Lessons learned at the 2013 TCM Film Festival through Day 2

TCM13-logoLOS ANGELES — After a long but satisfying Day 2 at the TCM Film Festival here, I’ve reached a number of conclusions.

1) Member of the press or not, you’d better get in line very early for movies that look like they’ll be well attended, especially if they’re not in the morning.

Those with media passes are included within a broader category for admission purposes, with a few of the festival pass tiers, so all depends on when you get into line.

When I arrived at 9 a.m. for the 9:30 screening of “Ben-Hur” at Grauman’s Chinese Theater, I was able to get a great seat about midway between the front and back of the venue, in a seat near the middle of a row.

When I got to the 5:30 screening of “The Great Escape” at about 10 after, again at Grauman’s, I had to settle for a seat only five or six rows from the screen. I still enjoyed the film, for sure, but even a 4k digital restoration, projected digitally, doesn’t look quite right from that close. It’s possible to see a sort of video “noise” on the screen at that distance.

I was writing the previous entry that afternoon. I probably should have stopped writing by at least 4:15, and headed over to Grauman’s to get in line for “Escape.”

2) Because of #1, “tight squeezes” between one film and another are impractical.

For today’s screenings, I entertained a notion of going to see “To Sir With Love” at noon (at the Chinese Multiplex 6) and somehow getting over to “Giant” for a 2:00 show at the original Grauman’s. Hilarious. That line is going to be so long that my current plan is to be online at 12:30 — 12:45 at the latest.

After “The Great Escape” ended, it was nearly 9. When I saw the huge line for “On the Waterfront,” which stretched out for a block or two down Hollywood Blvd., I knew there was no way I could get anything like a desirable seat. Moreover, “Hondo” was starting at 9:15 at the Chinese Multiplex, and it seemed hard to believe there wouldn’t be a significant line to see The Duke.

I then opted to walk down to the Egyptian for “On The Town.”

3) When taking a cab in L.A., be ready to help the driver navigate.

Last night, after “On The Town” (more on that later), I was ready to head back to my hotel, in Burbank. I went to a taxi stand outside the Dolby Theater and told the driver my destination. He asked for the actual address, which I gave him. He then tried to look for it on his GPS, but got some error message saying “not found.” I verified on my phone that the address I gave him was correct. He still couldn’t get anything. So I had to try to remember what I knew of the route…Highland Blvd. to Olive…Olive to First St..etc. And we got there.

— David B. Wilkerson


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