TCM

What’s on TCM: August 2016

Jean Harlow Swimming

Happy August, everyone!  Hope you’re all having a nice summer. August is always a great month on TCM thanks to their annual Summer Under the Stars programming. I’ve decided to skip my usual Blogging Under the Stars event this year since I feel like it just wouldn’t fit into my schedule this time around, but I’ll hopefully still be able to see lots of new-to-me movies during this year’s schedule.

First of all, if you’re a big fan of pre-code cinema, there’s a lot for you to look forward to in August. Stars like Fay Wray, Robert Montgomery, Constance Cummings, Ruby Keeler, and Jean Harlow all have days this month so it’s actually a pretty pre-code heavy lineup this year. (Not that I’m complaining!)

Aside from those stars, I’m very excited to see stars like Janet Gaynor, Anne Baxter, and Jean Arthur featured in this year’s schedule.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at this year’s Summer Under the Stars schedule.

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What’s on TCM: July 2016

Olivia de Havilland

Happy July, everyone! Hope everyone is having a nice summer so far. But while it’s tempting to go out and enjoy the nice weather this time of year, TCM has some pretty convincing reasons to stay inside and watch movies.

First of all, in honor of her 100th birthday, Olivia de Havilland is July’s Star of the Month! Since I’m a big fan of hers, I’m certainly looking forward to being able to see several of her movies every Friday night this month.

If you’re a fan of Westerns, you’re going to absolutely love this month’s schedule. TCM is doing a spotlight called “Shane (Plus A Hundred More Great Westerns),” so every Tuesday and Wednesday this month, it’s nothing but Westerns all day long. Westerns aren’t one of my favorite genres, but even I can find a few things to look forward to in that schedule.

Throughout the month, TCM will be doing a series highlighting some of the most definitive films to come out of the 1970s. And last, but certainly not least, there will be a two night spotlight on classic films made by African-American filmmakers, which should be fantastic. Many of the films in that series have never been shown on the channel before.

Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the rest of the schedule.

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Exploring the TCM Backlot

TCM Backlot

Right as the 2016 TCM Film Festival was about to kick off, TCM announced two major projects they have been working on. The first of which was FilmStruck, a new film streaming service that will include films from the Criterion Collection, Kino, and Milestone, which is expected to launch this fall. Secondly, there was the TCM Backlot, a new fan club for the network. I’m very excited for FilmStruck and I already look forward to writing a post about it once I’ve had a chance to check it out. However, TCM was kind enough to give those of us who had media credentials to the festival a chance to check out TCM Backlot.

By far, one of the coolest things about TCM Backlot is its archive of video content. I know a lot of TCM viewers are huge fans of the promo spots, introductions, and other video content produced by the channel, so being able to see some of these gems that haven’t aired on the channel in decades is a real delight. (Did you know TCM once had a contest where you could win Tony Curtis for a day?) Many videos available on there date from the very earliest days of the channel, including the very first TCM Remembers tribute.

Some of the things currently in the Backlot’s video archive are things that never actually aired on the channel, like introductions for movies that were Fathom event screenings; career tribute montages for people like Gina Lollobrigida, Elliott Gould, Max Von Sydow, Kirk Douglas, and Albert Maysles that were only shown at the TCM Film Fest; and unseen interview footage with stars like Jane Russell and Tony Curtis. New videos have been added pretty consistently so far, so this part of it is already shaping up to be a real treasure trove of footage.

TCM Backlot members also have a chance to influence upcoming TCM programming and other TCM-related things. With the first poll they had up, members could vote to determine two stars who would be featured during this year’s Summer Under the Stars lineup. (We had the chance to choose between Edward G. Robinson or James Cagney and Ava Gardner and Hedy Lamarr, with Robinson and Lamarr being the two winners.) A new poll is currently up for members to choose which picture of Gene Hackman they would like to see on the cover of the September Now Playing guide.

Joining the TCM Backlot also gives you the chance to enter exclusive contests, attend special events at other film-related events like the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, discounts at the TCM store, a digital copy of the Now Playing Guide, behind the scenes content, and more.

Whether or not the $87 annual membership fee is worthwhile, it all really comes down to what you want to get out of it. If you’re primarily interested in the video content, I can totally understand how you might think it would be a little expensive. But if you’re a fan who attends the TCM Cruise or the TCM Film Festival, becoming a Backlot member could be very worthwhile. If you go to the festival with either a Palace Pass or a Classic Pass, the two lowest level passes, your TCM Backlot membership would give you the chance to enjoy some nice extra perks and exclusive events during the festival without having to pay as much as you would for one of the higher level passes.

If you don’t attend either the festival or the cruise, but go to other film festivals around the country or live in the areas of Los Angeles, New York, or Atlanta, you might still be able to attend some of the events for members. It remains to be seen where a lot of these Backlot member exclusive events are going to be held, but I have a feeling a lot of them will be in those areas. However, I’d be thrilled if they organized events for fans who live in other areas of the country.

What’s on TCM: June 2016

Marie DresslerHappy June, everyone! Now that I think I’ve finally fully recovered from TCMFF, I have plenty of things to look forward to on TCM. June looks like it’s going to be right up my alley for a lot of reasons. First of all, there’s a Billy  Wilder tribute every Friday night this month. I adore Billy Wilder, so I know what I’ll be spending my Friday nights. The wonderful Marie Dressler is the Star of the Month so lots of her movies will be playing every Monday night. On both Wednesday and Thursday nights, TCM will be doing a spotlight on films that were adaptations of stage plays. Although not every movie shown during this series will be a musical, there are plenty of musicals included in there, so I’m looking forward to that.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the highlights of TCM’s June schedule!

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What’s on TCM: May 2016

Robert Ryan

Happy May, everyone! I’m going to keep this introduction short since (at the time of writing this) I have to catch my flight to TCMFF very soon.

Robert Ryan is May’s Star of the Month and will be featured every Friday night this month. If you enjoyed last month’s series on Weimar-era German cinema, you may also be interested in the three-night series called Cinema’s Exiles: From Hitler to Hollywood coming up on May 2-4. Later in the month, there’s TCM’s annual Memorial Day weekend war movie marathon. There will also be a spotlight on movies produced at American International Pictures (AIP), which should be really fun.

Now, on to the rest of the schedule!

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My Picks for TCMFF 2016

TCM Film Festival 2016

The 2016 TCM Classic Film Festival is just a little over a week away, and like many other attendees, I’ve been poring over the schedule for the past week trying to figure out what, exactly, I want to attend this year.

This will be my third year attending and this year’s schedule was, by far, the most difficult for me to decide on. Every year, there are always lots of amazing things happening at any given time, but this is the first time where there were so many blocks of time where I was literally interested in everything.

With so many hard choices to make, here are a few ways I like to narrow down my options:

  • I skip movies that I’ve been to screenings of recently or that I know will be coming up at theaters back home
  • I try to prioritize unique experiences that I’ll be unlikely to have at home
  • Silents and foreign films have an edge since I typically have fewer chances to go to screenings of those at home
  • If torn between a lesser-known movie and one that’s more famous, I’ll try to go with the lesser-known one
  • Whether or not I’ll have time to make it to the next movie/event
  • Is there a special guest I’m particularly interested in seeing?

As my schedule currently stands, I’m a little light on the silents this year, but I’m pretty darn happy with it. It looks like I’ll have a nice mix of old favorites and new-to-me movies, plus I’ll have the chance to attend some pretty awesome events.

Before I break my choices down day-by-day, here are my two big must-see events of the festival: The Manchurian Candidate introduced by Angela Lansbury and Band of Outsiders introduced by Anna Karina. I love The Manchurian Candidate and Lansbury is absolutely brilliant in it, so I was thrilled to hear this was on the schedule. I’ve never seen Band of Outsiders, but I am a big fan of 1960s French cinema and I have fairly few chances to see foreign films on the big screen at home, let alone see an icon from that era/genre in person. Needless to say, I’m hugely excited for that one.

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What’s on TCM: April 2016

Judy Garland

Happy April, everyone! There is a fantastic month of movies ahead on TCM to look forward to, so let’s get started.

First of all, we have Judy Garland as Star of the Month. Her movies will be paying every Friday night in April. There’s also a spotlight on John, Lionel, and Ethel Barrymore with a Best of the Barrymores spotlight every Monday night. Between those two movies, there’s a lot of great stuff to look forward to.

I’m also very excited about the From Caligari to Hitler spotlight on films from Germany’s Weimar era, which will be running on Wednesday nights starting April 13th. Since I’m a huge fan of many movies from this era such as Metropolis, Diary of a Lost Girl, The Blue Angel, and M, I’m so looking forward to this. Plus there are a few movies in that schedule that I’ve never seen before, but have been wanting to see for a long time. Should be great.

Last, but certainly not least, there’s a night of Sophia Loren coming up on April 28th. This night’s schedule includes the premiere of an interview she taped at the 2015 TCM Film Festival. I had the privilege of being able to attend the taping of this interview and I can safely say you’re in for a real treat. Since Robert Osborne was unable to attend the festival last year, Loren’s son Edoardo Ponti filled in for him, making this a totally unique interview. They’ll also be playing Human Voice, which is a short film she starred in in 2014. Her performance is absolutely incredible in it; I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Without further ado, let’s get on to the rest of the schedule!

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