Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Daniel Margolis
Observer Staff Writer 

2018 TCM Classic Film Festival Showcased The Power Of The Written Word On The Silver Screen

“Powerful Words: The Page Onscreen” was the theme, nitrate and Technicolor the technologies

 

Lisa McGill

Director Melvin Van Peebles and his son, Director Mario Van Peebles, at the screening of "Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song" (1971) at the 2018 TCM Classic Film Festival.

The TCM Classic Film Festival celebrated its ninth consecutive year in Hollywood. This year, the festival’s theme was “Powerful Words: The Page Onscreen”, showcasing a wide variety of classic films in a multitude of genres. The festival featured original screenplays, unique adaptations, and portrayals of writers, real and imagined.

TCM Primetime host, Ben Mankiewicz, served as the official host of the festival; other hosts included Illeana Douglas, Alicia Malone, and Dave Karger.

The festival opened with the 50th Anniversary World Premiere 4K Restoration Screening of “The Producers” (1968). Other notable screenings included: “Scarface” (1932), “Finishing School” (1934), “The Merry Widow” (1934), “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (1935), “Wife vs. Secretary” (1936), “Detour” (1945), “Hamlet” (1948), “Sunset Boulevard” (1950), “Kiss Me Deadly” (1955), “A Hatful of Rain” (1957), “Witness for the Prosecution” (1957), “Where the Boys Are” (1960), “The World of Suzie Wong” (1960), “Grand Prix” (1966), “Romeo and Juliet” (1968), “Bullitt” (1968), “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song” (1971), “Sounder” (1972), “The Exorcist” (1973), “Murder on the Orient Express” (1974), “Kramer vs. Kramer” (1979), and “Maurice” (1987).

The festival also presented moviegoers with a unique opportunity to see a selection of both black and white and Technicolor films as they were originally projected on cellulose nitrate film stock. Nitrate film stock is the highly flammable, highly degradable film stock used by the movie industry up to the early 1950s. Very little nitrate film stock has been preserved, and what is left has often degraded to the point of no longer being viewable. This year, in partnership with the UCLA Film & Television Archive, moviegoers were treated to a Technicolor nitrate screening of “Leave Her To Heaven” (1945), as well as black and white nitrate screenings of “A Star Is Born” (1937), “Stage Door” (1937), and “Spellbound” (1945).

Daniel Margolis

Actress Eva Marie Saint and TCM Primetime Host Ben Mankiewicz at the screening of "A Hatful of Rain" (1957) at the 2018 TCM Classic Film Festival.

Martin Scorsese received the inaugural Robert Osborne Award in recognition of his work as a celebrated director and film preservationist for over fifty years. The award was presented to him by actor Leonardo DiCaprio. The festival also honored screen legend Cicely Tyson with a hand-and-footprint ceremony outside of the Chinese Theater, a ceremony which was officiated by Director Tyler Perry.

A number of other celebrities also attended the festival, including: Eva Marie Saint, Mel Brooks, John Carpenter, Melvin Van Peebles, Mario Van Peebles, James Ivory, Jeff Bridges, Dyan Cannon, Keith Carradine, Dana Delany, Sally Field, Buck Henry, Ruta Lee, Gillian Armstrong, Robert Benton, Tim Robbins, William Friedkin, Olivia Hussey, Nancy Kwan, John Landis, Dennis Miller, and Michael York. Many of these celebrities acted, directed, wrote, or were otherwise connected with the making of the films screened in this year’s festival.

If you love classic movies and would like to see them on the big screen, go to “http://filmfestival.tcm.com” and sign up for the TCM Classic Film Festival Newsletter so you can get the inside scoop on next year’s festival and the availability of festival passes and individual tickets.

 

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