Clarence Brown Film Festival underway

Mary Pom ClaiborneFeature

History is on our minds this weekend. We’re excited to honor Clarence Brown with his very own film festival. Ironically, this Festival kicks off 50 years after the first local Clarence Brown Film Festival was held in Knoxville in 1973. As they say, history has a way of repeating itself. So here we are!

The Festival starts today (8/16/23) in Happy Holler with a walking tour of Clarence Brown’s childhood neighborhood, and runs through Sunday, August 20, ending with a screening of Rudolf Valentino in The Eagle at the Tennessee Theatre.

Whether you’re a film buff or love learning about local legends and history, you’re in for a treat. This week is packed with tours, talks, and of course, screenings. Make your plans as there’s a lot going on. It’s all free and open to the public. See the schedule of events below.

Clarence Brown with the MGM lion

History Hootenanny 

Film in general is lending to the theme of the History Hootenanny being held at the East Tennessee History Center on Saturday. Everyone is invited to join us for a “hoot of a good time” at a showcase of the best of the East Tennessee History Center and partners at this open house. Guests can enjoy live music, children’s activities, a used local history book sale, Knoxville walking tours, shuttles to the Historic House Museums of Knoxville, genealogy workshops and more!

History Hootenanny is a free, public history event organized in partnership by the East Tennessee Historical Society and Knox County Public Library

When streetcars were new

In more history news, the latest addition to the McClung Collection’s online digital collection is a 183-page photograph album of images by local photographer Jim Thompson, chronicling the 1904-1907 installation of streetcar tracks throughout Knoxville and Knox County. On the back of each photograph is written an identification of the job number, date and location for each photo.

The images provide a fascinating look at neighborhoods such as Lonsdale, Fort Sanders, Parkridge, South Knoxville and Downtown, offering views not often seen in early 20th century photographs. The pages are numbered based on the original order of the album when it was donated to the McClung Collection. Each page has been scanned and the individual photograph identifications added to each page record.

The album can be viewed online. It nicely complements the Joe Carroll Bell Streetcar Collection at McClung.

Schedule for the Clarence Brown Film Festival 

The Clarence Brown Film Festival has finally arrived, and we are giddy. Whether you’re a film buff or love learning about local legends and history, you’re in for a treat. This week is packed with tours, talks, and of course, screenings.



Clarence Brown: Hollywood Great | Gwenda Young, Aug 18 | 4 | UT Hodges Auditorium | Parking at White Ave Garage

Q& A and Book Signing with Claude Jarman Jr. and Gwenda Young following The Yearling | Aug 19 | 2 | Tennessee Theatre

Panel Discussion on Intruder in the Dust with Bob Booker and Claude Jarman Jr., moderated by Chuck Maland | Aug 20 | 1:30 | Tennessee Theatre



Mary Pom Claiborne is assistant director for marketing, communications and development for Knox County Public Library

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