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That Groan-Inducing Topic: Modern Films on TCM


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It's not called Turner Old Movies, it's called Turner Classic Movies. They play movies that are loved by many people all over the world. There are a lot of old movies that no one has herd of. How can a movie be a classic if hardly anybody has herd of it? Could someone explain that to me?

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*It's not called Turner Old Movies, it's called Turner Classic Movies. They play movies that are loved by many people all over the world. There are a lot of old movies that no one has herd of. How can a movie be a classic if hardly anybody has herd of it? Could someone explain that to me?*

 

KB,

 

There are a number of films that people like but the majority of film buffs may have never heard of them. Silent films, for example. Though the vast majority of them are lost, the ones that remain mean a great deal to the people who appreciate silent cinema. TCM showcases silent films because they are part of our cinematic history.

 

TCM doesn't draw a hard line on what is a classic movie. The majority of films that TCM runs probably wouldn't be considered classic but they are well-loved films by people who love film.

 

That's what TCM understands better than all the rest. That all films deserve to spotlighted because all films are important. TCM doesn't try to make a distinction between a five star classic and sub-z science fiction thrller. To TCM and it's staff, both of those films deserve to be on the schedule because TCM is about loving film from all decades, all genres, all walks of life.

 

From the must-see classics to the little-known obscure films, TCM makes them available to us so that we can judge for ourselves whether or not we consider them classic.

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I'll give this a shot. A movie that not many people have seen can be a classic if it's a superior film. There are plenty of books out there that not a lot of people are familiar with which deserve attention, just like there are lots of films that deserve a larger audience. Part of TCM's mission, I would assume, is to bring some of these films to light. No, not everything that's old is a classic , or even good, but can you honestly say that you've never been bowled over by a film you never even knew existed? Part of the joy of watching films is being exposed to something totally new. And many people's memories are very long, so don't assume that because you've never heard of something that nobody else has.

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Helenbaby, that's a really decent breakdown, thanks. I wonder how it would compare to say, 1999 or 2002, on average. My guess is that it's probably pretty similar, BUT...I would venture to say that it's heavier on 60's-00's, than most schedules (perhaps not all) were from those halcyon days of TCM. Even so, 104 films ain't bad when stacked up against the number of 20's-50's films, traditionally viewed by most as the "classic or studio" era of film (I realize this doesn't fit everyone's classification).

 

I think there are a number of factors folks feel that the station is drifting. For one thing, it is. In 1994, we weren't seeing very many films from the 80's, and certainly not the 90's. But it's 2009 now and those eras are starting to take up more space on the channel than they used to. That's the passage of time. I tend to be somewhat "fixed" in my passage, and I view things pre-1970 as "vintage" (I'll try to stay clear from the "classic" term as much as possible). But I know folks who, when I tell them I like older films, respond with "Cool, I like films from the 80's too!". Heaven help me.

 

As long as TCM holds to their mission, this gradual drift (and thankfully it is *very* gradual) is inevitable.

 

I think part of the perception is the "look and feel" of the station. I didn't get TCM until around 2002, but at that time, nearly everything about the station made you feel you were in the 30's or 40's era...the promos, the intros to the films, you name it. You felt you were in a different era. Gradually they made changes to those things...I think around Fall 2004, if I'm not mistaken, and gradually we do not get that feeling from TCM in between the films any longer. Most of the interviews and spots are about stars and directors from later and later eras; the musical backing, the visuals, etc, are all much more modern and do not convey that great sense of nostalgia any longer. This could be because the audience has shifted a bit. Let's face it, fewer folks from the 30's and 40's are around as much as they were in the late 90's. No offense meant by that comment, it's just a fact of nature.

 

Other factors I see that lead to this somewhat. From 94 until some time in the early 00's, TCM had free reign to 3 major libraries: MGM until mid 80's; WB until 1948; RKO (not sure how extensive that was, but it seemed most films aired were only through the 50's most of the time). That enabled TCM to air films very cheaply, in that they did not need to be licensed. It only made sense we were going to see a lot of 30's, 40's films with that kind of library. Things changed when Ted Turner was shafted...errrr...sold out to Time Warner. Now they have to license everything, even films supposedly in their "library", which is now sort of a misnomer compared to what it used to mean. With the licensing, we see different compositions of films. Disney live action stuff is usually 60's-80's, the current Paramount deal is post-1950, and it seems they have heavier rotation on the latter Columbia films than the earlier part of that library. This might change a little bit if they swing the deal for the early Universal/Paramount libraries, but for now, they are showing more of what they currently paid for.

 

Despite all that, the numbers that helenbaby so kindly posted bear out that we're still seeing lots of 20's-50's films. And then there is a day like Wednesday of this week, no other channel is doing anything like that. And hey, I LOVE a day full of "Torchy Blane" films (next week's treat!!!). As LZ said, TCM is a huge tent, and there is something for everyone. I would love to have a channel that aired NOTHING but 1910-1950's, with emphasis on the 30's, with lots of obscure and B film stuff, but I get enough from TCM, and can live with the other stuff, and even find some of it interesting, selectively. I would never want TCM to stop showing older B films, just because someone doesn't think they are "classic", so I can respect the contrary view as well. Live and let live, and enjoy the films!

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I just don't think that 2 films made since 1990, and 15 total made since 1980 are not really all that much compared to the rest of the schedule. It's almost 30 years since 1980 and usually when more "modern" films are shown it's part of a showcase of some sort, unless it's the weekend. And when it's been almost 40 years since the 1960's ended, I think it's okay to show those too. Like I noted in my breakdown, the 2000's films they're showing are documentaries about people from the classic era except for Best in Show, which I love but I will concede is readily available on DVD and on other channels. But if they decided to do an entire night of the Chris Guest movies, I wouldn't complain because they're really funny and unique.

 

No matter how much this subject comes up, I still will be on TCM's side in this. And no--I'm in no way a sycophant or an apologist nor am I receiving compensation for my opinion.

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*I think part of the perception is the "look and feel" of the station. I didn't get TCM until around 2002, but at that time, nearly everything about the station made you feel you were in the 30's or 40's era...the promos, the intros to the films, you name it. You felt you were in a different era. Gradually they made changes to those things...I think around Fall 2004, if I'm not mistaken, and gradually we do not get that feeling from TCM in between the films any longer. Most of the interviews and spots are about stars and directors from later and later eras; the musical backing, the visuals, etc, are all much more modern and do not convey that great sense of nostalgia any longer. This could be because the audience has shifted a bit. Let's face it, fewer folks from the 30's and 40's are around as much as they were in the late 90's. No offense meant by that comment, it's just a fact of nature.*

 

That is precisely the point I have been trying to make, and maybe it started in 2004, but gradually, all of the little intros and things that were 1930's ish have been replaced by things that remind me of being in a cab in 1970.

 

In the morning, they used to play that song about a "Silver Lining"... I really MISS that.

 

I also miss the roll film intro with the band playing on the breakapart stage,

 

And the microphone from Citizen Caine that was used for "Word of Mouth" spots.

 

The things they made to replace those things, are not representative of classic film.

 

Maybe it is a different house is making those spots, it is too bad they could not continue the nostalgic format which attracted us to TCM in the first place.

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This debate is endless. "Only 37" is too many for those of us who don't particularly care to see 1970 & forward titles on TCM. Appreciate the mathematical stats, but it doesn't resolve the issue. And the same goes to the apologists who like to say that TCM has always shown more "modern" films. TCM, in my opinion, really isn't the place for Meryl Streep, Tom Cruise, Dustin Hoffman and John Landis. It is the place for Lupe Velez, "Philo Vance", Warren William and Tod Browning.

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Prince,

As usual, I totally agree with every word you said!

As I've posted before, I have very little interest in anything made after about 1959 and wish TCM would stick with more from the 1930's & 1940's (and of course, silents).

For example, recently a Woody Allen movie was an "Essential"! Says who? Nothing he has ever been involved with will ever be essential to me!

 

As for newer movies, yes I agree many are excellent, but every other movie channel runs new stuff. Where else are we going to see pre-1940 or even pre-1950 titles, except on TCM? Yes there are a few (but way too few) on The Fox Movie Channel and on Encore Westerns. We need TCM or some new movie channel to show only the old stuff.

 

I heard a few years ago about a proposed Universal Movie Channel that was going to run all the old Universal and pre-1948 Paramount movies. Has anyone heard anything about that? Too good to be true, I thought, and sure enough, it doesn't seem to have ever happened.

 

So, regardless of anyone's definition of "classic", that's how I and many friends of mine feel.

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Oh sure I get the point. I've never needed anyone to explain it to me, although Lzcutter and others have done a splendid job doing so.

I just felt that after reading what PrinceSaliano wrote, and feeling like that could have been me talking, I wanted to let him know.

 

Anyway, I also figure there's no harm in continually or occasionally reminding the TCM Programmers who may read these posts that there are many of us who feel this way.

 

.

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Except me of course. I think that I am the only one who doesn't see a problem with TCM airing newer movies. Heck, they could air 50 movies from the 90s a month and I still wouldn't care. As long as they continue to air as many older movies as well. I want to see the history of film, that's why I watch TCM.

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Hmmmm..a day of Lupe Velez films, and a Warren William SOTM...man, those would be totally cool!!! Oh and don't forget a day of "Mexican Spitfire" flicks! :) So much cool stuff, but hey, you know...I still feel that way as you do, but I've kinda learned to accept we get what we get, and it's still way more than anything else on cable by a zillion yards. Who else is gonna show 2 Willaim Haines silent films, then a several hour block of Ginger Rogers films, that is NOT her famous stuff, but more obscure pre-code and early 30's stuff? Really. And a huge block of "Torchy Blane" films next week, and yes, I'm one who loves that, totally loves it, and is very appreciative to have it air!

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> Oh and don't forget a day of "Mexican Spitfire" flicks!

 

TCM already did this when they had the month of Guest Programmers in November 2007. Weekday mornings and afternoons were filled with movie series, and one day was devoted to the Mexican Spitfire series.

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Yessss, I agree with all of you nostage-heads. I began watching TCM with my Dad and I am in my late twenties. Though I agree that there are good newer movies - there are also many places for me to satisfy my new movie needs. There is only one TCM. I enjoyed the between movie commericials, scenery and sets that created fantastic segways into the classic movies shown years ago.

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> {quote:title=peeblesf wrote:}{quote}

> Yessss, I agree with all of you nostage-heads. I began watching TCM with my Dad and I am in my late twenties. Though I agree that there are good newer movies - there are also many places for me to satisfy my new movie needs. There is only one TCM. I enjoyed the between movie commericials, scenery and sets that created fantastic segways into the classic movies shown years ago.

 

Wow, the quote thing works for me now!!! :) Sorry had to be jubilant about that for a sec!

I agree with this....I don't think we'll see that stuff come back on TCM. I think there is the possibility that someone might get the idea for another AMC type channel, perhaps someone who owns a classic library (like Universal, though I doubt it). Or that we'll see a tycoon make a move like Ted Turner did a while back. And will just have a total retro station. Retro doesn't have to be from our own experiences. I never lived in many of those classic era timeframes (20's-60's) and yet I can appreciate the "look and feel" of them even if I don't have a nostalgic feeling, I do have one in a sense. I believe many other younger folks feel the same way. Cable used to be such a kaleidoscope of differing offerings, and I think many of us hunger for that again. Perhaps it will happen.

 

As for TCM, despite the upgrade of the look and feel, they remain committed to airing older movies (such as today's lineup) and really that is all I can ask for. If the filler material between THE SMART SET and SUICIDE FLEET isn't matching the vintage era of those films, I can live with that as long as *those films from that era* are being aired.

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