On a normal day, the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel makes one feel transported to old Hollywood. But this weekend, at TCM’s first Classic Film Festival, literally running into the likes of Tony Curtis, Elli Wallach, Eva Marie Saint in the lobby of the hotel was a real possibility.There were stars from the 30’s, like two time Academy Award winner Louise Rainer, to stars of today that included Alec Baldwin and Anjelica and Danny Huston.
What was amazing about the festival was not just seeing long lines for even the most obscure films (Sunnyside Up anyone?) and the traditional classics (Singin’ in the Rain, Casablanca) but to see so many young fans in their early 20’s in the audiences.
Every screening was full, as fans were eager to see their favorite movie on “the big screen”. Before this festival, the chances of seeing North by Northwest on the main screen in the Chinese Theatre were just about zero.
But fan were not only treated to that, but the films stars Eva Marie Saint (still looking gorgeous at 86) and Martin Landau telling their personal stories about Alfred Hitchcock. You don’t see THAT everyday!
The whole festival was planned just to please fans. One of the opening night events was poolside screening of Neptune’s Daughter, with Esther Williams and Betty Garret in attendance AND a water ballet performance by the Esther inspired group, The Aqualillie. (Talk about how nervous they must’ve been, performing in front of their idol!)
As mentioned, brother and sister Angelica and Danny Huston were there to introduce films that were a tribute to their talented family, which included screenings of Treasure of the Sierra Madre (directed by their father, John, and co-staring their grandfather, Walter) as well as their own films, such as Angelica’s turn in Crimes and Misdemeanors and Danny’s in the little seen (and under appreciated) Australian film, The Proposition. Also on hand was the granddaughter of Melvyn Douglas, Illeana, to introduce one of his films.
Fans of course, were also excited to see Robert Osborne and Ben Mankiewicz, TCM’s hosts, as they almost have the familiarity of long lost relatives to viewers.
The whole event was an unqualified success and while I (painfully) could not attend every screening, I look forward what TCM has in store for (hopefully) next year’s festival.