There's nothing like the TCM Classic Film Festival

Robert Osborne speaking at a press conference on Thursday at the 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival In Hollywood, California. (Credit: www.tcm.com)

Film buffs who complain that there’s not enough great movies shown on the big screen these days have no reason to complain this weekend, as the fifth annual TCM Classic Film Festival hits Hollywood with a dazzling array of classic films and discussions with many of their timeless stars. Ranging from the opening night gala screening of “Oklahoma!” featuring a discussion with star Shirley Jones through the delight of seeing “Blazing Saddles!” presented by its director Mel Brooks, plus a handprint ceremony for legendary funnyman Jerry Lewis outside the Chinese Theatre and a 3D IMAX screening of “The Wizard of Oz” to close it all out, the fest once again is the premiere weekend of the year for classic film aficionados.

 That impressive schedule was put together under the guidance of Charlie Tabesh, the senior vice president of programming for Turner Classic Movies and head scheduler of the TCM Classic Film Festival. He not only got to select dozens of the most beloved films ever made for the four-day fest running in Hollywood from this Thursday through Sunday, but he also chose an enticing array of forgotten gems and was even able to invite some of the greatest names in film history to appear at the grand affair.

All his hard work will pay off as thousands of movie lovers from Los Angeles and around the world dash in and out of several prime venues — the Egyptian Theatre, the legendary Chinese Theatre, Mann Chinese 6 Theatre and Disney’s El Capitan — to get their fill of films. He took time off from his insanely busy preparations to tell The Tidings about what cinephiles have in store from the network, which presents films in uncut and commercial-free format in up to 85 million homes nationwide.  

“There are a lot of things that go into programming the fest, and it’s somewhat dependent on the talent we can get,” says Tabesh. “We do try to have a balance throughout the festival, with well known classics but also some you didn’t have a chance to see before, like ‘The Stranger’s Return’ which is a terrific King Vidor film from the 1930s that hasn’t been seen in decades because of rights issues recently cleared by Warner Bros. I think if you’ve never seen ‘Make Way for Tomorrow,’ it’s an amazing movie about parents aging. And then for film noir buffs, there’s a great Edgar G. Ulmer film called ‘Her Sister’s Secret’ Saturday.”

At this point, Tabesh’s voice could trail off while naming an endless string of notable films but he remains in full command of his busy schedule. Once the organizers and TCM network officials have a broad idea of the themes for the festival, they reach out to the archives of present and former studios to search for restorations they can premiere.

Tabesh also notes that the biggest names appearing this year are certifiable Hollywood legends, kicking off Thursday with a gala screening of “Oklahoma!,” the fest will also feature classics ranging from “The Godfather Part II” and Orson Welles’ “The Lady From Shanghai” to the post-World War II groundbreaking drama “The Best Years of Our Lives.” 

“We definitely try to balance it out, with some musicals and westerns included,” explains Tabesh. “This year there are no traditional war movies, although we have post-WWII’s ‘Best Years of Our Lives’ and I’m very conscious of trying to get a good mix. We do get complaints that there’s too much to choose from but that’s a good problem to have.”

There’s no better showbiz institution for running a fest like this than Turner Classic Movies (TCM), a cable channel that has been bringing uncut classics into nearly 85 million homes  for the past 20 years. Even if a star or filmmaker is unavailable to speak about a film, the restorations that TCM helps fund make the movies look newly spectacular on the silver screen again.

To help mark the channel’s 20th year, fest schedulers selected a fully restored print of “Gone with the Wind” to run, since the movie is 75 years old this year and was also the first movie ever to play on the network.  The station’s primary host, Robert Osborne, will appear at numerous events including a session of “Ask Robert” held at 2 p.m. Friday at the Ricardo Montalban Theatre on Vine Street.

 “I think that there’s nothing quite like this really, not this ambitious and big,” says Tabesh. “There are a lot of great festivals but nothing as big for classic film.”

The TCM Classic Film Festival is Thursday, April 10, through Sunday, April 13 at the Egyptian, Chinese, Chinese 6 and El Capitan theaters in Hollywood. Prices vary. For scheduling and prices, visit tcm.com.


Voices

Seeking the face of God in the Scriptures

Archbishop José H. Gomez

Prayer is seeking the face of God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church recalls the story of how St. John Vianney once found a peasant praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament. The saint asked him what he was doing, and the man replied: “I look at him and he looks at me.”

Events

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February 13, 2016

  • Saturday, February 13

    World Day of the Sick Mass, Mass and Anointing of the Sick, 12:30 p.m., Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels,  555 W Temple St, Los Angeles. Archbishop Gomez presiding with other bishops and priests. Special section designated for those in wheelchairs with volunteers available to help. Limited parking available for $8. Carpooling is encouraged. For more info: Chuck Huebner at cjhuebner @gmail.com or Jim LoCoco at flavialococ0@msn.com.

     

     

    Bosco Tech’s Yurak Memorial Run & Kids’ Fun Run, Check in begins at 8 a.m., Memorial Run at 9 a.m., Fun Run at 10 a.m., Bosco Tech, 1151 San Gabriel Blvd., Rosemead. Race registration is $35 per person. For school groups of 10 or more, the cost is $30. To register online, go to www.boscotech.edu/events or www.yurak.eventbrite.com; same-day registration available at check-in table. Included: racing fees, finisher medal, goodie bag and BBQ lunch. Plaques will be awarded to the top five male and female runners and to the fastest runner under 18.All proceeds to benefit Bosco Tech’s Yurak Athletic Center (YAC). 

     

    Cabrini Literary Guild “Sweetheart Bingo” Meeting, Sat., Feb.13 at Oakmont Country Club, 3100 Country Club Drive, Glendale. Meeting starts at 11 a.m., lunch at 12 p.m. ($30/person), and bingo social at 1 p.m. Bingo cards are $5 each, or $20 for five cards. For reservations, call (818) 790-3485.

     

    Footprints: Making Tracks for Neighbors in Need, 8:30 - 11:30 a.m., Bishop Amat High School track, 14301 Fairgrove Ave., La Puente. Catholic Charities San Gabriel Region will present this annual walk/run fundraiser to increase awareness about poverty, hunger and homelessness in the San Gabriel Region. Proceeds benefit those lacking basic needs, such as food, clothing, transportation and shelter. This is a come anytime, leave anytime event, with the first lap around the track to be led by Bishop David O'Connell. For more information, visit lentenfootprints.yolasite.com or contact Mary Romero at (213) 251-3582 or mromero@ccharities.org.

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