Day one of the TCM Film Festival is definitely the least stressful/busy day of them all. This year, there were several different rounds of trivia going on during the day. . .which is always a good time (even if you lose)! The first thing on the schedule was the First-Timers Meetup followed by the Hitchcock Fans Meetup, both great ways to meet new friends! Next was a “Remembering Robert” celebration as this was the first festival following his passing. Robert Osborne may not have been there in person, but he was most definitely there in spirit throughout the entire festival.
With the opening night party, that officially begins the festival (unless you have one of the higher level passes), not beginning until 5pm, there is plenty of time to explore Hollywood beforehand, so I did!
To begin the day, my friends and I had breakfast at the famous Mel’s Diner. Just next door to Mel’s is another famous Hollywood spot, the Hollywood Museum in the old Max Factor building. Only one person in the group had ever been to the museum before, so it was a great treat. So much history is packed into this one building, there was a lot to take in! A little on the Max Factor building. . .Max Factor was who the studios would send their actors to to be “transformed” into the glamorous stars we know and love. He essentially invented makeup as we know it and won an Oscar for his skills. (For more on Max Factor, visit their website here.) The Jean Harlow exhibit was fascinating. They had everything from letters she wrote to even one of her cars. I learned a great deal about the woman she was compared to the woman Hollywood portrayed her to be and definitely want to learn more. There was so much to this exhibit that I may have to make another post specifically for that!
Following the museum, a couple of us ventured downtown to visit some of our favorite stars at the Westwood Cemetery. Afterward, we spruced up a bit then found ourselves in Blossom Room at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel for the opening night festivities. You most likely won’t see the end of the party, though, because here are where the tough decisions begin. . .
My first two films of the festival were ones I had never seen before. The first film, following the festival theme (Comedy in the Movies), was Love Crazy (1941). Love Crazy stars one of my absolute favorite onscreen couples, William Powell and Myrna Loy (who I definitely thought were married in real life when I first saw them in The Thin Man). It is a story of a married couple, Steve and Susan Ireland, whose fourth wedding anniversary festivities lead to many misunderstandings (by people who should most definitely NOT be involved…yes, I’m looking at you Myrna Loy’s mother!), lead to them splitting up. Steve (Powell), being so hurt and upset by the split, does everything in his power to win Susan (Loy) back. He even shaves off his famous mustache (I’ll let you watch to find out why)! This fun Romantic Comedy, also featuring Jack Carson and Gail Patrick, will have you rolling with laughter.
The second film of the festival was quite the opposite of the first one, it was Hitchcock. One of Hitch’s earlier films, The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), was a treat as it was not only my first time viewing it, but my first time experiencing a nitrate film. Also, with a surprise last minute announcement of an introduction by Martin Scorsese, who could miss it? I was also informed that I HAD to see at least one nitrate in black and white and one in color, so this was my black and white choice. This film was very different for me, not only because of the nitrate, but because I typically don’t see movies with no leading actors whose name I recognize.
The Man Who Knew Too Much was made while Hitchcock was still making films in England, so there were no well-known Hollywood actors involved. The only names I knew were Hitchcock and Peter Lorre, and if I remember correctly, this was also one of Lorre’s first English-speaking roles. This is a story of a couple who receive a note warning them of an impending assassination attempt, and find that their daughter has been kidnapped to keep them from saying anything to the police. As in true Hitchcock form, this film will have you on edge wondering what could happen next. While, to me, it did not seem like Hitch had some of his signature directing in place just yet, I was still pleased with the picture and would recommend it to any Hitchcock or Lorre fan.
So concludes my first day at the festival. Keep checking back for the rest of my festival adventures!