Although I missed out on a couple of early day screenings I really wanted to see, I did finish out the festival on an extremely high note with the Festival’s big closing night presentation, of a newly restored print of Fritz Lang’s 1927 “Metropolis.”
After picking up a very classy looking commemorative journal pad and pen at the TCM boutique I headed over to the encore screening of “The Stunt Man” at Mann’s. Although I was tempted by “Saboteur”, but I made a choice this year to select films I had never seen before over one’s I know well. And I was pleasantly surprised to find the director, Richard Rush in attendance to provide a thematic context for the film. Good thing too, since it is a strange and unusual film, but well worth watching, particularly for Peter O’Toole’s Oscar nominated performance as an egomaniacal director who will do anything to make a hit movie. As someone who works in the business I can say that many of the situations were not all that ridiculous. And then there was “Metropolis”. At 5:30 in the afternoon the line for the 7:15 screening was already forming.
I dropped what I was doing and jumped in line behind Ed from Baltimore and John from Phoenix. Ed entertained me with stories of how his mom pilled the family into the car and then drove 2 hours to NYC to watch movies like “West Side Story”, and John impressed me with his massive knowledge of classic cinema. These two guys were obviously really enjoying the festival.
After I snagged an exceptionally good seat inside Grauman’s Chinese I went back to the lobby to talk to Roger, one of the members of the group playing along with the film that night, The Alloy Orchestra. Amazing as it seemed, there were only three guys performing the music. It sounded like a full orchestra. Afterwards these guys received a well-deserved standing ovation.
The films itself was a wonder to see. Parts were still very badly scratched and scored, and a few scenes remain missing, but to experience a viewing of this seminal work of early filmmaking was a real treat, one that shouldn’t be missed should the eventual tour of this film come anywhere close to your town. Hopefully the Alloy will once again be performing. There’s just nothing like the sound of live music to really bring the experience alive.
Even better than the film itself was Robert Osborne’s announcement that TCM already had plans to come back again next year for the 2nd Annual Classic Film Festival. As fans applauded the announcement and Mr. Osborne himself, the TCM host placed a hand over his heart in gratitude. Trust me when I say, we are all grateful.