San Diego Classic Film Calendar

Friday, May 19, 2017

Over the Rainbow Ukulele Chord Melody Solo Tabs

My take on "Over the Rainbow" by Judy Garland on ukulele in the key of C. I'm playing on a high G, but I don't think there's anything that wouldn't work on low G.


The tabs for it are the following. If something is wrong, please let me know.



#------------------------------PLEASE NOTE---------------------------------#
#This file is the author's own work and represents their interpretation    #
#of the song. You may only use this file for private study, scholarship,   # 
#or research.                                                              #
#-------------------------------------------------------------------------##

                                OVER THE RAINBOW

Music by Harold and Arlen
Arranged by Chris Sturhann

Gtr I (G C E A) - 'Ukulele (gCEA)'

    C Em        F     C5   F   C         F G7          C
  
|---3-2---0-2-3---|-0------0-8-7-|-3-5-7-8-5-2-3-5-|-7-3----|
|---0-3-3-------1-|-1-3----2-5-0-|-------5-7-------|---0----|
|-0-0-4---------0-|-0-0----0-0-0-|-------0-5-------|---0----|
|---0-0---------2-|---0----1-----|-----------------|---0----|


    C Em        F     C5      F   C         F G7          C
  
|---3-2---0-2-3---|-0---------0-8-7-|-3-5-7-8-5-2-3-5-|-7-3----|
|---0-3-3-------1-|-1-3-2-1-0-2-5-0-|-------5-7-------|---0----|
|-0-0-4---------0-|-0-0-------0-0-0-|-------0-5-------|---0----|
|---0-0---------2-|---0-------1-----|-----------------|---0----|


  C5                G7          F  C5                   G7
  
|-------------------2-----------0------------------------------------|
|-3-0-3-0-3-0-3-0-3-1-3-1-3-1-3-2--3--3-0-3-0-3-0-3-0-3-1-3-1-2-1-3--|
|-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-2-2-2-2-2-2-0--0--0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-2-2-2-3-2-2--|
|-0-----------------0-----------1--0---------------------------------|


  Am  F
  
|-0-0-3-0----|
|-5-5-2-2----|
|-4-4-0-0----|
|-5-5-1-1----|


    C Em        F     C5      F   C         F G7          C
  
|---3-2---0-2-3---|-0---------0-8-7-|-3-5-7-8-5-2-3-5-|-7-3----|
|---0-3-3-------1-|-1-3-2-1-0-2-5-0-|-------5-7-------|---0----|
|-0-0-4---------0-|-0-0-------0-0-0-|-------0-5-------|---0----|
|---0-0---------2-|---0-------1-----|-----------------|---0----|


  C5                  G7          F G7C
  
|-----------------|---------------0-2-3----|
|-3-0-3-0-3-0-3-0-|-3-1-3-1-3-1-3-2-1-0----|
|-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-|-0-2-2-2-2-2-2-0-2-0----|
|-0---------------|---0-----------1-0-0----|


******************************************************************************
* Generated using Power Tab Editor by Brad Larsen -                          * 
* http://powertab.guitarnetwork.org                                          *
******************************************************************************

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Imitation of Life (1959) – Race/Ism in Classic Hollywood

Full disclosure, when it comes Imitation of Life (1959) directed by Douglas Sirk, I'm not a fan, not of Douglas Sirk nor of Imitation of Life. My big problem with Imitation of Life is that almost everyone has issues, and with the exception of Juanita Moore's character, they are borderline, if not full-on, horrible people. The main villainy, however, is reserved for the "black" character, Susan Kohner, even though she is the one person who has a really good reason for being the way she is. By the way, I will come back to quotes around black later.

Let's look at a few of the white characters first. Sandra Dee has issues, mostly not of her own making. Growing up with no father and an inaccessible mother, she has abandonment issues. It's not surprising that she falls in love with her mother's beau the only father figure she has ever known. John Gavin is more or less a nice guy, though probably uses poor judgement, spending that much time with a 16-year-old with daddy issues.

Lana Turner, wow, what can I say about her. She is obsessed with herself and barely notices anyone else. As a Broadway actress, she probably could have been a good part-time mother, in the early evenings before she went to the theater, but apparently, she never did. She was good to Juanita Moore. She kept her with her all those years. That makes her a good person, right? In the Wikipedia article for Imitation of Life, they describe Juanita Moore's relationship with Lana Turner, as " nanny, housekeeper, confidante and best friend." Late in the movie, Lana Turner says that she didn't know that Juanita Moore had other friends. Apparently, this confidante and best friend is a one-way street. Lana Turner can confide in Juanita Moore, and she considers herself Juanita Moore's best friend, but she has never taken the time to get to know her beyond being a servant.

Now, I would consider this an indictment of white people's attitudes toward blacks a positive thing, but it's done in such a back-handed way. These white people are generally good, because they stick with the black people they know, even though, clearly, they consider their black friends subservient. Then again, Imitation of Life, has a bigger fish to fry, Susan Kohner's character.

Susan Kohner's character, Sarah Jane, treats her mother horribly, and this is the focus of the film. Sarah Jane from a very early age understands that white people have it way better than black people, and because of the way she looks, people assume she is white. The only thing that stands in her way is her black mother, and she treats her mother like crap because she threatens that illusion.

Imitation of Life is set in New York, and I honestly don't know what the racial climate was in New York in the 1950s,  Sarah Jane is fired from a nightclub for being black. Presumably, certain restaurants would not serves blacks or would serve them at the counter or not seat them at booths or tables. Blacks were expected to live in a black neighborhood, or in the case of Sarah Jane and her mother with their white folk employers. I don't think there were colored-only drinking fountains or restrooms like in the South.

While I was thinking about this piece, I got to thinking about colored only bathrooms, and I hope you don't mind a little tangent. I'm thinking the white bathrooms were nicer but not as clean. Think about it, if I was black, and the only job I could get was cleaning bathrooms, and I had to do it twice because white folk couldn't handle peeing with black folk, I wouldn't do as good a job on the white side, and the black side would be spic and span.  In fact, I think I'd pee in the mop bucket on the white side. "I'm sorry, suh. I just can't seem to get that pee smell out of the white restroom. I just don't think white folk is as good black folk at hittin' the commode. You've seen them on the basketball court."

Let's close by taking another looking at the three main characters. Juanita Moore's character is a saint. All she wants is is the best for her daughter, so much so that she is willing to not see her again, and it breaks her heart. Ultimately, she dies of that broken heart. But what does she really want. She wants her daughter to be true to herself. She wants her daughter to accept racial oppression and a life of subservience.

Lana Turner's character is supposed to be good. She has opened up her home to a black family, but only as servants and not as a true friends or family members. She didn't know what church Juanita Moore went to or that she had outside friends or that she still sent Christmas gifts to the milkman that helped them when they had absolutely nothing. But Lana Turned is good. She opened her home to a black family.

Susan Kohner is the devil incarnate. She broke her mom's heart, and that killed her. What right did she have to want to be equal to whites. She needed to be true to herself and accept her lot in life. Maybe things would be better by the time her light-skinned children or grandchildren grew up, provided they didn't make sudden movements around a cop. This is a bad person, or at least that's what the tone of Imitation of Life told me.

Juanita Moore and Susan Kohner, passing (for black)
Earlier I used quotes around black and said I would come back to it. Well, no time like the present. Imitation of Life (1959) is a remake of a 1934 film of the same name. In Imitation of Life (1934), the role of the black daughter was played by Fredi Washington, an African-America, whose parents were both of mixed African-American and European descent. Susan Koehner is the daughter of Austrian-American film producer, Paul Kohner, and Mexican-American actress, Lupita Tovar. Also considered for the role were Natalie Wood and Margaret O'Brien. Presumably there were no light-skinned black actresses in Hollywood in the late 1950s.

Is this as bad as Mickey Rooney playing Asian in Breakfast at Tiffany's? Of course not, but I would be a lot more willing to cut Imitation of Life some slack, if this sort of whitewashing wasn't still happening today. In a perfect world, Gods of Egypt (2016) would be entirely cast with actors of Egyptian/Middle Eastern descent, instead of a mostly white cast with the odd African-American and Asian actor thrown in for good measure. I know the line is that they need name stars to sell the picture, but how do actors of color get to be name stars when casting almost completely ignores ethnicity in what should be an entirely ethnic film.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Big Stars Small Screens – Shadow of a Doubt

"I am big. It's the pictures that got small."
Norma Desmond
Sunset Boulevard 
This series takes the stars from a certain big screen film and looks at where those stars appeared on the small screen, TV. The parameter of this series is I try to keep it to appearances where you can stream single episodes. It's probably not worth buying an entire season on DVD just for an episode or two. This is an all Alfred Hitchcock edition of Big Stars Small Screen looking at stars from Shadow of a Doubt (1943). 

Theresa Wright

Sadly, I wasn't able to find, Teresa Wright. Not that she didn't do TV. She even did two episodes of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Hitchcock's hour-long series (1962-1965). Unfortunately, this later series doesn't seem to be available streaming.

The two episodes are:

The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Season 2, Episode 12
"Three Wives Too Many" [Info via IMDB]
This one looks like a hoot. Teresa Wright co-stars with Dan Duryea, a bigamist who has four wives, well, that is until the one wife goes after the other three.

The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Season 3, Episode 6
"Lonely Place" [Info via IMDB]
Teresa Wright is upset when her husband hires a crazy drifter to work on the family farm. Bruce Dern plays the drifter. They had me at Bruce Dern and crazy.

I did find this TCM Word of Mouth video where Teresa Wright discusses, Alfred Hitchcock and Shadow of a Doubt, so that will have to do for her:




#####

I did find several of the other stars on episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, which is available streaming.

Joseph Cotten

Joseph Cotten appeared in three episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. I'm going to look at two of them.

Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Season 1, Episode 7
"Breakdown" [Info via IMDB]
Available on Hulu

In this episode directed by Alfred Hitchcock, Joseph Cotten plays a businessman. While on a car trip, he has an accident where he is paralyzed and trapped in the car. Unable to speak or even blink his eyes, he is unable to ask for help from the people who happen by and assume he is dead. The episode is more of a psychological study as Cotten desperately tries to figure out how to convince someone he is still alive. Also in the episode in a small role, is Raymond Bailey, who played Milburn Drysdale on the Beverly Hillbillies.

Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Season 3, Episode 15
"Together" [Info via IMDB]
Available on Hulu

In this episode directed by Robert Altman and set at Christmas-time, Joseph Cotten plays a married man, trying to pacify his young mistress. He tells her that everything is okay, that he has told his wife that he wants a divorce, but in reality he has no intention of ever leaving his rich wife. When he starts back-peddling on the divorce, she decides to take matters into her own hands and call the wife herself. Cotten has to stop her in a most violent manner but ends up getting locked in the office building with her over the holiday weekend. He has to figure out how to get out, hopefully, without anyone noticing.

Joseph Cotton also stars in the following:

Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Season 5, Episode 9
"Dead Weight" [Info via IMDB]
Not available on Hulu, but you can stream at:
http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x578m02

Patricia Collinge

In Shadow of a Doubt, Patricia Collinge plays Joseph Cotten's ditzy sister (and Teresa Wright's mother). She appeared in four episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and two episodes of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. The second of the Alfred Hitchcock Presents episodes was the following:

Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Season 2, Episode 12
"The Rose Garden" [Info via IMDB]
Available on Hulu

Patricia Collinge plays an elderly woman who lives with her sister in Louisiana and has written a murder mystery. Her publisher played by John Williams (the detective from Dial M for Murder) comes to discuss the story and close the deal on the book. When he gets there, he finds that the manuscript rings a little bit too true with regard to Patricia Collinge and her sister. Collinge's sister is played by Evelyn Varden who is probably best known for playing the doting neighbor lady in The Bad Seed.

Hume Cronyn

In Shadow of a Doubt, Hume Cronyn plays the next-door neighbor who along with Teresa Wright's father is obsessed with murder mysteries, and they are always contriving ways to kill each other but fail to notice the real-life murderer in their midst. He also had a key role in Hitchcock's Lifeboat, in the only Cronyn role I can think of where he gets the girl. Okay, not the girl, but a girl. He appeared in two episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents.


Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Season 3, Episode 38
"The Impromptu Murder" [Info via IMDB]
Available on Hulu

I chose this of the two episodes because it was directed by Paul Henreid. Hume Cronyn plays a British lawyer during World War I. An old client comes to call after his not seeing her for ten years. She has left a sizable investment with Hume Cronyn and now wants to reinvest in her brothers' business, which is expected to make huge profits due to the war. Just one problem, he doesn't have the money, causing Cronyn to take drastic measures. What follows includes cross-dressing and an unexpected body resurfacing.

Macdonald Carey

In Shadow of a Doubt, Macdonald Carey plays Teresa Wright's love interest, Detective Graham. He appeared in one episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and one episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.


Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Season 2, Episode 12

"Coyote Moon" [Info via IMDB]
Available on dailymotion.com at http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x5743lf

Macdonald Carey plays a college professor driving across country to take a new job. He has found an injured coyote on the road and stops to try to get medical attention for the animal. As no good deed goes unpunished, he encounters a young woman played by Collin Wilcox Paxton (an actress so familiar that I had to look her up). Collin Wilcox Paxton is best known as Mayella Ewell, the chifferobe kindling woman from To Kill a Mocking Bird. She needs a ride to visit her brother in a town 30 miles away. Well, in addition to having a brother, she also has a father (Edgar Buchanan, Uncle Joe from Petticoat Junction), and all of them are con artists if not outright thieves. After being stranded on the side of the highway, the good professor figures out a way to get even.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

TCMFF 2017 – The Good The Bad and The Ugly

Double exposure of TCMFF art and palm trees
with Hollywood Blvd (photo: Tyler Golden)
I decided to do a general post about the TCM Classic Film Festival (TCMFF), The Good The Bad and The Ugly. To be fair, that's both understatement and an exaggeration at the same time. The Good was excellent, and the Bad and Ugly, unless you count the costumed superheros on Hollywood Blvd., was almost nonexistent. Still, anytime I have a chance to make a Sergio Leone reference I'm going to take it.

First off, my daughter Jasmine and I had a wonderful time, and with the exception of minor issues with the line numbers early on, which seems to happen every year, everything ran smoothly. The selection of films, special presentations, guests, and Club TCM events was excellent, and the staff was courteous, helpful, and friendly. 

From a planning standpoint, I was a little worried early on when the first announcement of films came later than in previous years. Normally, they would announce the Opening Night screening and a handful of other films before passes go on sale in November, and then announce additional guests and about 20 or so titles in January. This year there was nothing until about mid-January when they announced the Opening Night screening and first 20 or so all at once. After that, things seem to be on track until the full schedule dropped about two and a half weeks out (the normal time), and all was right with the world.

If I were to speculate, I could guess at what happened. I have worked for Comic-Con International and WonderCon for more years than I care to count. For Comic-Con and WonderCon, we always want to have the names of two or three big name guests for the following year's con at this year's con, so you can advertise, Come back next year, we'll have So and So. I would guess that pinning down the Opening Night screening and guests before tickets go on sale is the same type of milestone as Comic-Con getting the names of a few of next year's guests. What I do know is that they didn't announce the Opening Night screening before passes went on sale, when they had in previous years. 

Again, this is pure speculation, but I'm guessing that they just couldn't pin it down in time. Possibly, they were able to get the guests but not the rights to the movie or vice versa. Possibly, they were working on another film that was being restored, and that restoration would not be ready in time. The thing to keep in mind is that there are a lot of moving parts, and they don't always mesh the way you want. You are dealing with schedules of multiple people and the corporate entities that own the rights to the films. While TCMFF may be our first choice when it comes to film festivals, it might or might not be the first choice to a film company. The important thing is that the schedule came together, and it was excellent.

As usual, when the schedule dropped, there were grumblings about the newer films being shown. Personally, I don't have a problem with this at all. TCMFF strives to create a balance in their programming among essential classics that most TCM fans have seen multiple times, newly available restorations, special presentations, discoveries (films that are rarely shown on the big screen), and newer classics for which the people who worked on the film are more readily available to appear at the screening.

Cary Elwes at screening of The Princess Bride
(Photo: Charley Gallay)
The biggest sticking point always appears to be the newer films, but for those who attended the screening of say, The Princess Bride with Rob Reiner introducing the film and Cary Elwes sitting in the audience, I don't think any of the people who chose this regret their decision. While I wasn't one of them, I did go to see The Incident, and a big part of it was that stars, Beau Bridges and Martin Sheen, and director, Larry Peerce, were appearing. 

Oddly, I did read one TCMFF wrapup post last week where the author complained about all of the not-to-hard-to-find screenings of films like Some Like It Hot, Rear Window, and Casablanca, but then raved in the same post about how great it was to see The Maltese Falcon with an audience who knew every subtle nuance of the film. The great thing about the TCMFF schedule is that there is something for everyone, and almost any choice you make is bound to be a great experience. 

Last year, there were a many screenings that turned away a lot people only to turn away people when the film was rescreened in one of the TBA slots on Sunday. That was definitely less of an issue this year. I honestly don't go to an event like TCMFF, expecting everything to be perfect. I do expect the festival organizers to address the problems, where possible. With regard to the overflowing screenings last year, TCMFF responded admirably this year by moving many of the Pre-Code films to larger venues and addressing the problem.

On Thursday, the first couple of events were rough. The Hitchcock Meet and Greet was scheduled in the Library Bar, a very tiny room that might fit 40 or 50 if everyone stood, meaning the people in back wouldn't be able to see. We got there about 15 minutes early to find the room already full. Yes, we could have squeezed in, but I had talked to Shannon Clute from TCM and he said, they were working on getting a bigger room. In the end, they let people into the larger room that connected to the Library Bar. Though the new room was a far from perfect venue, an L-shaped room with lots of columns, making for tricky sight lines, Professor Edwards did a theater-in-the-round thing to make it work as he spoke on 
The Master of Suspense: 50 Years of Hitchcock online course coming up in June. 

The Remembering in Robert Osborne event also had too many people. Even though they scheduled the program in the largest of the Chinese Multiplex theaters, that was not enough. We got in fine, but the room was packed. I heard later that they used one of the other theaters to stream the video from the program in one of the other theaters for the overflow.

Chinese Theater snackbar, AKA dinner at TCMFF
(Photo: Tyler Golden)
In both cases, TCMFF thought on their feet and took a bad situation and made it better. To me, this is a sign of a well-run event. Trust me, I've been to events where the answer is, Sorry, there's nothing we can do. When you have people who see a problem and can come up with a plan on the fly, that is a very good thing. 

Another issue I heard this year was backlash from the substantial increase in the price of the Spotlight Passes. While this does not effect me personally as I couldn't justify the cost of Spotlight passes even before the increase, I do appreciate that it is a hardship for others. In 2016, I remember at the press conference, TCMFF Director, Genevieve McGillicuddy, saying that they had sold out on the Spotlight and Essential Passes in just 12 minutes. While you might think selling out quickly is a good thing, you want people to have the opportunity to buy the level of pass that they really want. If you sell out in 12 minutes, people who want to buy a certain pass level can get shut out because their computer crashes or they get an unexpected phone call at work.

While the price increase may seem exorbitant or even gouging, it did serve the purpose of making both the Spotlight and Essential Pass levels last longer. Coming from Comic-Con International, I can appreciate the reasoning behind it. About ten years ago, Comic-Con went from selling out over a period of weeks/months to selling out immediately, and the process of purchasing Comic-Con badges has been a nightmare for both attendees and the organization ever since. I can see why TCMFF would want to make all levels of passes last longer. 

Finally, I wanted to discuss the demise of the TCMFF Social Producer program, which was discontinued this year. My daughter Jasmine and I were Social Producers at the 2015 and 2016 festivals. I was disappointed, but not surprised by this. In 2015, they started the program as an experiment. Jasmine and I worked as a father daughter team. Jasmine is not some classic film wunderkind (I'm sure they do exist). She had only recently started watching classic films, but she brought with her an innocence and enthusiasm that was unique. As Social Producers, we did video interviews with TCMFF attendees, gave out tschotkes, and Jasmine did Twitter reviews of the films we saw.

Being Social Producers was great experience for both of us. Without it, I don't think I could have justified bringing Jasmine to the festival in 2015. Now, it is a tradition between us that I hope we can continue as long as possible. I realize that in a couple years, she'll be in college and may not always be available, but I love being able to share the films and experience of TCMFF with her. 

In 2015, the Social Producers worked as volunteers. In 2016, we were payed a stipend. Doing the math of the stipend amount multiplied by the number of Social Producers, the cost could add up to a quarter or third of the annual salary and benefits of a full-time employee. I've worked in corporate America long enough to see how TCM, a company owned by Time Warner, might not be able to justify the cost of the Social Producers. I'm grateful that we were able to do it while it lasted, but I was not surprised that it went away. I am glad that I was able to cover TMCFF as Media this year.

Fans psyched for screening of Lured
(Photo: Stefanie Keenan)
All in all, the 2017 TCMFF was a rousing success. The films, guests, and presentations were wonderful as always. One thing I have yet to mention is all the TCM fans who attend each year. I guess I was saving the best for last. It really is a gathering of the tribes and a great opportunity to interact and bond with fellow classic film fans. That was possibly the best thing about not being Social Producers this year. As a Social Producer, I felt obligated to being on social media, whenever I wasn't sitting in a theater. You would end up spending your time looking your phone, rather than talking to the people standing right next to you. There was a lot less of that this year, and I had more time to meet and talk to people in real life. That was definitely a good thing.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

TCMFF 2017 – Day 4

Sunday at the TCM Classic Film Festival (TCMFF) started with a second chance to see one of my top picks in the first of the TBA slots.

Arsenic and Old Lace – We'd had to skip this one in favor of Stalag 17 the day before, and it was a really tough call. The first block had pair a couple of pairs of shorter films against longer ones. The original plan was Cock of the Air followed be the film noir, Lured. Cock of the Air is a Howard Hughes pre-code that even with the lax enforcement of the Production Code of the era had to have 12 minutes removed, making the film incomprehensible in spots. A complete uncensored print was found but lacked the soundtrack on the removed footage. The Academy Film Archive hired actors to re-record missing dialog and added music and sound effects to complete the film. Still, up against Arsenic and Old Lace, a great comedy and one of my favorite Cary Grant performances that I had never seen on the big screen, Cock of the Air had to go.

Arsenic and Old Lace is very funny on TV, but with the benefit of an audience, it was hilarious. My daughter Jasmine loved it. We took seats on the aisle near the exit. I knew that the timing on getting to Lured would be rough. When the film ended, Jasmine and I were among the first handful of people out of the theater, but Lured had filled. Our only choice at point was The Front Page.

The Front Page – I kind of think of The Front Page like a song where you know the cover version way better than the original. Of course, I'm talking about His Girl Friday. The Front Page (1931) and His Girl Friday are virtually the same movie with two differences. In His Girl Friday, Hildebrand "Hildy" Johnson is changed to a woman Hildegard and made the newspaper editor's ex-wife. Those changes make the two films worlds apart. Now, I've seen His Girl Friday dozens of times. It's one of my go to films when I'm bored and don't know what to watch. The Front Page I had only seen once in the last several months, a rather bad copy on Amazon streaming.

The Front Page was a new restoration and looked great. Seeing the exact same dialog that I knew so well from His Girl Friday coming out of different actors' mouths without the benefit of the sexual tension of the later film was just weird to me. There isn't even a trace of bromance between Hildy Johnson (Pat O'Brien) and his editor Walter Burns (Adolphe Menjou). Yes, It was very funny in spots, and Edward Everett Horton was great as Bensinger, the hypochondriac, poetry-writing, and possibly gay reporter. Still, I feel like maybe I would have really liked it had it not been for His Girl Friday, and now it was too late. Jasmine fell asleep for about 40 minutes early on and having never seen His Girl Friday, by the time, she woke up the killer was hiding in the roll-top desk and she had no idea what was going on. Still, it was cool to see with an audience who appreciated it.

The Palm Beach Story – For the intro, Cari Beauchamp interviewed Joel McCrea's grandson, Wyatt. Wyatt McCrea told the story of a small continuity error in the film. Joel McCrea's co-star Claudette Colbert refused to be photographed on her right side. That meant that Joel McCrea had to be filmed on his right side most of the time. Normally, Joel McCrea parted his hair on the right, but at the time of the filming he was starting to worry that his hairline was receding. With the part in his hair on the camera side, he was worried that the receding hairline would be too noticeable, so after the first few scenes, he switched the part to the other side, and no one noticed. I barely even noticed, and I was looking for it.

Also in attendance for the film were several members of Mary Astor's family. Mary Astor was worried about the film because she had never played comedy, but she is wonderful. I've seen this film a number of times but again, never in the theater. It's probably my third favorite Preston Sturges film, behind The Lady Eve and Sullivan's Travels. Still it's a great film, in spite of its I-would-have-gotten-a-D-had-I-written-this-ending-in-8th-grade ending. 

The Palm Beach Story pokes lot of fun at the idle upper class, from the Wienie King who gives money to strangers on a whim to Ale and Quail Club and their shenanigans on the train to Rudy Vallee's character who has millions, yet writes down every penny he spends but never adds it up to Mary Astor's character who changes husband with the same frequency that most women change hairstyles. It was a blast, and Jasmine absolutely loved it. 

Photo: Edward M. Pio Roda
Singin' in the Rain – After The Palm Beach Story at the Chinese IMAX, we immediately got back in line in the same theater for Singing in the Rain. We ended up sitting with @BeeKnees_pdx and her friend, Karetta. The intro had Scott Feinberg interviewing Debbie Reynold's son Todd Fisher, and actress Ruta Lee, a close friend of Debbie Reynolds who had worked closely with Reynolds through the Thalians charitable organization. 


Regarding the film itself, I was a bit upset that I didn't go to the Fathom Events screening back in January. I normally go to almost all of the Fathom Events screenings even when I'm not that crazy about the film, so for me to miss a film I like is kind of a rarity. I sort of felt like I was paying for it by missing another film I might not get another chance at. I think the backup plan was Hell Is for Heroes, but when Bob Newhart cancelled, that made Singin' in the Rain an easier call. Ariel Schudson (Archive-Type, Musings of a Passionate Preservationist) suggested Detective Story, but when she heard that neither Jasmine or I had ever seen it on the big screen, she said, no, you need to see Singin' in the Rain.

Spent an awful lot of time in the Chinese Sunday;
this is in the lobby; if you don't know what it is,
we can't be friends anymore
Jasmine had never seen Singin' in the Rain, period, but she was still leaning toward Hell Is for Heroes. I told her that this would give us more time for dinner, before the last screening. When in doubt at TCMFF, offer the person you're with food, and you'll get your way. I think I was feeling lazy that week in January when I didn't go to the Fathom Events screening of Singin' in the Rain. I now think that fate had conspired in my favor to have us see it at TCMFF. Is there a difference between a small theater in the multiplex with maybe 60 or 70 people and 900 people at the Chinese? Or between a pre-recorded intro and a live intro with people who have real connection to one of the stars? Or an audience who likes a film vs one who knows the film by heart and applauds all of the musical numbers. Oh yeah? For Jasmine, she is pretty open-minded musically, especially for someone her age, but still was leery of a musical. She loved it. 

Speedy – We only had to run upstairs to get our line numbers, for the last screening of the festival. There is a ramen place in the mall next door to the theater. I was a bit worried about the timing. We had run into someone that day who had said they were really slow. Fortunately, we had our food in a few minutes, and it was good.

Speedy with live musical accompaniment was our last screening of the festival and one that both Jasmine and I were looking forward to since it was first announced. The Alloy Orchestra is a three piece group which features junk percussion/musical saws/accordion, keyboards, and clarinet/more percussion. You just couldn't help but smile when the film rolled, and they started playing. It was an absolute delight, and the accompaniment only made it more so, the perfect way to end the festival. When I talked Jasmine back at home, she said we should have sat close to the front, so we could see the musicians. Good point, I hope we remember that next time. 

Closing party – I love the closing party. It's a somewhat melancholy event because you know it's over and it's going to be a year before the next TCMFF. That and it goes way too quick. With the late Sunday screenings ending at 9:30 or 10, that only leaves a couple of hours, before they kick people out of Club TCM at midnight. At least this year the lobby bars stayed open, so the die-hards like me could stay and talk. 

I did get to meet Teresa whom I'd never before and talk to many of the people I've met over the years. I had about four or five of my souvenir condoms left and was able to give them away to Eddie Muller, Ben Mankiewicz, and others. Ben's reaction was perfect (see story here). All in all, it was another wonderful TCMFF. Thanks to all involved.

As we were leaving the theater after Speedy, Jasmine and I saw the following on Hollywood Blvd., slumped and crumpled in its frame, a fitting end for the TCMFF that was.


Here's the body count. If you count Beyond the Mouse as a single film, I saw 18 films in TCMFF 2017, more than any of the three previous festivals, despite skipping films for a dinner breaks on both Friday and Saturday nights. Jasmine saw one less than me. Of the 18, only two were new to me, again counting Beyond the Mouse. Still only one had I seen in the theater, The Jerk, when it first came out. For Jasmine, all were new to her, except The Palm Beach Story, which she had seen with her grandmother, go Maa-ma! We saw one silent, one nitrate, and one movie that scared the bejeezus out of us (The Incident). We saw Sean Connery in futuristic speedo and met Dick Cavett in the elevator. Jasmine met Ben Mankiewicz for the first time and didn't freak out. I drank on occasion and ate infrequently though not as bad as in previous years, and Jasmine and I went bowling in a place you would never expect to find a bowling alley. Most importantly, we spent the better part of six days geeking out on old movies. What could be better than that?