The annual TCM Film Festival runs this year from April 11-14, 2019 in sunny Hollywood, California. If you haven’t gotten your passes yet, grab them here… that is, if they aren’t sold out. Believe it or not this festival draws crowds, featuring a side of sold-out hotel rooms and impossible-to-get flights.This years theme, however, may bring a bigger crowd than expected. Follow Your Heart: Love at the Movies honors all things romance, but not in the way you expect.
The 10th Annual TCM film festival features films of romance, true. But some are more heavily seated in obsession, unlikely friendships and that dark side of the self. While it’s not difficult to look to classic Hollywood films for all matters of the heart the only “true romance” you may recognize is Gone with the Wind. A classic favorite, we’re not sure how this festival could be helped without it.
But what about the other choices in the film lineup? You won’t find Casablanca, An Affair to Remember or It Happened One Night in this list. And what’s left may surprise you. A combination of bromances, horror, noir and friendship films proves this years lineup is a reminder that love comes in many forms.
MARTY (1955) A story about a man still living at home with his mother, who urges him to go out and find love and companionship. Starring Ernest Borgnine. Oscar Winner for Marty- Best Actor, beating out Spencer Tracy, Frank Sinatra, James Dean and James Cagney
MAD LOVE (1935) An insane surgeon chooses to replace the hands of a pianist with the hands of a knife throwing murderer. The plot twist is that the surgeon is madly obsessed with pianist’s wife- a beautiful English actress. Starring Peter Lorre as the surgeon and Frances Drake as the object of his affection this dark film is more horror than romance.
OPEN SECRET (1948) When a newlywed couple decide to visit a mutual friend, they find him missing and decide to investigate. But finding an anti-semite ring terrorizing the neighborhood was never in the cards for this couple. John Ireland and Jane Randolph star. A classic crime flick with a touch of Noir.
TARZAN AND HIS MATE (1934) While not a classic romance, Tarzan and his Mate is at least centered on love and what love means, Pre-Code style, of course. Featuring Maureen O’Sullivan and Johnny Weissmuller this couples foray into married life gets disturbed by elephant poachers, probably much to the chagrin of the Production Code Administration.
SUNRISE (1927) Playing on the concept of lover versus wife, this film highlights the effect an affair has on a husband and father. Torn between the two women the man battles his demons. Starring George O’Brien and Janet Gaynor. How wonderful that we get a silent film in this years TCM festival lineup?!? With Sunrise winning 3 Oscars, we can pretty much forgive that this isn’t the feel-good kind of romance we long for.
A WOMAN OF AFFAIRS (1928) The classic star-crossed lover story, this one has two lovers from the opposite sides of the tracks bent on marrying. But when plans are thwarted, things go awry. Things that make this film special is that it’s the last pairing of John Gilbert and Greta Garbo. When their off-screen romance fizzled and talkies took center stage, John no longer matched what his voice sounded like on screen. So seeing them here still in all their glory is the epitome of work together. If you’re lucky enough to be at the festival this year you can hear this silent film, performed live by Carl Davis and his orchestra.
WINCHESTER ’73 (1950) Ask anyone, Westerns are bound for a comeback, right? In this classic Western the object of desire is a stolen Winchester rifle. Bound to retrieve the rifle, our cowboy hunts down the dangerous fugitive holding it hostage. Add one damsel and a tried and true friend to the mix and you’ll be on the edge of your seat seeing who wins this one. Starring Jimmy Stewart, Stephen McNally and Shelley Winters.
WHEN HARRY MET SALLY (1989) Struggling between friendship and something more, Harry and Sally try to remain friends without screwing things up. While we would never classify a film from the 80’s as Classic Hollywood, its nice to see an offbeat romance in this lineup. Notably due to the fact that Billy Crystal, Meg Ryan and Rob Reiner are special guests at the festival this year.
BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID (1969) A classic tale of two friends outrunning the law with a girl in tow in the old west. This love story is more bromance than romance, but heck we’ll take it. This is the 50th Anniversary screening. Featuring Paul Newman, Robert Redford, and Katharine Ross.
THE CLOCK (1945) Alot can happen in 48 hours. Or so goes this story between a soldier on leave from his duties in WWII and the unsuspecting girl he meets at the train station. Starring Judy Garland and Robert Walker. This Vincente Minnelli film follows the line of most wartime romances and its nice to have it represented in the list.
A classic tale of love across the classes, with a sidecar of upset delivered by a younger sister.
Cary Grant plays a working class man bent on discovering what life is about before he has to settle in and work some more. Unfortunately his plans include marrying the oldest daughter of a rich banker, bent on taking him into the fold instead. This romantic comedy is a lovely pairing of a playful Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn, one of many they have together.
ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ (1979) A true life story of 3 men who escape from Alcatraz. This is another friendship story we were surprised to see pop up for the festival. This marks the 40th Anniversary of the film, featuring Clint Eastwood and Patrick McGoohan.
FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (1953) This film follows a group of soldiers in Hawaii right before Pearl Harbour hits. The classic scene on the beach- you know the one- made this movie a must-see in the 50’s. Starring Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Frank Sinatra and Deborah Kerr.
GONE WITH THE WIND (1939) Love in the time of the Civil War when the country is divided between the old south and the forward thinking Yankees. An epic Love story if ever there was one. We’ve written about this film showing up at the festival before, it’s always a good choice, and truthfully we’d have a hard time watching a romance-themed movie lineup without this one on the list.
HELLO, DOLLY! (1969) When faced with a semi-wealthy crotchety gentlemen in need of a wife, this matchmaker extraordinaire intends to deliver the best wife around. That is until she realizes her own opportunities for romance keep popping up in the most unlikely places. What makes this just one of the best movies is Barbara Streisand opposite Walter Matthau. Directed by Gene Kelly you can really see all the nods to classic choreography. This musical celebrates it’s 50th Anniversary.
Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman play lovers in this film with a few twists and turns. She’s an actress a little head over heels and he’s the banker already married and refusing to leave his wife. Of course when she finds out that things are not what they seem, her love fuels the passion needed for a little revenge. After things go awry she concedes that they can’t stay together. And yet, there is usually a way. More bittersweet than satisfying, Indiscreet offers yet another view on love and how it makes a fool out of us all. Besides, you can’t really have a romantic film lineup without at least one Cary Grant film, so thank goodness this festival has two.
IT HAPPENED HERE (1964)
An interesting choice for the festival lineup, this film assumes what would have happened if the U.K. would have been invaded and occupied by the Nazi’s in WWII. Following the story of Pauline who has to play both sides in order to survive, this film gives a grim view of what life could have been like. This film may be more about the relationship between co-directors Kevin Brownlow and Andrew Mollo. Friends who had the film in production for 8 years and the commitment to make sure it would one day appear on screen.
KIND HEARTS AND CORONETS(1949)
It’s a classic tale of you have the dukedom, and I want the dukedom. Get ready for a dark comedy with a body count. Following a jaded cousin who plans to murder his 8 relatives who stand in the way of his title. Starring Alec Guinness and Dennis Price, this is considered one of the top 100 British films.This is the 70th Anniversary World Premiere Restoration.
LOVE AFFAIR (1939)
A classic love story about two people finding love on a boat. Unfortunately, they prolong their love affair once they reach the shore. This is meant to give the “French playboy” time to find honest work. But alas fate steps in and takes over. See, love doesn’t work with those kinds of rules. Starring Charles Boyer and Irene Dunne, it was said that both Charles and Irene considered this their favorite of all films they did independently.
LOVE IN THE AFTERNOON (1957)
Billy Wilder directs this film about the wait-for-life-to-happen daughter of a private detective. Lucky thing her father’s next case involves entrapping a womanizing businessman to help teach her the ways of the world. But she’s not the one getting the life lessons. Gary Cooper and Audrey Hepburn star in this film about love, lies and all.
TCM FILM FESTIVAL 2019
What do you think of the lineup? Mind you, we love a good theme! So when a theme seems as loose as this one, we sit up and take notice. What should have made this greatest romances of all time list? Let us know!