Friday, December 06, 2013

Quick Preview of TCM in March

Turner Classic Movies has now posted its tentative schedule for March 2014!

The March Star of the Month is Oscar-winning actress Mary Astor, whose film career stretched from silents of the early '20s up to the mid '60s. Astor had over 150 film and TV credits, and TCM will be showing 24-hour marathons of Astor movies starting each Wednesday evening.

The Astor titles will range from classics like THE MALTESE FALCON (1941), THE PRISONER OF ZENDA (1937), and THE PALM BEACH STORY (1942) to silent films and obscure "B" movies. It should be a wonderful month focusing on the work of a marvelous actress.

Some of the month's interesting obscurities are Allan Dwan's ENCHANTED ISLAND (1958) with Dana Andrews and Jane Powell sharing an island with cannibals (?!); Dennis O'Keefe and Evelyn Keyes in ONE BIG AFFAIR (1952); Richard Conte and Richard Carlson searching for Nazi gold in BENGAZI (1955); and Tom Conway and Hillary Brooke in Andrew L. Stone's CONFIDENCE GIRL (1952).

I have to admit I'm a bit baffled by what seems like an unusually large number of newer movies airing on TCM in March, with many films from the late '60s on up to more recent years airing in the evening hours as part of theme nights. SHAMPOO (1974) and OVERBOARD (1987) are apparently part of a tribute to Goldie Hawn, for example, while MOSTLY MARTHA (2001) is part of a Friday Night Spotlight series on food in the movies.

March will also feature tributes to Ruth Roman, Louis Wolheim, John Garfield, Gina Lollobrigida, Red Skelton, Betty Compson, Peter Sellers, David Lean, Eva Marie Saint, and William Powell. That's quite a diverse group! There's a primetime lineup devoted to Gene Kelly in dramatic films, a day of adventure movies set in Africa, a night of sailor movies, and there's even a day of movies about radio.

I'll be sharing information about the March schedule in more detail at the end of February.

The current Star of the Month is Fred Astaire, with Joan Crawford coming in January and 31 Days of Oscar in February.

Update: For more detailed information on TCM in March 2014, please visit TCM in March: Highlights and TCM Star of the Month: Mary Astor.


Blogger Kevin Deany said...

Thanks for providing that link. Some intriguing titles scheduled, especially lots of early RKO titles.

My jaw dropped when I saw they have the silent film "The Cossacks" scheduled for Sunday, March 9. Never available on home video and pretty sure its a TCM premiere, if not a television premiere. Since I just finished reading Eve Golden's marvelous John Gilbert biography, I'm very interested in seeing this. I hope they show it as scheduled.

8:32 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Happy to have been able to share it, Kevin! Definitely lots of great RKO on the schedule in March.

Thanks for sharing the interesting info on THE COSSACKS!

Best wishes,

12:02 AM  
Blogger Jacqueline T. Lynch said...

"I have to admit I'm a bit baffled by what seems like an unusually large number of newer movies airing on TCM in March, with many films from the late '60s on up to more recent years airing in the evening hours as part of theme nights."

I dislike seeing "newer" movies on TCM. When they come up, I have the sinking feeling TCM will go the way of AMC.

It is interesting that we have among film fans an unsettled discussion about what constitutes "classic". Some think it should mean a standard of excellence, others that it should only mean that it's old, but how old? I wonder if we should start dividing up eras and label the Classic era before 1960 (even for lousy films) in the same way we would call an era in pre-history Pleistocene, or the Iron Age versus the Bronze Age. Such labels do not infer greatness or even preference, but just a moment in time.

6:36 AM  
Blogger Blake Lucas said...

Jacqueline's comment is a thoughtful one.

I would suggest that the word for old Hollywood, Studio era moviemaking should not be "classic" but "classical"--meaning that it's a classical style that was being practiced. For me it goes to the early 60s, the late 60s beginning a more modern "post-classical" cinema and feels very different, while the years of say 1963-1966 are arguably transitional.

The word "classic" to describe a film might best be saved for any film we feel has earned it, meaning we believe it will never be stale and will be an ageless work of art. Maybe not every old movie we enjoy can really be described that way, tempting though it sometimes is.

I'm an unrepentant classicist (meaning that I prefer the classical style of older movies) even though I like my share of more modern movies (though these tend far less than in the studio era to be American) and share that trepidation about TCM showing "newer movies" but I especially feel that way because some of the choices seem so indiscriminate. We should probably acknowledge that it's fifty years since the classical era ended and there's just too much filmmaking since for them to simply ignore all of it.

Soi if I felt they were making really judicious choices with the later ones, I would be more comfortable about it.

1:40 PM  

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