TCM festival to showcase range of restored films

by Bob Deutsch

AIRSCREEN Classic in front of the Graceland Museum showcasing Elvis Presley's work

AIRSCREEN Classic in front of the Graceland Museum showcasing Elvis Presley's work

“The Great Escape,” is one of several restored films being screened this month at the TCM Classic Film Festival.

Following up on the story of the Bogart festival, this blog now brings news of another gathering devoted to film history. Whether first glimpsed on television or large movie screens, the long list of films that have made an impact on the public consciousness over the years can occasionally be intimidating. Even worse, the narrowing of technology means that some great works of cinema may fail to reach younger, more insulated generations. To that effect, Turner Classic Movies has endeavored for years to broaden the palette of movie buffs and casual audiences alike, and from April 25 to the 28th it will host its fourth annual festival in Hollywood. The focus appears to be on restoring well-recognized films, with new versions to entice viewers.

The festival’s official site trumpets the biggest names on the itinerary: Buster Keaton’s silent comedy “The General,” the James Dean epic “Giant,” and “The Great Escape.” But the entry getting much of the press and headlining the event’s first day is the Barbra Streisand musical vehicle “Funny Girl,” curiously younger than those three selections.

Many well-known celebrities will be making appearances, including Jim Abrahams and David Zucker, two of three co-directors of the comedy film “Airplane!,” also screening, renaissance comedian Mel Brooks, and numerous other actors, directors, and film historians. And actors Max von Sydow and Ann Blyth will each be celebrated in tribute screenings of some of their most well-known work.

It can be encouraging for those who harbor a deep love of movies to see such care given to the objects of their affection, particularly after the long passage of time. Those looking to bring communities of like-minded souls together in this way can also consider the use of outdoor movie screens to showcase newly refurbished versions of the classics.

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