The Stars Are Shining Bright In Hollywood!
The legendary Chinese Theater is ablaze this weekend with an amazing event – the Turner Classic Movies Classic Film Festival, which is celebrating legendary films from Hollywood, and the legends who made them.
Pete Hammond from Deadline.com posted a terrific story yesterday about the opening night event for 1967’s Best Picture winner, “In The Heat Of The Night.” It’s the 50th anniversary of this classic movie.
This is from Hammond’s story in Deadline.com:
“In a youth obsessed industry, the Turner Classic Movies Classic Film Festival, which runs through Sunday in Hollywood, is an oasis of cinematic treasures in the midst of a business that doesn’t always value its storied past. Once again the brain trust behind this unique orgy of movie magic from another time has created a whirlwind of non-stop cinema of every possible stripe.
Where else will you see 94 year old Carl Reiner get a Chinese Theatre hand and footprint ceremony along with son Rob Reiner (who just turned 70 last month)?”
Hammond is right, our business is youth-obsessed, and these legends don’t get enough acknowledgement, with BOTH Reiner’s being perfect examples.
Here’s a terrific shot of the Reiner ceremony courtesy of Michael Tran with Getty Images:
Hammond goes on to explain what happened on opening night Thursday:
“Where else will you see the 5oth anniversary of the Oscar winning “In The Heat Of The Night” celebrated with its producer, director and stars – all in their 90s and all sharp as a tack, recalling every moment of its making?”
Hammond also gives credit to the TCM Execs who have brought this festival to life:
“As usual the powers that be, including programming director Charles Tabesh and Festival director Genevieve McGillicuddy, are pulling out all the stops for this 8th edition of the live and in person version of their popular cable network, which trumpets all things to do with old movies – except don’t call them old. Thursday night’s opener, the aforementioned In The Heat Of The Night simply never looked as good as it did projected on the massive TCL Chinese screen than it did this time. And it certainly was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to actually see it with so many of its key creative forces there to watch it including star Sidney Poitier, who just turned 90, and seemed to be having a great time viewing the entire film again as he sat right in front of me with his family, and its 95 year Oscar winning producer Walter Mirisch right there too.”
“Poitier didn’t go on stage to participate in the pre-screening Q&A moderated by TCM’s Ben Mankiewicz, but Mirisch did and had total recall of just how the landmark film about race relations came about in the midst of turbulent times for this country, every bit as pertinent today as it was then. A couple of other 90 year olds, director Norman Jewison and co-star Lee Grant (who is also getting a tribute here this weekend) joined them, recalling great stories about the making of the film which was set in the deep South but actually shot in Illinois – Poitier understandably did not want to shoot it in the South at that time. They all received standing ovations, but none so massive as the one accorded the legendary Poitier.”
Stefanie Keenan captured this beautiful shot for Getty Images…bravo!
Here is more of Hammond’s story, talking about the age of the participants in the event:
“Co-star Scott Wilson was also there to see it again, as were the writers of the memorable theme song, 91 year old Alan Bergman and his 88 year old wife Marilyn. Quincy Jones, the 84 year old composer of that song and the film’s score, appeared on the red carpet before having to rush off to another current film premiere he was involved with.
At this festival, age is just a number, not an attitude, and the extraordinary work these artists have accomplished over the course of their lives is celebrated in pristine condition even as most of them are still active in the business. It’s heartening. The Graduate and Bonnie And Clyde, two of the films Heat beat at the Oscars a half century ago, are also part of the program here.”
Beautiful writing, and Hammond is making such a strong point – the legends of our business are getting older, and now is the time to show our appreciation for their lifetime of work…bravo to TCM for a festival that is doing just that!
I am also getting updates on social media all day long from my friend Alison Martino…
Alison is reporting from the event, so I have already seen a lot of terrific insight from her on Instagram and her Vintage Los Angeles Facebook page:
Alison has also hosted classic film screenings, including a memorable night celebrating “Bonnie & Clyde” – which as noted above, LOST to “In The Heat Of The Night” in 1967. Read about that event here – and an incredible book that tells the dramatic story of 1967 int he movie industry, through the five films nominated for best picture that year:
Also, be sure to check out Alison’s website here:
As I said, I couldn’t have written anything better on the event taking place, so please click here to read more of the terrific Pete Hammond coverage at Deadline.com here:
So happy to see classic Hollywood stars being given the respect they deserve!
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