Monday, April 24, 2023

At the Movies -- Day One

I'm finally feeling better -- a week after returning home from Hollywood. I had a lovely time, but the weather was awful (I kept hearing Sinatra's voice: "She hates California, it's cold and it's damp.") Many of us fell victim to a virus, too. My old boss, Aaron, works in Hollywood and we were going to get together and catch up. He had to cancel on my first night because of a bug, and I think I took it home with me. Rumor has it 50 TCM festival goers reported being sick on social media -- but to be clear, I don't know for certain that's true. I do know that I started feeling shitty last Saturday night and by the time I got home on Monday, all I wanted to do was crawl into bed. Where I've pretty much stayed for a week.

Which doesn't mean I didn't have a great time. Fourteen movies at five different venues over four days. Surrounded by other passionate cinephiles (OK, movie nerds).  What's not to love?

I was back at the Hollywood Celebrity Hotel again this year. They did everything they could to make us TCMFF-ers feel safe and welcome, and I appreciated it. My room was also warm. I spent all day chilled as I rushed from venue to venue, and then the movie theaters themselves were entirely too cold, too.* So it was completely wonderful to burrow under the covers.

On Day One, I got together with my Chicago crew -- Karen, Betty, Will and Guy -- at the opening reception. Karen and Will competed gamely in the classic movie trivia contest. They didn't prevail, but they represented us well.

Then it was off to the movies! My first film of the festival was one I'd never seen before: One Way Passage (1932). Joan is a beautiful heiress. Don is a dapper ladies man. They meet briefly in a dockside bar and sparks fly. Then they find themselves on the same ocean liner to San Francisco. They embark on a shipboard romance, each trying to keep a secret from the other.

It was short, sweet, and very romantic. And rather rare. I don't think I've ever seen it offered anywhere, not even TCM. A poignant beginning to Festival 2023.

*When I get my email survey from TCM, this is definitely going to get a mention.