“You need to show more re-releases. You need to show the great old movies in your theatres,” director Christopher Nolan told exhibitors at their CinemaCon convention a couple of weeks ago, but sadly no one in that crowd applauded the sentiment. I thought of that as I attended last night’s kickoff of TCM’s 5th Annual Classic Film Festival, a nirvana for movie lovers. At least this is still a place you can see “great old movies” in theatres and in pristine condition. And people from around the U.S., and even the world travel to Hollywood for the opportunity. For that Nolan should at least be thankful.
This edition got underway Thursday night with the World Premiere of a stunning TODD AO restoration of the 1955 musical Oklahoma. Star Shirley Jones joined TCM host Robert Osborne (a “rock star” to the TCM crowd that comes from everywhere for this four-day smorgasboard of movies) for a pre-screening Q&A at the newly renovated TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX. It was the first film for the Oscar-winning star who just turned 80 last week. It’s probably safe to say the movie didn’t even look this good when it originally premiered almost 60 years ago thanks to 20th Century Fox’s 8-month effort (led by restorer Schawn Belston) to bring it back to life in the same 30 frame per second TODD AO format in which it was made. Fox is releasing this film and several other Rodgers And Hammerstein musicals in a Blu-ray box set later this Spring. The TODD AO process was sort of an answer to the 3D craze of the 50’s and in this incarnation it actually feels at times like you are watching some scenes (like a runaway horse sequence) in 3D without glasses. (more…)