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Films we may never see on TCM


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There is discussion in another thread about IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE not being shown on TCM. Supposedly, NBC has the rights tied up for several years. This is not the only classic film that is being prevented from coming to TCM, obviously.


I think THE GODFATHER trilogy has been exclusively leased to AMC for the foreseeable future.


And of course, it will probably be years before we see THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH on TCM, since Fox seems to jealously guard that title.


Then we have films like THE AFRICAN QUEEN which should be shown oftener but for some reason are hard for TCM to obtain for more than one rare showing every few years.

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You're right. LAURA has been off-limits, and it's a shame, because it really does deserve to be seen on TCM. It pops up occasionally on the Encore Suspense channel.


DOUBLE INDEMNITY, a Paramount picture, is another one that hardly ever plays on TCM. Odd considering that it's so well-known and it's a Billy Wilder film, and TCM's programmers love him.


I haven't seen Alfred Hitchcock's PSYCHO on TCM in at least three years. October doesn't seem like October, or rather Halloween doesn't seem like Halloween, without PSYCHO airing on TCM.


And speaking of Audrey Hepburn and Paramount titles, where's ROMAN HOLIDAY or even SABRINA? Those should definitely be in heavy rotation. It doesn't get more classic than that.

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I actually believe Fox may begin to license just about everything classic it owns for at least a few viewings on TCM, especially with Fox Movie Channel about to start its own "AMC Jr" (FXM) block at night.


Universal owns some great titles that doubtless need restoration I think we'll never see just because Universal doesn't see any value in it. This includes the Paramount titles 1929-1949. Ones that occur to me offhand are:


Murder By the Clock 1931

Girls About Town 1931

Secret of the Blue Room 1933

Young Man of Manhattan 1930

Royal Family of Broadway 1930

Nothing But the Truth 1929

Night of June 13 1932

Once in a Lifetime 1932

Back street 1932 (much better than its two remakes)

Transatlantic Merry Go Round Paramount 1932

Life of Riley Universal 1949

Crime of the Century 1933

For the Defense 1930

Street of Chance 1930




Films that TCM's parent company - Warner Brothers - own that we may never see are:


Trial of Mary Dugan 1929 (rights problems)

The Desert Song 1943 (rights problems)

The Desert Song 1929 (condition of remaining print)




Then there are some made for TV titles that just have disappeared off of the face of the earth:

Legend in Granite 1973

Neon Ceiling 1970

Girl Most Likely 1973 (This was on DVD for awhile)

Ghost of Flight 401 1978

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I've kept a small list of films I haven't seen on TCM for at least 2+ years, and some of them are surprising in their omission. Do people have any idea why these 10 haven't shown up?


The Lady Gambles

Sorry, Wrong Number

Double Indemnity

The Great McGinty

Easy Living (the 1937 Preston Sturges "riot in the automat" movie, not the 1949 Victor Mature football movie with the same title)

Criss Cross

The Killing (as opposed to The Killers, which has played repeatedly)

Body and Soul

Dracula (the Lugosi version)

Sudden Fear


This is but a small list, and I could list many more omissions from later years, or from the silent era, or among foreign films, but the 10 above are right smack in the sweet spot of TCM's preferred era.

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I think we will eventually see the Irene Dunne version of BACK STREET. Most of her film work from the 30s seems to make it on to the market (her later stuff, from the early 50s does not).


If THE STORY OF TEMPLE DRAKE and CONSTANT NYMPH have taught us anything this past year, it's that there is hope for something like DESERT SONG 43 to make its way back to audiences...especially because there is a market for it.


And on another front...aside from the singing cowboys tribute back in the summer, we seldom see Roy Rogers and Dale Evans films. The Encore westerns channel focuses on Gene Autry, probably because Autry's estate controls those and they have been lovingly restored.


But all those Rogers-Evans titles have fallen through the cracks (either because their copyrights lapsed and only poor prints exist in the public domain or because Lions Gate which controls much of the old Republic catalogue does not seem to find any value in restoring and remarketing them). This is where TCM could help save an important part of American film history.

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Of the ones you mentioned, I would say that the Stanwyck picture THE LADY GAMBLES has the greatest chance of surfacing on TCM. Why? Well, because TCM partnered with Universal and issued it on a special disc...so with all the cross-promotional marketing possibilities, I think that one is a natural for airplay. Also, it seems to fall into many categories given its cast, its theme and its genre.


SORRY, WRONG NUMBER is in dire need of restoration. It would work well during the 31 days of Oscar since it was Stanwyck's fourth Oscar nomination for the best actress award.


I think BODY AND SOUL is controlled by Lions Gate. Considering how often TCM schedules all those John Garfield tributes, this one seems like it should show up.


I would expect CRISS CROSS to appear on the Encore Suspense channel, and I am surprised it hasn't. Encore relies heavily on the Universal catalogue, and this is a Universal picture.


SUDDEN FEAR was made at RKO (Crawford's only film for that studio). Kino has issued a copy of it on DVD, but it is a rather shoddy print. This film should definitely be restored. Again, it would work for the 31 days of Oscar, since Crawford did receive an Oscar nod for her part as a woman in peril.

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> {quote:title=SansFin wrote:}{quote}I have wondered why *If I Were King* (1938) is not shown. It is a Paramount title. It is a wonderful movie with Ronald Colman. I believe Basil Rathbone's character is the oddest he ever played.

If I Were King might have a chance of showing up on TCM. It was on VHS but never DVD, it has well known stars, and Preston Sturges was one of the writers.

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I don't know why people think The African Queen, Roman Holiday, Sabrina, and Double Indemnity are rare features on TCM. They play a lot, sometimes in lesser rotation, sometimes wearingly frequent. Sorry, Wrong Number, The Seven Year Itch, Body and Soul, and The Killing have shown on TCM, if I remember correctly, but rarely, and a long time ago.

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well, for one - The Saga of Gosta Berling - Sweden - 1924


and for two - The Joyless Street - 1925 - both are the 2 films that Garbo made in Europe with Stiller and Pabst before coming to MGM with Stiller after L B Mayer saw her in The Joyless Street and it has been said that he fell in love with her then and there (this is a quote from his grandson) - so, being they are foreign films (which can be purchased in the US) we will probably never see them! so sad - to see this real beauty as she was and she remained...you can see from these two films that Hollywood really had to do very little to her image - her beauty was all natural even the eyelashes were real!

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>I don't know why people think The African Queen, Roman Holiday, Sabrina, and Double Indemnity are rare features on TCM.


I agree with you slatonf. They are broadcast for awhile, then drop off the face of TCM awhile. It must be a broadcast rights limitation.


My brother can't get TCM, so I'll often record a movie I think he'd enjoy to share. Double Indemnity, All The Fine Young Cannibals, Desk Set are a few that used to play often, but of course once +I+ want them cease rotation!


This is why I never really complain about TCM "repeating" the same film. But Since You Went Away twice in one week was a bit much. Sheesh.

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Hi calvinme,


I never did get a response from Universal concerning that block of early film and their plans for it. *I have no confidence in Universal as a worthy owner of those properties*. They have written off a large segment of classic films in their ownership, leaving in question whether this stuff will ever be restored or released.


I urge Universal to sell or donate these properties to someone who will preserve and release them. (Donation would be a nice tax write off for them!) As it stands, their inaction is a great disservice to our American history and culture, which these films are an important part of.


*Anybody in the business who is interested, should contact Universal and make them an offer.* (This would be a fine cause for Alec Baldwin and his friends to get involved in!) I will not be satisfied until I hear that those properties have been conveyed to more capable hands.

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But Since You Went Away twice in one week was a bit much. Sheesh.


To air it as part of a tribute to Ruth Roman is really stretching it. She gets what, 30 seconds out of a 3-hour movie?


My brother called me the other day to say that on Sunday he turned on the TV and saw that SINCE YOU WENT AWAY was coming on and that he changed the channel as he's seen the film enough. He called me when he got home from work on Thursday and saw that the film was almost over.


"I know it's a long movie, but I didn't remember it being several days long" he said.


I said "No, it just seems that long." I do sort of like the cheater in the beginning. One swears that finally we have a shot of the right side of Claudette Colbert's face, but it turns out that she's looking into a mirror.

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I don't like the idea of dinging the TCM programmers. But clearly, we can say that rescheduling SINCE YOU WENT AWAY so soon was filler.


It's a good film, but thumbs down on this decision, because there are many other good films that need to be shown. It wouldn't be so bad if the film was only 75 minutes long...but it eats up a large 3-hour chunk of broadcast time.

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