- In celebration of Warner Bros.’ (official) centenary, the 2023 TCM Classic Film Festival focused on Warners titles, including restored prints of Rio Bravo, East of Eden, and One Way Passage.
- Among the film and television celebrities in attendance at this year’s TCM festival were Angie Dickinson, Ann-Margret, Shirley Jones, Russ Tamblyn, Diane Baker, Steven Spielberg, George Clooney, Kate Flannery, JoBeth Wililams, and Tom Berenger.
‘You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet’: Featuring an array of celebrities, the 2023 TCM Classic Film Festival focused on Warner Bros.’ (official) centenary
The 14th annual TCM Classic Film Festival, held April 13–16 at several Hollywood venues, screened nearly 100 movies (see partial list further below), ranging from the Lon Chaney version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, which is turning 100, and the Pre-Code Claudette Colbert comedy The Wiser Sex to Akira Kurosawa’s psychological drama Ikiru and John Waters’ cult musical Hairspray.
Themed “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet: Celebrating Film Legacies,” this year’s TCM festival placed particular focus on Warner Bros., which is commemorating its official centenary. (Let’s ignore the fact that Harry, Albert, Sam, and Jack Warner’s first studio began producing movies as early as 1918; the incorporation – as Warner Brothers Pictures – is what took place in 1923.)
Among the eclectic Warners titles shown at the TCM festival were the silent Rin Tin Tin adventure Clash of the Wolves; the James Cagney-Joan Blondell musical Footlight Parade; William Friedkin’s horror blockbuster The Exorcist; Steven Soderbergh’s early-21st-century all-star caper Ocean’s Eleven; and the recently restored (in partnership with Martin Scorsese’s The Film Foundation) Howard Hawks Western Rio Bravo.
And here’s where readers are reminded that Turner Classic Movies – along with HBO, CNN, DC Entertainment, and Warner Bros. Entertainment (which gobbled up Hairspray distributor New Line Cinema back in the old Time Warner days) – belongs to the Warner Bros. Discovery conglomerate.
Now, back to the 2023 TCM Classic Film Festival.
Angie Dickinson remembers Rio Bravo
One of the celebrities in attendance at the TCM festival was 91-year-old Angie Dickinson (see video at the end of this segment), who briefly chatted with Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz before the opening night presentation of Rio Bravo.
Dickinson, who plays the one major female character in Howard Hawks’ male-centered 1959 Western, described the veteran filmmaker (Academy Award-nominated for Sergeant York, 1941), then making his movie comeback following the costly 1955 flop Land of the Pharaohs, as a “man of few words” who strived to get her to relax so she could reach “the point that he wanted me to be for the scene.”
When asked whether she got along with costars John Wayne, Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson, and Walter Brennan, Dickinson explained that she didn’t socialize on the set and that “by not being against me, they were for me,” adding that “you wouldn’t dare” not to call Wayne anything other than “Duke.”
On a more personal note, she remembered Frank Sinatra (who, according to Mankiewicz, had been an earlier choice for the role that eventually went to Dean Martin), as “wonderful. I think he was the love of my life.” The two got to work together in Lewis Milestone’s 1960 version of Ocean’s Eleven, but that movie went undiscussed as the interview came to an end.
Immediately below: Three-time Emmy nominee Angie Dickinson (Police Woman, 1974–76) and Ben Mankiewicz at the 2023 TCM Classic Film Festival. Further below: Mankiewicz interviews Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and West Side Story actor/dancer Russ Tamblyn, in addition to a partial list of the TCM festival’s movies and scheduled guests.
TCM Classic Film Festival titles & guests (partial list)
- In attendance: Actor Ed Begley Jr. (She-Devil).
- In attendance: Actress Shari Belafonte (Teacher of the Year).
Director: George Seaton.
Cast: Burt Lancaster, Dean Martin, Jean Seberg, Jacqueline Bisset, Helen Hayes, Van Heflin, George Kennedy, Maureen Stapleton, Dana Wynter, Barry Nelson, Barbara Hale, Jessie Royce Landis, Virginia Grey.
- Special 70mm presentation of the Best Picture Oscar nominee.
- In attendance: Oscar-nominated composer David Newman (Anastasia, 1997), son of Oscar-nominated All About Eve composer Alfred Newman.
Director: Milos Forman.
Cast: F. Murray Abraham, Tom Hulce.
- In attendance: Production designer and TCM Classic Film Festival honoree Patrizia von Brandenstei, who won an Oscar in the Best Art Direction category for her work on Milos Forman’s Best Picture winner.
American Graffiti (1973)
Director: George Lucas.
Cast: Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Paul Le Mat, Candy Clark.
- In attendance: Oscar winner Richard Dreyfuss (The Goodbye Girl, 1977) and Candy Clark, commemorating the 50th anniversary of George Lucas’ Oscar-nominated domestic blockbuster that earned Clark a Best Supporting Actress nod. “Back then you dressed your own self to go to the Academy Awards and did your own makeup,” Clark recalled, “and it was one of the most exciting nights of my life. I recommend everyone to get nominated.”
- In attendance: Actress Dana Delany (TV’s China Beach).
- In attendance: Frankie Avalon chatted with TCM host Dave Karger at the 60th anniversary poolside screening of the romantic musical comedy that launched the 1960s “beach party” movie series.
- In attendance: Oscar nominee Tom Berenger (Platoon, 1986) and JoBeth Williams, commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Oscar-nominated ensemble drama.
Bye Bye Birdie (1963)
Director: George Sidney.
Cast: Dick Van Dyke, Janet Leigh, Ann-Margret, Bobby Rydell.
- In attendance: Two-time Oscar nominee Ann-Margret (Carnal Knowledge, 1971; Tommy, 1975), commemorating the 60th anniversary of George Sidney’s musical romantic comedy – and her own upcoming 81st birthday, telling the crowd, “I still have the energy that I had [at the time Bye Bye Birdie was filmed.]”
Clash of the Wolves (1925)
Director: Noel M. Smith.
Cast: Rin Tin Tin, Charles Farrell, June Marlowe.
- In attendance: Ben Model, who provided live musical accompaniment. Absurdly, Clash of the Wolves was one of a mere two silent features screened at this year’s TCM Classic Film Festival; the other one was the aforementioned The Hunchback of Notre Dame, directed by Wallace Worsley, and starring Lon Chaney, Patsy Ruth Miller, and Norman Kerry.
Crossing Delancey (1985)
Director: Joan Micklin Silver.
Cast: Amy Irving, Peter Riegert.
- In attendance: Oscar nominees Amy Irving (Yentl, 1983) and Peter Riegert (for directing the Best Live Action Short By Courier, 2001).
- In attendance: Oscar-winning makeup artist Michael Westmore (Mask, 1985), nephew of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde makeup artist Wally Westmore.
- In attendance: As found in a detailed TCM Classic Film Festival piece by Variety’s Chris Willman, “‘I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about’ was a typical first response to a question” posed to William Friedkin, who, additionally, praised author William Peter Blatty’s novel and screenplay adaptation, claimed “I barely remember the experience” of working on The Exorcist, extolled the virtues of Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane, and complained that he doesn’t like any of the movies that he has seen lately. The Exorcist earned Friedkin a Best Director Oscar nod; he had previously won for The French Connection (1971).
Director: Henry Cornelius.
Cast: Kenneth More, Dinah Sheridan, Kay Kendall, John Gregson.
- In attendance: Actress Diane Baker (Journey to the Center of the Earth).
Groundhog Day (1983)
Director: Harold Ramis.
Cast: Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell.
- In attendance: Actor Stephen Tobolowsky, who has a supporting role in the hit comedy.
Director: John Waters.
Cast: Divine, Ricki Lake, Deborah Harry, Michael St. Gerard.
- In attendance: Ricki Lake, who remarked, “To think what [Divine’s] career would have done after Hairspray. I still haven’t gotten over it.” A frequent John Waters collaborator, Divine died at age 42 in March 1988.
- In attendance: Joe Dante (The Howling).
- In attendance: Producer David Wyler (All Roads Lead to Rome), son of William Wyler.
The Music Man (1962)
Director: Morton DaCosta.
Cast: Robert Preston, Shirley Jones, Buddy Hackett, Hermione Gingold, Paul Ford, Pert Kelton, Timmy Everett.
- In attendance: Oscar winner Shirley Jones (Elmer Gantry, 1960), son Shaun Cassidy (who shared a few memories), and several other family members. But there was no actual q&a.
Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
Director: Steven Soderbergh.
Cast: George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Casey Affleck, Don Cheadle, Scott Caan, Bernie Mac, Elliott Gould, Carl Reiner.
- In attendance: George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh discussed the making of the global 2001 blockbuster that launched the early 21st century’s Ocean’s movie franchise.
- In attendance: Actor-comedian Mario Cantone (Sex and the City), who was also scheduled to attend the screenings of Hairspray and the recently restored East of Eden, directed by Elia Kazan, and starring Julie Harris and James Dean.
- In attendance: Author Mark A. Vieira (Hurrell’s Hollywood) introduced Tay Garnett’s recently restored Pre-Code romance classic, a precursor to Leo McCarey’s Love Affair and An Affair to Remember. At a Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel poolside event, Vieira also signed copies of his upcoming book, Warner Bros: 100 Years of Storytelling.
- In attendance: Two-time Oscar winner Alexander Payne (for cowriting Sideways, 2004; and The Descendants, 2011) and Honorary Oscar recipient George Stevens Jr. (whose directorial credits include the filial homage George Stevens: A Filmmaker’s Journey).
- In attendance: TCM Classic Film Festival honoree Russ Tamblyn was scheduled to introduce the screenings of two Oscar-nominated blockbusters: Stanley Donen’s musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, in which he plays/jumps about opposite Jane Powell and Howard Keel, and Mark Robson’s melodrama Peyton Place, which earned Tamblyn a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nod.
Play It as It Lays (1972)
Director: Frank Perry.
Cast: Tuesday Weld, Anthony Perkins.
- In attendance: Filmmaker Allison Anders (Gas Food Lodging) and Crossing Delancey’s Peter Riegert.
- In attendance: Rebecca De Mornay.
- In attendance: Oscar-nominated actor John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone, 2010).
The Three Musketeers (1973)
Director: Richard Lester.
Cast: Oliver Reed, Raquel Welch, Richard Chamberlain, Michael York, Frank Finlay, Raquel Welch, Geraldine Chaplin, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Charlton Heston, Faye Dunaway, Simon Ward, Christopher Lee, Georges Wilson.
- In attendance: Actress Kate Flannery (TV’s The Office), who was also scheduled to introduce the 1940 Mickey Rooney & Judy Garland musical Strike Up the Band.
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
Director: John Huston.
Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston, Tim Holt, Bruce Bennett.
- In attendance: Actor Danny Huston (The Constant Gardener), son of Best Director/Best Screenplay Oscar winner John Huston and grandson of Best Supporting Actor winner Walter Huston.
When Worlds Collide (1951)
Director: Rudolph Maté.
Cast: Richard Derr, Barbara Rush.
- In attendance: Sound designer and four-time Oscar winner Ben Burtt (Star Wars, 1977; etc.) and Oscar-winning visual effects artist Craig Barron (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, 2008).
- Special 70mm presentation.
Two originally announced TCM Classic Film Festival titles were ultimately canceled: Vincent Sherman’s Old Acquaintance (1943), starring Bette Davis and Miriam Hopkins, and Irving Cummings’ Poor Little Rich Girl (1936), starring Shirley Temple and Alice Faye.
“TCM Classic Film Festival: Angie Dickinson + WB Turns 100” notes
Angie Dickinson on Howard Hawks
 In a recent Variety interview with Todd Gilchrist, Angie Dickinson elaborated on Rio Bravo director Howard Hawks:
“He would not hesitate to take a full hour just to sit and talk with me. I thought we were talking about the scene, and he just wanted to get me to completely relax and be totally myself to where he didn’t have to give me direction, which is what he would want – because otherwise all of his lady stars would be the same.”
Candy Clark & Ann-Margret quotes
The link to that piece is found in the entry on William Friedkin and The Exorcist.
TCM Classic Film Festival website.
See also: George Clooney, Steven Spielberg, and Steven Soderbergh at the 2023 TCM Classic Film Festival.
Angie Dickinson and Russ Tamblyn images: TCM Classic Film Festival video screenshots.
“TCM Classic Film Festival: Angie Dickinson + WB Turns 100” last updated in April 2023.