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Any plans to showcase William Haines?


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I've noticed that the majority of William Haines' films are in the TCM library (including some that I thought were "lost", such as The Duke Steps Out, Excess Baggage, and Telling the World). Has TCM ever done a featured night (or day) on William Haines? The quantity of material is there, and his co-stars (especially Joan Crawford) would certainly bring in an audience even if not too many are familiar with Haines himself.

 

I suppose, though, that this would mean commissioning a lot of new scores, since most of these films are silent. I know West Point and Show People have aired (THANK YOU), but that is only a small percentage of the TCM library's collection (check it out under the Search feature). It would be great to see such well-received films as Slide Kelly Slide, A Little Journey, A Man's Man (which has cameo appearances by Greta Garbo and John Gilbert), Spring Fever, and the ones mentioned above, as well as his few 'talkies'.

 

I'd love to hear from anyone else who's a Billy Haines fan!

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I know that they showed Tell It to the Marines a few months ago, but that may have been in connection with a Lon Chaney tribute. TCM released a documentary about Haines several years back, but the name of it isn't springing to mind.

 

By any chance, have you ever picked up the book about Haines called Wisecracker? I picked it up and met the author at a 5-week Haines retrospective on Haines at NYC's Film Forum in 1998.

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I, too would enjoy seeing William Haines films, and there are quite a few too. I wish that his films would get into rotation- both silent and talking. He was a very very big star, and audiences today wouldn't know it because he is forgotten today except by film buffs. TCM has a lot of films I thought that was considered lost.

 

I wish they would dig out those obscure Joan Crawford silents too. I'll watch them without a score if that is the case. I just want to see the films.

 

Are you reading this, TCM? :)

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I'm a little suspicious of the inventory of films listed as being in the TCM library. Among them are such titles as "The Tower of Lies" (with Lon Chaney) and "Thunder" (also Lon Chaney)--both of which are "lost" films. A clip of "Thunder" was shown in TCM's documentary on Chaney, but it was stated in the voice-over that this is the only piece of celluloid known to still exist of this film.

 

So what exactly are the criteria for inclusion in the TCM library? Whole films, or merely fragments of films? I wonder how many films in the TCM library featuring William Haines (or Joan Crawford or any other silent-screen performer) are complete films or which ones are perhaps "incomplete"--missing a reel or two (or more). Of course, I would like nothing more than to hope that they are complete, but when "London After Midnight" is listed in the TCM archives, it can be a bit deceiving unless one knows this is only TCM's recreated version of the film.

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Yes, we're reading the posts. Haines is worthy of more attention and perhaps can accomodate - I will make sure we consider it in future months. As for what's in the TCM library, I'm not really sure what source you're seeing. There are a lot of films that we "own," but if there are no materials, we can't play them. That might be the case in this situation (you're exactly right about "London After Midnight" - other than the still reconstruction we commissioned, it is considered a lost film). My guess is that's what's happening with many of these films - sorry there's some confusion here, but I think whatever is listing them as part of the TCM library is pulling from a database which includes films to which we have rights, but possibly no materials.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Would you rather, in your lifetime, never see a forgotten film that was made in, say 1929 or 1930 if it happens to be missing something? How would anyone of today have ever had the chance to see William Haines in Navy Blues had it not been for Turner Classic Movies? Oh, it's just too easy to criticize the hard work of others. Turner Classic Movies recreating versions is nonsense and you know it. You have failed to see the lengths that TCM has gone to present the most up to date correct versions of all of its library films. Give us a break with this nonsense, or get involved in film conservation through the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, that is, if you really care to make something more right as opposed to complaining about the hard work of others.

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Would you rather, in your lifetime, never see a forgotten film that was made in, say 1929 or 1930 if it happens to be missing something? How would anyone of today have ever had the chance to see William Haines in Navy Blues had it not been for Turner Classic Movies? Oh, it's just too easy to criticize the hard work of others. Turner Classic Movies recreating versions is nonsense and you know it. You have failed to see the lengths that TCM has gone to present the most up to date correct versions of all of its library films. Give us a break with this nonsense, or get involved in film conservation through the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, that is, if you really care to make something more right as opposed to complaining about the hard work of others.

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