Foster (Lloyd Corrigan) check the troubled Kathleen; he pronounces Kathleen perfectly healthy but says the nasty governess has got to go. He suggests that a psychologist who's in between jobs, Dr. Martha Kent (Laraine Day), spend the summer as Kathleen's governess.

Kathleen's life immediately improves, as Martha is kind and respectful, and Martha also makes clear to Kathleen's father that he needs to mend his ways and make his daughter a priority. As it turns out, he just might fall in love with Martha, rather than Lorraine.

I first reviewed this film half a decade ago, and I enjoyed returning to it tonight. The film may not have the most original or scintillating script, but the cast is very enjoyable. I found it pleasant company, and I suspect those who also like the actors will feel the same, particularly if it's approached without high expectations.

Shirley was around 12 or 13 when she made KATHLEEN, a transitional film as she moved from child to teen actress. Temple does quite a good job as a troubled young lady. It's to her credit that Kathleen maintains sympathy despite being a bit of a brat, particularly early on.

Laraine Day is so charming and self-confident, it's hard to believe she was roughly 20 when this film was made. In fact, funnily enough just the year before she had played Herbert Marshall's daughter in FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT (1940), which makes her playing his love interest just a bit odd! Although there is a wide age gap, it nonetheless works fairly well, especially as Day seems mature for her years in this film. Still, someone perhaps just a bit younger -- say, George Brent or Walter Pidgeon -- might have been a better match for Day. That said, Marshall, possessed of one of the best voices in the film business, is fine as the clueless, distracted papa.

Patrick is quite entertaining as Lorraine; she's gooey, but she's not all bad -- after all, her referral of Dr. Foster proves to be sound, as does his recommendation of Martha. It's fun to note that Patrick teamed with Marshall in another film with a young prodigy, MAD ABOUT MUSIC (1938), which starred Deanna Durbin.

The film's one really awkward sequence is a musical number in which Temple is clearly dubbed for at least part of the number. (Somewhere I read a theory the high notes were dubbed by Kathryn Grayson, who started her MGM career around this time; it seems plausible.) The musical routine seems out of keeping with the rest of the film.

KATHLEEN was directed by Harold S. Bucquet, who had directed Day in the DR. KILDARE series. It was filmed by Sidney Wagner and has a score by Franz Waxman. The movie runs 88 minutes.

The Warner Archive DVD is a very good print. The disc includes the trailer.

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered from the Warner Archive at the WBShop.

Around the Blogosphere This Week...

...is taking the week off due to an unusually busy schedule!

I spent yesterday at the UCLA Festival of Preservation and will be there again Monday evening.

Meanwhile, today our family spent the entire day playing in the MouseAdventure Ready Player One game at Disneyland, which was a lot of fun, although we experienced unseasonably hot weather.

As I mentioned at the end of the last link roundup, Around the Blogosphere's appearance will be a bit erratic during the current film festival season. I'm hoping to have the next one up the week of March 29th, and then it will not appear the following week due to the TCM Classic Film Festival.

Noir City Hollywood begins the weekend after the TCM fest and runs for three consecutive weekends, so it's going to be a very busy but most enjoyable few weeks!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Her Sister's Secret (1946) at the UCLA Festival of Preservation

One of the most interesting films I saw last year at the TCM Classic Film Festival was HER SISTER'S SECRET (1946), starring Nancy Coleman and Margaret Lindsay. I reviewed the movie here.

I had the wonderful opportunity to see the film again today as part of the top half of a double bill at the UCLA Festival of Preservation. I was even more impressed with the movie the second time around, as it is beautifully and thoughtfully made in every respect.

Readers can learn more about the film in a perceptive review by Moira Finnie at Silver Screen Oasis.

One of the really nice things which occurred as a result of writing about the movie last year was the chance for me to connect on a personal level with Winston Severn, who at just three years of age appeared in the movie as Billy Jr. Winston has a number of scenes and is wonderfully natural in the film; my favorite moment is when he and Margaret Lindsay sit on a bed while she's on the phone and he seems to very spontaneously say, "I want to dial!"

Winston is seen in this still with the film's leading ladies, Nancy Coleman and Margaret Lindsay.

Very happily Winston and several members of his family were able to attend today's screening and enjoy seeing him as a child in an absolutely gorgeous restored print.

After the film the UCLA Film and Television Archive director, Jan-Christopher Horak, and director Edgar Ulmer's daughter, Arianne Ulmer Cipes, shared thoughts on the film and its restoration. The movie had been made for about a million dollars and was generally well-received when it was first released.

Although Producers Releasing Corporation, the studio which made the film, is long gone, UCLA discovered a 35mm negative amidst its collection of 350,000 films and restored it.

Thanks to a question from the audience, Winston was able to share some of his memories, which included the smell of the soundstage, the extreme heat in front of the set lights, and being afraid of the tractor which was being used to move equipment around inside the soundstage.

After the screening Winston also told me he recalls playing with the ball in the park scene, and he remembers Regis Toomey, who plays his father.

Winston is from a large family of child actors -- check out a story in the March 10, 1947 edition of LIFE Magazine -- and he told me that making the film seemed very natural to him, as that was what everyone in the family did. He was very used to his siblings rehearsing their parts at home; they would all go to movie sets extremely well-prepared!

I hope to chat with Winston about his movie-making memories and family history at greater length in the future and share some of that information here. To give an idea of just a couple of the films his siblings were in, Christopher played Toby Miniver in the Best Picture of 1942, MRS. MINIVER. He's seen here with Greer Garson:

That same year William Severn played Peter in a touching story about orphans of the London Blitz, JOURNEY FOR MARGARET (1942). Here he is with Robert Young, Laraine Day, and Margaret O'Brien:

Raymond Severn appeared with Charles Laughton in THE SUSPECT (1944), which incidentally will be shown at the Noir City Film Festival in Hollywood on April 9th.

After today's screening I took this photo of Winston and his family; he's immediately flanked by his brother Chris and his wife Jan. On the far left is William (Bill) Severn's son Bill, and Bill's daughter Robin Severn Fischette is on the right.

What a pleasure to meet everyone! A very special screening in every way.

I only saw one movie at the festival today, due to other plans, but I expect to return to the festival one more time on Monday evening for a double bill of THE BIG BROADCAST (1932) and THE MILKY WAY (1936)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival Schedule

The TCM Classic Film Festival begins two weeks from today, on March 26, 2015!

The festival, which takes place at several venues on Hollywood Boulevard, runs through Sunday, March 29th.

Again this year I'll have the privilege of covering the entire festival as a member of the credentialed media.

This year I'll also be staying at a hotel for the entire festival; it's going to make the late nights and early mornings so much easier not having to struggle through freeway traffic!

During the festival please follow me on Twitter for real time updates on what I'm watching, along with the latest festival news and photos.

As I have done for the past couple of years, I'll be presenting a series of detailed daily recaps and movie reviews once the festival comes to an end.

The final schedule was released on Monday, and I've been studying it and making difficult decisions!

Again this year I have eliminated titles I've recently seen in other venues; for instance, I'll miss Eddie Muller introducing the terrific TOO LATE FOR TEARS (1949), which I just saw for the second time last weekend, and I'll also be passing on Craig Barron and Ben Burtt's entertaining and educational presentation on GUNGA DIN (1939) which I was privileged to see at the Lone Pine Film Festival last fall. 100-year-old Norman Lloyd introducing REIGN OF TERROR (1949) will probably also not make the cut, as I was able to see him introduce the same film at the Noir City Film Festival in 2012.

Last year I found I stuck pretty close to my original schedule, other than swapping out STELLA DALLAS (1937) for THE JUNGLE BOOK (1937) and BELL, BOOK AND CANDLE (1962) for WRITTEN ON THE WIND (1956), and I was happy with both choices. I was also able to add ON APPROVAL (1944) to my schedule when it was shown a second time on Sunday after being sold out earlier in the festival. It will be interesting to see how this year's schedule plays out! I could easily map out two or three completely different schedules and still end up happy, which is part of the TCM Classic Film Festival's magic.

Before the movies get underway, I hope to take some photos of the cast arriving on the red carpet for the opening night screening of THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1965). Then it's time for movies! I saw 11 in 2013 and 14 in 2014. What will the tally be this year?!

Here are my initial picks:

Thursday, March 26th:

QUEEN CHRISTINA (1933) - I've only seen Garbo's last couple of films, and this seems like a great opportunity to explore more of her work, seeing one of her most highly regarded movies on a big screen with an appreciative crowd.

MY MAN GODFREY (1936) - This is one of my favorite comedies, and there's nothing more fun than seeing a classic comedy with a packed audience. BACHELOR MOTHER (1939) was so much fun on opening night last year! That said, I certainly wouldn't mind attending my second choice for the night -- Errol Flynn's daughter introducing THE SEA HAWK (1940).

Friday, March 27th:

MY DARLING CLEMENTINE (1946) - Last year John Ford's STAGECOACH (1939) was scheduled opposite the Charlton Heston stamp ceremony, and this year Ford's MY DARLING CLEMENTINE is scheduled opposite Christopher Plummer's handprint ceremony! Decisions, decisions. I've never seen CLEMENTINE on a big screen, so I'm going to hope to see Plummer earlier in the festival and go for John Ford, especially as last year STAGECOACH was probably my favorite of the 14 movies seen -- and I especially love supporting cast members Victor Mature, Linda Darnell, Ward Bond, and Tim Holt. CLEMENTINE will be introduced by Peter Fonda and Keith Carradine; Ford biographer Scott Eyman will also be at the festival so I wonder if he might moderate.

A note to other festival attendees -- THE SMILING LIEUTENANT (1931), which I just saw, is a fantastic option in this time block!

THE PROUD REBEL (1958) - I've never seen this Western with favorites Alan Ladd and Olivia de Havilland. It will be introduced by Ladd's son David, who also appears in the movie. He'll be the second of Ladd's children I've seen at a screening; Alana was there when I saw THE GREAT GATBSY (1949). This is one of the films I'm most excited to see this year.

AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER (1957) - This pick is very iffy; in the same time frame I've got the chance to see Ann-Margret in person at THE CINCINNATI KID (1965); Ford's YOUNG MR. LINCOLN (1939), which I love but have at least previously seen on a big screen, albeit long ago; or PINOCCHIO (1940), which I find very dark in tone, but I do love "When You Wish Upon a Star" and it would be great to see another Disney film at the El Capitan Theatre. This will be a last-minute choice!

STEAMBOAT BILL, JR. (1928) - Carl Davis conducting his original score for Harold Lloyd's WHY WORRY? (1923) was up there with STAGECOACH as my favorite experience of 2014, so I'm leaning strongly toward seeing Davis conduct his score for this Buster Keaton film. However, I would also be perfectly happy seeing RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1980) with an audience for the first time in decades, and I always like seeing films at the El Capitan.

APOLLO 13 (1995) - It's a "newer" film, but it has a "retro" setting, and this film directed by Ron Howard also has a wonderful traditional filmmaking sensibility. A few months ago I named it a runner-up for my list of 10 Favorite Films of the Last 25 Years. Seeing it on the huge screen at the Chinese should be a thrill -- I can already imagine the music playing during the spectacular launch sequence -- and Jim Lovell will be there in person! How often does one get a chance to see an Apollo astronaut?! That said, if I can't make it over from the Egyptian in time, I certainly wouldn't be sad to see one of my very favorite Hitchcock films, REBECCA (1940), instead. The last time I saw REBECCA on a big screen was at round-the-clock Filmex marathon when I was a teenager.

Saturday, March 28th:

WHY BE GOOD? (1928) - This Colleen Moore film was once "lost" and is another chance to experience a new-to-me movie!

SO DEAR TO MY HEART (1948) - I watched this on DVD in 2012, but it seems unlikely I might have another chance to see this rarely shown Disney film on a big screen. However, I'm torn as it's opposite 42ND STREET (1933), which I've never seen on a big screen. I hope whichever one I miss will make one of the "TBA" spots on Sunday! The wealth of excellent choices means I will likely also pass on the chance to see another Ford film on the big screen, THEY WERE EXPENDABLE (1945), which I just revisited on DVD last year.

AIR MAIL (1932) - Ralph Bellamy and Pat O'Brien in a John Ford "airplane" film. Sold!

CHRISTMAS IN JULY (1940) - Dick Powell on the big screen. Especially if I miss 42ND STREET!

Hollywood Home Movies - This was really fun and interesting in 2013. Second choice: Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon in MADAME CURIE (1943). With each movie I see him in I realize just how much I enjoy Pidgeon.

IMITATION OF LIFE (1959) - I'm not especially sold on anything in this time block. I've seen my second choice, ADAM'S RIB (1949), a million times over the years so Douglas Sirk directing Lana Turner in a new-to-me film seems like the best pick.  Although I probably wouldn't have time to make it if I end up at MADAME CURIE!

Sunday, March 29th:

CALAMITY JANE (1953) - With apologies to Tyrone Power, Coleen Gray, and NIGHTMARE ALLEY (1947), this spot is no contest. Doris Day for the win! This should be as joyous a viewing experience as SUNDAY IN NEW YORK (1963) was on Sunday morning last year; that experience last year ranks up there with STAGECOACH and WHY WORRY? for sheer movie bliss.

DESK SET (1957) - This is one of the Tracy-Hepburn films I like the best, although a good option in the "TBA" spot would draw me away. There's a Jeanette MacDonald pre-Code, DON'T BET ON WOMEN (1931), I'd really love to see. Or I might lose my mind and go see PSYCHO (1960) for the first time, especially as Kristina has offered to sit next to me if I get brave!

THE PHILADELPHIA STORY (1940) - Another I've seen many times, but not lately. Or maybe I'll see one more "newer" film and go watch OUT OF SIGHT (1998) for the second time.

MARRIAGE ITALIAN STYLE (1964) - I know nothing about this movie, but the last film at the Chinese is always the "official" closing night movie, and it's my big chance to see Sophia Loren in person! But what a spectacularly good second option there is seeing KISS ME KATE (1953) in 3D. I saw it in 3D twice at the Tiffany Theater many moons ago, but the technology nowadays is so much better! If I happen to see Sophia in Club TCM or elsewhere earlier in the fest, I might switch over and close out the festival with this wonderful MGM musical.

Last year the vast majority of films I watched were titles I had previously seen; this year it looks like I will probably increase the number of films which are completely new for me.

For peeks at the schedules designed by other bloggers, please visit Kendahl at A Classic Movie Blog, Raquel at Out of the Past, Angela at The Hollywood Revue, and Lara at Backlots. I will probably be updating this list with additional links as they are posted!

Update: Here are the tentative viewing schedules posted by Aurora at Once Upon a Screen, Joel at Joel's Classic Film Passion, Diane at Classic Movie Blog, Chris at Blog of the Darned, and Nora at The Nitrate Diva.

Update: More links! Here's Kim's schedule posted at I See a Dark Theater, Lindsay's at Lindsay's Movie Musings, Ariel's at Sinamatic Salve-ation, and Kendra at Viv and Larry.

Update: More schedule links from Michael at It Rains...You Get Wet and Jandy at The Frame.

March 18th Update: Sad news today: Robert Osborne has announced he will be unable to attend the festival due to the need for what he describes as a "minor health procedure." His letter to the TCM community is here. I know I'm joined by TCM and classic film fans everywhere in wishing him a very speedy and complete recovery.

A look back: My post on the 2014 schedule is here, and thoughts on the 2013 schedule are here.