TCM Classic Film Festival Home Edition Starts Thursday
Preview the streaming options
Monday, April 13, 2020
For a decade, TCM Classic Film Festival, or TCMCFF), has been gathering the faithful in Hollywood for a celebration of movies. This year, because of the coronavirus pandemic, the festival moved programming to its cable channel.
Unlike most film festivals, TCMCFF has a cable channel at its disposal and that provides a means of creating a Home Edition for its annual event. But Charles Tabesh, senior vice president of programming at TCM and programmer for the film festival, said this created a different set of challenges.
"There are some significant differences," he noted. "One, the channel is still one movie at a time and the film festival's five or six movies at a time. Two, the rights to the movies are very different. What you have the rights to play live is different than what you have to play on television. And part of the festival experience is the people doing the introductions and the pieces that are produced in the tributes and all that sort of stuff.
"So it was like, that's a great idea [but] I don't know how we can do it," Tabesh said. "And then talking about it and thinking about it, it was determined instead of just trying to take this year's film festival and transpose it onto television, why don't we take all the stuff that we have done over the last 10 years, put a lot of those movies on, that we have the rights to, that were big important movies that played at the festival or that we premiered a restoration, or we had a key guest or had some meaningful place in the history of our 10 years, surround it with a lot of the things that we have created over the years things like interviews we have taped with big stars or directors, tribute pieces that we have produced, and make it seem like something that is capturing the flavor and tone of the festival in a way that we could only do by taking from what we have done in the past."
The resulting Home Edition plays a little like a trek through the history of the festival. On Thursday, it opens with "A Star Is Born," (the 1954 version with Judy Garland), which had a restoration premiere at the festival's inaugural event in 2010.
Tabesh wanted to program a mix of films, so there's comfort cinema to be found in "Casablanca" but discoveries in the Vitaphone shorts collection. There are films that refer to our current pandemic in artful ways such as Ingmar Bergman's "The Seventh Seal" set during the time of the Black Death, but also pure escapism in films like "Singin' In The Rain."
One thing that TCMCFF has in its favor in its Home Edition iteration is that there is a large social media community that regularly holds TCM-watch parties and does live tweeting with films. This community will be on hand to make watching the films more of a group experience, which will capture some of the feels of being at the actual film festival.
While the festival would play multiple films simultaneously, often forcing cinephiles to make tough choices, the Home Edition is showing only one movie at a time. But unlike the festival where no films screened in the wee hours of the morning, the Home Edition is 24-hours a day for its four days. So TCM fans may need to go sleepless for a few days.
I have been attending the festival for the past few years and will dearly miss seeing friends and watching glorious prints of classic films on the big screen, but this Home Edition is still something to savor and look forward to.
Here are my recommendations for what not to miss. All times are EST.
THURSDAY, APRIL 16
11 p.m.: "Metropolis" (1927)
Closing Night Film at the 2010 TCMCFF, this was the North American premiere of a restored version of the film with footage found in 2008 in Argentina, with live score by the Alloy Orchestra.
1:45 a.m.: Luise Rainer: Live from the TCM Classic Film Festival (2011)
Recorded at the 1st TCMCFF in 2010 when Rainer, the first back-to-back Oscar winner for Best Actress, was 100 years old.
2:30 a.m.: "The Good Earth" (1937)
FRIDAY, APRIL 17
6:45 a.m. "The Seventh Seal" (1957)
Shown as part of a tribute to Max Von Sydow at the 2013 TCMCFF, with the actor in attendance.
8:30 a.m.: "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" (1949)
Introduced by Keith Carradine, at the 2016 TCMCFF.
12:30 p.m.: "A Hard Day’s Night" (1964)
This world-premiere restoration was introduced by Alec Baldwin and Don Was at the 2014 TCMCFF.
8 p.m.: "Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story" (2015)
West Coast premiere at the 2016 TCMCFF, with Lillian Michelson and director Daniel Raim in attendance.
Midnight: "Creature from the Black Lagoon" (1954)
Presented in 3D at the 2018 TCMCFF, this was introduced by Dennis Miller.
3:15 a.m.: "Night Flight" (1933)
Out of circulation for more than 50 years, this was introduced by Drew Barrymore, granddaughter of the film’s star, John Barrymore, at the 2011 TCMCFF.
SATURDAY, APRIL 18
6 a.m.: "The Man with the Golden Arm" (1955)
Presented at the 2011 TCMCFF with Nancy and Tina Sinatra and Vicki Preminger in attendance.
8 a.m.: "Mad Love" (1935)
Introduced at the 2019 TCMCFF by Bill Hader with actress Cora Sue Collins in attendance in the audience.
9:15 a.m.: "Double Harness" (1933)
Introduced at the 2016 TCMCFF, by James Cromwell, the son of director John Cromwell.
10:30 a.m.: Vitaphone Shorts:
Presented at the 2016 TCMCFF, as part of a program celebrating “90th Anniversary of Vitaphone,” by the founder of the Vitaphone Project, Ron Hutchinson.
1:15 p.m.: "Safety Last!" (1923)
The first of four Harold Lloyd films presented at the TCMCFF, this was accompanied by live orchestra and music composed and conducted by Robert Israel, in 2010, and introduced by Suzanne Lloyd.
2:45 p.m.: "They Live by Night" (1949)
Presented at the 2013 TCMCFF and introduced by Susan Ray, widow of director Nicholas Ray.
10 p.m.: "The Magnificent Ambersons" (1942)
Presented at the 2010 TCMCFF, it was introduced by Peter Bogdanovich and David Kamp. Bogdanovich will co-host this on-air screening.
11:45 p.m.: "Night and the City" (1950)
Presented at the 2012 TCMCFF by Eddie Muller.
SUNDAY, APRIL 19
7:45 a.m.: "The Set-Up" (1949) )
Introduced at the 2018 TCMCFF introduced by Noir Alley host Eddie Muller and actor/filmmaker Malcolm Mays, who did a live reading of the poem the film is based on.
2 p.m.: "Red-Headed Woman" (1932)
Presented at the introduced by film historian and author Cari Beauchamp at the 2017 TCMCFF.
12:15 a.m.: "Baby Face" (1933)
Longtime festival guest Bruce Goldstein intended to present a special presentation at the 2020 TCM CFF, about the censorship of the film and footage added back in decades later, to this popular pre-Code film.
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