Willkommen, Bienvenue, Welcome…

The WELCOME PARTY at Club TCM on Thursday was a flurry of people, drinks, smiles and excitement, as new and old friends gathered to take a breath before undertaking some serious moviegoing. It’s always fun to chat with people at this event, or anywhere at the festival really, since there is an obvious common bond uniting every single person here: a love of classic movies. And people who love classic movies love to talk about classic movies.

Take Jenny Ranz and Julie Babb, friends visiting the festival from Shreveport, Louisiana. “I’m really excited about getting to see Richard Sherman and listen to him talk about Jungle Book and Mary Poppins,” said Jenny. “And very, very, very excited to see Maureen O’Hara in How Green Was My Valley. Julie chimed in: “Sunday is dedicated to Judy Garland. We’re going to Easter Parade and the Judy Garland discussion in Club TCM and then The Wizard of Oz.” The pre-Code gem Employees’ Entrance is also on their list. “Pre-Code is so much fun,” said Julie. “No one realizes that there was lots of sex and drugs and rock and roll eighty years ago in the movies!”

Martin Hildebrand, in town from Atlanta, Georgia, for the second year in a row, is excited to see movies he hasn’t seen before, like American Graffiti and The Italian Job, and to hear guests Kim Novak, Quincy Jones and William Friedkin. One of his attractions to classic film, he said, is the American history lesson he gets from seeing the nature of day to day life in the 1930s and 1940s, the clothes people wore, and so forth. “Film noir is my favorite,” he added. “I’m definitely going to Double Indemnity, Touch of Evil, The Lady From Shanghai. I was surprised to see two Orson Welles movies on the schedule, but happy about it!”

Marilyn Hutchinson, from Vancouver, Canada, is here for her third TCM Classic Film Festival. Asked what her favorite movie is, she paused before answering, “The Wizard of Oz and The Best Years of Our Lives.” She’s eager to see The Wizard of Oz on the big Chinese Theatre screen, as well as Gone With the Wind, Blazing Saddles, Touch of Evil and, for the first time since it came out, American Graffiti. “I love listening to all the stars and their behind the scenes about how they made their movies. I just saw Kim Novak across the street and can’t wait to see her in Bell, Book and Candle.”

David Lee and his wife Jacque Carraway, visiting from Parker, Colorado for the second year, are thrilled to be able to see Maureen O’Hara speak before How Green Was My Valley on Saturday. “She’s one of our all time favorites,” said David. Asked what makes him such a fan of classic cinema that he would expend the energy and funds to make a trip to this festival, he said: “Because I aspire to be Cary Grant in my own personal life, in my appearance, in my conduct, in the things that are right, and true, and honorable, that are so often depicted in these films. That’s why I like old movies: there’s always a lesson, always something. And most of the actors came from nothing, and based on their hard work, energy and effort, they learned their craft. How can you not admire that?” Jacque explained that her love of classic movies sprang from watching them late at night as a child. Like all of us, she’s been hooked ever since. “I watch TCM and the news,” she said. “That’s about it.”

Four sets of people, four entirely different movie lineups planned. Clearly there’s something for everyone this weekend.