Movie-Palooza: Shining the Spotlight on Warner Bros.’ 100th Anniversary and the Greatest African American Screen Historian, the Star-Studded Annual Vintage Film Fest Returns to “Screwy Ballyhooey Hollywood”

Harry Belafonte: photo credit unknown

Movies of the Duke, Hitch, Kurosawa, Brando, Bogie, Poitier, Bruce Lee, Bette Davis and other silver screen icons were presented April 13-16 at the 14th annual Turner Classic Movies Classic Film Festival. Living legends were on hand, live and in person, too. On opening night movie maestro Steven Spielberg discussed Howard Hawks’ 1959 Rio Bravo and more with co-star Angie Dickinson and helmer Paul Thomas Anderson at the Western’s screening in the TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX (that renowned movie palace formerly known as Grauman’s Chinese). 60 years after its premiere, Ann-Margret introduced her 1963 musical comedy Bye Bye Birdie on TCL’s big screen.

Turner Classic Movies host Dave Karger and Frankie Avalon projected 1963’s Beach Party poolside at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Harry Belafonte’s daughter, Shari Belafonte, discussed “Banned in the South: Hollywood, Censorship and Depictions of Race” with film archivist/historian David Pierce in Club TCM at the Hollywood Roosevelt. Luis Reyes, author of the gorgeous new TCM book Viva Hollywood and co-author of three movie history books with me about Pacific Islanders onscreen, including The Hawaii Movie and Television Book, discussed 1988’s Stand and Deliver with co-stars Edward James Olmos and Lou Diamond Phillips, before the educational drama was presented at the Hollywood Legion Theater.

They were joined by thousands of film fans from near and far and afar celebrating this Movie-Palooza right in the heart of La-La-Land. For film fans, to paraphrase Hamlet: “There are more stars in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy” at the TCM Classic Film Festival.

On April 12, I attended the TCM Classic Film Festival Media Welcome Reception in Club TCM at the Hollywood Roosevelt, which included large display cases from the Warner Bros. archives, exhibiting well-preserved outfits from Saturday Night Live, Cool Hand Luke and The Music Man. All five hosts who introduce films on the Turner Classic Movies channel were present to meet and mingle with the media. They include primetime host Ben Mankiewicz, the son of Hollywood royalty, whose grandfather co-wrote Citizen Kane; scholar and author, Jacqueline Stewart, President and Director of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures; author Eddie Muller, the czar of Film Noir; Australian author Alicia Malone; and entertainment reporter Dave Karger, formerly the Motion Picture Academy’s official red-carpet greeter on Oscar night.

The TCM network’s General Manager Pola Changnon introduced the hosts who discussed what they looked forward to this year at the festival. The dapper Muller stated that “interacting with the fans is the best thing about” the yearly filmfest. Malone, author of Girls on Film, said she was most excited about “Steven Spielberg with Angie Dickinson” on opening night.

Jacqueline Stewart, who has a film studies background and has written books such as Migrating to the Movies: Cinema and Urban Black Modernity, gushed that she is most anticipating “Donald Bogle winning the Robert Osborne Award. For 50 years, his book Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies, & Bucks has been influential on me. It is the foundation of Black film studies.” Mankiewicz added that he, too, is “thrilled” by the award, noting: “I’ve interviewed Donald on the air more than anyone else.”

According to the Festival’s website: “Turner Classic Movies pays tribute to our late host, Robert Osborne, with the Robert Osborne Award, presented annually at the TCM Classic Film Festival to an individual whose work has helped preserve the cultural heritage of classic film for future generations. In 2023, TCM honors film historian, author, and professor Donald Bogle for his pioneering studies of African American cinema and his tireless efforts to elevate the achievements of Black performers and filmmakers.”

The presentation to Bogle of the Osborne Award preceded a screening of an all-Black updated adaptation of Bizet’s opera Carmen, Otto Preminger’s 1954 Carmen Jones, starring Harry Belafonte and Dorothy Dandridge. Special guests at the award ceremony, which took place at the Hollywood Legion Theater, included actor Lou Gossett, Jr. For more info about Bogle, one of America’s greatest film historians, see: The esteemed cinematic keeper of the flame’s next book is the biography Lena Horne, Goddess Reclaimed (

According to the fete’s website (, “A central focus of the 2023 TCM Classic Film Festival will be the celebration of the enduring legacy of Warner Bros., which marks its 100th anniversary on April 4, 2023. In conjunction with Warner Bros. Discovery’s centennial WB100 campaign, Celebrating Every Story, the TCM Classic Film Festival will shine a spotlight on some of the studio’s landmark creations.”

As part of this WB100 commemoration, I enjoyed an encore presentation of Warner Bros.’ 1942 Larceny, Inc. at the Chinese Multiplex #4, with hardboiled star Edward G. Robinson rather delightfully spoofing the gangster image he’d been polishing since 1931’s Little Caesar, with tough guy Broderick Crawford playing his daffy hapless stooge. What is especially funny is that Larceny, Inc. has droll dialogue comparing banking to criminal activity.

Of course, as the 2015 biopic Trumbo reminds us, Robinson had leftist ties. But I don’t believe that any of the comedy Larceny, Inc.’s three credited writers were blacklisted, although Edwin Gilbert co-wrote 1941’s Blues in the Night with Elia Kazan and Robert Rossen, both of whom became directors and at some point had also joined the Communist Party (and subsequently became informers to HUAC). Blues was helmed by Anatole Litvak, who had been part of the Soviet film industry. Larceny, Inc. was directed by Lloyd Bacon who also helmed 1943’s pro-Soviet morale booster Action in the North Atlantic, scripted by John Howard Lawson, later one of the Hollywood Ten.

I had never seen Larceny, Inc. before but am glad I finally got a chance to do so, thanks to TCM’s plucking it out of the obscurity of the archives to share with a new generation of fans. On the other hand, I had previously seen Blake Edwards’ 1964 crime comedy A Shot in the Dark – as I recall, Peter Sellers’ second outing as the clueless Inspector Clouseau was a family favorite. Sellers’ bumbling antics opposite Elke Sommer as the maid, Herbert Lom as the much put upon chief Dreyfus and the uproarious, lurking Kato (Burt Kwouk) still amuses, all these years later. When TCM’s Alicia Malone drolly introduced Shot with a series of police investigation-like “facts,” she compared the physical comedy of this Pink Panther picture to Jacques Tati’s 1953 Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday.

FACT: When your movie mad reviewer’s mom was nine months pregnant with me, she went to see Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday in a theater. My mother laughed so hard she went into labor – and my love affair with the cinema was, literally, born.

This year’s theme of the TCM Classic Film Festival is, in loving homage to the Warner Bros., “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet.” Of course, this was taken from the line of synchronized dialogue in 1927’s musical The Jazz Singer – “You Ain’t Heard Nothing Yet” – with which the Warner Bros. introduced the world to talking pictures, revolutionizing the silver screen, empowering us to see AND hear, from then on ( In a similar vein, let’s hope that as far as TCM’s vintage filmfest is concerned, we likewise “Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet,” with countless more Movie-Paloozas to come every year, from here to eternity and beyond.

That’s all folks! (

For more info see:

Aloha oe (a fond farewell) to HARRY BELAFONTE, truly one of the greats.

TCM To Celebrate Legendary Entertainer and
Activist Harry Belafonte

Programming Tribute Airing in July to Include Carmen Jones and
Odds Against Tomorrow Introduced by Daughter Shari Belafonte

Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will celebrate the life and career of singer, actor, producer, and activist Harry Belafonte with a programming tribute this July. Belafonte, who died April 25 at the age of 96, started his career with the movie musical Carmen Jones (1955) and his hit album Calypso in 1956. He went on to become an important voice in the civil rights movement of the 1960s alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Throughout his decades-long career, he earned two Grammy Awards, a Tony, an Emmy, and the Motion Picture Academy’s Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 2014.
TCM’s on-air tribute will include a double feature of Belafonte’s films, as well as a night of films introduced by his daughter, Shari Belafonte.
TCM Remembers Harry Belafonte – Saturday, July 22
8:00 PM – Carmen Jones (1955) – A sultry factory worker seduces a young soldier then dumps him for another man.
10:00 PM – The World, the Flesh and the Devil (1959) – One woman and two men are the only people left alive after a nuclear disaster.
TCM Guest Programmer Shari Belafonte – Monday, July 10
8:00 PM – Odds Against Tomorrow (1959) – Desperate losers plan a bank robbery with unexpected results.
In addition, Belafonte’s film Bright Road (1953) will be featured on Sunday, July 16, during TCM’s Disability in the Movies spotlight.

See website here:

(All times Eastern)

TCM Hosts from Taryn Jacobs (WBD): Ben Mankiewicz, alicia Malone, Dave Karger; Jacqueline Stewart Images Courtesy of Turner Classic Movies.   Steven Spielberg, Angie Dickinson and Paul Thomas Anderson.