- - Monday, March 30, 2015

For four days “Movie-topia” descended on Hollywood Boulevard as thousands of vintage film fans flocked to the TCM Classic Film Festival. Buffs came to see timeless Tinseltown pictures on the big screen and cinema superstars’ personal appearances at the sixth annual filmfest presented by Turner Classic Movies, the cable TV channel devoted to commercial-free oldies but goodies of the silver screen.

Thursday’s opening night gala featured Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer attending a 50th showing of the 1965 musical “The Sound of Music” at the TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX (formerly Grauman’s Chinese Theatre).

Two-time Oscar-winner Dustin Hoffman was interviewed by Alec Baldwin at a screening of “Lenny,” the 1974 biopic about comic Lenny Bruce. The live Q&A and “Lenny” showing took place at another 1920s-built movie palace, the Egyptian.

Italian actress Sophia Loren, still stunning at age 80, appeared at the TCL for a screening of “Marriage Italian Style,” which co-starred Marcello Mastroianni and was directed by Vittorio De Sica. Miss Loren, who was Oscar-nominated for her performance in the 1964 picture, participated in an interview before a live audience at the Ricardo Montalban Theatre for eventual airing on TCM. The Q&A was supposed to be conducted by Robert Osborne, the face of the channel who has been a ubiquitous presence at previous TCM festivals, but some staffers said the longtime TCM host, who is 82, missed this year’s film fest because of “a minor surgical procedure.” In place of Mr. Osborne, Edoardo Ponti, Miss Loren’s son, spoke with her about growing up in war-torn Italy and her acting career.

Norman Lloyd, the 100-year-old actor who fell from the Statue of Liberty in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1942 “Saboteur” and went on to play Dr. Daniel Auschlander in the 1980s TV series “St. Elsewhere,” introduced a screening of Charlie Chaplin’s 1952 “Limelight”, which co-starred Buster Keaton, Nigel Bruce and Claire Bloom. Mr. Lloyd said he got the role in “Limelight” because he was Chaplin’s tennis partner, and that “Limelight’s” love story between Chaplin and the much younger Bloom reflected the offscreen romance between Chaplin and Oona O’Neill, daughter of playwright Eugene O’Neill, whom Chaplin wed despite their 36-year age difference.



Shirley MacLaine appeared at screenings of Billy Wilder’s 1960 comedy “The Apartment,” co-starring Jack Lemmon and William Wyler’s 1961 drama, “The Children’s Hour.”

Peter Fonda appeared onstage at Club TCM, where he was asked about his father, Henry Fonda, during an interview by author Scott Eyman. The onetime screen incarnation of the youth culture, who starred in counterculture flicks such as “The Trip” and 1969’s hit “Easy Rider,” is now 75. Clad in jeans, a black, collarless shirt and red sneakers, Mr. Fonda nonetheless looked youthful.

His earliest memory of his father was just before Henry Fonda shipped out to serve in naval intelligence in the Pacific theater. Mr. Fonda recalled being perplexed seeing a man who looked like his father in 1940s “Chad Hanna,” the first film he had seen. The father-son relationship would remain “fraught,” Mr. Fonda said, although his childhood had happy moments, such as one Christmas when his father’s friend, “Uncle Jimmy” — Jimmy Stewart — played Santa Claus.

Although his father was baffled by “Easy Rider,” father and son eventually reconciled. A tearful Mr. Fonda said his father was determined “not to let leave this planet without saying [‘I love you, son’].”

On his deathbed, Henry Fonda told Mr. Fonda and his sister, Jane, how much he loved them.

Hobnobbing with iconic stars and seeing larger-than-life movies the way they were meant to be seen — on the big screen — made for a splendid affair.

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