Things are a little different this year. The TCM Film Festival has been forced to go online, which is understandable despite how disappointing it is. For me, it’s a bit of a rough one. After years of missing out, this was to be my first time attending. Rest assured, I’ll be ready to take it all in next year. Until then, TCM has done a fabulous job creating an “at home” edition of the festival with a killer lineup. Here’s my picks to check out, broken down by specific interest areas.
If You’re Looking for a Musical . . .
TCMFF is bringing some all time classic musicals we’ve all seen, but definitely need to see again. The Judy Garland version of A Star is Born (Thursday, 8pm EST) kicks off the whole event. One of my favorite comfort films of all, Singin’ in the Rain (Sunday, 6pm EST) is a must watch any time it’s on. There’s also some more obscure selections to check out.
There’s a helping of three Vitaphone shorts airing (Saturday, 10:30am) that are well worth a look. These early sound subjects are not just a treat for the first looks at sound in film. They’re also really fun and breezy musical numbers. There’s entire releases of these Vitaphone subjects, so check out some more if it whets your appetite.
If You’re Looking for a Horror Film . . .
There’s not a ton of horror films airing for TCMFF, but the ones that are are quite the classics. The Creature from the Black Lagoon hits at midnight on Friday, and remains a great monster movie with a heart. If you’re like me, you might even be rooting more for the creature than the humans. After all, its just trying to live a peaceful life until things get interrupted.
If you want your horror to be a little more insane, Mad Love (Saturday, 8am EST) fits the bill. This is one of my favorite Peter Lorre performances, a bizarre masterwork that can’t be forgotten. If you haven’t seen this maniac showing from him, the less said the better. Let’s just say that he’s a wonderful mad doctor, and that the film goes in many a dark place.
If You’re Looking for a Pre-Code . . .
There’s many good selections to choose from here. Double Harness (Saturday, 9:15am EST) is a new-to-me film, but I’ve heard about the ruckus it caused at a previous TCMFF event. And it has Ann Harding and William Powell, so that makes it even more can’t miss. I can, however firmly vouch for Red-Headed Woman (Sunday, 2pm EST). This is some real precode raunchiness and scandal, helmed by a legendary Jean Harlow performance. This is a heaping helping of precode fun.
If You’re Looking for a Silent Film . . .
The opening night is capped off with Metropolis (Thursday, 11pm EST). This classic remains just as visually stunning and gorgeous no matter how many times it’s seen. For a bit of change in tone, TCMFF is also airing Safety Last! (Saturday, 1:15pm EST). This film boasts Harold Lloyd’s most famous moment, the hanging from the clock tower. It is indeed one of his finest finishes, and the whole film is just a joy. Lloyd’s films never fail to make me smile, and this is him working at the height of his power.