Lulu's Vintage

TCM Classic Film Festival Round Table Interviews with Ben Mankiewicz & Robert Osborne


This morning I attended the TCM Classic Film Festival Press Day round table interviews with Robert Osborne and Ben Mankiewicz.

The interviews took place at the Library Bar inside of the beautiful historic Roosevelt Hotel. Inside the bar there were two tables set up where the interviews took place. Ben Mankiewicz and Robert Osborne took turns sitting at each of the tables being interviewed.

Ben Mankiewicz sat at our table first.

Ben Mankiewicz was fun and funny during his interview.

When Ben was asked what his favorite part of the TCM Classic Film Festival was, he replied that is was interacting with fans on the street or while at Club TCM.

He says that unlike other cable networks the fans of TCM feel like they need to watch over the network, that they feel a guardianship towards it.

When asked what his most interesting interview was, he said that Mickey Rooney was his most challenging.

Noir films were his entree to the love of classic cinema.

Currently his favorite classic film is The Searchers.

He would like to see the festival focus on Sam Fuller.

He doesn't think that there is a cut off year for classic cinema.

I asked him if he thought that there were any good modern remakes of classic films and he stated that The Thomas Crown Affair and The Getaway were good. Rise of the Planet of the Apes was one of his favorite films of last year.

When talking about the remake of The Thin Man movie that's in the works, he mentioned that he thought that either Jennifer Lawrence or Emma Stone would be good for the role of Nora.


Robert Osborne

Robert Osborne was charming and articulate during his interview.

Robert says that the value of the festival is to see the movie on the big screen and sharing it with an audience. He says that your eyes are riveted on the screen, you're not texting, etc...

He particularly loves movies from the 40's, 50's, and 60's. He said that the factory days were the golden years, and that Ben Hur was kind of the cutoff, the end of an era.

He says that its very hard to do things now in film that haven't been done before. He cited Avatar as something good that hasn't been done before.

When talking about the first TCM Classic Film Festival he said that they had to have marquee films, films that people would recognize.

This year within two hours of the TCM Classic Film Festival Premium Passes going on sale they sold out.

In regards to Style in the Movies he thinks that it's what Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly brought to a movie.

The Guest Programmer series on TCM came about because Stephen Sondheim said if he was ever the programmer he would do this and this. Stephen was not the first to take part in the series though, Bill Cosby was.

When talking about classic film stars such as Doris Day, Olivia de Havilland, Michael Caine, and Sean Connery he said that most of them don't want the attention of being in front of the camera anymore.

Robert Osborne mentioned that at the theaters that he has invested in (which are in Port Townsend, Washington) that they recently received notices from Disney and Fox that as of January 2013 their movies will no longer be released in 35mm film format.


I really enjoyed hearing what these two great film historians had to say. Stay tuned - tomorrow night I'm covering the red carpet for the World Premiere Restoration of Cabaret.

This post was originally published on April 11, 2012.