Brrrcold

2018 The Essentials

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Will 'The Essentials' be returning in May 2018? I don't know - but if 2017 is the model, then according to the schedule these will be the first four entries: "Hang 'em High" (1968), "The Fortune Cookie" (1966), "Desk Set" (1957), and "From Here to Eternity" (1953).

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Continuing speculation here, and reading from the June schedule, the next entries for the 2018 Essentials would be: "Three Strangers" (1946), "Bell, Book and Candle" (1959), "Jeremiah Johnson" (1972), "The Carey Treatment" (1972), and "The Mask of Demetrios" (1944).

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I could be mistaken, but I don't think Essentials will be back this year. THE CAREY TREATMENT and other titles airing in the 8:00 PM Saturday night slot just don't seem like they would fit as 'essentials', at least in the way TCM has historically defined the term.

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".. THE CAREY TREATMENT and other titles airing in the 8:00 PM Saturday night slot just don't seem like they would fit as 'essentials'..."

I'd been thinking much the same thing. But, I'd also note that the "Essentials" microsite - http://essentials.tcm.com/ - is still active (for now) with the past seasons info. During the previous hiatus, that address went dark.

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Still no indication from TCM when or if 'The Essentials' will resume - and in the absence of information I thought it'd be interesting to propose my own list. I've settled on 21 movies, the total offered for 2017 The Essentials, though in previous seasons there were more and less than that. All of these are movies I like and/or find worthy of repeated viewings. If there is any thread here, it is the effort to raise more appreciation for the third or fourth choice movies on the lists of important and versatile directors (De Sica, Capra, Ford, Hitchcock, Lubitsch, Whale, Wilder, Wise).

I tried to adhere to the checklist I think they have followed in recent seasons - movies from a range of time periods, at least one silent, one musical, and one foreign language film. I also tried to avoid repeating titles that have appeared on The Essentials in the past four or five seasons. And I selected movies appropriate for different seasonal viewings (Memorial Day marathon, Mothers' Day, Fathers' Day, Halloween, Christmas.)

Here's my list. Critiques, or others' lists - would be welcome and interesting.

The 39 Steps (1935)
The Apartment (1960)
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945; Father's Day)
The Clock (1945)
The Crowd (1928; silent)
Executive Suite (1954)
Hud (1963)
The Informer (1935)
In the Heat of the Night (1967)
The Last Picture Show (1971)
Lady for a Day (1933; Mother's Day)
The Night of the Hunter (1955)
Man's Castle (1931)
One, Two, Three (1961)
Remember the Night (1940; Christmas)
Show Boat (1936; musical)
The Thing (1951; horror)
Theodora Goes Wild (1936)
Trouble in Paradise (1932)
Twelve O'Clock High (1949; Memorial Day)
Umberto D. (1952; foreign)

 

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I am thinking that The Essentials is either over or on hiatus.  I only say that because TCM added an airing of Noir Alley at 9pm and they seem to be using the two slots before it to air a double feature based around a specific theme.  This week for example, they're playing two Tyrone Power films before segueing into the evening's Noir Alley selection.  

I've also noticed that the Underground films seem to have moved from Saturday nights to Friday nights. 

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If it comes back should have better talking heads.  Alex Baldwin ....there is public evidence that he verbally abused a child.  If we go into the me too issues....David Letterman took advantage of his position and had sexual affairs with the women that worked for him.  These are not two social angels.  Keeping them means TEN condones this type of activity and abuse by men against women.

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12 minutes ago, Abbydoodle said:

If it comes back should have better talking heads.  Alex Baldwin ....there is public evidence that he verbally abused a child.  If we go into the me too issues....David Letterman took advantage of his position and had sexual affairs with the women that worked for him.  These are not two social angels.  Keeping them means TEN condones this type of activity and abuse by men against women.

So if TCM shows a film with slavery does that mean they condone that as well?  

 

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19 minutes ago, Abbydoodle said:

If it comes back should have better talking heads.  Alex Baldwin ....there is public evidence that he verbally abused a child.  If we go into the me too issues....David Letterman took advantage of his position and had sexual affairs with the women that worked for him.  These are not two social angels.  Keeping them means TEN condones this type of activity and abuse by men against women.

I think the host is the reason The Essentials no longer on the schedule - though not for the reasons you raise. I have no inside information, but it's obvious to me this is a cost issue: Baldwin (and Letterman, etc.) don't work for free, and there is cost involved also for researching, producing (makeup, floor crew, director, video editor, etc.)

Plus, the show probably does not draw too many new or different viewers than TCM already draws on Saturday night.

TCM needs to generate revenue and the ordinary viewer (like me) doesn't represent new income. So, more effort is being applied now to projects like Backlot (collecting profile info that can be monetized in various ways) and the film festival, and the wine club - all of which may be assumed to produce revenues beyond the cable provider fees that are the only benefit of my eyeballs on The Essentials or any other presentation.

As to the subject you raise, I simply wish The Essentials would return because I like the two-host format for intros and outros: I find it informative, even if the movie in discussion is one I've already watched. I was not a fan of Letterman's role there, but in all it was much less grating than the snarky jabs of Ben M. on any given intro.

As for Baldwin - they could let Ben M. take his chair and have virtually the same presence.

It seems the hope had been that a celebrity co-host would draw in curious viewers, but currently almost any celebrity has as many 'enemies' as fans. Finding a host who will entertain and inform everyone is probably impossible, but then also paying a celebrity fee, and then not getting new viewers - that's the end of The Essentials as we've known it.

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