Where can you see vintage movies on the big screen today, the way they were meant to be seen? Alas, far too few places. The 2023 TCM Classic Film Festival, where movies are shown as they were originally intended, returns to Hollywood April 13-16. The fabled legacy of Warner Bros. takes the spotlight this year, marking the studio’s 100th anniversary.
More than 70 films have been announced thus far, including “The African Queen,” Vittorio De Sica’s neo-realist “Bicycle Thieves,” “Carmen Jones” with Dorothy Dandridge, “Clash of the Wolves” with Rin Tin Tin (silent with a live score), “East of Eden,” Akira Kurosawa’s “Ikiru,” “Footlight Parade,” “The Red Shoes,” “Shadow of a Doubt,” “The Wild Bunch” in 70mm, the Pre-Code rarity “The Wiser Sex” with Claudette Colbert, and a trio of newly-restored Laurel and Hardy shorts.
Special guests include Ann-Margaret (who will discuss “Bye Bye Birdie” before a screening of the movie), Angie Dickinson (who will appear with the opening night film, a restoration of “Rio Bravo”), opening night guest Steven Spielberg, Amy Irving (“Crossing Delancey”), Russ Tamblyn (“Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”), William Friedkin (“The Exorcist”), and Ricki Lake (“Hairspray”), to name a few.
Tickets for the 14th annual festival are now available from https://filmfestival.tcm.com/attend/. There are four levels of passes, beginning at $399. Individual tickets will be sold after passholders have been seated, on a first come, first served, standby basis ($20 for most screenings, cash only; 50% discount for students with valid ID).
Venues include the TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX (forever Grauman’s to us purists), the Chinese 6 multiplex, the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel (where the first Oscar ceremony was held in 1929), and the nearby Hollywood Legion Theatre at Post 43 (built in 1929 and recently renovated). The Roosevelt serves as the festival hub, for special events and poolside screenings.
When a no-talent wannabe artist accidentally kills the neighbor’s cat, he sets off a chain of events that becomes increasingly bizarre in “Did You See What Walter Paisley Did Today?” The world premiere “beatnik horror comedy musical” continues at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts (www.LaMiradaTheatre.com), through Apr. 2.
The clever book, music and lyrics are by Randy Rogel (“Animaniacs”) with snappy direction by BT McNicholl, and choreography by Connor Gallagher. This dark comedy is highly entertaining, and is performed with pizzazzby a skilled ensemble cast. Promoted as “Little Shop of Horrors” meets “Sweeney Todd” meets “Avenue Q,” it’s certainly reminiscent of the first two, not so much the latter.
It may remind you even more of “House of Wax” or its Pre-Code antecedent, the 1933 “Mystery of the Wax Museum.” If the plot seems vaguely familiar, the show is in fact a musical adaptation of Roger Corman’s low-budget 1959 movie “A Bucket of Blood,” with the major characters intact—though there’s no program credit whatsoever to Corman or screenwriter Charles B. Griffith. It is public domain of course, but still…