Living legends gather for TCM Classic Film Festival

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Actor Danny Huston recalls the first time he saw “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.” “I remember projecting it literally on a wall in Ireland as I was growing up. It was how I said hello to my grandfather,” he says.

That grandfather was the great character actor Walter Huston, who died before his grandson was born, and the film was directed by his legendary father, John Huston.

The 1948 morality tale about a trio of greedy gold prospectors, which also starred Humphrey Bogart, is one of the films that Huston and his sister, actress Anjelica Huston, will be presenting at the inaugural TCM Classic Film Festival, kicking off Thursday in Hollywood.

For 16 years, TCM has been a much-loved purveyor of classic films on television, and its first festival is a dizzying array of well-worn titles such as “Some Like It Hot,” “North by Northwest,” “Midnight Cowboy” and “Saturday Night Fever,” alongside rare restorations such as pre-code films “Sunnyside Up” with Janet Gaynor and “The Story of Temple Drake” with Miriam Hopkins. Also scheduled are the premiere of a newly restored print of 1927’s “Metropolis,” including previously lost footage, and a 50th anniversary screening of Jean-Luc Godard’s “Breathless,” presented by its star, Jean-Paul Belmondo.

TCM film festival: An article in the April 22 Calendar section about the inaugural TCM Classic Film Festival, in noting that it was attracting fans from other countries, referred to Puerto Rico, a U.S. commonwealth, as a country. —

“This is a new way for us to expand our brand and establish ourselves as the authorities on classic film,” says Charlie Tabesh, TCM’s senior vice president of programming.

The festival, which runs through Sunday (on four screens at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, Mann’s Chinese 6 and the Egyptian Theatre), also boasts a who’s who of celebrity guests to discuss their films, including Mel Brooks, Tony Curtis, Eva Marie Saint, Ernest Borgnine, Esther Williams, Jon Voight and a rare appearance by 100-year-old Luise Rainer, who will introduce her Academy Award-winning role in 1937’s “The Good Earth.”

The abundance of choices will no doubt leave classic film buffs both delighted and a little disappointed that they’re unable to attend the many simultaneous screenings. Do you prefer a 70-millimeter print of “2001” or a newly restored 1933 “King Kong”? Screenwriter Buck Henry dishing inside info on “The Graduate” or director Stanley Donen introducing the iconic musical “Singin’ in the Rain”?

The festival is attracting fans from other countries, including Argentina, Puerto Rico and Poland.

“There is a vibrant community of classic movie fans, so we wanted this to be as much a convention as it is a film festival, so we have really tried to create spaces where they can gather and share their passions,” Tabesh says.

Pass holders will have access to Club TCM at the nearby Roosevelt Hotel, which will serve as a meeting place and a location for panels and discussions with industry guests.

The Huston dynasty is highlighted in a three-film tribute. Apart from “Sierra Madre,” Anjelica Huston will introduce her role in Woody Allen’s “Crimes and Misdemeanors,” and Danny chose the more obscure “The Proposition,” the Australian noir western written by Nick Cave and directed by John Hillcoat that gave Huston one of his meatiest roles, as the eldest of a trio of outlaw brothers.

“I think the film fits in with the Huston name. It’s about misfits — about these characters that are morally compromised but they are also searching for something in a desolate landscape. It’s a clear parallel to my father’s work,” says Danny Huston.

Robert Osborne, the genial and anecdotic TCM prime-time television presenter, will serve as official host for the festival. He hopes it will become an ongoing event. “No one is making plans beyond this yet, but I think we all hope this will continue and perhaps also include a smaller version traveling the country,” he says.

Passes and individual tickets are available at, or by phone at (877) 517-3456.

TCM Film Festival
Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, 6925 Hollywood Blvd.; Mann Chinese 6, 6801 Hollywood Blvd.; Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd.; Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, 7000 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood.
Thursday through Sunday
Four-day pass, $499; individual screenings, $20.
; (844) 517-3456