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TCM Classic Film Festival 2017: Part Three, by David Bax

10 Apr

It’s an Internet cliché at this point to say that something “gives me life.” But that sentiment holds true (figuratively, of course) for TCM Fest. For those who hold fast to the ideal that the movies of the past still have plenty to tell us, to show us and to teach us, the festival is live-giving, an undeniable affirmation. This year’s comedy theme only enforces that. There’s nothing quite like the bond you form by laughing together with strangers in the dark.

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TCM Classic Film Festival 2017: Part Two, by David Bax

9 Apr

After yesterday’s witheringly anti-romantic Red-Headed Woman, I needed a good, old-fashioned happy ending romantic comedy. Leo McCarey’s The Awful Truth fits the bill… eventually. For most of its running time, though, this divorce comedy is hilariously cynical about romance in general and marriage in particular. When the couple (Irene Dunne and Cary Grant) call their lawyer to begin the proceedings, he attempts to talk them out of it with an impassioned plea for matrimonial bliss that he repeatedly interrupts to tell his own wife to shut up. Later, when Dunne recounts the story of how the two met, she concludes with “Happily ever after, until now.” It’s both a laugh line and an incredibly sad one which Dunne, the true MVP of the picture, sells beautifully.

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TCM Classic Film Festival 2017: Part One, by David Bax

8 Apr

Not counting last week’s WonderCon, the last festival I attended was Sundance back in January. That kicked off the same weekend as President Trump’s inauguration and, as a result, the prevailing mood cycled through versions of dour and sardonically defeatist. Maybe the folks behind the 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival had some foresight, then, when they decided that their theme would be Make ‘Em Laugh: Comedy in the Movies. God knows we need it.

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