film festival tourism


CineCon: Los Angeles

Why Go: To enjoy rarely seen old Hollywood movies screened in a premiere venue attended by a congenial group of film buffs.

Festival Description

A festival especially for the Turner Classic Movie crowd. Small, friendly and easy to navigate. A special area for collectors contains a wealth of movie memorabilia.

Festival Website:

Timing: Five days over the Labor Day weekend.

Hollywood obscurities from the late silent and early sound period–with a few classic titles thrown in to appease new initiates. The quirky program is generated by the enthusiasm of the fest organizers. Many “B” movie offerings, serials and comic short subjects share the bill of fare with selected “A” list features from the major studios. All silent film screenings feature live piano accompaniment. Following the death of Bob Birchard in 2016, Stan Taffel took the reins, pledging to continue the tradition Birchard had established. Beginning in 2017, the fest began showing kinescopes from classic TV shows along with films.

Stan Taffel with a deal in film memorabilia

Special Guests

Stars and character actors from Hollywood’s golden age are warmly feted.

Stan Taffel interviewing director Delbert Mann

Audience: Older film fans, many of whom have formed a community around collecting memorabilia.

Screening Venues:

All films are screened in the elegantly restored Egyptian Theater in the heart of Hollywood.

The Egyptian Theater

The Egyptian Theater

Screening Schedule

Generally, only one film is shown at a time on the Egyptian’s single screen, which adds to the communal ambiance of this event. Beginning in 2017 the small Spielberg Theater downstairs at the Egyptian began to be used for special screenings.


Passes are $100 and can be purchased by mail or in person at the festival; day passes are also available. All passes will admit you to the dealers’ room at the Renaissance Hotel with its trove of memorabilia. A banquet honoring the year’s special guests adds an additional $85. No tickets are sold for individual films.

Program Notes
The festival puts out a simply-formatted program book with chatty, but knowledgeable descriptions of all films.

The Egyptian is located on Hollywood Boulevard in the heart of historic Hollywood. This is an area in the throes of an identity crisis with the new Hollywood and Highland Center (where the Oscars are held) jostling for attention amid shops selling sex and drug paraphernalia and buildings devoted to the study of Scientology.

The festival has an arrangement with the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel, a fine property and very convenient. Other possible accommodations are suggested on the AFI Fest webpage.
Renaissance Hollywood Hotel. 1755 N Highland Ave. (323) 856-1200.

Renaissance Hollywood Hotel

In the spirit of old time Hollywood you might want to try Musso and Frank or The Pig and Whistle, both of which are close by on Hollywood Boulevard. Other suggestions can be found on the AFI Fest webpage.

Musso and Frank Grill. 6667 Hollywood Boulevard. (323) 467-7788

Musso and Frank Grill on Hollywood Boulevard

Musso and Frank Grill on Hollywood Boulevard

The Pig and Whistle. 6714 Hollywood Boulevard  (323) 463-0000


See the AFI Fest Webpage for suggestions.

Mood Movies:
(Films set in Hollywood you might want to watch before you go)

Hollywood, the Unusual. This diverting short documentary can be found on the DVD of the 1928 Corinne Griffith comedy The Garden of Eden. The original opening of the Egyptian Theater highlights a tour through Hollywood as it looked in 1928–with all the town’s pop culture fantasy architecture in full flower.



Best Film I Saw: How’s About It? A clever, fast-moving 1943 musical-comedy short from Universal with a wisecrack-filled script by Mel Ronson and John Grey.

The Andrews Sisters in How’s About It


2008 Program Book

Unexpected Pleasure. Adolphe Menjou impersonating John Barrymore in Sing, Baby, Sing.

Adolphe Menjou in Sing, Baby, Sing


2009 Program book

Best Film I Saw: Easy Living. Preston Sturges’s good-humored satire of high finance gets an additional boost from Mitchell Leisen’s glossy, fast-paced direction. Edward Arnold and Jean Arthur star in a screwball classic.

Easy Living

Easy Living

Unexpected Pleasure: George Raft dancing in a puffy shirt in Rumba.

George Raft and Margo in Rumba


Best Films I Saw

  • Bombshell. A witty satire on Hollywood stardom from 1933 with a signature role for Jean Harlow.


  • King of Burlesque. Low culture meets high culture, a tried-and-true Hollywood formula, gets first-class treatment in this fast-paced 20th Century Fox comedy from 1936.

King of Burlesque

Unexpected Pleasures

  • Wilfred Buckland’s dramatic Lasky lighting during the escape scene in the 1916 Tennessee’s Pardner.

Tennessee’s Pardner

  • The many reaction shots of Jack Oakie in King of Burlesque.
  • Jules Furthman and  John Lee Mahin’s priceless script for Bombshell, especially Franchot Tone’s lovemaking rhetoric and the  pre-code exchange on unwed motherhood between Jean Harlow and Lee Tracy.


2011 Program Book

Best Films I Saw

  • Le Bonheur. Turgid and incoherent, but still a fascinating and ambitious attempt to examine the relationship between politics and art. French avant-garde pioneer  Marcel L’Herbier adapted Henri Bernstein’s play and draws spellbinding performances from stars Charles Boyer and Gaby Morley keep this 1934 drama percolating through even  the slowest scenes.

Charles Boyer in Le Bonheur

  • Practically Yours. Where Le Bonheur ponderous and confused, Practically Yours is slick and superficial. But mindless entertainment has its virtues. Norman Krasna’s sly, witty script gets first-class treatment from old pro director Mitchell Leisen. Delicious performances from stars Fred MacMurray and Claudette Colbert complete the package to deliver one of vintage Hollywood’s most polished romantic comedies.

Gil Lamb, Fred MacMurray and Claudette Colbert in Practically Yours

Unexpected Pleasures

  • Virtuoso comic turns from Gil Lamb as Claudette Colbert’s would-be suitor and Mikhail Rasumny as an erotically inspired photographer in Practically Yours.
  • Michel Simon’s outrageous turn as Gaby Morlay’s flagrantly gay manager in Le Bonheur.

Michel Simon and Gaby Morlay in Le Bonheur


Cinecon 2013 Poster

Best film I saw: Suddenly It’s Spring. Fred McMurray  at his comedic best in this 1947 screwball tale of remarriage. Smartly directed by Mitchell Leisen from a script by Claude Binyon. and P. J. Wolfson.

Suddenly It’s Spring

Unexpected Pleasures

  • Jane Withers’ fake temper tantrum in the wartime musical The Holy Terror.

  • The marauding lions in the 1920 short A Fresh Start.

Best Line: “Don’t get excited or you’ll swallow your gum.” (The Holy Terror).


Best Film I Saw: Human Cargo.  A snappy script by Jefferson Parker and Doris Malloy from  Kathleen Shepard’s novel about undocumented immigrants and the villains who prey on them. Alan Dwan directs in  suitably fast-paced fashion . Originally released in 1936.

Human Cargo

Unexpected Pleasures

  • Helen Troy’s hilarious telephone monologues and a hefty Rita Hayworth in an early screen appearance  in Human Cargo.

Rita Hayworth (as Margarita Cansino) in Human Cargo

  • An interior monologue by a horse in Kentucky Pride, a1925 rarity from director John Ford.

Kentucky Pride

  • Jane Withers impersonating a radio sob-sister in Always in Trouble.

Always in Trouble


Best Films I Saw

  • So This is Paris. An exquisitely rendered 1926 confection from comedy master Ernst Lubitsch.
  • Girl Shy: Harold Lloyd in top-notch form.

Unexpected Pleasures

  • The quintessential pie fight in Laurel and Hardy’s 1927 free-for-all Battle of the Century.
  • The striking decorative effects made possible using the 2-strip Technicolor process in 1930’s King of Jazz.
  • The inspired pairing of Jack Haley and Jack Oakie in 1935’s Sitting Pretty.
  • Anna May Wong’s dignified, competent persona in 1937’s Daughter of Shanghai.
  • The outrageous, hilarious coincidences in Vernon Dent’s screenplay for the 1935 Harry Langdon vehicle His Marriage Mix-Up.
  • Betty Grable playing a variation on Anita Loos’s amiable golddigger Lorelei Lee (called Lilly Blaine) in 1940’s Tin Pan Alley.


Festival Poster

Best Films I Saw

  • Steamboat Bill, Jr. Buster Keaton’s 1928 classic was revitalized with a rousing live accompaniment by the Famous Players Orchestra.

  • La Conga Nights. Hugh Herbert’s over-the-top antics, especially in drag, may not be to everyone’s taste, but I loved the high energy of this 1940 Universal programmer, especially the motormouth dialogue from supporting players Sally Payne and Eddie Quillan.

Hugh Herbert in La Conga Nights

  • Boys Will Be Boys. A delightful 1932 farce. George Stevens, at the beginning of a long career, keeps the action moving.

Boys Will Be Boys


2018 Poster

Best Film I Saw: Hog Wild. Hog Wild (James Parrott, 1930) Laurel and Hardy discover a seemingly endlessly array of ways to fall off a roof. The reaction shots alone are priceless.



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