Turner Classic Movies

Here’s the good, the bad and the schlocky

Yes, movies keep trying to be bigger and better.
But it’s time to celebrate the opposite – ones that are brash and bizarre and, at times, really bad.
On Friday night (June 16), Turner Classic Movies has a sort of schlockfest, from “Beach Blanket Bingo” (shown here) and “Barbarella” (8 and 9:45 p.m. ET) to the notorious “Plan 9 From Outer Space,” at 5:45 a.m.
All of them fit the loose category of “camp.” In a short film on its website, TCM describes camp as when “artifice and exaggeration transcends taste” and when it has “style over substance,” a place where “pretentiousness and virtue are left behind.” Read more…

Marathon will offer decades of Lansbury

Long before Angela Lansbury solved murders on TV, she had a vibrant movie career.
That started 40 years before “Murder, She Wrote,” when the teen-aged Lansbury drew an Academy Award nomination for “Gasligh.” (show here, behind Oscar-winner Ingrid Bergman. She would get another nomination the next year (for “The Picture of Dorian Gray”) and another 17 years later, for her chilling maternity in “The Manchurian Candidate.”
Now all three films are part of a 24-hour tribute to Lansbury that Turner Classic Movies has set for Nov. 21. She died Tuesday, five days shy of her 97th birthday; see separate commetary here. Read more…

Stockwell’s child-star years get TCM focus

To many TV viewers, Dean Stockwell was the actor who filled catchy supporting roles in “Quantum Leap” and beyond.
But Stockwell was also a child star. On Nov. 22, a Turner Classic Movies marathon will have seven films he made before he was a teen-ager, including “Kim” (show here with Errol Flynn) and “The Secret Garden”; most of them were dead-serious, many had crying scenes.
Stockwell died Sunday (Nov. 7) at 85, six years after he had a stroke and retired from acting. By then, people knew him as a supporting actor on “Quantum Leap” (getting four Emmy nominations), “JAG” and “Battlestar Galactica.” Read more…

Summer movies: silly, sunny, sometimes splendid

For filmmakers, summer has always been a favorite time.
It has the right backdrops – sun and surf and such; it also has people in shorts and swimwear.
But there’s more to it than that. It’s the time when characters “get out of their comfort zone,” said John Malahy, author of the new “Summer Movies.”
His book outlines 30 films, from the serious to the silly, from the highly regarded “Jaws” to … well, “Beach Blanket Bingo” (shown here). Some trends arise. Read more…

Festival stuffs our TV’s with classic films

For movie buffs – deprived of the cinema experience for a year – there’s a tad of good news:
Now we can all catch the Classic Film Festival. It will start with the 1961 “West Side Story” (shown here) at 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT) Thursday and will sprawl across four days (May 6-9), two networks (Turner Classic Movies and HBO Max) and 95 years.
For a decade, the festival was just for people who could get to Los Angeles. In classic theaters, it showed great movies, interviewing some of the stars and filmmakers. Then came the COVID impact: Read more…

A de Havilland marathon captures decades of classics

For any Hollywood star, this may be a record: After making her most famous film, Olivia de Havilland lived another 81 years.
She was 23 when she co-starred in “Gone With the Wind” (1939) as sweet-spirited Melanie (shown here), getting an Academy Award nomination; she was 104 when she died July 26.
This month, highlights of her career will rerun on Turner Class Movies. It will be a 24-hour package, starting at 6 a.m. Aug. 23, but for many people it will be something to record and catch later. Read more…

Easter TV: “Superstar,” gospel, epics and more

Our TV sets have a new function this weekend: They can be portals to a virtual Easter.
Other years have had plenty of Easter shows, but they didn’t seem as necessary. People went to church and to family gatherings and more.
This year, however, many churches are closed, sending their services online. TV has a bigger role.
The broadcast networks do a little. ABC has already had its annual “Ten Commandments”; NBC came up with a late addition: At 7 p.m. Sunday, it will rerun its “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert,” an ambitious production with John Legend, Sara Bareilles, Alice Cooper and lots of Broadway stars. Read more…

D-Day on TV: Here’s a cable guide

In “Saving Private Ryan” (shown here), D-Day filled 21 minutes; in “The Longest Day,” it filled three hours.Still, these movies – separated by 36 years and huge leaps in cinema – had the same effect: They showed the horror and triumph of the day that marked the beginning of the end of Europe’s nightmare.As Thursday’s milestone — the 75th anniversary of D-Day – nears, we can see both on cable. Here’s a sampling: Read more…