The final day of the TCM Classic Film Festival was a mixed bag. My illness was finally catching up to me and to say I was exhausted was an understatement. I also had a few issues with the programming on the final day and picked a movie I probably should have watched when I felt better. It was all worth it in the end though, and isn’t that what’s important? Strap yourselves in because we’re closing out the 2018 TCM Classic Film Festival!
I had planned to see Woman of the Year (1942) but after drinking what seemed like a half gallon of Theraflu I decided not to. I did, however, decide to hang around the lobby of the theater in the hopes of running into the man introing Woman of the Year, Mr. Keith Carradine! See, Keith Carradine and I are TCMFF buddies. Up until last year he always stopped by for a brief interview. This year I was supposed to interview him on the red carpet but got wrapped up talking with the head of TCM and missed him. I had a Veronica Lake related question for him that I refused to wait another year for him to answer so, call it being a creepy stalker if you want, but I decided to hang around. Thankfully, Keith Carradine is the nicest guy in the world and when I popped up he graciously took the time to answer my question about Veronica (Unfortunately his brother, the late David Carradine, was the one with the Veronica stories), and take a picture with me!
After that I went back to the hotel to get a seat for the Growing Up Mankiewicz panel. Yes, if you know me then you knew I wouldn’t miss this. The entire Mankiewicz brood was there, from Ben and his brother, Dateline reporter Josh Mankiewicz, to Alex Mankiewicz and John Mankiewicz; the latter is a screenwriter for the Amazon series, Bosch. All of them shared stories about their lives, and their three very different father figures. A giant Mankiewicz family tree was situated behind them and it’s amazing to see how many people it comprises, including two prominent facets of Old Hollywood. It was a lot of fun!
My last movie of the fest was 1948’s Hamlet. Now, I originally went to Hamlet because I wanted to see guest Alan Cumming. I’d passed up seeing him when I was in New York and I felt this was my second chance. However, seeing a three-hour version of the Bard’s tragedy on the final day of a festival when everyone is tired and when I’m sick probably wasn’t a great idea. I said after the first hour, Arrested Development-style, “I’ve made a terrible mistake.” This isn’t to say the entire experience was bad. Alan Cumming was delightful, discussing the rigors of playing the character and how, in his mind, Hamlet is just a poor guy whose life is a mess. Forget about him making a decision, the guy’s dad is a “fucking ghost!” Once the movie started my travel buddy and I immediately noticed people exiting en mass. By the second hour of the film all except me and my friend were asleep. Laurence Olivier is a fantastic Hamlet, and this iteration of the play is one of the foundational versions, but it probably wasn’t best to schedule it at the end.
By that point we decided to head back to the hotel; sorry Star is Born (1937). The closing night party is always a fun opportunity to unwind and finally say hi to people you might have missed. I always feel bad I don’t take more pictures with friends, but it’s the conversations which are important. And, in case you were curious, I did get my yearly photo with the always dapper Ben Mank! Farewell, TCM 2018. Ready to celebrate the big 1-0 next year!
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.