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The 2018 TCM Classic Film Festival: Day 3

Day three was a day of fits and starts with my first shut-out from a feature. It was the also the day I reached the apotheosis of my illness so it probably wasn’t a great idea to attend my first midnight showing but, dammit, I was committed.

My morning was filled with potential as I’d seen nearly all the movies being screened that day. I’d contemplated seeing the lone film I’d never watched, 1938’s Love Finds Andy Hardy, but decided to take a chance on revisiting 1949’s A Letter to Three Wives. I’d seen A Letter to Three Wives years ago, back when Fox put it out on Blu-ray, and I remembered not caring about it too much. I chalk it up to my utter disdain for all things Kirk Douglas. Regardless, I tried to push my Douglas dislike aside, and it was a good thing too! The film was introduced by Ben Mankiewiciz and his cousin Alex, daughter of the film’s director, Joseph Mankiewicz. The two had great banter for not seeing each other in years. The entire thing felt like a precursor to their panel discussion, Growing Up Mankiewicz the next day. I thoroughly enjoyed A Letter to Three Wives this second time around. Linda Darnell, Ann Sothern, and Jeanne Crain were phenomenal; Darnell was just exemplary! I forgot how witty and dry the script was, and I’ll confess laughing to a couple of Douglas’ lines. (Still hate him!) Some of my best festival experiences are revisiting a feature with an audience and this was right up there with the side-splitting screening of Born Yesterday (1950) I saw last year.

After that I’d planned to take in the Rosalind Russell, 1940s sex comedy This Thing Called Love. Unfortunately everyone else had my idea and by the time I left Letter to Three Wives the screening was full. I ended up taking an extended lunch, one of the benefits of being shut out of a movie. So, remember my big “Maurice or women animators” argument? I’d planned to do the women animator’s panel but found out my travel buddies were in movies that, had I gone to the panel, would have left me with nothing to do for 90 minutes. Rather than wait in the lobby, ill, I decided to see Maurice. Did that sound like a justification for my curiosity about this movie? Maybe. James Ivory introduced his 1987 film Maurice. He talked to moderator Ben Mankiewicz about making the movie and how the nudity in it plays out in light of his public issues regarding the lack of nudity in Call Me By Your Name. (Ivory said he was officially sick of talking about Call Me By Your Name’s nudity flaws.) There certainly was nudity in abundance in Maurice, which actually shocked the older ladies sitting next to me. Maurice isn’t as fun and intense as Call Me By Your Name – much of that comes from director Luca Gudagnino. Instead Maurice is a quiet, contemplative look at the romance between two men, one of them played by Hugh Grant. For 1987 the frank discussion of homosexuality had to be shocking, though it’s rather tame today. The whole affair is very English, very much a Merchant/Ivory film. I enjoy Call Me By Your Name more, but Maurice is a worthy predecessor.

The travel buddy and I decided not to take a chance on seeing a movie in the hopes of securing a good seat for the poolside screening of Where the Boys Are (1960). This was the first time in my TCM travels that I didn’t freeze to death – the benefits of finding a chair by a heater. A full review of Where the Boys Are is coming soon but the movie is definitely a lesser version of something like The Pleasure Seekers (1964). I didn’t find it bad, I just felt I’d seen it before. From there it was off to my first midnight screening, George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968). I’ve seen Night of the Living Dead countless times; it’s my mom’s favorite movie and she demanded I go. Originally the film’s guest was director Edgar Wright, but visa problems left him stuck in London. Instead, Wright sent his Shaun of the Dead (2004) star, Simon Pegg to liven things up. Pegg was funny, discussing the film, though I feel his appearance was a blur as I was trying to keep myself awake. Unfortunately exhaustion and my cold forced me to leave after Pegg’s intro for some much-needed rest.

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Kristen Lopez View All

A freelance film critic whose work fuels the Rotten Tomatoes meter. I've been published on The Hollywood Reporter, Remezcla, and The Daily Beast. I've been featured in the L.A. Times. I currently run two podcasts, Citizen Dame and Ticklish Business.

2 thoughts on “The 2018 TCM Classic Film Festival: Day 3 Leave a comment

  1. So lame that you were sick! I am impressed that you managed to do as much as you did though. With you on the evil that is Kirk Douglas.

  2. I’m so happy to hear that you ended up going to see Maurice. You summed it up brilliantly – compared to Call Me By Your Name, Maurice is very British, very Merchant/Ivory-ish. One of the things I liked most about Maurice was how quiet it was. It was a very relaxing film to watch and it made me think about the story and the characters a lot more than if the film had been more boisterous.

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