I have never attended the Turner Classic Movies Classic Film Festival (often abbreviated as TCMFF), although I have always wanted to. My primary reason for doing so is to meet the many fellow classic movie fans I have made as friends online over the years. That having been said, TCMFF also represents the chance to see classic movies one has never seen on the big screen before. Over the years I have often given thought to what films I would like to see if I ever got to attend the Turner Classic Movies Classic Film Festival. These are six of the many movies I would like to see at the festival. Some of these may well have been shown at the festival already, but I certainly was not there to see them!
Without further ado, here are six films I would like to see at TCMFF.
The Crowd (1928): The Crowd is one of my all time favourite silent movies and, as far as I am concerned, it is King Vidor's masterpiece. The film follows the life of an everyday man, and does so in an extremely naturalistic fashion. Much of the film shot on location on the streets of New York City, and it was very innovative as far as moving camera cinematography goes, among other things. Indeed, it offers a sharp contrast to the sometimes static early Talkies that followed it! It was one of the first 25 movies ever selected for preservation by the Library of Congress in the United States National Film Registry as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant", and with good reason.
42nd Street (1933): 42nd Street is both one of my favourite pre-Code movies and one of my favourite musicals. Today the plot might seem somewhat cliched to some, but then it has to be considered this was the movie that invented many of those cliches. What is more, it is done with a pre-Code naughtiness and panache that many of its later imitators lack. Of course, the two big attractions for me with regards to 42nd Street are a great cast (including Warner Baxter, Bebe Daniels, Una Merkel, Ginger Rogers, and many others) and the incredible choreography of Busby Berkeley.
Out of the Past (1947): Film noir is one of my all time favourite genres. Out of the Past is one of my favourite films noirs of all time, if not my all time favourite. It has all the proper ingredients for a great film noir: a cynical shamus; a femme fatale; a complex storyline; smart, crisp dialogue; and dark cinematography courtesy of Nicholas Musuraca. It is very nearly a hardboiled novel come to life on the screen (and it was indeed based on a book, Build My Gallows High by James M. Cain). I won't necessarily say it is the greatest film noir of all time, but if it isn't then it comes very close.
Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter (1957): I've always been a huge fan of Tony Randall. He was a character actor who could easily play the lead when he was called upon to do so. Of the movies in which he played the lead, this is arguably the best. Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? is one of the funniest movies of the Fifties, right down to its opening credits. It was also in many respects a pioneering film, presaging the satires of the Sixties. The satire of Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? cuts a wide swathe through Fifties popular culture, including Hollywood, movie fans, advertising, and television.
Help! (1965): In 2014, on the occasion of its 50th anniversary, A Hard Day's Night was shown at the Turner Classic Movies Classic Film Festival. I hoped that in 2015 Help! would then be shown at TCMFF in honour of its 50th anniversary. Sadly, that did not happen. Help! may not have the reputation that A Hard Day's Night does, but it really should. While A Hard Day's Night was a surreal portrayal of The Beatles' trip to London for a television appearance, Help! was a surreal parody of the then popular James Bond films blended with influences from The Marx Brothers' Duck Soup and the classic radio show The Goon Show. And just as A Hard Day's Night would prove influential, so too would Help!. In many respects Help! was a precursor to the camp, pop culture sensibilities of the classic TV show Batman, while the classic TV show The Monkees actually owes much more to Help! than it does A Hard Day's Night.
Phantom of the Paradise (1974): Every TCMFF has to have some sort of midnight movie, and Phantom of the Paradise is the genuine article. Upon its initial release in 1974 it bombed at the box office. Fortunately it found new life as a midnight movie and eventually developed a cult following. Written by Brian De Palma, the inspiration for Phantom of the Paradise was drawn primarily from Gaston Leroux's novel Phantom of the Opera and the "Faust" legend, as well as Oscar Wilde's novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. The film is essentially a blend of horror, comedy, and rock musical. Although perhaps not as bizarre as some midnight screenings at past Turner Classic Movies Classic Film Festivals (certainly not Zardoz...), it is certainly outré enough to satisfy any lover of midnight movies.