Fans from all over the country — and their dogs — came to Los Angeles to share their love of classic movies this past weekend. At the TCM Classic Film Festival Closing Night party at the historic Roosevelt Hotel, movie lovers from Massachusetts, Chicago and Wisconsin shared their highlights of the festival and why they keep coming back year after year.
At the bar, the fellow getting a whiskey and soda happened to be a a former state senator from Iowa and the guy with a Rita Hayworth tattoo on his arm has a bookshop just down the street that caters to classic movie fans.
- T.J. and Christina Rappel from Appleton, WI came for their first time at the festival. Christina, who had never been to LA before, said the best part for her was “just the overall experience, just being in a theater filled with other classic movie fans.” Her husband added, “Being movie lovers and actually getting to see movies at the Chinese and the Egyptian and all those theaters that we’ve always seen and heard about and just being in the middle of all the action.” Their favorite film was “Libeled Lady.” “We’re fans of everybody’s that’s in it,” T.J. said of the ’30s comedy, which stars Spencer Tracy, William Powell, Myrna Loy, and Jean Harlow.
- Patrick Deluhery, a former State Senator of Iowa shared, “This is my third year at the festival. My wife sends me and she goes to Syracuse to see her mother. I love coming here.” The highlight for him this year was “The Seventh Seal.” “I loved not only Ingmar Bergman, but Max von Sydow. I saw him speak two or three times and met him. That was just great. This is a chance for me to see films on the big screen that I don’t get to see before and other times it opens up movies that i have seen before but have not seen for 20 or 30 years and it’s great to see them again on the big screen. The most fun for me is going to the various events where the film personalities, actors, actresses, directors, that’s the best part. And the second best part is seeing these wonderful movies on a big screen with a big audience.”
- Jeffrey Mantor is a local who’s more than happy to see the hordes of film fans descend on Hollywood Blvd. every year. He owns Larry Edmunds Bookshop, which is situated between the Roosevelt Hotel and the Egyptian Theatre. “I like Rita, yes,” he said of the prominent tattoo of the red-haired star or his arm. “I went to ‘Seventh Seal’ and I was at ‘Gimme Shelter’ last night,” he said, but explained he doesn’t get to see that many movies while the fest is on. “All these people want to come see me at my store. It’s the super bowl of classic movies. This is my favorite weekend of the year.”
- Nicole Watson and Vincent Hemmeter from Worcester, Mass. were at the festival for the fourth time. Their favorite was the newly restored 1973 Al Pacino and Gene Hackman film “Scarecrow,” which screened on Sunday. The director was there and discussed, “how Pacino and Hackman worked and how Hackman was a little
difficult,” Hemmeter said. Watson added, “it’s interesting how he started by making a documentary and really wasn’t interested in filmmaking. He was a fashion photography, wanted to make a film about a fashion model and ended up being a director.” Another highlight was Osborne’s interview with “On the Waterfront” star Eva Marie Saint. “She was great. She was hilarious. She was actually the best thing we saw,” said Hemmeter.
- Karen Hansberry, Chicago-based author of “Femme Noir,” and her friend were waiting to get their photo taken with TCM host Robert Osborne. She said her highlight was meeting actress Coleen Gray, who was at a discussion for her film “The Killing.” “I got to interview her before, but meeting her in person was so amazing, I actually cried,” admitted Hansberry.
- We’ve been to all the festivals,” sad Debbie Weiner of St. Paul, Minnesota. “We’re charter members,” added her companion Tom Bielenberg. Seeing “Shane” on the big screen was Weiner’s favorite moment at the festival. “I’ve seen it a hundred times but with the new restoration, I felt like I was seeing it for the first time and it was mind-blowing.” Bielenberg’s favorite was the Michael Powell movie, “I Know Where I’m Going.” “Actually the last two years, my favorite movies have been the Michael Powell films and I didn’t think I liked him.” Weiner also had a few celebrity encounters. “I rode in the elevator with Lulu from ‘To Sir, With Love.’ And then Tom rode in the elevator with Debra Winger. She was staying at our hotel. And I talked to Coleen Gray at ‘The Killing.’ I was able to say a few words and tell her how much I loved her in her small scene in ‘Red River.’ That was a thrill.”
- Zoot-suited Johnny Stokes from San Francisco was there in full ’40s regalia. He was part of the swing dancing crew that kicked off the festival on the first day. “I like to kick up my heels,” he smiled. ” I came out here with a good friend of mine and had a wonderful time.” His favorite event was “The Birds” screening, where he saw Tippi Hedren in person for the first time.
- Susan from Flagstaff, AZ and her service dog, a black lab named Alvin had great help at the festival, where she enjoyed the Burt Lancaster movie “The Train.” “Oh, they were great. They were wonderful. I didn’t go to the Egyptian, because that was kind of far, but I went to the multiplex and the Chinese Theater,” said Susan, who is blind. “I had to sit there and think, did I want to go see that or the other movie.” She had less luck at her first hotel, which wasn’t dog friendly, but switched to the Loews and found them much more accommodating.
- Alex from Palm Springs, and her service dog, a pug named Emmy, come out every year. “The best part is seeing the people that we met,” she was saying as friends kept interrupting to say hello to her and her dog. “Emmy attracts attention. Unfortunately, she’s tired. Usually we leave her in the room but today we had to check out, so she was with us all day.”
- For Lana Drake of Springfield, Illinois, it was her first time at the festival and she loved seeing “Three Days of Condor.” “I love Redford and I love that movie. There hasn’t been enough to time to see everything we wanted to see.” She found Max von Sydow, who discussed his career before the screening of “Condor,” “very graceful.” She also enjoyed seeing “Giant,” which she’d never seen before, and the chat with one of the film’s few surviving stars Jane Withers. Drake closed out the festival with an old favorite, “The African Queen,” at the Egyptian.