TCM Classic Film Festival Schedule & My Picks


April 27-May 1 I’ll be at the TCM Classic Film Festival, my second time attending. TCM just released their full schedule–four amazing days packed with great movies, guests and events. The theme for this year is Moving Pictures, with subcategories like discovery, love and loss, coming-of-age, animal stories, and inspirational sports and religious stories. TCM should give out some branded hankies because there will be tears of all kinds, starting with the ones shed over the brutal choices on this schedule. 

Last year at this point, I thought picking things to attend was so easy, but once I got there, time was tight, my priorities changed, and often last minute impulse decisions turned out to be my most memorable experiences. So my picks here will change with the flow but I’m drawn to: things I’ve never seen, with a unique guest or experience attached; one or two favourites with a once-in-a-lifetime bonus; rare movies and favourite genres tough to see anywhere else; time slots that work with the above.  

Most of Thursday is free to see nearby sights, do a little walkabout and theater locating/orientation if it’s your first time, and hang out at Club TCM. My pass doesn’t get me into All The President’s Men (1976), so in the first block I could pick from Dark Victory (1939) or A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945), but the interracial marriage indie One Potato, Two Potato (1964) looks interesting. Next block, Los Tallos Amargos (1956) is an Argentinian noir I’ve been interested in since I read Andy’s recent review at Journeys in Darkness & Light. Playing at that same time is David Lean’s great romantic drama Brief Encounter (1945).


First thing Friday, I love The More the Merrier (1943), but Shanghai Express (1932) has a big edge because Josef von Sternberg’s son will be there to introduce, and just experiencing Marlene Dietrich on a big screen in such a movie seems like a must for any buff worth the name. Ida Lupino’s directorial debut Never Fear (1949) is at this time too, but something to keep in mind with many of the shorter multiplex films is, they might pop up again in Sunday’s 6 TBD slots. This year I’m guessing and hoping a lot of the rare pre-Codes will get repeat screenings, so it helps to strategize around that possibility.


Speaking of pre-Codes, next up I wouldn’t mind seeing Double Harness (1933) again, and the only other movie that might interest me here is He Ran All The Way (1951). Another option is the conversation about adapting journalism for the screen. After that the Serge Bromberg presentation on the greatest finds in film preservation history looks good. Other things showing are Gina Lollobrigida at Trapeze (1956), Francis Ford Coppola at The Conversation (1974), or the Cary Grant-Grace Moore drama When You’re in Love (1937). Up next, I’m dying to see Pleasure Cruise (1933), but hoping it will get a repeat on Sunday, so I can check out the Warren Oates noir Private Property (1960). Those would leave time to follow up with the sci fi 6 Hours to Live (1932), or new-to-me The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) with live orchestra and vocalists. Next is The Manchurian Candidate (1962) with Dame Angela Lansbury present, a hard event to pass up no matter how many times I’ve seen the movie. But showing in that same time block is Joan Leslie in Repeat Performance (1947), which is well-regarded and one I’m curious to see. Midnight show is Roar (1981), which I’d miss if I go to Manchurian.  


Saturday morning starts out with a tough block. I’ve seen One Man’s Journey (1933), Ace in the Hole (1951), Bambi (1942) and Field of Dreams (1989), so I’m really leaning toward The Anniversary of Vitaphone to see Project founder Ron Hutchinson present all those early sound gems. Next I’m really wanting to see A House Divided (1931), which I could follow with Bulldog Drummond Strikes Back (1934) or leave a long free block of time until what’s sure to be an info-packed presentation on War of the Worlds (1953) courtesy of Oscar winners Ben Burtt and Craig Barron. Or, do I skip War and go see Burt Reynolds at his interview?

Last year, I enjoyed the collection of Hollywood home movies which returns in the early part of this next time slot, which features the new-to-me I’ve Always Loved You (1946), or The Long Goodbye (1973) with Elliott Gould. Next up I’d like to finally see Band of Outsiders (1964) which will be introduced by Anna Karina, and that or Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943) leave time for Gog (1954) in 3D! But maybe Rocky (1976) at the Chinese Theatre is too tempting…


Sunday is tricky, with those 6 TBD slots I might get the chance to take in something I missed but picking from known titles, I could stay close for The Fallen Idol (1948) or make the trip to the Cinerama Dome for the unique Holiday in Spain (1966) a mystery with Peter Lorre, in Smell-O-Vision! Going that far out would mean missing Law and Order (1932) and/or a couple TBD films. The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming (1966) with Eva Marie Saint present or Fat City (1972) featuring a discussion with Stacy Keach? Leaning toward the John Huston movie. Closing block has a couple more mystery slots, and Cinema Paradiso (1988).


Throughout the weekend you can also get books signed by Mark Vieira, Illeana Douglas, Jeremy Arnold, Rita Moreno, and Cari Beauchamp. Tons of diverse and tough choices to make, and that’s a win-win for any movie buff.

Here’s the whole schedule (click here to see it all on one sheet), here’s more detail on what’s playing, and what’s at Club TCM. Take a look, feel free to leave your thoughts on my so-called plan, and speak up for any must-sees that you agree with or think I overlooked. 

Can’t wait to be there, see friends and fellow fans I met last year and meet some new ones (a couple bloggers I know will be experiencing this for the first time). I’ll be sharing all the fun here and on twitter @HQofK so follow along, have fun with us vicariously if you can’t be there, and if you are there, be sure to say hi!


13 thoughts on “TCM Classic Film Festival Schedule & My Picks”

  1. Cool, I’m sure we’ll be in a handful of showings together. I wasn’t planning on 6 Hours to live but now I’m giving it serious consideration. That would allow me to pick up either Pleasure Cruise or Private Property, or God forbid, a hot meal.

    1. I’m really curious about that one after reading up on it, I would be anyway as a pre-code but the scifi angle is a bonus. The gambling part of all this is trying to guess which will get the TBD spots. Fun problems to have though! Cheers and see you all there!

  2. We’ve made a lot of the same choices this year! I am also hoping that the pre-codes will be chosen for TBD screenings, especially because I want to see 6 Hours to Live, but I can’t miss Joan of Arc. I know that’s happened in the past, so fingers crossed!

    1. I saw your post and yes, similar picks for many slots. Some of those pre-Codes will be crazy full, and it’ll be a bit of a gamble to miss one, hoping it repeats on Sunday but good chance they will. I’d love to take in a new-to-me essentials like Joan or Band of Outsiders in such special circumstances. Like you said, it WILL change, that’s the fun part. Looking forward to seeing you and everyone again!

  3. You can’t miss “Law and Order”, it’s almost like time traveling to the old west.

    You won’t regret choosing “One Potato, Two Potato”.

    I almost faint at the thought of seeing “Shanghai Express” on the big screen.

    What a time you will have!

    1. Glad to hear your input on the first 2 movies, I have to fit the old west in my weekend somewhere. Shanghai should be so impressive…Really looking forward to this and wish I could clone myself and attend everything!

  4. Wait, you’re thinking about going to a movie you’ve already seen instead of watching “The Conversation” WITH Coppola in attendance? I think you should think about treating yourself to a really brilliant 70s film, probably as you will never see it again. But it’s your life, your call. Maybe you don’t like “The Conversation.”

    1. I do like that, and you know it’s been over 15 years since I watched, so, considering I probably won’t see Coppola’s hand/footprint ceremony that would count as an extra-special opportunity. Every time I look back through the schedule I see similar things I want to be at. Thanks for the vote, it’s fun to go through this selection process!

  5. “once I got there, time was tight, my priorities changed, and often last minute impulse decisions turned out to be my most memorable experiences.”

    So well said, Kristina!

    I’ve got some great memories of things I hadn’t really planned on but ended up thoroughly enjoying, like seeing PINOCCHIO at the El Capitan. 🙂 Sometimes those last-minute changes — whether due to a mood, or needing to better fit a time slot, or to enjoy with a friend — end up being the best decisions!

    I appreciate Caftan Woman’s tip on LAW AND ORDER, I wish there were more Westerns on the schedule and will probably try that one.

    I’ve seen REPEAT PERFORMANCE twice but like it so much I’m considering going to it rather than seeing Angela Lansbury. Especially since it’s at the Egyptian so I’m thinking not likely to be rerun Sunday? Seems like the Sunday reruns are all multiplex movies. (Based on responses I’ve seen, I think we can already predict one of the TBA slots will be for PLEASURE CRUISE!)

    Looking forward to writing my post once I get on top of my current work crunch! 🙂

    Best wishes,

    1. Pinocchio was the exact thing I had in mind when writing the time bit. If you remember I’d rearranged my plans that day to see SOMEthing at El Capitan when my original pick, Raiders, wrecked another time block. So I expect some more happy switches like that. I’m so glad I saw the Disney classic at El C instead, especially since it looks like there’s nothing playing there this year!

      Repeat Vs Manchurian is so tough, I keep thinking I’d kick myself forever if I missed seeing MC again with Lansbury present (to get booed and hissed at for one of the greatest villain roles in movie history lol). If you miss that blind spot movie, then make sure to see Brief Encounter. Really want Law & Order and hope for some magic in those TBD spots, so we get to see as much of what we want to! Really excited to be going and can’t wait to hang out with you at the movies again!

  6. I’m excited to see BRIEF ENCOUNTER for the first time in such an ideal setting. 🙂 Going to be so much fun being able to enjoy movies together “in person” once more!! 2 more weeks!


  7. I’m hoping that those TBD’s offer a repeat of titles as you point out. As a newbie I’m kind of overwhelmed when I look at all the possibilities. Sure we’ve seen plenty of the titles but it’s the experience that may be the deciding factor in picking and choosing. Keach at Fat City or Burt at Longest Yard etc…. Those are the things you probably won’t get a second chance at.
    Just keep feeding me coffee so I can see as many films as possible.

    1. They will 100% be repeats of things already on the schedule, it’s just a matter of guessing which ones, as Laura said, Pleasure Cruise seems to be a popular one already and other pre-codes/ multiplex movies are good bets. I tell you, the excitement got me through the days last year, but then I never made it to the midnight screenings so I hope to try one this year.

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