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These are the 18 'problematic' classic films TCM will examine in a new series


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3 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

Oh brother. This is just tiring.

I just watched a documentary on the 1964-5 World's Fair in NYC and they showed footage of Walt Disney's "It's A Small World" exhibit and the first thing I thought of when seeing it was "Oh no! Asians depicted in stereotypical garb like in that Dr Suess book! Cancel! Cancel!" 🙄

MY ancestors are negatively stereotyped routinely in books/film/culture. Like Oprah, I enjoy collecting it as memorabilia of what "used to be". Although I still cringe when hearing "gyp" as synonym for cheating/thieving. But cringing is wholly different from canceling the book/movie/etc. 

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Can you tell us the name of the documentary on the 1964-1965 NYC Worlds Fair?

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On 3/6/2021 at 12:35 AM, slaytonf said:

It's because of the tribute to Bill Robinson with Astaire in blackface, and uncharacteristic (for Robinson) garb.

...OHHhhh!  (thump head) Duh.  Whew--For a while, wondered why Swing Time was up there too, and thought it was going to be a version of that dopey gender-paranoid trope of "Ginger did everything Fred did, backwards and in heels" mistake.

(Which usually forgets that at the same time, Eleanor Powell was doing it by herself, alongside Fred, in tap shoes, and BETTER than Ginger.  Fred even said so.)

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I watched the first night. The introductory comments about "Gone With the Wind" rambled. They did not discuss the huge popularity of the book in 1936 and the battle to secure the film rights, made only a cursory mention of the African American press's response to the book and the making of the film. They talked about understanding the time and place the film was made but did not go into details. I learned more doing cursory web searches. And for the next three films, nothing. No introduction at all. So how am I to understand why you picked them?

So, let's go to the TCM website, maybe they have more information there. Are they serious about this or not? https://www.tcm.com/articles/Programming Article/020930/reframed-classic-films-in-the-rearview-mirror. Let's click on "Rope." The article is mostly about the technical "one take" form.  "Seven Brides?" Why it is an essential. "The Four Feathers?" As part of the Why It's an Essential,  two paragraphs explaining the racism inherent in British Colonialism. Thank you Rob Nixon & John Miller. It does not appear that these articles were written in the context of this series. Why not bring in film scholars to write an essay,  add historical context, offer ways to understand how, why and by whom the films were made.  

There is an opportunity here, and it is being squandered.

 

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11 minutes ago, sfemet said:

I watched the first night. The introductory comments about "Gone With the Wind" rambled. They did not discuss the huge popularity of the book in 1936 and the battle to secure the film rights, made only a cursory mention of the African American press's response to the book and the making of the film. They talked about understanding the time and place the film was made but did not go into details. I learned more doing cursory web searches. And for the next three films, nothing. No introduction at all. So how am I to understand why you picked them?

So, let's go to the TCM website, maybe they have more information there. Are they serious about this or not? https://www.tcm.com/articles/Programming Article/020930/reframed-classic-films-in-the-rearview-mirror. Let's click on "Rope." The article is mostly about the technical "one take" form.  "Seven Brides?" Why it is an essential. "The Four Feathers?" As part of the Why It's an Essential,  two paragraphs explaining the racism inherent in British Colonialism. Thank you Rob Nixon & John Miller. It does not appear that these articles were written in the context of this series. Why not bring in film scholars to write an essay,  add historical context, offer ways to understand how, why and by whom the films were made.  

There is an opportunity here, and it is being squandered.

 

Right. They aren't being thorough. The only film they care about preserving and continuing to air is GONE WITH THE WIND. It's a bait and switch. They are using the other films and pushing this series on the audience for publicity to "defend" or "justify" their reason for continuing to air GONE WITH THE WIND.

So the other films about gender empowerment or LGBTQ+ rights are being given short-shrift.

And as you say, if their priority is really GONE WITH THE WIND, then why not go more in-depth on the response of African American critics and viewers about what this film means to them.  

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Some of these 18 films  I don't have to guess as to what the problem is, but some I do.

Psycho - I never considered that the film was saying that BECAUSE Norman dressed as a woman he was a murderer. In fact the scene at the end with the psychiatrist seems to explain it pretty well. He was just trying to deceive  himself into believing that mom was still alive. If he had wanted to keep the memory of his dad alive he would have dressed up in his clothes.

My Fair Lady - Henry Higgins is an obnoxious old bachelor who treats women badly? He seems to treat EVERYONE badly that he does not consider his equal, and that boils down to Pickering and his mother.

Rope - The implication that there is a romantic involvement between the two main characters is so subtle as to be almost inperceptible. I don't see the problem with this film at all. Like TB said, Compulsion is a smidgeon more open with it, but even there I think the inclusion of the character of Ruth in the film was just to make it look like Dean Stockwell's character "liked" girls. I never thought that the film was saying that gay men can easily become fiendish criminals. 

Woman of the Year - Tracy's character thinks it's normal to treat his wife like he is a caveman. Hepburn's character wants to save the world but ignores every individual in her life who should be important to her. I've seen this one several times and I don't think this film is "problematic" past the time in which it was made.

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers - It's wrong to kidnap women and hold them until spring so you can mate with them. I think the audience gets that. I think the audience in the 1950s got that. What I never got is why Jane Powell is a married woman who doesn't seem to know where babies come from.

Guess Who's Coming To Dinner - Seriously? This was made over 50 years ago and treated everybody with dignity.

I've never sat all the way through lots of the others, so I can't speak to their plot points. While we're at it why don't we include every film that said "that's darn white of you" whenever one character does a favor for another???  Why not "Young Frankenstein" because somebody somewhere might think people with disabilities (Igor) have criminal tendencies and that rape victims fall in love with their rapists. Aargh. 

When Richard Barrios and Robert Osborne teamed up in 2007 to present "Gay Images in Film" I felt I was being educated. Lately I feel like I am being indoctrinated.  But Bravo for the TCM blackface short done a year or two ago. That was very well done and educational. 

 

 

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21 minutes ago, LsDoorMat said:

Some of these 18 films  I don't have to guess as to what the problem is, but some I do.

Psycho - I never considered that the film was saying that BECAUSE Norman dressed as a woman he was a murderer. In fact the scene at the end with the psychiatrist seems to explain it pretty well. He was just trying to deceive  himself into believing that mom was still alive. If he had wanted to keep the memory of his dad alive he would have dressed up in his clothes.

If Norman had done that, then people would have been saying Norman had enjoyed an incestuous relationship with his father and that was why he couldn't let his father go and dressed up like him.

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5 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

Oh brother. This is just tiring.

I just watched a documentary on the 1964-5 World's Fair in NYC and they showed footage of Walt Disney's "It's A Small World" exhibit and the first thing I thought of when seeing it was "Oh no! Asians depicted in stereotypical garb like in that Dr Suess book! Cancel! Cancel!" 🙄

MY ancestors are negatively stereotyped routinely in books/film/culture. Like Oprah, I enjoy collecting it as memorabilia of what "used to be". Although I still cringe when hearing "gyp" as synonym for cheating/thieving. But cringing is wholly different from canceling the book/movie/etc. 

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In the late 90s , on the old Disney Channel, I remember them playing an old short documentary on composing the "We Are Siamese" song from Lady and the Tramp. They would never play that today. Not unless it had lightsabers. Lots of lightsabers. 

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I am so sick of this cancel culture.  I have seen all the films (at least twice).  What is wrong with a woman wanting to bring his slippers (as long as he respects her as an equal) and re: Woman of the Year, fostering or adopting a refugee child because it seems expected (and the child doesn't want to be in the home because you neglect him and your husband) doesn't say much for Kate's character.  And I appreciate that Spencer is a better cook that she is and, spoiler here, he doesn't want her to change herself and become the doting housewife for him.

Notice how Jews, as always, are left off the list.  As is Breakfast at Tiffany and Mickey Rooney (don't care for him anyway).

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9 minutes ago, chaya bat woof woof said:

I am so sick of this cancel culture.  I have seen all the films (at least twice).  What is wrong with a woman wanting to bring his slippers (as long as he respects her as an equal) and re: Woman of the Year, fostering or adopting a refugee child because it seems expected (and the child doesn't want to be in the home because you neglect him and your husband) doesn't say much for Kate's character.  And I appreciate that Spencer is a better cook that she is and, spoiler here, he doesn't want her to change herself and become the doting housewife for him.

Notice how Jews, as always, are left off the list.  As is Breakfast at Tiffany and Mickey Rooney (don't care for him anyway).

BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S is included. Earlier in the thread I posted the list of films for the Reframed series.

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6 minutes ago, LsDoorMat said:

If TCM wants to show and explain a "problematic" film, they should try that with 1930's Golden Dawn. It is in their library.

https://pulpjunkie.livejournal.com/7762.html

But people on Twitter aren't going to tweet about GOLDEN DAWN. They're going to tweet about GONE WITH THE WIND. So TCM is only airing the "big movies" to drum up publicity.

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1 hour ago, TopBilled said:

But people on Twitter aren't going to tweet about GOLDEN DAWN. They're going to tweet about GONE WITH THE WIND. So TCM is only airing the "big movies" to drum up publicity.

I agree that is what TCM is doing. The thing is, do they think people just realized GWTW was problematic last week? I remember its TV premiere in 1976, and watching it in the dorm. When Leslie Howard goes on nostalgically about slavery, implying it was great fun for the slaves too,  I was rolling my eyes back then. But that is the way that the novel was written. 

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8 minutes ago, LsDoorMat said:

I agree that is what TCM is doing. The thing is, do they think people just realized GWTW was problematic last week? I remember it's TV premiere in 1976, and watching it in the dorm. When Leslie Howard goes on nostalgically about slavery, implying it was great fun for the slaves too,  I was rolling my eyes back then. But that is the way that the novel was written. 

It was written that way because Margaret Mitchell believed the South should have won the Civil War. And if that had happened, slavery would still have been allowed when she wrote the book. It would still be allowed today. GONE WITH THE WIND is a strangely romanticized tale about peonage and indentured servitude.

Racists made the book a best seller and racists turned it into a movie. And racists kept the book and the movie popular for generations afterward. 

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7 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

It was written that way because Margaret Mitchell believed the South should have won the Civil War. And if that had happened, slavery would still have been allowed when she wrote the book. The whole thing is a strangely romanticized tribute to peonage and indentured servitude.

True. And yet the movie is a magnificent piece of filmmaking. That film, along with "The Wizard of Oz" - which is NOTHING like the book by the way - showed what Hollywood could do at the height of the power of the studio system in 1939. And just ten years after the transition to sound.  It's all pretty amazing when you think about it.

If the South had won the war the French were prepared to attack the South coming up through Mexico. The British wanted the north back. But then that's another story. 

What I always think about when I watch GWTW is how you never know what holds people together and how some people just never realize what they have until it's gone. Plus it very realistically shows the horrors of war. 

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3 minutes ago, LsDoorMat said:

If the South had won the war the French were prepared to attack the South coming up through Mexico. The British wanted the north back. But then that's another story. 

Yes, it would have been a proper mess.

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2 hours ago, txfilmfan said:

It was anyway.  We're still dealing with the aftereffects 160 years later...

Do you mean the lingering effects of racism in America?

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I find it really hypocritical of the TCM to present these wonderful, classic movies as problematic. They are always blathering about how so many Hollywood actors, screenwriters, directors, etc. had their careers ended or disrupted by the McCarthy hearings but they are doing the exact same thing in trying to "cancel" these movies.
The pathetic drivel coming out of Hollywood now is the direct result of the woke culture.  Liberals destroy everything they touch.  

TCM, you really dropped the ball on this one.

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13 minutes ago, Bevie said:

I find it really hypocritical of the TCM to present these wonderful, classic movies as problematic. They are always blathering about how so many Hollywood actors, screenwriters, directors, etc. had their careers ended or disrupted by the McCarthy hearings but they are doing the exact same thing in trying to "cancel" these movies.
The pathetic drivel coming out of Hollywood now is the direct result of the woke culture.  Liberals destroy everything they touch.  

TCM, you really dropped the ball on this one.

Welcome to TCM City.

I don't think they're trying to cancel the movies. I think they're trying to use the woke culture movement to draw attention to the films and act like they are doing a service to the public by encouraging a political discussion (a left-leaning discussion) about the films. That is what seems most objectionable, the way they are using the films in a way they were never intended to be used. 

It seems rather self-serving on TCM's part. Getting people all stirred up politically. Normally they are much classier.

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49 minutes ago, Bevie said:

I find it really hypocritical of the TCM to present these wonderful, classic movies as problematic. They are always blathering about how so many Hollywood actors, screenwriters, directors, etc. had their careers ended or disrupted by the McCarthy hearings but they are doing the exact same thing in trying to "cancel" these movies.
The pathetic drivel coming out of Hollywood now is the direct result of the woke culture.  Liberals destroy everything they touch.  

TCM, you really dropped the ball on this one.

They aren't really "canceling" them.  If they were, they wouldn't show them at all.

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I dont know. Maybe I am going out on a limb here, but something I never hear mentioned in all of this racism stuff is...has anyone ever asked, oh, say...the actors and actresses that are actually IN "racist" movies? I dont know if I have missed something along the way. But it seems when people get so offended at something like this, they dont think to themselves "Wait...there were Black, Asian, Indian actors in that movie. If they found it so bad, why didn't they say no to the script or idea?!"

For example, I see racist fingerpointing at "Blazing Saddles." Did it dawn on any of the cancel culture that Richard Pryor co-wrote it and Cleavon Little was IN it and actually said the N word himself?! Now, I know we cant ask Pryor or Little about this since they've already passed. But doesnt it seem to make sense that they didnt have a problem with it? Why doesnt cancel culture and those who view offensive material maybe get the opinion of actors and actresses from different races and cultures and find out their opinion since they participated in said offensive racist material?

I'm not trying to start an argument. When "Blazing Saddles" came into the cancel subject, my first thought was "Ummm.....you know Richard freakin' Pryor did co-write that, didn't you?!"

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Personally, this strikes me as self-preservation. I think they know that if they don't say anything about some of these films, Twitter groups will want to ban the channel. So they do this, but I don't think it really pleases either aisle of the debate for different reasons.

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