Page 4 of 4

Re: Seen and Heard on the Blvd- Lzcutter's TCM FF Recaps

Posted: April 23rd, 2015, 5:43 pm
by Lzcutter
Dateline- Hollywood,
Late afternoon-Friday, March 27th

While sitting in the corner booth waiting for The Surreal Existence panel to begin, I noticed an older gentleman sitting in the booth directly across the room from me in the TCM Staff RSVP section. Something about him caught my eye and I finally deduced he was astronaut Jim Lovell.

This panel caught my eye from the moment it was put on the schedule. The point of the discussion was for the panelists to talk about what it is like to have a Hollywood film made about them. I am a big fan of the film Argo and bought Tony Mendez’s (the Ben Affleck character in the movie) memoir about his life in the CIA for Jon for Christmas after we saw the film in 2012. (I also consider the film to be a good luck symbol for me but that’s another story.)

So I was really looking forward to hearing what Mendez said. We haven’t seen Foxcatcher or 127 Hours but I was familiar enough with both to know the other two panelists, Mark Schultz and Aron Ralston. Schultz and his brother, Dave, were wrestlers who got caught up in a dramatic turn of events with a guy claiming to be an heir to the DuPont fortune as they trained for the Seoul Olympics. Aron Ralston was the outdoor enthusiast who went hiking in Southern Utah without telling anyone really where he was going and got trapped when a boulder pinned him to a canyon wall.

It sounded like my kind of panel.

I was surprised that Ben M was doing the moderating duties instead of Scott McGee but then I realized that Scott was over at the El Capitan (where Jon was) introducing Raiders of the Lost Ark and interviewing stuntman Terry Leonard before the film unspooled.

Ben M took the stage and brought the panelists out. He was in awe (a bit) of Tony Mendez and I don’t blame him. Mendez talked about the actual Argo mission and the film about the mission. Seems George Clooney was first supposed to star in the film before his schedule caused a conflict and he moved over to the producers chair with partner Grant Heslov. Mrs. Mendez would have preferred Clooney but Mendez seems to have great affection for Affleck. It came as no surprise to me to learn that the chase down the tarmac at the end of the film didn’t happen and was a studio add-on but Mendez says even with that Affleck captured the emotion perfectly. He didn’t really breath a sigh of relief until after the plane had cleared Iranian airspace and didn’t feel truly safe until they were out of the region.

The film Foxcatcher deviates a great deal from the real events it depicts but Mark Schultz is happy with the film and very glad to have been portrayed by Channing Tatum. He thinks his brother would have liked Mark Ruffalo’s performance as well. I don’t want to say too much because all I have are spoilers if you haven’t seen the film.

Aron Ralston turned out to be quite a talker. He takes responsibility for his own foolhardishness in going out to climb among the canyons in Moab in southern Utah and not really leaving anyone with an idea where he was going. He credits his mother with saving his life and from what I gather her contribution isn’t explored fully in the movie. When he failed to show up for work on that Monday morning following his hiking weekend, his mother became worried. As the hours passed and no word from him she got more concerned. She ended up calling the Moab sheriff’s office and it was only through a series of fateful phone calls that he was rescued.

Luckily for Ralston, a deputy had seen his truck parked in a not well traveled area and made note of it. When Ralston’s mother implored the sheriff to check with his deputies, luckily the deputy was in communication range.

At the time this was going on, Ralston was struggling out of the canyon and though he had a man-made tourniquet, he was bleeding badly. A truck stopped and a couple of guys helped him into the truck bed.
Thanks to his mother’s diligence, the helicopter that would medi-vac him out crossed paths with the truck and he was saved. He says if any of that had not happened or had the time table been off by even 15 minutes he would have bled out.

It was a terrific panel and the audience gave Tony Mendez and the others a standing ovation at the end of the discussion.

Re: Seen and Heard on the Blvd- Lzcutter's TCM FF Recaps

Posted: April 23rd, 2015, 5:46 pm
by Lzcutter
Dateline- Hollywood, CA

Early evening- Friday, March 27th

There was about an hour between the end of that panel and the start of what everyone was calling “Fonda on Fonda”. Peter Fonda had earlier in the day introduced both Young Mr. Lincoln and My Darling Clementine but my schedule and those films did not line up. So I was really looking forward to this.

Christy joined us in the booth and Alexa brought another round of free beers. The time passed quickly and soon Scott Eyman was introducing Peter Fonda.

Fonda came out to wild applause. He thanked TCM for not having Nestle as the sponsor of the bottled water and the audience laughed and applauded some more.
Once everyone was comfortable, the discussion began.

Scott Eyman was the perfect choice to moderate this one. Fonda told a terrific story about how when his father, Henry, was overseas during WWII, his mother took him to a screening of Chad Hanna on the Fox lot. In the film, Henry played a circus performer and one of the critical scenes involved Fonda getting in the lion’s cage. This scene freaked young Peter out. When he noticed the lion in the cage with his father, he ran down to the screen and began hitting it with his fist telling his father to be careful and trying to warn him of the danger.
His mother finally calmed him down by explaining that the man in the movie was not his father but a man named Chad Hanna. That calmed the young Fonda down until he got home and began to wonder why all the family pictures included Chad Hanna. (LOL!!!!)

He talked at length about Henry’s friendship with Jimmy Stewart even though the two believed in different things politically and belonged to different political parties.
One Christmas Eve, when his father was still at war and Peter was still quite young, he and older sister Jane were upstairs and were supposed to be asleep. They heard a commotion on the roof and Peter ran into Jane’s room. They had a way of getting to the roof from Jane’s bedroom window and they hustled up there only to discover Santa Claus with a large bag of presents over his shoulder. They started talking to Santa and Peter quickly realized that Santa sounded just like “Uncle Jimmy”. Jimmy Stewart had promised Henry that his children would have a great Christmas regardless of the war. Any way you slice it, that’s friendship!

Peter talked about the disagreements that he and Henry had as Peter got older and despite the estrangement and the turbulent 1960s that drove a wedge into their family (and countless other families during that time), you could tell that Fonda clearly loved his father.

Henry didn’t understand the “Easy Rider” generation very well but he knew Hollywood was changing and he went overseas to work for Sergio Leone in Once Upon a Time in the West. He had brown contacts made for the role and Leone was upset when he saw Fonda wearing them. He really wanted Fonda and those piercing blue eyes.

As Henry Fonda aged, he and his son found their way back together. Peter Fonda talked lovingly of about that and the audience went from laughing to sniffling. Alexa and I were both teary-eyed during this part of the conversation.

When Jane was in pre-production with On Golden Pond, she had hoped that Fred Zinnemann would be the director. When Zinnemann bowed out, Peter Fonda sent a note to Jane saying he was very interested in directing the film and he knew a bit about families, estrangement and love. He never heard back from his sister.

Peter Fonda also garnered a standing ovation at the end of the discussion. It was one of the best, if not the best , event I have seen at Club TCM in the six year history of the festival. I hope Fonda returns and talks at length about his own career.

And Scott Eyman should be the interviewer!

Re: Seen and Heard on the Blvd- Lzcutter's TCM FF Recaps

Posted: April 23rd, 2015, 6:56 pm
by Lzcutter
Dateline- Hollywood,
Late evening-Friday, March 27th

After the emotion of the Peter Fonda interview, it was time to meet up with Jon. We had to get in line over at the Chinese Multiplex for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Introducing the film would be George Lazenby, who only played Bond, James Bond, only once in that film.

It is one of Jon’s favorite Bond films and I love it for the international film locations and consider it a prime example of studio film making in the late 1960s. We got prime spots in line, grabbed dinner which consisted of popcorn and bottled water (not Nestle) and waited.

It was about 8:45 when they started letting us in. We were starting to get tired but that was all forgotten once Ben M introduced Lazenby. George Lazenby is a throwback to a previous generation and Ben M had his hands full with this interview. Lazenby came very close multiple times to being what we call these days very “politically incorrect” somewhat sexist, etc. Luckily for Ben M and for Lazenby himself, he seemed to know when he had gone right up to the edge and pulled back. The man knows how to read an audience, thankfully.

Because of that, he and the audience had a great time. He recounted that he got the role of Bond due to a ménage a trios that he found himself in. He was an auto mechanic in Australia and had pursued a girl to England. He became a top model soon after and followed that up with that ménage a trios I mentioned earlier. Information procured during that led him to try out for the role of 007. He didn’t have film experience but he spun tall tales of working in films in Europe, he had somehow gotten himself a Rolex, the right suit and went to the same barber that Connery went to for his haircut. "I wanted to be James Bond. What man doesn't?" he told the appreciative audience before recounting, "I stood there with my Rolex showing.... I said, 'I heard you're looking for James Bond.' " He was surprised when they asked him to come back .

He finally came clean to Peter Hunt, the editor of the previous Bond films who was finally getting the chance to helm this film. I said, 'Peter, I've never acted in my life....' He starts laughing. He said, 'You've fooled two of the most ruthless men I've met in my life! They made me come back from Switzerland to see you! Stick to your story and I'll make you the next James Bond!”

The producers set him up with a prostitute to make sure he wasn’t gay and he knocked out a Russian wrestler the producers had brought in to test Lazenby’s fighting skills. They were sold that he could be Bond, James Bond.

Once filming began and he became quite interested in co-star Diana Rigg and she with him. Unfortunately, for Lazenby, she caught him in flagrante delicto in the catering tent with a secretary.

He walked away from the series he says because it was the hippy 60s, his manager/ agent convinced him he could make much more money making films in Europe and he went sailing off with a cute young thing. When he returned he found out that he had been blackballed by the producers.

He bounced around and ended up being befriended by Bruce Lee who planned to give Lazenby a comeback role in his next film but unfortunately, Lee died before that could happen.

He sounds like he is happy with his life and he dropped hints that he would like to be a villain in one of the new Bond films.

With the discussion wrapped up, the movie began.

One of the things we realized after the film was over- the ruthlessness that Lazenby brings to the character. You can draw a straight line from his characterization of Bond to elements of Daniel Craig’s characterization.

It was great seeing it on the big screen and a film print, to boot!

Once we got home, at about midnight, the dog was very happy to see us. We were very tired and my day would start very early again tomorrow morning.

More to come!

Re: Seen and Heard on the Blvd- Lzcutter's TCM FF Recaps

Posted: April 25th, 2015, 4:12 pm
by moira finnie
Good company. Great movies. AND free beer?! Just keep rubbin' it in, Lynn. I'm loving these tales.

Re: Seen and Heard on the Blvd- Lzcutter's TCM FF Recaps

Posted: April 25th, 2015, 8:33 pm
by Rita Hayworth
Man, I wished I was there on March 27th ... thanks for sharing it. :)

Re: Seen and Heard on the Blvd- Lzcutter's TCM FF Recaps

Posted: April 29th, 2015, 6:11 pm
by Lzcutter
Dateline- Hollywood
Saturday morning, March 28th

Saturday morning came much too early for this sleepy camper. I woke up two minutes before the alarm in my phone was set to go off. Jon was sleeping in and coming down in the early afternoon.
Not this film fan, as I mentioned in a previous recap, David and I had been advocating for the last few years for The Man Who Would Be King to be screened at the Festival and this year, the Festival gods heard our pleas and granted our wish. This is one of my all-time favorite adventure films, Huston film, Connery film and one of my faves from that second golden age of Hollywood, the 1970s. There was no way I was missing this classic. The last time I had seen it on the big screen was over 30 years ago.

Mr. Bo gave me a quizzical look on my way out the door. Diet Coke in hand, I jumped in the car and was off to Hollywood and it wasn’t even 8:30 yet.

Thanks to weekend traffic, I got to Hollywood in no time and parked at the Roosevelt. The lobby was fairly empty when I walked through on my way to Hollywood Blvd. Walking down the boulevard of dreams, it was a much easier hike than it is later in the day. Most of the tourists, the pan handlers dressed as characters and the illegal side walk vendors were still drinking their coffee or sleeping in. No complaints from me.

Got to the Egyptian and got in line and within a few minutes, David joined me. While we waited we talked about the festival and then saw Paula in the Spotlight line. We were expecting Christi and Texas T’s husband Joe to join us.

It was setting up to be another warm day.

Once inside we found Paula and our seats. As usual, Paula had picked some good ones.

At 10:00, the festivities began. Leonard Maltin, pinch-hitting for Robert O no doubt, came out and introduced Christopher Plummer to an appreciative crowd. Christopher Plummer looked very dapper and very handsome with that great mane of hair. And that voice, what a voice.

He talked about working on the film and did a wonderful imitation of John Huston. Seems Plummer had researched Kipling, had a wig made that matched the color of Kipling’s hair according the Kipling Historical Society and showed up in Morocco with the wig. Huston was not a fan of the hairpiece and Plummer doing Huston’s voice of god, recounted how Huston told him to lose the hairpiece or go back to London.

The best story had Plummer doing a Sean Connery imitation. Seems towards the end of shooting, the suits in Hollywood decided to throw their weight around. They thought the film was too expensive and wanted cuts made to the shooting schedule. The best idea they had for making those cuts was to loose the bookends of the story, the scenes in Kipling’s The North Star office.

As Plummer told the audience, “ (Producer) Peter Guber knows this happened”.

Seems Guber and his entourage took a red-eye from London to Morocco so they could confront Huston with their outrage and their ideas. When they reached the lobby of the hotel that morning at shortly after 8:00, they were met by Sean Connery. Connery insisted in riding in the lift (elevator for us Yanks) with Guber.

The doors had barely closed when Connery grabbed Guber by the lapels and threw him up against the wall of the elevator.

“If you cut Plummer, I’ll be in London by tonight and you’ll nary see me again.” He told the startled executive. Guber must have believed Connery as all talk of firing Plummer and cutting his book-end scenes was forgotten.

And Christopher Plummer does an excellent imitation of Connery by the way.

Plummer is very proud of the film except for the score. He believes the score by Maurice Jarre, who was the go-to film composer back in the 1970, is all wrong for the film and prefers the score that Ravi Shankar had done for the film.

After that, we gave Plummer a standing ovation and sat back to enjoy The Man Who Would Be King.

The film, an actual 35mm film I think though it may have been digital, was absolutely beautiful and Connery and co-star Michael Caine are perfection as the two English military men whose latest adventure sets them on a life altering journey neither were quite prepared for.

Thank you Charlie, Scott, Darcy, Genevieve and all the other TCM FF gods who made this screening possible!

More to come!

Re: Seen and Heard on the Blvd- Lzcutter's TCM FF Recaps

Posted: April 29th, 2015, 6:44 pm
by Lzcutter
Dateline- Hollywood
Saturday afternoon, March 28th

As soon as The Man Who Would Be King broke, I had to head over to the Chinese Multiplex to meet Jon for the screening of John Ford’s Air Mail.
When I suspect a film is going to be popular or in the multiplex theater with the least number of seats, I like to get in line an hour early so that when they start passing out queue numbers, we get good numbers because that ensures getting good seats.

Because of this, I didn’t have much time to get from the Egyptian to the Chinese. Luckily for me, a very tall guy (not Jonathan Melville from Scotland) with a TCM FF badge around his neck was going my way. He walked with a purpose and had a long stride so I followed in his wake as people dodged to get out his (and by proxy, my) way.

We got a chance to talk as waited for the light to change at Hollywood and Highland. He was from back east and was a returnee to the Festival. Once we got to the multiplex, I thanked him for the company and quickly found Jon who was already in line.

As soon as we got our queue numbers, I went to get some food. Popcorn and water- yummy. We people watched while I ate my breakfast/lunch of festival champions.

The screening of So Dear to My Heart let out and Jon saw his boss come out of the theater with the family in tow. Jon’s boss is the son of the child star who played the bully in the film and he had never seen the film on the big screen. The family had a great time seeing the film.

We talked for a few minutes and then I saw the Air Mail line moving. It was time to go.

Air Mail was made in 1932 and tells the story of small company of daredevil pilots fly the mail over the Rocky Mountains. It stars Ralph Bellamy back when he was leading man, Pat O’Brien the more experienced, jaded supporting male lead and Gloria Stuart as Bellamy’s love interest.

The film includes both processed shots and actual flying with the stunt flying handled by Paul Mantz and his crew.

I realized as I watched the film, that it was one of the films that had an influence on the 1980s astronaut and test pilot film, The Right Stuff.
It was a cracker-jack little film populated with the usual Ford characters and the themes of honor, loyalty and friendship.

Once the film was over, it was time to head over to the Roosevelt and Club TCM for the interview that Scott McGee was doing with stuntman, Terry Leonard.

We were able to snag a booth for the interview and Jon brought over a couple of free beers.

We settled in and soon enough, Scott McGee was introducing Mr. Leonard. Terry Leonard began his career in stunting working with John Wayne’s stunt team. They were making a movie down at the old movie ranch, Old Tucson in Arizona when Leonard got hired.

One weekend night, the crew went out to a bar on Speedway ( one of the main drags in Tucson). I nudged Jon because he and his family lived in Tucson and when his father was still alive, we would go to visit frequently so I knew the street. Leonard couldn’t remember the name of the bar but he did remember that it was frequented by both rock and roll types and country/western types back in the era when there was a great deal less similarity and cross-over between the two.

Long story short, a fight broke out and the stunt guys prevailed but not before some damage was done. The next morning, Leonard received word that the boss, John Wayne, wanted to talk to him. He figured he was getting fired from his first big picture. Instead, Wayne seemed very understanding about the whole thing and welcomed him into the fold.

Leonard talked a bit about working on Raiders of the Lost Ark which had screened the day before (and which Jon had seen) as well as his work in The Wind and the Lion which was screening shortly after this talk was finished.

He talked about how hard stunt work is, how dedicated stunt people are to their craft and how they want more than anything to get the job done and done right preferably the first time.
It was a terrific interview and before we knew it, it was time to head back to the Egyptian for another wonderful Sean Connery film from the 1970s (and another one of my favorites), The Wind and the Lion.

More to come!

Re: Seen and Heard on the Blvd- Lzcutter's TCM FF Recaps

Posted: April 30th, 2015, 1:36 pm
by Lzcutter
Dateline- Hollywood
Saturday night, March 28th

Once the Terry Leonard interview at Club TCM wrapped up, it was time for us to go get in line at the Egyptian for John Milius’ wonderful 1975 adventure film, The Wind and the Lion. Big John used to teach at USC when I was there and he used to regale us with stories about his days at film school and working in Hollywood. I loved listening to him because he could spin a great yarn. TWATL has long been a favorite of mine (I saw it on its initial release because I am, after all, older than dirt). Jon has been big fan of the film since seeing it on the big screen at one of the USC screenings we had back in the day (though we never met during our time in the trenches of USC).

So, we were thrilled at the opportunity to see it again the way it was meant to be seen. Brian Keith’s performance as Theodore Roosevelt is a terrific part and Geoffrey Lewis and Steve Kanaly in supporting roles, along with John Huston (yeah it one of those days), are all great. Candice Bergen and Sean Connery both shine and the score by Jerry Goldsmith is one of my favorites. Texas Theresa’s hubby, Joe, joined us and we got good seats.

Terry Leonard introduced the film and talked about the stunt work in the film. Then in an unsuspected move, he introduced Big John in the audience!
Milius was sitting just a few rows in front of us. I was so glad that I taken Scott McGee’s push to get me to the theater. (I was strongly leaning towards going to see Shirley MacLaine introduce The Apartment).

The audience applauded. Big John suffered a major stroke a few years ago and is still recovering from it. He has regained his speech but not completely and speaks haltingly. But it was great having him there to not only see one of his favorite films but also see it with such an appreciative crowd.

The lights dimmed and it was showtime.

When the film was over, Joe made a run for Grauman’s in hopes of getting in to see The French Connection. I had planned to make a dash for the Chinese multiplex to get in line for the Academy’s presentation of hand-cranked films.

But, instead of dashing out of the theater with Jon in tow, I stopped and thought for a moment. Ah hell, how many chances will I get to actually talk to Big John again. I didn’t dash for the exit. Instead, I walked down to where he was sitting with his wife. A small crowd of film buffs were telling him how much they enjoyed the film and talking to him. He was smiling and seemed very appreciative that we had enjoyed the film so much.

I finally got the opportunity to talk to him and told him of our past connection at USC all those years ago and how great it was to see him again. He patted my hand (though I have no doubt he had no recollection of me) and thanked me. His wife was very gracious and thanked us all.

I found Jon in the lobby and we walked back to the Hollywood and Highland complex. He was going home and I was hoping to get into the Hand-cranked films. After a kiss and a hug, I went into the multiplex. Lady Luck was not riding with me that evening. The line was long and out the door. The queue number was 257 for a theater that didn’t seat that many. I knew I had to take a pass.

Perhaps they would let me into Grauman’s to see The French Connection with my man, Alec Baldwin talking with director William Friedkin after the film. Unfortunately, the film had already started and despite my best attempts, the ushers weren’t buying what I was selling. The film had started and I was out of luck.

Usually I would have been a tad pissed off but you know, I just smiled and walked towards the Roose. I had enjoyed of my favorite films and had gotten to talk to Big John. I had a good evening and nothing was going to diminish that.

And, my stomach growled to remind me I was actually hungry. I had not eaten since that lunch of festival champions, eight hours ago.

I stopped by the Roose coffee shop, 25 Degrees, and ordered some fries to go. A large order. While I waited for my dinner, I texted the troops to let them know I was headed to Club TCM and had fries to share.

Once in Club TCM, I grabbed a free beer and found my favorite booth. Texts came Alexa, Paula and Christy that they were headed over.
Before they got there, another woman commandeered the booth next to me. She was trying to shoot a video of herself recapping the day with her IPAD. Watching her take up her entire booth and part of mine, I made a bee-line for another booth.

Once I got settled in and had just started to nosh, Paula joined me and then Alexa (bringing more beer!).

We had a great time sitting there talking and Christy joined us soon after. My buddy, Rich, stopped by and talked to us at length. It was a terrific way to end a long day at the Festival.

I finally decided to head home because after all, tomorrow was another day.

More to come!

Re: Seen and Heard on the Blvd- Lzcutter's TCM FF Recaps

Posted: April 30th, 2015, 1:37 pm
by Lzcutter
duplicate post

Re: Seen and Heard on the Blvd- Lzcutter's TCM FF Recaps

Posted: April 30th, 2015, 4:54 pm
by moira finnie
So glad you had a chance to see Christopher Plummer and John Milius at those screenings of those "recent" classics. Do you think that the Terry Leonard interview with Scott McGee will be shown on TCM someday?

Thanks again for sharing these accounts of your adventures.

Re: Seen and Heard on the Blvd- Lzcutter's TCM FF Recaps

Posted: April 30th, 2015, 5:12 pm
by Sue Sue Applegate
Thanks for all your great recaps! Wish I could have met John Milius. How cool!

I had so much fun being with all my friends this year. What a joy all the festivals have been. :-)