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TCM Classic Film Festival Opens Thursday!

The first-ever TCM Classic Film Festival is taking place this Thursday through Sunday, April 22-25, right in the heart of old time Hollywood itself. The four-day festival will provide classic movie fans a rare opportunity to experience some of cinema’s greatest works at their very best – on the big screen!

I can’t tell you how excited I am about the first ever Classic Film Festival, especially since it’s being presented by Turner Classic Movies. As a huge fan of everything TCM, I couldn’t be more thrilled that the network has taken this enormous step to bring the magic of the movies to the fans who long to see classic films the way they were meant to be seen: in darkened theaters surrounded by other adoring fans. In an endeavor to make the most of its inaugural year, TCM has turned to the expertise of festival consultants Bill and Stella Pence, co-founders of the highly revered Telluride Film Festival. With the guidance of these two festival veterans the Classic Film Festival is anticipated to get the best start it possibly can with major events, celebrity appearances, panel discussions and more.

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Singin’ in the Frame: A Gene Kelly Retrospective at the Aero

Extraordinary entertainer Gene Kelly was an actor, dancer, director and choreographer, who single handedly did more than any other contemporary to influence the evolution of the American screen musical. The American Cinematheque is honoring Kelly’s work with a four-night retrospective of eight of his films, from the MGM era to his glorious appearance in Jacques Demy’s “The Young Girls Of Rochefort.”

Gene Kelly hit 1940’s Hollywood following a wildly successful career on Broadway in the 1930s. He quickly became a recognized force on the screen, and as Kelly’s career progressed into the 1950s he began to exert more control off screen as well. Whether directing himself (with co-director Stanley Donen) in one of my favorites, “Singin’ In The Rain” or working with the likes of the legendary Vincente Minnelli on “An American In Paris” and “Brigadoon”, Kelly demanded the most of himself and his collaborators (Debbie Reynolds has got some great stories!). The result of Kelly’s strict regimen was a career filled with classic song-and-dance numbers and memorable performances. All presented by a man who worked so hard and yet appeared to be so effortless and natural style. This truly will be a wonderful opportunity to see the work of a legend the way his work aught to be seen.

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At The New Beverly March 24 & 25: Two John Payne film noirs!

The New Beverly presents two overlooked and oft forgotten noirs from silver screen hunk John Payne’s repertoire.

Mentioning John Payne and Film Noir in the same sentence is virtually an oxymoron considering his main claim to fame is as the leading man to Alice Faye and Betty Grable in 1930s musicals, and playing opposite Maureen O’Hara in one of the most beloved Christmas films of all time, “Miracle on 34th Street”. And even though he was one of the most handsome men ever to grace the silver screen, Tyron Power and Robert Taylor often overshadowed Payne, leaving him less remembered than he deserves. Nevertheless, Payne’s films are always a pleasure to see, and here’s a chance to see two films unavailable on DVD projected on the big screen. You know, like they use to do in the old days.

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TCM Backs Campaign to Preserve Site of the Hollywood Sign

Turner Classic Movies is joining the effort to help raise awareness of  “Save Cahuenga Peak,” a campaign organized to preserve the surrounding area where the iconic Hollywood sign, known the world over, has rested for many years.

As some may remember, the whole mountainside where the famous sign stands was once part of a realty development known as Hollywood Land. Industrialist Howard Hughes purchased the surrounding land in 1940. Hughes had intended to build a home for movie star Ginger Rogers, whom he had planed to marry. Even though that relationship ended, Hughes kept the land, and it wasn’t until 2002 that his estate sold it to the investors who now own it. Those investors in turn placed the land on the market for $22 million, but have failed to attract a buyer. Currently, the area is zoned for four luxury home sites.

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Quentin Tarantino In-Person! Double Feature! Two Nights in a Row!

Quentin Tarantino will be appearing in person at the Egyptian Theatre Monday, February 8th to discuss one of his most popular films, “Pulp Fiction,” and this year’s Academy Award nominee for Best Picture, “Inglorious Basterds.”

Monday evening’s lineup starts at 6:00 PM with “Pulp Fiction”, Tarantino’s homage to the gritty crime fiction of the 1930s. Arguably the most audacious and exciting American film of the 1990’s, the movie’s cast includes John Travolta in a role that revived his entire career, catapulted him back into super-stardom, and saved him from ever having to do another “Guess Who’s Talking” sequel. Samuel L. Jackson is equally amazing as Travolta’s philosophical partner in crime, Uma Thurman proves to be a formidable femme fatal, and Bruce Willis gives a memorable performance playing an edgier version of his usual reluctant hero. Harvey Keitel, Eric Stolz, Maria de Medeiros, Tim Roth, Amanda Plummer, Christopher Walken and Ving Rhames round out the exceptional cast. Nearly as many questions have been raised about the plot of this film as there have been for the classic noir, “The Big Sleep”. Here’s your opportunity to get some answers straight from the director’s mouth.

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Arthur Hiller In Person at the Aero Theatre!

Known for a broad array of comedies, including incisive satires, stage adaptations, and action-filled farces with brilliant casts, director Arthur Hiller has proven to be one of Hollywood’s most reliable entertainers. Come join The American Cinematheque for a special two-night tribute featuring Hiller’s best known comedies.

First up, this Thursday, February 4th at 7:30 PM, the Aero is presenting a double feature starting with the 1979 version of “The In-Laws”. One of the laugh-out-loud funniest movies of the past 25 years stars Alan Arkin (a personal favorite) as a middle-class dentist who finds himself thrown together with delusional CIA agent Peter Falk (another favorite) when their children become engaged to each other. This is Arkin and Falk at their absolute best as they deliver the most ridiculous lines with absolute aplomb. The two are so great together it will make you wonder why they were never paired up again.

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