WAMG At 2011 TCM Classic Film Festival – Hayley Mills, Peter O’Toole & WEST SIDE STORY

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WAMG was in attendance among the many film enthusiasts for the 2nd Annual TCM Classic Film Festival. The multi-faceted Festival, which ran April 28 – May 1, 2011 in Hollywood, was filled with more than 70 screenings, including special introductions, guest appearances, panel discussions and more. The festival opened with the red-carpet gala screening of An American in Paris and TCM host and film historian Robert Osborne served as official host.

The 2011 TCM Classic Film Festival was sold out. The festival had total attendance of 25,000 at more than 70 screenings and events. There were passholders from 49 states and five foreign countries: Italy, Australia, France, Argentina and Canada.

Highlights of the 2011 festival included appearances by Julie Andrews, Alec Baldwin, Drew Barrymore, Warren Beatty, Leslie Caron, Kirk Douglas, Angela Lansbury, Hayley Mills, Peter O’Toole, Jane Powell, Debbie Reynolds, Mickey Rooney and many, many more. Throughout the festival, TCM celebrated movie music, with multi-film tributes to George and Ira Gershwin, composer Bernard Herrmann and singing cowboy Roy Rogers. In collaboration with D23, the Official Disney Fan Club, the festival also celebrated the musical legacy of Walt Disney, including his Silly Symphonies and Laugh-O-Gram shorts.

Roger Corman discussing The Little Shop of Horrors (1960) on Friday at the TCM Classic Film Festival. ph: Mark Hill TCM (C) TURNER CLASSIC MOVIES. A TIME WARNER COMPANY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Among the numerous films that were shown at the 2011 TCM Classic Film Festival were Reds (1981), Becket (1964), Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), West Side Story (1961), The Parent Trap (1961), Whistle Down the Wind (1961), The Guns of Navarone (1961), The Little Shop of Horrors (1960), La Dolce Vita (1960), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954), A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), Cabin in the Sky (1943), Went the Day Well? (1942), Citizen Kane (1941), Fantasia (1940), Dodsworth (1936), Hoop-La (1933), The Cameraman (1928) and The Merry Widow (1925), to name a few. TCM is dedicated to showcasing the best possible projection, including digital, 35mm and 70mm prints. Most of the films presented during the TCM Classic Film Festival were digitally restored and remastered.

TCM’s Robert Osborne introducing Peter O’Toole on Friday at the TCM Classic Film Festival

Peter O’Toole and Ben Mankiewicz discuss the film Becket (1964) on Friday.


On Friday evening, Osborne sat down with O’Toole for an extensive conversation about his life and career for a special live taping that will air later on TCM. The conversation was recorded in front of a live audience of festival attendees at The Music Box, the newest venue added to the TCM Classic Film Festival. The evening included a screening of Becket (1964), which earned O’Toole the second of eight Best Actor Oscar® nominations.

O’Toole introduced the film, in which he plays England’s King Henry II, whose friendship with Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket turned into a power struggle that ended with Becket’s murder. Richard Burton, who plays the title role, joined his co-star and good friend on the list of 1964’s Best Actor Oscar nominees. O’Toole took on the visage of Henry II again four years later in The Lion in Winter (1968), which marked his third Oscar nomination. On how he and Burton got on, O’Toole said, “We just clicked. We were great pals. There’s a cricket expression ‘a pair of safe hands.’ ”

For more than five decades, Peter O’Toole has been a commanding presence on film with his impeccable talent and artistry, all of which has only grown stronger over time,” Osborne said. “We couldn’t be more pleased that he will be with us in person in Hollywood when we celebrate his life and career at the 2011 TCM Classic Film Festival. His being with us promises to be one of the highlights of an amazing and star-studded event.” It was!

On Saturday morning, April 30th, Peter O’Toole placed his hand and footprints in cement in front of the world-famous Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. “Caught at last. Forensics will have my dabs forever,” O’Toole had previously said about the honor.


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences bestowed its Lifetime Achievement Award on O’Toole in 2003. Four years later, he was back at the Oscars with his eighth Best Actor nomination for the May-December romance Venus (2006). He continues to be extremely active, with such recent credits as Ratatouille (2007), Stardust (2007), Dean Spanley (2008), Christmas Cottage (2008) and the popular television series The Tudors.

Throughout his film career O’Toole has continued his theatre work, averaging a play every two years. He retired from the stage in 1999.


On Saturday afternoon, actress Hayley Mills and Leonard Maltin discussed her film The Parent Trap (1961) at the TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood.

It was Walt Disney’s wife who discovered Mills while in London seeing the film TIGER BAY. Mrs. Disney immediately called her husband saying she had found for him his “Pollyanna”. Walt Disney had to travel to London to see Mills in TIGER BAY as the distributors refused to send him a print of the film.

What touched me the most was how much Mills truly looked at Walt Disney as a father figure – she loved the man. “He was fatherly, a protector. He was very kind and generous. One respected him tremendously, loved him. He was definitely the boss. He knew everybody’s name on the lot. We had Thanksgiving at his house and watched movies there. He took us to Disneyland and sent us Christmas boxes with gum from Disneyland. He was a friend. I was devastated when he died.”

Sunday night was the final night of the TCM Film Festival and we were treated to the 50th Anniversary screening of West Side Story, with very special guests George Chakiris (Bernardo) and Marni Nixon (singing voice of Maria), and executive producer Walter Mirisch. It was great to hear them talk about their experiences making the film, as well as some behind-the-scene tidbits…George Chakiris was attending Wimbledon when he got the telegram that he had landed the part of Bernardo and Walter Mirisch had to drive to Jerome Robbin’s house to tell him that he was being removed from the film as co-director! But it was Marni Nixon that had the juiciest bits. It’s well known that Natalie Wood recorded the singing voice for Maria, but when producers heard her just-average voice, they threw all that out in favor of using Nixon. So incensed was Wood, when Nixon asked to watch her work so she could accurately dub her, Wood refused. Sound technicians had to sneak her tapes of Wood singing.

This timeless classic looked amazing on the big screen and the more-than-enthusiastic audience showed their love of the film by applauding after each musical number! It was a great night and a great way to end the 2011 TCM Film Festival. See ya next year!


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