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TCMFF 2018: My Picks

This week I’ll be heading to Los Angeles for the TCM Classic Film Festival! This will be my second year attending the fest and my first year with a media pass. I’ll be posting photos and updates onFacebookTwitter, and Instagram, plus in-depth articles here on the blog about screenings and discussions. I’ll also be passing out these handsome #Holden100 buttons; if you’re at the fest, come find me or Diana of Flickin’ Out for a button so you can show your love for William Holden at the screenings of Sunset Boulevard and The World of Suzie Wong.

Photo provided by Kate Gabrielle

My schedule selection criteria is the same as before:

  • Unique experiences I’d unlikely have anywhere else
  • Special guests I must see
  • New-to-me vs. already seen
  • Film accessibility outside of the festival

Still, it has been a bit more difficult to make decisions this year. There are a few blocks where I’d be happy seeing anything, so I’ll just go with the flow on those. It’s good to have some flexibility; some of my last-minute decisions ended up being my favorite screenings last year. I will also be spending more time in Club TCM this time around to check out some of the fabulous panels they have lined up.

Without further ado, here is my tentative schedule. Subject to change due to hunger, exhaustion, laziness, poor timing, last-minute changes of heart, and peer pressure.


Finishing School (1934)

This pre-Code directed by a woman starring Ginger Rogers and Frances Dee and introduced by Dee’s son Wyatt McCrea is shaping up to be the most popular film in the opening slot—and it’s in the smallest theater at the Multiplex. It’s going to be a bloodbath, but I’m so here for it.

Stage Door (1937)

This film has been on my watchlist for far too long. I’m excited to see it for the first time on the big screen–and on nitrate to boot!


The Merry Widow (1934) 

Honestly, nothing really stood out to me in this first block. I requested a press credential for the Cicely Tyson hand and footprint ceremony, though I highly doubt I’ll get in. For now, I’m planning on the Lubitsch comedy The Merry Widow, another first time watch for me.

The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek (1944) 

I first saw The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek in a college film class and it is a RIOT. This is a film that is even more enjoyable with an audience, and TCMFF is the perfect venue for it. I definitely wouldn’t mind seeing it again. But I might end up skipping it altogether to get a good spot in line for:

A Hatful of Rain (1957)

This is one of my non-negotiables. It’s been a dream of mine to see Eva Marie Saint in person, and I’ll finally get to when she introduces this screening. Fingers crossed!

Women of the Year panel @ Club TCM

The line for rare pre-Code I Take This Woman (1931) (starring Carole Lombard and Gary Cooper!) will likely be another bloodbath, so I’m crossing my fingers for it to be one of the Sunday TBA’s. Right now, I’m leaning toward the panel of women screenwriters at Club TCM, featuring Callie Khouri (Thelma and Louise, Something to Talk About), Joan Tewkesbury (Nashville, Thieves Like Us), and Linda Woolverton (Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King).

Leave Her to Heaven (1945) 

Another essential I have yet to see, also on nitrate.  If the colors look anything like those on the nitrate prints of Black Narcissus and Lady in the Dark at last year’s festival, we’re in for a treat.


The Ox-Bow Incident (1943) 

I’ve yet to see a Western at TCMFF, so this is the perfect opportunity. I’ve heard a lot of great things about this film and I’m looking forward to seeing my boys Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews, and Harry Morgan on the big screen.

Bullitt (1968) or This Thing Called Love (1940) or A Conversation With Gillian Armstrong @ Club TCM

I’m at a stalemate on this one. I’ve never seen Bullitt (yes, I know), and the famous car chase should be epic on the big screen and Jaqueline Bisset will be there to introduce. But the fact that it’s cutting it close to Sunset Boulevard in the next block might be an issue. This Thing Called Love is a lesser-seen comedy starring my faves Rosalind Russell and Melvyn Douglas, and the film’s premise, which somehow didn’t sit well with the Catholic Legion of Decency, is intriguing. I’d also love to see the discussion with Gillan Armstrong, the director of my favorite film adaptation of Little Women. TCM does not make this easy.

Sunset Boulevard (1950) 

TCM is coming in clutch again this year with two William Holden movies, the first of which is his breakout film Sunset Boulevard. The icing on the cake is one of the stars of the film, Nancy Olson Livingston, will be on hand to introduce it. I’m sure she has wonderful stories about the production of this iconic film.

The World of Suzie Wong (1960)

This block is my first “Sophie’s choice” of the festival: new-to-me silent comedy Show People (1928) with live musical accompaniment by the wonderful Ben Model, or new-to-me William Holden film The World of Suzie Wong with star Nancy Kwan introducing? I’ve already seen Ben play at several silent film screenings in NYC and I plan to attend the Mostly Lost presentation on Sunday, so the scales tip in favor of William Holden and Nancy Kwan.

Spellbound (1945) 

This Hitchcock film has somehow evaded me…until now. Also: nitrate!


Woman of the Year (1942)

It’s been a while since I’ve seen this Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy starrer and I don’t remember much about it. Plus, Keith Carradine, whom I adore, is introducing it.

Mostly Lost @ Club TCM

I’m thrilled the Library of Congress is bringing a version of their film identification workshop to TCMFF. I’m also looking forward to Ben Model’s presentation on the undercranking technique used in silent film comedies.

A Star is Born (1937)

What better way than to close out TCMFF with a nitrate print of an iconic Hollywood story? I’ve only seen the Judy Garland and James Mason remake from 1954, so I’m really looking forward to this one.


Here are some picks from around the blogosphere. If you have picks of your own, comment below with the link so I can display it here!

Blog of the Darned

30 Hertz Rumble 

Journeys in Classic Film 


Once Upon A Screen 

Out of the Past

For more TCMFF coverage, check back here on the blog and follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Are you attending TCMFF 2018? What are your must-sees?

4 thoughts on “TCMFF 2018: My Picks”

  1. Good luck on Finishing School. Seems like everyone has that as their pick. I may end up in A Hatful of Rain with you. I need to see Eva Marie Saint, and as much as I like Grand Prix, I don’t think I can take up two blocks with it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m hoping Finishing School won’t be as bad because the most of the higher pass levels will be at The Producers? I was debating Grand Prix vs. Hatful of Rain, too.


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