Kim Novak was honored this morning with a handprint ceremony at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood. Actress Debbie Reynolds and TCM host Robert Osborne were in attendance. Letters of congratulations from Nicole Kidman and Renee Zellweger were read, as they could not be present at the ceremony.
TCM hosts Robert Osborne and Ben Mankiewicz gave roundtable interviews this morning at TCM Film Festival Headquarters, the Roosevelt Hotel. Both were friendly and approachable, as expected.
My table got to chat with Ben first. My takeaways:
- His favorite thing about the festival is the fans because they are so incredibly passionate about classic film. He noted that unlike any other TV network, TCM fans have a strong devotion to the network, the hosts, and the films. He couldn’t imagine ESPN fans coming to the defense of the network or being so vocal about the programming like TCM viewers.
- His most challenging classic film interview was Mickey Rooney at last year’s festival. He didn’t elaborate on the specifics of why that was, but I’m not surprised. His most challenging interview overall was with Alexander Payne and George Clooney for The Descendants. Apparently, Payne got upset at a misinterpreted question, but George Clooney charmingly disarmed Payne and saved the interview. He was most initially intimidated by an interview with Peter Bogdanovich. He describes Bogdanovich as an incredible storyteller.
- His favorite interview from last year was Jane Powell at the screening of Royal Wedding. He’s not the biggest fan of musicals, but said that she was delightful and really fun to interview.
- He thinks that classic film fans should ease up a bit about the planned Thin Man remake. (I agree!) He thinks that Rob Marshall is a director who has some reverence for films that came before and that Emma Stone might make a good Nora.
Next up was Robert Osborne. A few choice quotes:
Q: Do you have a cutoff in terms of years for classic film?
A: For me, the real classic era of Hollywood is the one that went from like the mid 30′s to I would say, like 1959. I always think of Ben-Hur in ’59 as being a cut-off for that era that was the studio era when they had all the resources that they could put a film together easily because they controlled the stars, they had warehouses full of costumes…the factory days.
Q: Who at the network came up with the idea for guest programmers?
A: It was actually my idea originally to do guest programmers because Stephen Sondheim and I were having a talk. That happened because he’s a big movie fan and we have a relationship because I know nothing about music and everybody that is around Stephen is into music and that’s all they talk about so I’m kind of fresh air because I don’t know anything about music. But he was the one that said, ‘well if I was ever going to program, I’d do this and this and that’ so I took that idea and said ‘let’s do a night of Stephen Sondheim selections’.
Q: Do you think the younger generation cares about classic films?
A: I think there’s a big element that are learning to really love them because we’ve been how big our audience is of younger people.
Q: Is there any person that you’ve been longing to include in the festival and have yet to get?
A: There are a lot of people. We’d love Doris Day to come and participate and we get a little closer all the time because now she’s done a big promo for us – the voiceover. It’s just convincing her that she should be on camera because she hasn’t been seen for a long time and she’s aware that everybody’s going to say ‘how does she look?’ and everyone’s going to say ‘oh, she’s older, she doesn’t look like Doris Day in 1958′. We’d love to get Olivia de Havilland. Michael Caine. We’d love to get Sean Connery. You understand their reticence, too. They have nothing to sell and they don’t have to do a film festival or anything else to get attention. Most of them really don’t want attention anymore. They’ve done all that.
Fun fact: Robert Osborne is part-owner of a movie theater in Port Townsend, Washington. (WA represent!)
I was lucky enough to be able to attend Peter O’Toole’s handprint ceremony at Grauman’s Chinese Theater this morning. I also shot video of Mr. O’Toole’s speech, which I will post soon! What a thrill!
Kendra of the fabulous Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier site vivandlarry.com recently had the chance to interview AoaC hero Robert Osborne! Mr. Osborne talks about TCM’s Summer Under the Stars, programming “The Essentials” with Alec Baldwin, our “Best Eyebrows in Classic Film” queen Gene Tierney, and more. Listen/read their conversation here.
Great job Kendra. Lucky gal!!
Legendary classic film star Tony Curtis kicks off the TCM Classic Film Festival en route to a rodeo-themed backyard bar-b-que.