BIG SCREEN BENEDICTION


TCM Classic film festival for 2013 announced their full program today. Found some interesting morsals among the always interesting program. Having the good fortune have attended this festival in 2011 I looked knowingly at the midnight screenings. TCM this year will be running a 35 mm print of PLAN NINE FROM OUTER SPACE and ISLAND OF LOST SOULS. ‘Who would want to see PLAN 9 on the big screen in all its wonderful mistake filled fun…the answer is me and perhaps others. What a way to enjoy film the way that it was meant to be seen on the screen with these two little misty gems each different.
We all know of the communal aspect of film going, the shared experience with other as the screen darkens. No matter what film you go to see there is that sense of anticipation in the few seconds between ‘feature attraction’ appearing on screen and the actual start. It doesn’t get diminished even with the silly advertising and the interviews with musicians and actors saying all the right things about there next film that you don’t really care about. When you attend a film at TCM CLASSIC FILM FESTIVAL or any other festival I would imagine is wonderfully different experience
You are there with people who really want to see whatever picture you are at as opposed to people who just want to “go to a flick”. Two different audiences with two different needs. My first experience at the Classic film festival was a 8 am screening of a James Cagney picture TAXI made in 1932. There we were well fed at that hour with coffees in hand with many others in the dark. The audience applaud when the “Stars” like Cagney, Clara Bow even Mickey Mouse all make the first entrance. End credits are read from beginning to end without the usual standing in the aisles as one wants to see the names of the people some long dead or forgotten that entertained you and countless others before.
Had the good fortune to attend a screening of the picture HOOP LA starring Clara Bow made in 1933. The guest who’s name I have forgotten stood up before the audience and did an intro to the film saying that the last shot is so very important in that it was Clara Bow’s last appearance in a sound film. Her frenetic style of movement did not lend itself to the primitive sound technology of the time. Bow’s career slowly faded away as she gave up acting to live on a ranch. When her image filled the screen it was amazing in its effect. Total hush punctuated with polite applause and almost a collective sigh from the audience as if to say ‘Goodbye Clara” one more time.
Not to say this doesn’t happen any place else or you have to good to a festival of this nature to have this effect. It was just so different to be startling.
I would and will go back to TCM CLASSIC FESTIVAL in a flash.

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