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tcmff class pictureOnce again, it is that time of the year where we focus on classic film in honor of the TCM Classic Film Festival, which has been hitting Hollywood, California in a big way every Spring since 2010. (Incidentally, I’m proud to say that our own Horrible Imaginings Film Festival shares its birth year with TCM Classic Film Festival–what amazing company!) As a film fanatic with a keen interest in film history, the TCM Classic Film Festival is an almost religious experience, and every year I decide to give the pure horror aspects of the podcast a break in favor of reflecting on the unique experiences afforded at this festival. The beautiful thing is that the programming there is so varied that I do always get to praise some of their obscure or cult film choices.


And speaking of obscure choices, that is what I decided my main focus would be–the hidden gems of the TCM Classic Film Festival, particularly the “Discovery” films and the little-known films that get shown in the smallest of the venues at the festival: the Chinese multiplex’s House Four. Many of us at the festival call House Four our regular home, and I got another House Four regular to discuss this year’s festival with me. He has been on the podcast many times, and he probably needs no introduction for many of you. His blog Cinematically Insane is a staple for #OldMovieWeirdos everywhere–I speak of course of Will McKinley. Together we discuss:

1. The role that traditional 35mm film formats play at the festival, and the role we would like it to keep playing
2. What is House Four, and what kinds of films show there
3. What are the “Discovery” films?
4. What films had the greatest impact on us
5. Why choose obscure films
6. The challenges and brilliance of creating the TCMFF program
7. The differences between preservation and restoration
8. What makes a good restoration
9. Film love vs. Film snobbery
10. What some people misunderstand about TCM, and how we set them straight
11. The Vitaphone 90th Anniversary presentation
12. The midnight movies (Roar and Gog in 3D with a new restoration)
13. What kinds of movies we hope to see in the future
14. The new TCM Backlot Fan Club

So much great content in this episode. I am extremely proud of it, but really how could we not have so much to talk about after TCM put on such a memorable event? Again? As an added bonus, here are pictures of the amazing projector rig especially built to project a rare 16mm print of a Taiwanese martial arts film during the San Diego Asian Film Fest’s Spring Showcase, as discussed in the episode:

16mm rig

Also, as promised in the episode, here is the Vitaphone short of Shaw and Lee’s Vaudeville act “The Beau Brummels.” Hilarious!

Now Listen to the Episode Here:

Comments: 7

  • Lynn 2016/05/057:40 PM

    Thanks for this podcast. I loved the festival this year, but think it was good to hear what you both had to say about it. I learned alot. I’ve been to the festival with a festival pass since 2013 and I learned a lot from you. My favorite at the festival was the seeing the “Amazing Film Discoveries (1915 – 1927)” with the saved Buster Keaton and Laurel & Hardy films was just amazing. I also agree with you about the festival promotion. Also, seeing Bulldog Drummond Strikes back was also quite a treat (both were in Theater 4). Yes, on-ramps for new classic films is a good idea, but hope it doesn’t mean we’ll be seeing less of the classics we love. Additionally, I enjoyed Club TCM’s presentation about Journalism; wow, that was great!! Thanks guys!

  • michael koenig 2016/05/062:45 PM

    Interesting discussion. I went to three of the Road to Hollywood presentations and enjoyed them, but doubt that I’ll ever go to the fest in Hollywood. Too crowded, and I find the pay more for more access model a little off-putting. I’m lucky to live in a place that has a thriving repertory scene; I saw the Argentine film you mentioned a few months ago, and it is truly wonderful.

    Hopefully people who love 35mm presentations will come out and support them, and they’ll remain an alternative mode of presentation, like vinyl records, that a certain segment of the population will treasure, even younger people who grew up on digital presentation.

    I’m surprised that they don’t show more of the films from the festival on the channel and promote them as such. Even the attendees aren’t getting to see most of the films in the festival, and films like ONE POTATO, TWO POTATO aren’t getting a big re-release either in the few remaining rep houses or on DVD/BluRay (it’ll probably end up on FilmStruck eventually). I realize they don’t want to undermine the festival by showing everything on the channel, but it seems as if the festival’s already close to capacity anyway even before people know what’s playing.

    A lot of TCM’s fans are prone to apocalyptic rants about how the channel’s being ruined, but to me Backlot sounds like a horrible idea. Why should people who are willing to pay extra get a vote on programming? The idea of fans appearing via Skype to introduce films sounds horrible, like the series of films on female friendship that was introduced by a young woman who was really awkward on camera and didn’t have much to say. Yes, we should support and encourage the channel, but Time Warner’s kept it on the air all these years because it drives cable subscriptions.

  • Richard Kirkham 2016/05/064:28 PM

    Really enjoyed the podcast. I had a terrific time at the festival and unfortunately never made it over to House 4 at the multiplex. My plan next year is to find some of those small gems and get in line early. I was glad to hear that the snobbery level is relatively low from your perspectives as well. As frequent festival attendees, you may have been fortunate to see some of the guests in other venues, I don’t live in Podunk Iowa, but the chance to see some of the stars and directors was nice. Sparse crowds in the big house at the Chinese, I only encountered once and I was there all day on Sunday. The Vitaphone presentation was one of my two favorite events, the other being the War of the Worlds with Craig Barron and Ben Burrt. Those two are terrific hosts with a light touch and a huge amount of knowledge, plus they have the same enthusiasm as the rest of us.

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