You can tell the festival is coming to a close when people are deciding whether sleep is more important than screenings. In this case, walking 30 minutes from our hotel to Hollywood Blvd and back sapped our spirits, so we slept in today. That doesn’t mean we didn’t get anything. You could say, we saved the best for last!
As much as I wanted to attend the second screening The Smiling Lieutenant (1931), the travel buddy and I just didn’t have the energy. She went off to see Gunga Din (1939), while I hung around TCM to snag a seat for the 3pm Conversation with Shirley MacLaine. (Yes, I hung out at Club TCM from noon to 3pm.)
Before Shirley, though, Art of the Title helmer, Ian Albinson, gave a panel talk describing the 100 year legacy of opening title design. This might sound boring to the average film fan, but Albinson’s informal, engaging presentation did a lot to highlight how opening credits change, whether based on the type of film it is or the decade.
The Conversation with Shirley MacLaine was the highlight of the day, if not of the entire festival! MacLaine has had a fantastic career and has worked with nearly every classic film star out there. She was incredibly frank and candid about everything, from the stars she loved and hated (yes, shade is thrown at Debra Winger), to the people she slept with! This is a woman who shocked audiences with the revelation she had a relationship with Robert Mitchum for three years – even moderator Leonard Maltin was shocked – and talked about Jack Nicholson junk…that actually happened. She also gave praise to actors she adored and questions why more modern actors today aren’t questioning her about her past. Note to actors of today: GO ASK SHIRLEY MACLAINE QUESTIONS! Much like her live chat with host Ben Mankiewicz, her talk ran long, but it was worth it to hear a legend be unabashedly candid about the people she knew and loved (or hated).
Shirley was a tough act to follow and from there the travel buddy and I were at an impasse. I wanted to see the second screening of Too Late for Tears (1949), while TB wanted something “happy.” Thus, we settled on the 3D screening of Kiss Me Kate (1953), a film neither of us had seen. A more in-depth review of the film is coming, but in a nutshell, I adored this film. It’s wacky and risque with a young Bob Fosse adding his signature sauciness. The 3D was used to great effect and the Warners transfer was beautiful. This was easily the best film to close out the festival with, a new discovery that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise.