TCMFF 2022 Picks & Plans: Bruce Goldstein

Classic Couple recently asked founder and co-president of Rialto Pictures and Director of Repertory Programming at New York’s Film Forum cinema Bruce Goldstein what he’s most looking forward to during the TCM Classic Film Festival April 21-24, 2022. Film Forum is the nation’s flagship for classic movie restorations with Bruce personally creating over 400 film festivals. He has produced events for all of TCM’s festivals and cruises. Here are Bruce’s TCMFF picks and plans.

Bruce Goldstein

Classic Couple: What films/events are you personally looking forward to experiencing at the 2022 TCM Film Festival and why?

Bruce Goldstein: This is easy. The events I never miss at any of the TCM festivals or cruises are the presentations by the Academy Award-winning duo of Ben Burtt and Craig Barron. Ben, of course, created the iconic sound design for Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and many other modern classics. Craig is a master of visual effects, who’s worked on everything from The Empire Strikes Back to Batman Returns. Both are also mad movie buffs and film historians and they bring to their shows both the passion of fans and a unique insider’s perspective – not to mention a sly sense of humor. In past years, they’ve deconstructed the sound designs and visual effects of classics like War of the Worlds, The Adventures of Robin Hood, and It’s a Wonderful Life. This year they’ve chosen The Flame and the Arrow, starring Burt Lancaster, for the Burtt/Barron treatment. It’s a lesser-known film, but with all the hallmarks of a classic Technicolor Hollywood adventure.  (It’s got the added bonus of featuring our friend, the late Norman Lloyd – who died last year at age 106 – as a troubadour… in tights!) Ben and Craig pack more in their shows than four years of film school – and they’re a thousand times more fun.

But we’ll also be treated to another Ben Burtt presentation this year. He’s taken the 12-chapter 1942 Republic serial Spy Smasher and has re-edited it (with brand new sound effects that will rock you in your seat) into a feature film called Spy Smasher Strikes Back, re-imagining it as a “road show” attraction.  I got a sneak preview of this and I guarantee that this is the discovery of the festival!

Some of my other picks include:

Hail the Conquering HeroThis wartime Preston Sturges picture may be the most underrated of his movies, with the great Eddie Bracken given a chance to display both his comedic genius and another, more serious side. Sturges also shines the spotlight on members of his stock company like William Demarest, Jimmy Conlin, Franklin Pangborn,  Raymond Walburn, and Freddie Steele, a rare showcase for these legendary character actors.

The Sunshine BoysI first saw this when it opened at Radio City Music Hall (with the stage show!) and I’ve been watching it ever seen. I never cease marveling at the performances of George Burns and Walter Matthau (in what I consider his greatest performance). And I’m excited about the on-stage interview with co-star Richard Benjamin conducted by the Academy’s super-knowledgeable Randy Haberkamp.

It’s Always Fair Weather:  One of the last great MGM musicals, by the writers (Betty Comden & Green) and directors (Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen) of Singin’ in the Rain, starring Gene Kelly Cyd Charisse, Dan Dailey and Michael Kidd (best known as a Broadway choreographer). It’s kind of an unofficial sequel to the creative team’s On the Town. I can’t wait to see this CinemaScope and color jewel on the big screen.

The Pajama GameThis is the must-see musical of the festival for the simple reason that, for rights reasons, it hasn’t been on a theater screen in over 30 years (since I ran it at Film Forum!). And for that reason it’s also been unfairly overlooked. This is Stanley Donen and George Abbott’s perfect adaptation of the Broadway hit, with most of the original Broadway cast intact – the only major new cast member, in fact, is the star, Doris Day, who was never more luminous. And the choreography by Bob Fosse (who also appears in the “Steam Heat” number) revolutionized movie dancing.

I’m also looking forward to my old buddy Donald Bogle’s introduction to A Man Called Adam, a super-rarity starring – wait for it – Sammy Davis Jr., Cicely Tyson, Ossie Davis, Louis Armstrong, Mel Tormé, and Peter Lawford. (Full disclosure:  I’m also the film’s distributor). Donald is also introducing a rare Josephine Baker film from 1940 called The French Way.

And I wouldn’t miss Cari Beauchamp’s introductions to two rarely-screened Pre-Code movies:  Jewel Robbery, starring William Powell and Kay Francis, and Cocktail Hour (which I’d never even heard of). The latter will be co-presented by Suzanne Lloyd, whose grandfather Harold Lloyd was once engaged to star Bebe Daniels (his former leading lady).

Nor would I want to miss seeing Pam Grier in person, Leonard Maltin’s much-deserved Robert Osborne Award, or my pal Scott McGee’s signing of his new TCM book on Hollywood stunt men.  

Classic Couple Recommends:

So You Think You Know Movies festival quiz show led by Bruce Goldstein Thursday, April 21 from 3:00-4:00 pm at Club TCM at The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. And Baby Face (1933) showing Saturday, April 23 from 3:00-4:45 pm at the Hollywood Legion Theater featuring a discussion before and after led by Bruce Goldstein.

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