Turner Classic Movies
Robert Osborne gears up for 4th annual Classic Film Festival
Written by Diana Saenger   
robertosborne200.jpgWelcome to the fourth edition of our annual four-day, eight-film movie smorgasbord at Athens' beautiful Classic Center.  We do hope you'll enjoy yourself this year as much as many folks tell us they've enjoyed the first three go-arounds, and we also hope it's something that will be part of life in Athens for many years --  and many sprocket holes -- to come.

The purpose of our festival? That can best be described  by posing a question: "But have you seen it on the big screen?"  So many of the films we love have been introduced to us through television screenings, and thank heavens they are available there, otherwise a huge percentage of the movies of the past wouldn't be available to us at all.  But the fact is: there is nothing quite like seeing a film as it was meant to be seen - on a mammoth screen, in a communal experience.  That's something very rare for any older movie these days, but it's what you'll see at  our festival - eight films, in all their big-screen glory.    

Each of the movies in our festival has been carefully chosen - representing  different film genres from several different decades. I'll be joined on stage after each screening by some of the talented people who either worked on the film or is a specialist in some element of the movie business.

If you ever felt like wallowing in great movie pleasures, this is the time and the place  to do it. Each of the films is, in my opinion, a gem and  well worth coming out to see. Is there a sequence in films funnier than when Gene Wilder helps Frankenstein's monster, in the form of Peter Boyle, do a heavy-footed dance routine to "Puttin' on the Ritz"?  Or a more suspenseful moment than when Cary Grant is helping a poisoned Ingrid Bergman descend from a den of Nazis, Hitchcock-style?  Or a more touching movie image than Barbra Streisand re-meeting, after many years, Robert Redford outside N.Y.'s Plaza Hotel while a romantic song by   Marvin Hamlisch and the Bergmans thumps on the soundtrack?

Our festival this year will include them all, along with a youthful Peter O'Toole strutting over the Arabian sands as T.E. Lawrence, and Johnny Depp protecting his damaged kid brother Leonardo DiCaprio, and Yul Brynner as the King of Siam very s-l-o-w-l-y putting his hand around the waist of a beautiful Deborah Kerr just before embarking on an unforgettable dance together around a palace floor the size of Montana.

You'll find dozens of pleasures in the 2008 edition of this festival, and we hope you'll be able to join us often. It you like to keep track of pertinent data, Robert Osborne's Classic Film Festival held it's first screening on March 19, 2004, with a showing of Singin' In The Rain; then 10 months later came the first full-tilt, eight-film version of the fest  on January 27, 2005,   and it's been a yearly event ever since.  

At the conclusion of this year's session, we'll have shown a total 33 movies since these yearly gatherings began, six of those films being Academy Award winning "Best Picture" champs: Casablanca, Gone With The Wind, On The Waterfront, The Sound Of Music, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest and Lawrence Of Arabia. To date we've also spotlighted two documentaries (Marlene, Mad Hot Ballroom), one foreign language film (Cinema Paradiso) and one animated feature (The Triplets Of Belleville).

Two actors have been the most conspicuous in our film lineups: Cary Grant has been present on screen every year but one (2005). The marvelous character actor Claude Rains has also appeared in three of our movie picks.  The two-time ROCFF contributors to date are Ingrid Bergman, Humphrey Bogart, Olivia de Havilland, Johnny Depp, Deborah Kerr, James Mason, Christopher Plummer, Eva Marie Saint and several members of his zany Christopher Guest stock company including Guest himself, also Parker Posey, Fred Willard, Catherine O'Hara, Eugene Levy, Bob Balaban and Larry Miller. Ms. Posey and Mr. Willard are among those who made the trek to Athens to join in post-screening conversations.

Others who also have joined the on-stage discussions include the Academy Award winning actors Patricia Neal, Maximilian Schell and Louise Fletcher also special Oscar winners Mickey Rooney and Roger Mayer plus Jane Powell, Pia Lindstrom, Ann Rutherford, Jean Firstenberg, Marni Nixon, Colleen Camp, Brian David Cange, Errol Flynn's daughter Rory Flynn, Mickey Cottrell, film continuity specialist Angela Allen, casting director Mike Fenton, Norm Aladjem, Richard Oppenheim. Peabody Awards director Horace Newcomb and UGA film scholar Dr. Richard Neupert among them.  

Great memories...and there are plenty more to be made this time around.

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More about the Robert Osborne Classic Film Festival

Films screening in the 4th Robert Osborne Film Festival  




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