Sing a song, quote-along, and be a part of the party – at the movies.

Going to the movies has long been considered a mostly passive experience where you quietly sit in darkness to be carried off by a visual experience. A growing number of small exhibitors, however, are changing their tune. Instead of telling their customers to stay quiet during the film, they have been actively encouraging everyone at specific shows to sing-along, quote-along, and even share their texted heckles to hecklable-ready films via HECKLEVISION. There will, of course, always be new ways to have fun at the expense of poorly made films, but I’m more interested in the first two categories because of their celebratory nature. To sing a song from a film with other devotees, or to quote its lines in chorus, these add a rather touching and joyous element that one can easily imagine would warm the hearts of those who worked hard to make the film in question. Having missed my chance to attend a recent Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along, I’m looking forward to a pending screening in my area, made possible by Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, of a Labyrinth Sing-Along. I recently had the opportunity to ask Greg MacLennan, the Director of Interactive Programming at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, some questions about some of the other films that are currently enjoying revivals thanks to different forms of crowd participation.

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Three to Remember

three direcotrs

What do André de Toth, Michael Curtiz, and Leo McCarey have in common? These three directors were represented at the last Telluride Film Festival thanks to Alexander Payne, a Guest Director who introduced films from these cinematic stalwarts as part of his presentation on Forgotten Hollywood. Payne got his start with Citizen Ruth (1996), and then gave Matthew Broderick a memorable role in Election (1999), he cast Jack Nicholson in About Schmidt (2002), and followed this with an Oscar win for Sideways (2004). Payne’s selection of films for TFF was, as he was the first to admit, a selfish one: these were all rare films that he, personally, wanted to see on the big screen. In his introduction to Curtiz’ The Breaking Point he mentioned how TCM was to blame, because one day he woke up, turned on TCM, and only managed to see the last third of the film, which blew him away. But he’s always wanted to see the rest of it, and it’s not on DVD. Toth’s Day of the Outlaw? That 35mm print had to be secured by the TFF staff from Martin Scorsese’s personal archive. McCarey’s Make Way for Tomorrow? Well… if you have a PAL player and don’t mind buying the DVD from France, you’re in luck. But if you were in Telluride last Labor Day weekend, you had a chance to see rare 35mm print screenings of all three films that were sure to put you in the clouds. [...MORE]

The Last Swashbuckler by Peter Bosch

small alan

A Note from  Moira:
When I heard the news that Stewart Granger was to be July’s Star of the Month on TCM, I was delighted for two reasons. As regular readers might have guessed, part of my happiness stemmed from my lifelong enjoyment of the adventure films touched on appreciatively in last week’s nod to Errol Flynn in this blog. Such movies also were animated with renewed zest during Stewart Granger‘s high time in British and Hollywood films.

My second reason for joy was the offer by my friend, Peter Bosch, a writer and a recent TCM Fan Guest Programmer to have an interview he’d conducted with Mr. Granger published here. I think Peter, (fondly known to many of us on the TCM Message Boards as Filmlover), does an excellent job of capturing Granger‘s acerbic wit and honesty in this glimpse of the man as he launched his well done autobiography in 1981.

‘Through the Looking Glass to TCM’

Above: The TCM 15th Anniversary Guest Programmers: (left to right)
Jay Looker, Joe Buonocore, Monica Elliott, Jeff Hoyak, April Lane, Lynn Zook, Anna Seager, TCM Host Robert Osborne, Philip Himberg, Juan Castro, Peter Bosch, Lisa Mordente, Kyle Kersten, Lani Golstab (seated), Rome Mendheim, and Theresa Brown.

Before April 14th, 1994, I was a simple movie fan, enjoying an occasional movie, especially those from the ’30s and ’40s that had played on tv seemingly round the clock when I was a kid.

After that date, when Turner Classic Movies went on the air, things were never the same for me and as it turns out for many like-minded fans. I had to get a VCR and cable and later I had to find out what movies were on the network on a monthly basis! Little did I know that date was just the beginning of an ongoing  education in the language and people of film that has continued to be an enriching aspect of my life–even if some of those who claim to know and love me might occasionally prefer to describe this “education” as an “addiction”. Whaddya they know?

Aside from learning about the history of movies from the earliest to today, one of the delightful things about becoming a member of the TCM audience online has been getting to know other movie lovers, some of whom you will have a chance to meet this month too.

As part of the joyous celebration this April marking the first fifteen years of TCM’s presenting the world of cinema to all of us, I offer this post, which features a conversation with six of the 15 Fan Guest Programmers we will all meet this month. In an unprecedented event, fifteen fans of Turner Classic Movies were asked by the network to participate in selecting from their favorite movies, flying to Atlanta, and recording an exchange with host Robert Osborne to introduce and comment on one movie for the station’s broadcast.  The favorite movie selections of all the Guest Programmers and their conversations with Robert Osborne will be featured each evening on TCM from Monday, April 13th through Friday, April 17th. The complete schedule for that event can be seen at the end of this post. The age and backgrounds of the participants runs from a 14 year old young man who loves Fred and Ginger to a pair of architectural and film archivists to a 69 year old gentleman whose lively posts on the TCM Message Boards has earned him the affection of a diverse group of readers.
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