Posted on: 25 April 2013
What is old becomes new again. The TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood, CA, an annual celebration of film nostalgia that has also turned into a wonderful showcase for burgeoning restoration practices and underappreciated oddities, proves this claim truthful every April. Now in its fourth year, TCM fest returns with another massive screening slate that ranges from the obscure (Robert Florey’s The Desert Song) to the canonized (Hitchcock’s The Birds, Terrence Malick’s Badlands), all projected theatrically.
TCM fest often succeeds at shining a light on the underappreciated dark corners of film history. Scanning this year’s diverse schedule, one gets the impression that the programmers are getting more inventive and idiosyncratic with their choices. Take the sidebar “Riding the Rails” for example, a sly collection of films set on moving trains, which highlights styles both visceral and psychologically nervy, from Buster Keaton (The General) to John Frankenheimer (The Train). Anthony Mann’s 1951 superb assassination thriller, The Tall Target, is an especially inspired choice. Part political thriller, part chase film, this sharp exercise in cinematic pacing is entirely confined to a stiflingly intense and shifting environment.
Many of the classic films at TCM fest will be projected on restored 35mm prints (an essential act of protest against those claiming the medium’s death knell). But newly minted digital presentations are also planned for gala film presentations like Funny Girl and On the Waterfront, most to be screened in the titanic Grauman’s Chinese Theater. Along with the pristine presentations TCM fest will host plenty of special guests, icons like Jon Voight and Jane Fonda who will inevitably provide a personal and historical context to the experience. Often, the post-screening Q&A’s become lively extensions of the drama just witnessed on screen.
For the third year in a row, we plan on reveling in the celebration of TCM fest wholeheartedly, reviewing films of all shapes and sizes, known and unknown.
The Narrow Margin1952
The Razor’s Edge1946
The Desert Song1943
Try and Get Me1950
They Live by Night1948