The Landlord (#110 of 2)

The 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival

Comments Comments (...)

The 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival

Edward M. Pio Roda

The 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival

Almost by definition, any festival dedicated exclusively to the treasures, glories, and the occasional folly of the past is likely to be visited by ghosts, and the spirits of the dead are practically a staple at the TCM Classic Film Festival, which held its eighth gathering in the heart of Hollywood this past weekend. The memory of the late Debbie Reynolds, who had made several in-person appearances at TCMFF over the past eight years, was invoked through yet another screening (the festival's third) of the indisputable classic Singin' in the Rain, in which Reynolds made her first big Hollywood splash back in 1952, and at a screening of Postcards from the Edge (classic status somewhat more disputable), before which Reynolds and her daughter, Carrie Fisher, were remembered fondly by Todd Fisher, Reynolds's son.

Even though he wasn't represented at the festival on screen, Don Rickles, who passed away on April 6, the festival's opening day, couldn't be ignored. Rickles's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is located on Hollywood Boulevard across the street from the Chinese Theater complex, and as I made my way through the usual crush of tourists, desperadoes, and TCMFF pass holders toward my first screening on Thursday afternoon I wasn't surprised to see the little square of sidewalk devoted to Rickles surrounded by flowers, curious bystanders, and entertainment reporters trolling for soundbites, and even adorned by one fan's thoughtful memorial: a brand-new hockey puck.

The ghost that made its presence felt at almost every turn of this year's festival belonged, of course, to TCM's beloved host Robert Osborne, who died one month to the day before the launch of this year's festival. Osborne began his Hollywood career in the early 1950s as an actor; his highest-profile moments were uncredited, blink-and-you'll-miss-them appearances in Psycho and Spartacus. But his heart was never in it, and at the encouragement of Lucille Ball he abandoned acting and combined his love of movies and journalism to concentrate on writing and documenting Hollywood history, eventually becoming the genial, knowledgeable, silver-haired host who won the allegiance of TCM fans worldwide.

The Landlord: Whose Dream Is It, Anyway?

Comments Comments (...)

<em>The Landlord</em>: Whose Dream Is It, Anyway?
<em>The Landlord</em>: Whose Dream Is It, Anyway?

How desperate was Hollywood in 1970? It let Hal Ashby make The Landlord, a crazed, profane racial satire written by negroes. It was the dawn of the New Hollywood. Studios that had failed to pull Americans away from their televisions with colossal epics like Cleopatra targeted the youth market with relatively cheap flicks by new filmmakers. Ashby, the Oscar-nominated editor of In the Heat of the Night, must have seemed like a safe bet, even after he grew a long, shaggy beard and expressed hippie sympathies. The support of Ashby's commercially successful mentor, Night director Norman Jewison—who signed on as the film's producer—surely helped.