TCMFF 2021: The Second Virtual Fest

Wednesday, April 28, 2021


Excitement is building among the classic film fan community as the second at home TCM Film Festival quickly approaches. The 4-day event will be the 12th annual festival, and although the in person experience is greatly missed, it does not diminish the thrill of planning for another special year of classic film fun!

This year’s virtual fest will differ from last year’s, given that there will be films shown on multiple platforms. HBO Max is where you will be able to find a whole slew of extra content curated by the Turner Classic Movies network. You can look through the TCM schedule here, and the HBO Max schedule here

Fans of the celebrated 1961 musical West Side Story will be excited to know that it will be spotlighted on the opening night of the festival to commemorate the film’s 60th anniversary. In addition to a special screening, fans will enjoy a cast reunion comprised of Hollywood legends Rita Moreno, George Chakiris, and Russ Tamblyn. HBO Max will include an intro and outro discussion lead by TCM host Ben Mankiewicz and award-winning filmmaker Ava DuVernay. 

As far as my personal schedule goes, that is still currently being decided. As always, there’s so many wonderful films to choose from! My routine recently has been getting up a lot earlier than I am used to, so I have a feeling I will be present for some of those early bird Pacific time showings on TCM such as The Whistle at Eaton Falls (1951) with a world premiere restoration, Ride the High Country (1963), and Her Man (1930). I am also very much looking forward to a night of Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959), as that is one that I have been wanting to watch for a while now, but glad I had not yet gotten to it so that I may save my first viewing for during the festival. A few other priorities currently include the 4K restoration of They Won’t Believe Me (1947), Lady Sings the Blues (1972), Hollywood Home Movies: Stars at Work and Play (2021), and So This Is Paris (1926).

No matter how my plans change, one thing will always remain the same: I will certainly be watching Mark Sandrich’s Top Hat (1935) on HBO Max! The timeless, escapist musical will be supplemented with three features titled “Cheek to Cheek and Head to Toe,” “What A Character - Eric Blore,” and “Michael Feinstein on Fred Astaire.” Unfortunately, I have not yet gotten the chance to view a Ginger Rogers film at the physical festival, as I have currently only attended the 2019 event, so I was thrilled to see one of her most appreciated films being spotlighted this year.

But the virtual festival experience does not stop with showing these beloved films. Turner Classic Movies have been working hard to really bring the festival home this year by bringing Club TCM to us! They have recently released an exciting schedule of five separate Zoom events that you can register for. Each of these virtual events offer insight into TCM behind the scenes, conversations with sound designer Ben Burtt and visual effects artist Craig Barron, a special Mother’s Day themed discussion with Amy Stiller, Carlo Ponti Jr., and Victorian Riskin, and so much more! You can check out the full Zoom schedule as well as register here.

And of course, what would any festival be without new merch? For a limited time, you can purchase from a wonderful selection of TCMFF 2021-themed goodies over at the TCM boutique here. Happy festing!

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