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


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57 minutes ago, TikiSoo said:

Wow, I saw the promo TCM streaming just launched defending this series, almost apologizing for it:

Seems like a retort to some backlash. It may have had more impact if Jacqueline Stewart defended the series.

Wow-Ben Mankiewicz sure had adopted a new efficacious habit/manner of speaking- dragging guttural sounds at the beginning of his sentences. C'mon....Ben, that's tiring. You can emphasize your reading better than that.

Glad you posted this promo.  I have not seen it yet.  I am sure TCM is getting slammed from both sides regarding this series.  I could go either way.  My initial reaction was that the series seemed to be fairly  insulting to the "regular" TCM viewer since it seemed to insinuate that we needed to be told that many of the depictions and attitudes in films from the classic era are anachronistic and inappropriate. We get it, TCM. We've always gotten it.  Hell, I was cringing at Al Jolson wearing blackface from the first time I ever saw "The Jazz Singer" many years ago.  The end of "Woman of the Year" makes me crazy! One more "let's put the career woman in her place" scene, thrown in to make the housewives in the theater happy.   When I saw the Prologue in  GWTW  stating that the South in the mid 19th century was a "pretty world" for the first time all I could think of was:  "Has anybody ever read a history book around here?" There are tons of thing in old movies (and I LOVE the old movies  --  the older, the better) which I neither like nor approve of.  Give us some credit, TCM.

While it is my fervent belief (cynic that I am) that TCM did this feature solely at the behest of their corporate parent, Warner Media, to avoid a barrage of social media attacks,  I have found some of the commentary  interesting.  Culture evolves and what is "acceptable" at one point in time becomes totally "unacceptable" later.  Having said that, I sure wish some corporate entity would be as "sensitive" to the unrelenting barrage of violent content found in contemporary film and tv.  Nobody seems to think that's a problem at all. The gorier, the better.

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12 hours ago, slaytonf said:

The objection is that movies set on plantations during slavery glorify the peculiar and perverted system, deny its horrors, and portray its victims as willing and complicit.

I don't think the purpose was to intentionally "glorify" slavery, but maybe....just MAYBE.....

The perversions and horrors of slavery had NOTHING TO DO WITH THE STORY???  :rolleyes:

And it's easy for me to believe that a number of slaves at least gave the impression to their "Massa's" that they were complicit.  Particularly if it meant less whippin's.    Kinda like Luke "gettin' his mind right." (but not really, eh?)

Sepiatone

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12 minutes ago, Sepiatone said:

I don't think the purpose was to intentionally "glorify" slavery, but maybe....just MAYBE.....

The perversions and horrors of slavery had NOTHING TO DO WITH THE STORY???  :rolleyes:

And it's easy for me to believe that a number of slaves at least gave the impression to their "Massa's" that they were complicit.  Particularly if it meant less whippin's.    Kinda like Luke "gettin' his mind right." (but not really, eh?)

Sepiatone

You continue to make the same case of "nothing to do with the story", which others and I have already countered as ludicrous.     A film about rich white Southerners in the USA during the late 1850s,   continuing on with the Civil War,,,,,   and slavery has nothing to do with the story.    Ha ha.       Note that the perversions and horrors of slavery are part of slavery.  They are the core of slavery from the perspective of the slave.     This is why I mentioned the film Spartacus.    

 If you were a director,  I guess you would  do a film about Jewish lovers in Germany during the late 30s' and into the 40s,,  only showing happy Jewish campers,  and use the same lame reasoning;   the Holocaust has nothing to do with the story.  

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10 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

You continue to make the same case of "nothing to do with the story", which others and I have already countered as ludicrous.     A film about rich white Southerners in the USA during the late 1850s,   continuing on with the Civil War,,,,,   and slavery has nothing to do with the story.    Ha ha.       Note that the perversions and horrors of slavery are part of slavery.  They are the core of slavery from the perspective of the slave.     This is why I mentioned the film Spartacus.    

 If you were a director,  I guess you would  do a film about Jewish lovers in Germany during the late 30s' and into the 40s,,  only showing happy Jewish campers,  and use the same lame reasoning;   the Holocaust has nothing to do with the story.  

That's because(let's say in the case of GWTW) slavery HAS nothing to do with the story.  The intent of the movie's narrative wasn't any attempt to whitewash how slaves were treated, but relate how the lives of over indulged Southern gentry was radically changed due to the war.  And centered on how it affected one person in particular(Scarlett).  

What makes your "Jewish lovers" example inane is that you have it going on through the '30's and '40's.  When ALL Jews were affected by the holocaust.  But if perhaps that movie I'm supposedly directing were about two LUTHERAN lovers in Germany in the '30's and '40's, the plight of the Jewish might get some mention, but not be the focus of the movie., so no horrific holocaust scenes would be necessary.  Because the movie is about the LOVERS, and NOT the holocaust. 

Your SPARTACUS argument is also apples and oranges due to the main character of the story WAS a slave.  And in those other pre civil war movies.....

If the story was about how heinous the rich white Southerners treated their slaves, then slavery would have something to do with the story.  OR if those movies were about the SLAVES and NOT their owners, it would figure in too.  And where's this outrage when seeing rich snobs treat their maids and butlers dismissively and speak down their noses to them as second class citizens in old British movies?    And let's too, address the popular mini series ROOTS...

Many of the characters in the series ( FIDDLER and CHICKEN GEORGE for instance) that were slaves weren't treated perverse or horribly.  And too, supposedly these characters were supposed to have been actual persons.  Would you insist that they were fictional in an attempt to somehow glorify slavery somehow?  Or conclude that despite how slaves were treated overall in the South, that maybe not all slaves were despicably  treated?  

Sepiatone

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48 minutes ago, Sepiatone said:

That's because(let's say in the case of GWTW) slavery HAS nothing to do with the story.  The intent of the movie's narrative wasn't any attempt to whitewash how slaves were treated, but relate how the lives of over indulged Southern gentry was radically changed due to the war.  And centered on how it affected one person in particular(Scarlett).  

What makes your "Jewish lovers" example inane is that you have it going on through the '30's and '40's.  When ALL Jews were affected by the holocaust.  But if perhaps that movie I'm supposedly directing were about two LUTHERAN lovers in Germany in the '30's and '40's, the plight of the Jewish might get some mention, but not be the focus of the movie., so no horrific holocaust scenes would be necessary.  Because the movie is about the LOVERS, and NOT the holocaust. 

Your SPARTACUS argument is also apples and oranges due to the main character of the story WAS a slave.  And in those other pre civil war movies.....

If the story was about how heinous the rich white Southerners treated their slaves, then slavery would have something to do with the story.  OR if those movies were about the SLAVES and NOT their owners, it would figure in too.  And where's this outrage when seeing rich snobs treat their maids and butlers dismissively and speak down their noses to them as second class citizens in old British movies?    And let's too, address the popular mini series ROOTS...

Many of the characters in the series ( FIDDLER and CHICKEN GEORGE for instance) that were slaves weren't treated perverse or horribly.  And too, supposedly these characters were supposed to have been actual persons.  Would you insist that they were fictional in an attempt to somehow glorify slavery somehow?  Or conclude that despite how slaves were treated overall in the South, that maybe not all slaves were despicably  treated?  

Sepiatone

I think one reason may be that the author and her white characters in the story could care less about the way slaves were treated before and during the Civil War.  They weren't considered people.  In the census, they didn't even bother to write down their names.

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4 hours ago, lydecker said:

Glad you posted this promo.  I have not seen it yet.  I am sure TCM is getting slammed from both sides regarding this series.  I could go either way.  My initial reaction was that the series seemed to be fairly  insulting to the "regular" TCM viewer since it seemed to insinuate that we needed to be told that many of the depictions and attitudes in films from the classic era are anachronistic and inappropriate. We get it, TCM. We've always gotten it.  Hell, I was cringing at Al Jolson wearing blackface from the first time I ever saw "The Jazz Singer" many years ago.  The end of "Woman of the Year" makes me crazy! One more "let's put the career woman in her place" scene, thrown in to make the housewives in the theater happy.  

Interesting post. The feminist in me thinks that the scene was thrown in to make businessmen happy, that little Miss Know-It-All is going to be put in her place at home, and will not be a threat to the Boys Club at the office.

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1 hour ago, Sepiatone said:

That's because(let's say in the case of GWTW) slavery HAS nothing to do with the story.  The intent of the movie's narrative wasn't any attempt to whitewash how slaves were treated, but relate how the lives of over indulged Southern gentry was radically changed due to the war.  And centered on how it affected one person in particular(Scarlett).  

I guess you also believe the US Civil War had nothing to do with slavery.

 

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4 hours ago, lydecker said:

Glad you posted this promo. 

I liked this. I especially liked when Ben said they were not saying that you should feel guilty about enjoying classics like Gone With The Wind or Gunga Din, because I sure don't.

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16 minutes ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

I liked this. I especially liked when Ben said they were not saying that you should feel guilty about enjoying classics like Gone With The Wind or Gunga Din, because I sure don't.

This is TCM's way of trying to hold on to an audience. They are saying please don't feel guilty, don't stop watching these films.

The whole thing is self-serving, an orchestrated campaign to retain the classic film brand they have established.

It should be okay to feel guilty about something and not watch it. Especially when there might be better, healthier things to watch instead.

TCM shouldn't be leading people down this obstinate path. My opinion.

But there's a lot of money at stake. Some of these hosts are getting over $200,000 a year. They don't want to be out of a high paying job. And neither do the highly paid executives that put them and these movies on the air.

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1 hour ago, TopBilled said:

This is TCM's way of trying to hold on to an audience. They are saying please don't feel guilty, don't stop watching these films.

The whole thing is self-serving, an orchestrated campaign to retain the classic film brand they have established.

It should be okay to feel guilty about something and not watch it. Especially when there might be better, healthier things to watch instead.

TCM shouldn't be leading people down this obstinate path. My opinion.

But there's a lot of money at stake. Some of these hosts are getting over $200,000 a year. They don't want to be out of a high paying job. And neither do the highly paid executives that put them and these movies on the air.

I wasn't going to to respond, but I am confused.  Your posts on the GWTW thread in Off Topics seems to condone and even support TCM having a panel to explain to us what is wrong with the movie.  Then your above posts seems to say they should not be doing it.

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23 minutes ago, ElCid said:

I wasn't going to to respond, but I am confused.  Your posts on the GWTW thread in Off Topics seems to condone and even support TCM having a panel to explain to us what is wrong with the movie.  Then your above posts seems to say they should not be doing it.

Thought you did not like for people to use the confused icon?

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6 minutes ago, ElCid said:

Thought you did not like for people to use the confused icon?

 

30 minutes ago, ElCid said:

I wasn't going to to respond, but I am confused.  Your posts on the GWTW thread in Off Topics seems to condone and even support TCM having a panel to explain to us what is wrong with the movie.  Then your above posts seems to say they should not be doing it.

Or the sad icon - my error.

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2 hours ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

I guess you also believe the US Civil War had nothing to do with slavery.

Maybe it was about people like Norma Rae picking cotton and forming a union? :) 

The buses from the old plantation weren't running so they had to take the underground railroad on their way home.

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8 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

Maybe it was about people like Norma Rae picking cotton and forming a union? :) 

The buses from the old plantation weren't running so they had to take the underground railroad on their way home.

You need to watch the movie again.  Norma Rae did not pick cotton; she worked in a textile mill.

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10 minutes ago, ElCid said:

You need to watch the movie again.  Norma Rae did not pick cotton; she worked in a textile mill.

What is significance of the sad icon?  Is it sad that Norma Rae worked in a textile mill or sad that you do not remember the movie?

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7 minutes ago, ElCid said:

What is significance of the sad icon?  Is it sad that Norma Rae worked in a textile mill or sad that you do not remember the movie?

Cid,  Cid,  Cid;    The reference to Norma Rae was related to the film GWTW,  the Civil War and slavery.     That since the film GWTW or the Civil War wasn't about slavery,   GWTW was really about Norma Rae motivating the workers (who just happen to be slaves,  but that is irrelevant it appears),  to form a union.     (see the clever way workers and union are used related to GWTW).       Hey,  I believe that is Norma,  in GWTW scene 17,   in the far background!!!!

I found it funny.      (but I know that you wish people would label satire as such since you have a very hard time picking up on it).

 

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9 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

Cid,  Cid,  Cid;    The reference to Norma Rae was related to the film GWTW,  the Civil War and slavery.     That since the film GWTW or the Civil War wasn't about slavery,   GWTW was really about Norma Rae motivating the workers (who just happen to be slaves,  but that is irrelevant it appears),  to form a union.     (see the clever way workers and union are used related to GWTW).       Hey,  I believe that is Norma,  in GWTW scene 17,   in the far background!!!!

I found it funny.      (but I know that you wish people would label satire as such since you have a very hard time picking up on it).

Thanks.  :) 

***

The earlier comment another poster made about the movie not really being about slavery (or however it was worded) was mind-boggling. I think the right wing crowd will continue to justify historic abuses by acting like these things were never that bad or even if they happened they are not relevant. These same saps act like the Jewish holocaust didn't really occur. It's a very dangerous form of revisionist history. The worst version of it in my opinion.

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13 minutes ago, TopBilled said:


The earlier comment another poster made about the movie not really being about slavery (or however it was worded) was mind-boggling. I think the right wing crowd will continue to justify historic abuses by acting like these things were never that bad or even if they happened they are not relevant. These same saps act like the Jewish holocaust didn't really occur. It's a very dangerous form of revisionist history. The worst version of it in my opinion.

I think you took Sepiatone's post too literally.  I believe the comment meant that GWTW is a romantic movie based on a romantic novel.  The movie itself is much more romanticized than the book.  It basically centers on the relationships between Scarlett, Rhett, Ashley and Melanie and a few others.  It is about the fall of the Southern way of life and the rising of new types of people and how it affected the main characters.  Slavery is there, but not as an issue, nor is how they treated blacks.

Have you ever read the book?

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28 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

Cid,  Cid,  Cid;    The reference to Norma Rae was related to the film GWTW,  the Civil War and slavery.     That since the film GWTW or the Civil War wasn't about slavery,   GWTW was really about Norma Rae motivating the workers (who just happen to be slaves,  but that is irrelevant it appears),  to form a union.     (see the clever way workers and union are used related to GWTW).       Hey,  I believe that is Norma,  in GWTW scene 17,   in the far background!!!!

I found it funny.      (but I know that you wish people would label satire as such since you have a very hard time picking up on it).

 

I did not perceive the Norma Rae post at all as being satire and don't get the connection.  It is just a silly post.

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6 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

I don't think the purpose was to intentionally "glorify" slavery, but maybe....just MAYBE.....

Just read the introductory to Gone With the Wind (1939).  You won't find any movie set in the slave-era that condemned the plantation system.  At the least they tacitly endorsed its sanitized portrayal, at worst lauded it.

6 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

he perversions and horrors of slavery had NOTHING TO DO WITH THE STORY???  

It had everything to do with the story.  Just like it had everything to do with the Civil War.  It was the basis for the southern way of life.  The entire socio-economic system was based on it.  It was not discussed directly because that is the dictum of the apologists of the southern culture.  To maintain its legitimacy, they obscure it bestiality.

6 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

And it's easy for me to believe that a number of slaves at least gave the impression to their "Massa's" that they were complicit.  Particularly if it meant less whippin's.    Kinda like Luke "gettin' his mind right." (but not really, eh?)

Ah, now you're being facetious.  It's unworthy of you, and shows you know the weakness of your position.

 

 

 

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Actually, in that scene that James was talking about Cid, there IS a shot of a woman in the background out in the cotton fields who looks a lot like Sally Field. 

AND, if you center your sights on her in that scene, I think it looks like she's mouthing the words, "You like me! You really like me!"

(...now THAT is "satire", folks!)  ;)

LOL

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These fall into the category for me of either ones that are reaches or ones that are very obvious. Quite frankly, I don't feel the need to have the yellowface discussion in regards to Breakfast at Tiffany's for the millionth time. Everyone knows that is inappropriate now, just like everyone knows Gone With the Wind is not historically accurate. 

But as for some of these other ones, it's only barely insinuated that the killers are gay, and it's not insinuated at all that they're killers because they're gay. Hitchcock made plenty of movies with straight killers. It's not like gay people are incapable of murder. In Psycho it's even specifically stated that Norman Bates is "not a transvestite", he has a split personality. My Fair Lady is a musical comedy not intended to be taken seriously, Henry Higgins is a jerk but even back then the movie was not viewed as a guide for how to live your life. Haven't seen The Searchers in a while but I thought it was intended for Wayne's character to be viewed as a bigot since Ford wanted to atone for the negative Indian depictions in his older westerns.  I know people complain about the "tragic gay ending" or whatever today but it was an outgrowth of MacLaine being treated like dirt, it was on the aggregate a pro-gay film.

I sort of agree with Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, it was a copout to not ever show them kiss, but again on the aggregate it has a good message. I also find the comment about Poitier "not representing all black people" a bit silly. There are millions of black people, no one person could ever represent all of them, that's an unfair standard to hold him to and the exact reason he often got stuck playing "saintly black man" parts since he had to carry the mantle of an entire ethnic group and thus couldn't play any characters with moral failings as it would be viewed as a negative depiction of all of them. Tom Cruise or whoever doesn't "represent" anyone but himself so there's no reason black actors shouldn't be viewed the same way. 

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15 minutes ago, TheGrandMaster said:

These fall into the category for me of either ones that are reaches or ones that are very obvious. Quite frankly, I don't feel the need to have the yellowface discussion in regards to Breakfast at Tiffany's for the millionth time. Everyone knows that is inappropriate now, just like everyone knows Gone With the Wind is not historically accurate. 

But as for some of these other ones, it's only barely insinuated that the killers are gay, and it's not insinuated at all that they're killers because they're gay. Hitchcock made plenty of movies with straight killers. It's not like gay people are incapable of murder. In Psycho it's even specifically stated that Norman Bates is "not a transvestite", he has a split personality. My Fair Lady is a musical comedy not intended to be taken seriously, Henry Higgins is a jerk but even back then the movie was not viewed as a guide for how to live your life. Haven't seen The Searchers in a while but I thought it was intended for Wayne's character to be viewed as a bigot since Ford wanted to atone for the negative Indian depictions in his older westerns.  I know people complain about the "tragic gay ending" or whatever today but it was an outgrowth of MacLaine being treated like dirt, it was on the aggregate a pro-gay film.

I sort of agree with Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, it was a copout to not ever show them kiss, but again on the aggregate it has a good message. I also find the comment about Poitier "not representing all black people" a bit silly. There are millions of black people, no one person could ever represent all of them, that's an unfair standard to hold him to and the exact reason he often got stuck playing "saintly black man" parts since he had to carry the mantle of an entire ethnic group and thus couldn't play any characters with moral failings as it would be viewed as a negative depiction of all of them. Tom Cruise or whoever doesn't "represent" anyone but himself so there's no reason black actors shouldn't be viewed the same way. 

Interesting post. Lots of great ideas to ponder.

As for Poitier, I don't find very many of his films from the 60s to contain much realism. Mostly they are social commentaries, typically by white producers and white directors using this one black actor to make a point over and over. He was very typecast.

The most realistic character he played, in my opinion, is in THE SLENDER THREAD (1965) where he is cast as a man working at a suicide hotline. He's just an average joe trying to get the job done and prevent someone on the other end of the line from making a terrible mistake. 

It's not about him moving into a better neighborhood, it's not about him dealing with racism, it's not about him having dinner at Katharine Hepburn's place. 

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How ironic that people today are so upset about our history (you know, that thing in the past) as it is portrayed in old films, yet sit and watch states like Georgia pass laws aimed at suppressing the vote (you know, making it harder to register and actually cast a ballot), laws that mostly impact Black voters. Gee, anyone would think this sort of voter suppression is a relic of the old slave days (you know, those days of yore we get so upset about when they're shown in old movies).

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13 hours ago, ElCid said:

Have you ever read the book?

I have.

And txfilm fan said "They (slaves) weren't considered people" is incorrect. Let's please stop categorizing people by skin tone. 

Scarlett & her family speak  lovingly towards Mammy & Polk, skilled house servants they had relationships with & respected for their skills. Field hands were considered unskilled laborers that no high falootin' lady would interact with. Remember Scarlett's disdain for white Wilkerson, the field manager?

Ashley says (cringe) "We (the Wilkes) never treated our dark-ees that way." 

11 minutes ago, UMO1982 said:

How ironic that people today are so upset about our history (you know, that thing in the past) as it is portrayed in old films, yet sit and watch

People are upset over the history depicted, rightly so. But we can't change the past.

I say it's a good thing people continue being shocked by the injustices illustrated by these movies & hopefully fuel changes going forward.

 

 

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