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Kyle Kersten was a true friend of TCM. One of the first and most active participants of the Message Boards, “Kyle in Hollywood” (aka, hlywdkjk) demonstrated a depth of knowledge and largesse of spirit that made him one of the most popular and respected voices in these forums. This thread is a living memorial to his life and love of movies, which remain with us still.

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Why aren't any Cecil B. DeMille films shown as Essentials?


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#1 TopBilled

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 07:40 PM

Since creating this thread, I decided to rewrite the signature that appears below all my posts. It questions why we see so few DeMille films. And hopefully, the TCM programmers will see it and take note. :)


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#2 TopBilled

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Posted 28 August 2015 - 09:53 PM

You make some good points to which I want to respond individually:

Thanks Barton.

 

THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH would probably qualify as an Essential according to TCM's definition of the term. But I was really thinking of DeMille's classics from the 30s. I would say that CLEOPATRA is most definitely an Essential, and the original version of THE BUCCANEER starring Fredric March is also arguably an Essential. 

 

I like REAP THE WILD WIND, but am not sure if it is an Essential. SAMSON AND DELILAH, however, could very well be considered an Essential. 


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#3 Barton_Keyes

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Posted 28 August 2015 - 09:34 PM

You make some good points to which I want to respond individually:

I think they have a long-term agreement with Sony, and my suspicion is that Sony is actually a silent partner. If you look all the way back to 1994, the year TCM started, Glenn Ford was a Star of the Month, which meant a lot of Columbia picture classics were in rotation right from the beginning. So I don't count Columbia as being really outside the TCM library.

 

You may be right about this. It's also worth noting that IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT, a Columbia film, was aired on TCM's very first night of operations, April 14, 1994.

 

I do count Republic, Paramount and Universal as being outside the TCM library.

 

Yes, these studios' films are absolutely outside the TCM library as a general rule. Having said that, THE QUIET MAN is really the only film Republic ever produced that qualifies as 'Essential', to my way of thinking.

 

But TCM does pick things like SUNSET BOULEVARD and ROMAN HOLIDAY as their go-to Paramount titles, to make it seem like they are featuring films from that outside library. But if you notice, usually these titles are the ones that do not get repeated during the year-long Essentials season. I think SUNSET BOULEVARD is only scheduled once. And so is ROMAN HOLIDAY. Meanwhile, the Universal hit TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, is also only scheduled one time.

 

ROMAN HOLIDAY is only airing once as an Essential this year, but it does crop up on other occasions. The film aired last August during Audrey Hepburn's SUTS day for example. And the pre-1949 Paramount films are primarily controlled by Universal at present. Of all the major Hollywood studios, I would argue that Universal Pictures are the most under-represented on TCM right now.

 

But that situation may change. TCM currently has somewhat expanded rights to the 20th Century Fox library, allowing for the inclusion of many films from that studio for next month's Susan Hayward SOTM tribute, several of which will be premieres. Certainly the TCM programmers are just as eager as the channel's audience to see a more well-rounded line-up of films from all the different studios, but the prohibitive costs of obtaining the rights to these films is not something I think the average viewer is too aware of.

 

Still, we need to get back to my original question-- why aren't any of DeMille's Paramount pictures ever selected? I think it can be reasonably argued that DeMille was an essential Hollywood director.

 

I don't know that any of DeMille's directorial efforts could reasonably be considered 'essential' viewing, though I'm admittedly not a particular fan of the sprawling adventure epics which were DeMille's specialty. It doesn't help that he directed what I feel is the worst Oscar-winning best picture, THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH. But if it's DeMille's work you're looking to see, note that REAP THE WILD WIND is airing as part of Susan Hayward's SOTM festival on September 3.



#4 TopBilled

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Posted 28 August 2015 - 07:09 PM

That's not true. Take the current season's line-up of Essential films as an example:

 

ROMAN HOLIDAY (1953) and SUNSET BOULEVARD (1950) are owned by Paramount. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (1962) comes from Universal. THE MORE THE MERRIER (1943) and HERE COMES MR. JORDAN (1940) are from Columbia Pictures. And no fewer than four films on this year's roster (KLUTE (1971), THE HUSTLER (1961), THE GHOST AND MRS. MUIR (1947) and NORMA RAE (1979)) are controlled by 20th Century Fox.

 

All together, that's nine films -- over a third of the titles on this year's line-up of Essentials -- coming from outside the traditional Turner library (MGM, Warners, RKO and UA).

I think they have a long-term agreement with Sony, and my suspicion is that Sony is actually a silent partner. If you look all the way back to 1994, the year TCM started, Glenn Ford was a Star of the Month, which meant a lot of Columbia picture classics were in rotation right from the beginning. So I don't count Columbia as being really outside the TCM library.

 

I do count Republic, Paramount and Universal as being outside the TCM library.

 

But TCM does pick things like SUNSET BOULEVARD and ROMAN HOLIDAY as their go-to Paramount titles, to make it seem like they are featuring films from that outside library. But if you notice, usually these titles are the ones that do not get repeated during the year-long Essentials season. I think SUNSET BOULEVARD is only scheduled once. And so is ROMAN HOLIDAY. Meanwhile, the Universal hit TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, is also only scheduled one time.

 

Still, we need to get back to my original question-- why aren't any of DeMille's Paramount pictures ever selected? I think it can be reasonably argued that DeMille was an essential Hollywood director.


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#5 Barton_Keyes

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Posted 28 August 2015 - 09:40 AM

Answer: Because they are Paramount films.

 

Such an oversight. How can TCM continue to act as if it is broadcasting Essential classic films, when it continues to miss a large segment of such titles from Paramount-- especially from a legendary director like DeMille.

 

What we really have: Essentials from MGM, Warners and RKO.

 

That's not true. Take the current season's line-up of Essential films as an example:

 

ROMAN HOLIDAY (1953) and SUNSET BOULEVARD (1950) are owned by Paramount. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (1962) comes from Universal. THE MORE THE MERRIER (1943) and HERE COMES MR. JORDAN (1940) are from Columbia Pictures. And no fewer than four films on this year's roster (KLUTE (1971), THE HUSTLER (1961), THE GHOST AND MRS. MUIR (1947) and NORMA RAE (1979)) are controlled by 20th Century Fox.

 

All together, that's nine films -- over a third of the titles on this year's line-up of Essentials -- coming from outside the traditional Turner library (MGM, Warners, RKO and UA).


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#6 TopBilled

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Posted 28 August 2015 - 03:26 AM

Answer: Because they are Paramount films.

 

Such an oversight. How can TCM continue to act as if it is broadcasting Essential classic films, when it continues to miss a large segment of such titles from Paramount-- especially from a legendary director like DeMille.

 

What we really have: Essentials from MGM, Warners and RKO.

 

 


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).





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