(*homocinematically inclined)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Reverend's Preview: Life is a Cabaret at 2012 TCM Fest

Liza with a Z will be walking the red carpet at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre this Thursday night prior to the world premiere of a restored, 40th anniversary print of Cabaret. The Bob Fosse directed musical will open the third edition of the TCM Classic Film Festival, running April 12th-15th at various Hollywood venues.

Minnelli won’t be alone. Joel Grey, her fellow Oscar-winning co-star, will be on hand, as well as such alumni of classic movies as Kim Novak, Debbie Reynolds, Shirley Jones, Kirk Douglas, Robert Wagner and Angie Dickinson. Festival passes have sold out for the second year in a row, ensuring packed houses throughout the Robert Osborne-helmed weekend (individual tickets will be available for purchase prior to screenings).

Cabaret is generally considered a milestone among film adaptations of Broadway shows. After such big-budget 1960’s spectacles as Camelot, Finian’s Rainbow and Hello, Dolly tanked at the box office, Fosse took an engagingly stripped-down approach to Kander & Ebb’s examination of the rise of the Nazi party via the denizens of a German nightclub. The movie makes some major changes to the source material, eliminating a number of songs, supporting characters and subplots, while also making the originally British Sally Bowles (Minnelli) American and her originally American, bisexual lover (Michael York) British. While some critics and theatergoers bemoaned these modifications, the movie was a great popular success upon its release in 1972 chiefly due to Fosse’s sexy staging and Minnelli’s and Grey’s vibrant performances.

Other guaranteed highlights of this year’s TCM Fest include:

- A celebration of Universal Studios’ 100th anniversary, with a focus on its great string of 1930’s-40’s horror films. Screenings will include The Wolf Man, followed by discussion with Oscar-winning makeup designer Rick Baker; Frankenstein, introduced by director John Carpenter; Son of Frankenstein, introduced by director John Landis; and The Black Cat, featuring discussion with the children, Sara Karloff and Bela G. Lugosi, of its two stars. Keeping with the theme, Mel Brooks’ spoof Young Frankenstein will also be shown, with Brooks on hand.

- The festival will mark the 100th anniversary of the luxury liner Titanic’s sinking on April 14th with the premiere restoration of A Night to Remember, based on survivors’ accounts of the disaster. Other premiere restorations to be screened during the weekend include Singin’ in the Rain (celebrating its 60th anniversary), The Longest Day (50th anniversary), Grand Illusion (75th anniversary), Stanley Donen’s Two for the Road, and Rio Bravo followed by discussion with its female star, Angie Dickinson.

-Enjoyably self-aggrandizing producer Robert Evans will be present at screenings of a number of his 1960’s-70’s hits including Chinatown, Love Story, Marathon Man and Rosemary’s Baby. Similarly, director Norman Jewison will introduce his Moonstruck (25th anniversary) and The Thomas Crown Affair, while Donen will discuss his classics Funny Face and Charade in addition to Two for the Road.

-Sunday morning will feature a rare screening (for those not in church, of course) of the western epic How the West Was Won at Hollywood’s Cinerama Dome on the very screen for which it and other Cinerama films were shot. It’s all-star cast includes John Wayne, Henry Fonda, James Stewart and Debbie Reynolds, the latter of whom will appear at the screening.

-Of particular note for GLBT attendees will be showings of the revered Auntie Mame and The Women, with discussion led by fashion designer Todd Oldham. GLBT viewers who have never seen them ought to also check out Black Narcissus, starring Deborah Kerr as a nun out of her element, the pre-Production Code potboiler Call Her Savage, a hunky Kirk Douglas and fearsome James Mason in Disney’s big-screen version of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and, of course, Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo.

Here’s to another memorable weekend at the TCM Classic Film Festival! For full details, visit the fest's official website.

Preview by Rev. Chris Carpenter, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and Rage Monthly Magazine.


  1. i've dreamed of attending ever since the first one.
    way to pricey, though probably worth it.

  2. Oh, TOTALLY worth it even if you have to make the trip from Dallas, like we do ever year!!!


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