Posted on 20 October 2012 by Rich Drees
Jerry Beck is one of the leading animation historians working today. If you’ve ever seen him speak on the subject or read any of his books, you know that his depth of knowledge is only matched by his love for the art form. Beck will be co-hosting an evening of classic animation on Turner Classic Movies tomorrow evening starting at eight o’clock and judging from the lineup, I think it is something that you’ll want to check out even if you aren’t a big animation fan.
Beck and perennial TCM host Robert Osborne will be presenting and discussing such classics as Fleischer Studios only two feature length films, Gullivers Travels (8 pm Eastern) and Mr. Bug Goes To Town (9:30 pm Eastern), a selection UPA’s Jolly Frolics shorts (11 pm Eastern), some early silent animated shorts (midnight Eastern) and the 1926 German feature The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1 am Eastern). The last one I have not seen, but judging by the still below, I can’t imagine it being anything less than stunning to look at.
It’s nice to see classic animation getting its due on television. Having grown up in a time when so much of the animation output of Hollywood’s Golden Age was readily available as part of many television stations’ programming, I find it disheartening that it is so rarely presented now, even on cable outlets that purport to be geared towards animation. (Yes, Cartoon Network, I’m looking at you.)
Posted on 17 July 2012 by Rich Drees
Although the majority of Andy Griffith’s work was in television, his early career saw some very memorable film performances. To mark the actor’s recent passing and commemorate those early performances, Turner Classic Movies will be devoting tomorrow evening’s programming to presenting them. The following is their announced schedule (all times Eastern):
8 p.m. – A Face in the Crowd (1957)
10:15 p.m. – No Time for Sergeants (1958)
12:30 a.m. – Hearts of the West (1975)
2:15 a.m. – Onionhead (1958)
If you haven’t seen any of these films, I would suggest sitting down with them tomorrow or programming your DVR until you can find the time to do so. His performances range far beyond the simple but wise country sheriff of The Andy Griffith Show or the lawyer of Matlock.
Posted on 08 October 2010 by Rich Drees
Turner Classic Movies will be honoring the career of the recently passed Tony Curtis this Sunday with a 24-hour, 12 film marathon of the actor’s work.
“Tony Curtis has been one of TCM’s most supportive and best friends from the time he joined us for Private Screenings to his participation in our TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood this past April,” stated TCM host Robert Osborne in a press release. “We’ll miss him terribly as an actor, as a buoyant personality and especially as a close pal who made the world seem a much friendlier, more optimistic place to be.”
The day’s schedule of films is as follows-
6 a.m. Beachhead (1954) – with Frank Lovejoy and Mary Murphy
7:45 a.m. Kings Go Forth (1958) – with Frank Sinatra and Natalie Wood
9:45 a.m. The Vikings (1958) – with Kirk Douglas, Ernest Borgnine and Janet Leigh
11:45 a.m. Operation Petticoat (1959) – with Cary Grant and Dina Merrill
2 p.m. Who Was That Lady? (1960) – with Janet Leigh and Dean Martin
4:15 p.m. Sex and the Single Girl (1964) – with Natalie Wood, Lauren Bacall and Henry Fonda
6:15 p.m. You Can’t Win ‘Em All (1970) – with Charles Bronson and Michèle Mercier
8 p.m. Sweet Smell of Success (1957) – with Burt Lancaster and Martin Milner
9:45 p.m. The Defiant Ones (1958) – with Sidney Poitier and Theodore Bikel
11:30 p.m. Trapeze (1956) – with Burt Lancaster and Gina Lollobrigida
1:30 a.m. The Great Race (1965) – with Jack Lemmon and Natalie Wood
4:15 a.m. Don’t Make Waves (1967) -with Claudia Cardinale and Sharon Tate
Curtis fans should take special note of You Can’t Win `Em All and Don’t Make Waves – two of his films currently unavailable on DVD. Set your DVRs accordingly.
Posted on 03 September 2010 by John Gibbon
Long before Jon Stewart’s success in dramatizing the news, the American public was captivated by The March of Time. Launched on radio in 1931 after Time Inc’s Roy E. Larsen hired actors to play up news items, The March of Time made the brash move to filmed newsreels in 1934. Larsen was confident he’d be reaching a larger audience through film, and he hired the highly innovative Louis de Rochemont to use his dramatic film techniques to depict current events. What Larsen and Rochemont succeeded in doing was to ‘present a new kind of pictorial journalism.’
The Museum of Modern Art, in conjunction with HBO Archives and Turner Classic Movies, is celebrating 75 years of this groundbreaking news series by screening nine programs featuring news-worthy tropes like Beauty and Fashion, A World at War, and American Culture. (You can catch Turner Classic Movies’ special four-hour marathon this Sunday starting at 8pm EST.)
The series officially ran from 1935 to 1951 and in its heyday was seen by more than 20 million moviegoers each month. The March of Time mesmerized audiences with a fast-paced rhythmic style coupled with a deep-voiced narrative provided by Westbrook Van Voorhis. The series was unafraid to examine light topics like rising dog ownership, or hard-edged news like the human frailties of the Great Depression. For example, an early 1937 episode depicts the “Birth of Swing,” but a later episode talks about dogs, the Dust Bowl and Poland at war. War became a very profitable topic for De Rochemont and his crews, but it wasn’t always grim. 1943’s “Show Business at War” portrayed a cavalcade of celebrities doing their part for the war effort – Louis Armstrong performing for troops to Walt Disney directing Army and Navy instructional films.
However, no film in The March of Time series garnered more criticism than the profoundly controversial episode, “Inside Nazi Germany” from 1938. Theaters in New York banned the film, believing the film was pro-Nazi; other theaters across the country banned it for being too anti-Nazi. But many agreed that the film offered a fairly true portrayal of the Nazi Party and its escalating impact on the world for no could’ve expected that an American film crew would expose the ‘real’ Adolf Hitler or Nazi fanaticism. It gave Americans a foreshadowing, a harrowing look at was imminently coming. Some consider the film to be responsible for swaying America’s acceptance of the war. In fact, it was this single piece of film which affected how many would later approach motion picture news when detailing the events of the Second World War. “Inside Nazi Germany” was declared ‘culturally significant’ by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation by the National Film Registry in 1993.
The March of Time may have succumbed to rise of television in 1951, but it left an indelible mark on documentary filmmaking and the news broadcasting process. The series defined the worldview of Time magazine, even if at times it was ‘fakery in allegiance to the truth’ in order to reach the conscience of the American people. The Museum of Modern Art’s special presentations scheduled from now through September 10th remind us that history, like time, marches on.
“Inside Nazi Germany” and “Show Business at War” can be seen at MoMA or on TCM. MoMA’s scheduled programs can be viewed here and TCM scheduled can be seen here.
Posted on 13 April 2009 by Rich Drees
Fifteen years ago today, April 14, Turner Classic Movies went on the air, with host Robert Osborne introducing their very first movie to screen- Gone With The Wind. An appropriate choice, not only for its status as one of the greatest classics in the MGM library which is the source for most of the channel’s programming, but for the fact that the channel is based in Atlanta, along with owner Ted Turner’s other cable operations.
Over the past decade and a half, TCM has not only continued to present a wide variety of classics and not-so-classics from Hollywood’s century of output, but has also helped to finance film restoration projects and produced many hours of documentaries chronicling film history. The channel has not only enthusiastically shared much of Hollywood’s rich history with viewers, but has helped to preserve it as well.
To celebrate here, I thought I would share a scan of a card that I found in a film book that I purchased back right before the channel was due to launch. If you click on the reverse of the card below, you’ll be able to read what the channel was promising to deliver. And unlike much advertising, TCM really did come through with what it promised.
Here’s a toast to the last 15 years and best wishes for the next 15 years. And the 15 years after that. And then the next 15 years…
Posted on 16 March 2009 by Rich Drees
Tomorrow, Tuesday the 17th, Turner Classic Movies is showing the longer, roadshow version of the classic 1960 John Wayne film The Alamo at 2:15pm.
The Alamo was a two decade labor of love for Wayne, who would ultimately stake a large portion of the production budget out of his own pocket and slide into the director’s chair to ensure that the story about the most famous battle of the Mexican-American War got told.
The 202-minute, roadshow version of The Alamo only played a small number of engagements when it was released in 1960. United Artists order Wayne to have the film trimmed by half an hour in order to accommodate more screenings per day in its regular release. For some reason, the studio then destroyed all of the cut footage from the circulating prints, as well as the original negative!
Wayne fans long considered the longer version lost to the mists of history, until 1990 when Canadian fan Bob Bryden remembered that he had seen the full length version at a sparsely attended screening in Toronto a decade earlier. Some calls and a little bit of detective work and it was confirmed that a print of the longer version did indeed exist.
While MGM used the newly discovered print to strike a special laserdisc and VHS release for home video, they mismanaged the storage of the print. Today, the elements in the Toronto print have deteriorated to the point where they would be unusable for a new digital transfer for DVD or Hi-Def without major restoration work, which MGM doesn’t seem that interested in investing in.
Oddly enough, while it does list the 202 minute run time, TCM’s website doesn’t make any other mention that this is the longer version. If there is a John Wayne fan in your life, you will definitely want to give them a heads-up for this. Personally, this will be one film that I will want to transfer from the DVR to a more permanent storage medium.
The Alamo is running as part of an all-day marathon of Wayne films, starting at 6 am with 1934′s Sagebrush Trail and ending with The Quiet Man (What else do expect them to run on St. Patrick’s Day?) at 8 pm.
Posted on 11 February 2009 by John Gibbon
Ah crud!!! You know, I promised I wouldn’t allow myself to get behind on my schooling this semester. And then sure enough, I got swallowed up in textbooks and caught under a growing mountain of papers, almost losing touch with the outside world. Eh, I’d been so busy I hadn’t noticed a new school of thought and academics had been introduced on February 1st.
Indeed, Turner Classic Movies has once again caught the attentions of this aspiring English teacher with its annual “31 Days of Oscar” programming. This year TCM honors our cinematic knowledge using the storytelling prowess of Hollywood to motivate, inspire and educate this month. Oscar -winning and Oscar -nominated films have been carefully organized into a university curriculum boasting interesting classes from departments like Zoology (2/11), Criminology (2/16), Political Science (2/27), and Psychology (3/1). “Dr.” Robert Osborne, the esteemed Dean of Cinema, playfully suggests, “In case you wonder why we call our Academy Award salute ’31 Days of Oscar’ and extend it three days past the 28 days of February, no college degree is required to learn the reason.” Traditionally, the Oscars ran in March and TCM juxtapose its schedule so it could recognize the pageantry of past Academy Award winners. When the Academy revamped its Academy Award focus in 2004 and made February the new time to honor the best films of the year, TCM gladly followed. Additionally, TCM has been no stranger to instructive programming. This year, the astute Professor Osborne will be instructing fervent students each night on the lore of Oscar as well as why certain people received Oscar distinction.
In today’s cultural upbringing, it might be hard to believe movies can be more meaningful than just explosions and Brad Pitt’s hotness quotient. Mm, but it doesn’t take a genius to understand that most film buffs not only regard films as highly entertaining, but also enjoy the escapism a movie provides. However, many also realize that film is undeniably a powerful and significant cultural medium with the ability to educate even the most reluctant “students”. Films are an amusing and engaging way to teach everything from history to science to architecture. Just imagine using Grand Hotel (1932) to teach the principles of modern architecture, or highlighting works from Woody Allen to draw thematic connections to the works of Shakespeare, or showing To Kill a Mockingbird not only to convey the importance of social prejudice, but also to emphasize literary point of view. Films can stir each of us by focusing on relevant subjects we might not have considered and provide knowledge in a sometimes unique and revealing manner. Film, just like school subjects, can be approached in numerous ways in order to gain a new focus and keep learning interesting.
TCM’s Annual 31 DAYS OF OSCAR Film Festival will take viewers to TCM University for a cinematic education in more than 90 different subjects. Would you believe some of these course loads? And just think, courses can be studied guilt-free and without worry of paying back student loans for the next twenty years.
Posted on 19 January 2009 by Rich Drees
For years, cable outlet Turner Classic Movies has made it a mission to bring not only popular vintage films to television audiences but also presenting lesser-remembered output from the Golden Age of Hollywood. Now, TCM looks to be expanding that second part of that mandate to home video as well.
A few months back the cable outlet quietly introduced their DVD “Vault Collection” in the form of six vintage RKO titles that had been rediscovered and restored. The films – A Man To Remember (1938), Double Harness (1933), Living On Love (1937), One Man’s Journey (1933), Rafter Romance (1933) and Stingaree (1934) – had been out of circulation for nearly 50 years, due to their rights being tied to the estate of producer Marion C. Cooper.
And according to the NY Post’s Movies Blog, they are currently in talks with various studios to bring to DVD older titles that their owners don’t feel will be profitable enough to be worth the trouble. Among the studios that TCM is talking to are Warner Home Video (which controls the rights to the vast Turner Entertainment library, including pre-1948 Warner, pre-1986 MGM and the bulk of the RKO titles), Universal (which also controls hundreds of long-unseen 1929-1948 Paramount titles), Sony and MGM.
“We decided our brand can stand for classic movies on all fronts, not just on TV. And we’re looking at new ways to give fans access to these films, many of which have never been available on video’,” explains TCM exec Molly Battin. Although no specific titles were announced, it was hinted that collections featuring writer Robert Benchley’s short films, the Dogsville series of comedy shorts and the series of shorts were golfing legend Bobby Jones teaches golfing tips to stars of the day are all being considered.
Posted on 23 December 2008 by Rich Drees
Turner Classic Movies will be paying tribute to Van Johnson this evening by preempting its previously scheduled films to present five of the actor’s films.
The schedule is as follows-
8:00 PM- In the Good Old Summertime
9:45 PM- A Guy Named Joe
12:30 AM- Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo
2:30 AM- The Last Time I Saw Paris
4:30 AM- Thrill of a Romance
Johnson passed away earlier this month December 12th in Nyack, NY at the age of 92.
Posted on 10 October 2008 by Rich Drees
Turner Classic Movies will be dedicating a 24-hour block of programming to the films of Paul Newman this Sunday, starting at 6am. Newman passed away September 26th at the age of 83.
The lineup, see below, is an incredible sampling of Newman’s best roles, his work with directors like Alfred Hitchcock (Torn Curtain) and Otto Preminger (Exodus) as well as his own directorial debut (Rachel, Rachel).
6 am- The Rack (1956)
8 am- Until They Sail (1957)
10 am- Torn Curtain (1966)
12:15 pm- Exodus (1960)
3:45pm- Sweet Bird Of Youth (1962)
6pm- Hud (1963)
8pm- Somebody Up There Likes Me (1958)
10pm- Cool Hand Luke (1967)
12:15am- Cat On A Hot Tin Roof (1958)
2:15am- Rachel, Rachel (1968)
4am- The Outrage (1964)