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There are some things in this world that I love more than others, and many of those involve Disney, classic film, and Turner Classic Movies. So you might imagine my reaction to this bit of news:

TCM Classic Film Festival to Spotlight Disney’s Musical Legacy

Multi-Faceted Celebration Presented in Collaboration with D23, The Official Disney Fan Club

The musical legacy of The Walt Disney Studios will be celebrated at the 2011 edition of the TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood. Turner Classic Movies (TCM), in collaboration with D23, The Official Disney Fan Club, will host a multi-faceted celebration of the studio’s history of bringing music and film together. Presentations at TCM’s four-day festival in April 2011 will include a screening of the recently restored groundbreaking classic Fantasia (1940), which integrated great works of classical music with some of the most innovative animation ever put on film; a collection of Silly Symphonies animated shorts, curated and introduced by film historian Leonard Maltin; and a special tribute to Disney live-action musicals.

Are you kidding me? I mean, seriously? With all the other stuff that’s going on this year, and my paltry pocketbook, you drop this on me? Something that, if I do not attend, will gnaw at my innards for months? The press release goes on:

TCM will also be presenting a collection of animated Laugh-O-Grams. These shorts were created by Walt Disney made at the Laugh-O-Gram studios, which he founded in the 1920s and where he was inspired to ultimately create the Mickey Mouse character. These historically important films were recently discovered and restored by Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and are being presented in partnership with The Walt Disney Family Museum, located in San Francisco.

The celebration of the musical world of Disney is part of the 2011 festival’s overall theme, Music and the Movies. Throughout the four days, the TCM Classic Film Festival will shine a spotlight on outstanding composers, great songwriters and the unique role music plays in the art of filmmaking.

“When it comes to the merging of music and motion pictures, no single studio has made as consistent and important contributions as Disney,” said TCM host Robert Osborne. “We are proud to join with Disney’s D23 fan club to celebrate that legacy as an important part of the festival. It is also a rare opportunity for everyone to experience the magic of Disney through beautifully restored feature films and rare shorts from the early days, shown on giant movie screens for the first time in years.”

Fine Bob, kick me while I’m down. Why not hold me down and let Maltin throw sand in my eyes?

The following is a rundown of the Disney celebration planned for the TCM Classic Film Festival:

Fantasia (1940) – Recently restored edition

This groundbreaking animated anthology, one of Walt Disney’s most astonishing achievements, combines classical music with animated imagery, from the abstract (“Toccata and Fugue in D Minor”) to the hilarious (“Dance of the Hours”) to the awe-inspiring (“Night on Bald Mountain” / “Ave Maria”). A commercial failure when it was first released, the film has since become a cultural treasure, thanks not only to the innovative recording and animation techniques, but also to Mickey Mouse’s memorable appearance as “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.”

Silly Symphonies – Curated by Leonard Maltin

Film historian Leonard Maltin will curate and introduce this collection of memorable Silly Symphonies shorts. Walt Disney Productions created 75 of these music-filled animated shorts from 1929 to 1939. Many of the featured shorts (rarely theatrically screened) broke new ground in animation techniques, garnering seven Academy Awards® along the way.

A Special Tribute to Disney Live-Action Musicals

After establishing its artistic reputation through animated films, the Disney studio moved into the realm of live-action musicals. The TCM Classic Film Festival’s Disney celebration will include a special tribute to the Disney Live-Action Musicals.

Laugh-O-Grams – Newly discovered and restored shorts, presented in collaboration with The Walt Disney Family Museum and Museum of Modern Art

This collection of recently discovered and restored Laugh-O-Grams heralds the earliest days of Walt Disney’s career. Before he started the studio that would bear his name, Disney started the Laugh-O-Grams studio. Located on the second floor of a brick building in Kansas City, Mo., the Laugh-O-Gram studio became home to many of the pioneers of animation. The building, which still stands, is also said to have provided Disney with the inspiration for his most enduring character, Mickey Mouse

Flames. On the side of my face. How fantastic does that sound? These are a few of my favorite things.

Tickets are available now.

More information about the festival:

2011 TCM Classic Film Festival

Thursday, April 28 – Sunday, May 1, 2011, in Hollywood

The following are the events and screenings announced so far for the 2011 TCM Classic Film Festival:

Opening Night Event

An American in Paris (1951) – World premiere of new 60th Anniversary restoration – Thursday, April 28, at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre

This colorful musical stars Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron in the story of a painter finding art and romance in the City of Lights. The musical score is packed with Gershwin classics, and the dance sequences are among cinema’s most memorable. Directed by Vincente Minnelli, the film won six Oscars, including Best Picture.

Music and the Movies

Throughout the festival, TCM will celebrate cinema’s legacy of music, from great songwriters to outstanding composers.

Nice Work if You Can Get It: The Film Music of George and Ira Gershwin

TCM will celebrate the work of George and Ira Gershwin with a collection of films featuring their most memorable songs. Heading up the collection is the opening-night gala screening of An American in Paris (1951), which has been beautifully restored and remastered in time for its 60th anniversary.

Girl Crazy (1943) – Presented by Mickey Rooney

As part of the festival’s multi-film celebration of songwriters George & Ira Gerswhin, Hollywood legend Mickey Rooney will make a rare public appearance for a presentation of the Gershwin musical Girl Crazy, in which he starred with Judy Garland.

A Celebration of Bernard Herrmann

From Alfred Hitchcock to Orson Welles, composer Bernard Herrmann collaborated with some of Hollywood’s greatest film artists. His innovative and evocative scores continue to influence composers today. The festival will commemorate the 100th anniversary of Herrmann’s birth with several screenings, including the world premiere of a new restoration of Orson Welles’ groundbreaking Citizen Kane (1941), which celebrates its 70th anniversary in 2011.

Happy Trails: Roy Rogers

The festival will salute Roy Rogers, the “King of the Singing Cowboys.” The celebration will include several of the enormously popular performer’s hits, all restored in time for the 100th anniversary of Rogers’ birth.

The Silent Legacy

Silent films were never truly silent, and the festival will highlight the unique role that live music played during the pre-talking pictures era.

The Cameraman (1928) – featuring live musical accompaniment by Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks

Buster Keaton’s hilarious comedy features “The Great Stoneface” as a wannabe newsreel cameraman who is lovesick for a young woman. Marceline Day and Harold Goodwin co-star. This presentation will feature musical accompaniment by the popular jazz-music ensemble Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks. The group, which was formed in 1976, is renowned for performing music of the 1920s and 1930s. Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks have appeared in venues around the country and contributed to soundtracks for The Aviator, Revolutionary Road, Public Enemies and HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, among others.

Discoveries

The festival will be packed with a number of outstanding films that are primed to be rediscovered by film fans. Each film has been painstakingly restored and features work by well-known film personalities.

Went the Day Well? (1942) – North American premiere of new 35mm restoration

Presented in partnership with Rialto Pictures
This newly rediscovered masterwork by director Alberto Cavalcanti stars Leslie Banks and Elizabeth Allan in the story of a British village dealing with an invasion of German paratroopers during World War II. Although told in flashback as if the war is already over, the film was made several years before the outcome of the war would be known. The outstanding script is based on a story by Graham Greene.

Hoop-La (1933) – World premiere of new restoration

Presented in partnership with the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
This pre-Code romantic drama marks the final feature film of the “It” girl, Clara Bow, as she plays a carnival hula dancer out to seduce the carnival owner’s son. Although Bow was originally unenthusiastic about making the film and was only doing it so she could finish her studio contract and retire, her excellent performance lifts the material above the ordinary. Preston Foster and Richard Cromwell co-star under the direction of Frank Lloyd.

Night Flight (1942) – Re-emergence of long unseen film

Unseen since it was pulled from circulation in 1942, this all-star aerial drama re-emerges at the TCM Classic Film Festival. John Barrymore stars as the head of a South American airline who drives his pilots, including Clark Gable, to the brink of death as they deliver necessary supplies to remote regions. The outstanding cast includes Helen Hayes, Robert Montgomery, Myrna Loy and Lionel Barrymore, appearing onscreen with his brother for the fifth and last time.

Dodsworth (1936) – 75th anniversary premiere of new print

Walter Huston and Ruth Chatterton star in William Wyler’s underappreciated adaptation of Sinclair Lewis’ novel about a retired industrialist who takes his wife to Europe, only to find a surprising new life. This remarkably mature film features an intelligent script by Sydney Howard and Oscar-winning interior decoration by Richard Day.

To whomever cooked this up: Well done. Kudos to D23 for getting involved with this. Even though I hate you all, because this is going to drive me absolutely nuts.

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