Classic Cinema

Farewell to The Great Movie Ride

Another attraction is biting the dust at Disney’s Hollywood Studios park at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. The Great Movie Ride presented by TCM closed permanently yesterday. It’s making way for Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railcar.

The Great Movie Ride made me really happy. It’s a merger of two of my favorite things–a Disney theme park attraction and classic movies. Plus, it was housed inside the Disney theme park version of the world famous Chinese Theater (which still exists today on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, California, and is still one of the best places in the country to see a movie; in the context of this park, the Chinese Theater served as its symbolic castle).

I was able to score a ticket to a special farewell event for the attraction sponsored by the TCM Backlot and D23 fan clubs held on Saturday, August 12, 2017, one day before the attraction’s closure. They took us into the Disney’s Hollywood Studios park early in the morning before the park’s regular opening, gave us a walking tour of the entire attraction, and then gave us one final ride.

While this attraction was a bit long in the tooth, so to speak, it was grand, it was ambitious, it was one-of-a-kind, and it was all about the love of classic Hollywood movies. Needless to say, I loved the ride and will miss it.

Here are some photos from the farewell event I attended.

Disney hasn’t wasted any time. Today (August 14, 2017), these new signs were added at the Chinese Theater. (Photos from and; used without permission.)

Classic Cinema

2017 TCM Classic Film Festival Day Four Report

The final day of the 2017 Turner Classic Movies (TCM) Classic Film Festival has come and gone. The festival has been great every day and it definitely ended on a high note for me.

I saw three films:

Postcards from the Edge (1990)

TCM programmed this film as a tribute to Carrie Fisher who died last December (TCM also paid tribute to Debbie Reynolds by screening her first film Singin’ in the Rain). The film is based on Carrie Fisher’s book of the same title; Carrie also wrote the screenplay. I loved this film in 1990 and I loved seeing it again today. Carrie’s brother Todd Fisher and Richard Dreyfus (who has a supporting role in the film) were there and gave their remarks after the screening. Sadly, I missed their commentary because I had to go get in line for the next film.

What’s Up, Doc? (1972)

Seeing this on the big screen was a total delight. Introducing the film was director Peter Bogdanovich! Such a treat.

Lady in the Dark (1944)

This was another nitrate print screening, but the film was in Technicolor. The shades of color were remarkable, unlike anything I have ever seen.

Both What’s Up, Doc? and Lady in the Dark were screened at the Egyptian Theatre.

That’s a wrap!

Many thanks to the folks at TCM who worked so hard to put on such an outstanding event. The film festival just worked very well in all regards (other than having to choose between so many good films; I wanted to see them all). Can’t wait to go back.

Classic Cinema

2017 TCM Classic Film Festival Day Three Report

Had another interesting and enjoyable day at the 2017 Turner Classic Movies (TCM) Classic Film Festival.

Today’s films were:

This Is Cinerama (1952)

The TCM folks worked with the Cinerama Dome folks in Hollywood (now owned and operated by ArcLight Cinemas) to screen two films in the dome-shaped theater–It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (the first theatrical release created in the format), and This Is Cinerama (a travelogue-style film that shows off the format).

Film historian and author Leonard Maltin was on hand to introduce this film and the format.

I loved seeing the Dome. And I loved seeing the film. Really a unique and wonderful experience.

The Cinerama sign on Sunset Blvd.

The Cinerama Dome designed by renowned Los Angeles-based architect Welton Beckett

The view from my seat

“This Is Cinerama” poster

Model of the theater interior (note the three projection booths)

The Jerk (1979)

Director Carl Reiner was there to introduce this film that launched Steve Martin’s movie career.

L-R: Carl Reiner and Ben Mankiewicz

King of Hearts (1966)

This French anti-war comedy film directed by Philippe de Broca was a thought-provoking delight. Actress Geneviève Bujold was there to introduce the film and she looked luminous and lovely.

L-R: Geneviève Bujold and Alicia Malone

Top Secret! (1984)

I love, love, love this crazy comedy. Directors David Zucker, Jim Abrahams,  and Jerry Zucker were there to introduce the film.

The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977)

Dirty and somewhat uneven, but when it delivers, it’s hilarious. Edgar Wright was there to interview director John Landis and the creative team of David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker.

Classic Cinema

2017 TCM Classic Film Festival Day Two Report

Day two at the 2017 Turner Classic Movies (TCM) Classic Film Festival was enlightening and delightful. Saw films for the first time, revisited some old favorites, and saw some interesting people.

Basically, the entire day was spent either in line or in the theater.

In line

In the theatre

Today’s films were:

Animated Shorts by Ub Iwerks

First up was a screening of 10 rarely seen short films created by animator Ub Iwerks in the 1930s. It was hosted by animation expert and historian Jerry Beck and documentary filmmaker Leslie Iwerks, Ub Iwerks’ granddaughter.

Short films included:

  • Oswald the Rabbit in Hungry Hobos
  • Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse in Steamboat Willie
  • The Skeleton Dance 
  • Flip the Frog in Fiddlesticks
  • Flip the Frog in Movie Mad
  • Willie Whopper in Hell’s Fire
  • Willie Whopper in Cave Man
  • Jack and the Beanstalk (a “ComiColor” cartoon)
  • Baloonland (another “ComiColor” cartoon)
  • Merry Mannequins

Beat the Devil (1953)

Directed by John Huston and filmed on location in Italy, this comedy farce was weird but fun (it’s just always a bit unnerving for me when Humphrey Bogart is in a comedy). I particularly loved the black and white cinematography by Oswald Morris. Truman Capote was a screenwriter on the project, too.

Introducing the film were film scholar Cari Beauchamp and script supervisor for the film Angela Allen.

L-R: Angela Allen and Cari Beauchamp

The Princess Bride (1987)

Holy smokes, I was reminded of how much I love this movie. TCM host Ben Mankiewicz interviewed director Rob Reiner before the film. Cary Elwes (who played Wesley in the film) was in the house, too.

L-R: Rob Reiner and Ben Mankiewicz

Broadcast News (1987)

It was wonderful to revisit this interesting take on the decline of television news intermixed with a very compelling romantic comedy/love triangle. There to introduce the film were director James L. Brooks and actor Albert Brooks.

L-R: Albert Brooks, James L. Brooks, and Ben Mankiewicz

High Anxiety (1977)

Mel Brooks was on hand to introduce his spoof/homage to Alfred Hitchcock. Such an unbelievable treat to see/hear Mel Brooks in person.

L-R: Mel Brooks and Ben Mankiewicz

Zardoz (1974)

The TCM Classic Film Festival is carrying on its tradition of midnight screenings of cult classics. Day two’s midnight movie was the horrible Zardoz which features Sean Connery running around in only a red diaper for the entire film. Weird and hilarious. A fellow film goer brought these Zardoz-inspired cookies.

Classic Cinema

2017 TCM Classic Film Festival Day One Report

Greetings from Hollywood, California. I’m attending this year’s Turner Classic Movies (TCM) Classic Film Festival. The festival runs from April 6-9, 2017. The theme is “Make ‘Em Laugh: Comedy in the Movies” (although there are films from many genres represented).

Great signage is all around the festival area. 

Billboard on top of a building on Hollywood Blvd.; sorry that I couldn’t move the tree

Billboard on the Hollywood & Highland Center

Windows at the Roosevelt Hotel

Banner hanging in the Egyptian Theatre entrance courtyard

The TCL Chinese Theatre is the symbolic home of the festival–and is still one of the greatest movie theatres in the U.S.A.

Classic Hollywood, baby!

The great ceiling of the TCL Chinese Theatre

I attended three TCM Classic Film Festival events today:

Remembering Robert Osborne

While the entire festival this year is dedicated to Robert Osborne, the original host of TCM who passed away on March 6, 2017 at the age of 84, this event was a 90-minute tribute panel hosted by TCM host Ben Mankiewicz with many of Robert’s TCM team members talking about what it was like working with him. 

Robert Osborne was such a pro; it was great to hear such kind words from his colleagues at TCM

Everyone unanimously recounted what a consummate professional and gentleman he was and how he treated his co-workers and fans with the utmost kindness and respect. 

Probably what was most interesting to me was the emotional connection so many had with classic cinema and with Robert (myself included). I know that watching old movies with my mom, including many on TCM, was a true bonding experience. Other people in attendance reported the same thing–the classic movies shown on TCM and introduced by Robert Osborne helped connect to our past and bring comfort to the present.

Love Crazy (1941)

I loved, loved, loved, this romantic screwball comedy. Starring William Powell and Myrna Loy, it was a total delight. The screening was introduced by actress Dana Delaney.

That really is Dana Delaney

The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)

A scary and beautiful film and one of Alfred Hitchcock’s first films made in the UK. The TCM folks screened a nitrate print of the film and director Martin Scorese was on hand to introduce it.

And that really is Martin Scorsese

Classic Cinema, Movie Posters

Tale as Old as Time…

Just making a shout-out to Walt Disney Animation Studios‘ original 1991 version of Beauty and the Beast. The original teaser poster for the film is below. I will be seeing Disney’s high-priced and high-profile photorealistic remake soon (it opens in U.S. theaters today), but as for this weekend, I’m planning to spend some time with the original animated classic instead. 

(© Disney)

Even as The Walt Disney Studios continues to remake all of their animated classics in a photorealistic style (which really bums me out), at least they aren’t taking away the original animated motion pictures that I love. Thankfully, Disney is remaking their animated canon with some care and artistry, but these classics don’t need to be remade; rather, they need to be re-released regularly and re-watched on the big screen and the great creative minds working at The Walt Disney Studios should devote their considerable time, talents, and resources to original storytelling instead. A dream is a wish your heart makes, right? (Oh wait, Disney already remade that one, too…)

(© Disney)

Classic Cinema

“Wayne’s World” Turns 25

(© Paramount Pictures)

The comedy film Wayne’s World (Paramount, 1992) turns 25 this month. No way! (Way!) Hard to believe, but true. It was big fun to see it again on the big screen at a special 25th anniversary screening at my local Cinemark this week.

The film still brings the smiles and the laughs, just like the recurring sketch on Saturday Night Live did back in the day. I was transported back to the early 90s when I was, well, 25 years younger; yet, it was great to see it with a different perspective (being now 25 years older). Penelope Spheeris’ direction is top notch, as are the brilliant comedic performances of Mike Myers, Dana Carvey, and the entire cast. 

From the “Suck Kut” opening credits, to the “Bohemian Rhapsody” car scene, to the Alice Cooper concert, to the Scooby-Doo ending, and everything in between, I did laugh/cry/hurl (well, maybe not the last two, but I did laugh a lot). Thanks to Paramount Pictures and all involved for an excellent evening at the movies and a happy reminder of the enduring quality of great comedy. 

(© Paramount Pictures)