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The Overplayed and the Underplayed


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Vertigo2--Ratings matter.  You don't want to be the bottom rated cable network--you'll go out of business.  There is a trend on TCM toward playing the lesser known stuff--Pennies from Heaven (1981) aired at 1:00 a.m. the end of July--the 1930 New Moon aired at 4:30 a.m. 4? days later--TCM came out with their Nov. schedule last night, & "Sweet Kitty Bellairs" (1930), another Pre-Code musical, has been scheduled.  If Pennies from Heaven & New Moon had had unacceptably low ratings, SKB wouldn't have been scheduled for Nov.  JMO. :)

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Re: The OPHOF - I think I just like the best of the best being played several times a year because I always like the idea of hooking newcomers to TCM who are uninitiated to the idea of all these classics being shown "uncut and uninterrupted". I have no knowledge of numbers - how many new subscribers each year (if any?) rise/ fall in ratings depending on the schedule? and do ratings matter much anyway?

 

Variety in general is a good thing though.

I think newcomers can get hooked on lesser seen B films just as much as they can get hooked on the overplayed A films.

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I think newcomers can get hooked on lesser seen B films just as much as they can get hooked on the overplayed A films.

 

Well one thing is for sure;   newcomers would have to see both B and A films in order to figure out their preference.  

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Well one thing is for sure;   newcomers would have to see both B and A films in order to figure out their preference.  

I completely agree. There are films that sort of fall in between. I call them the B pluses and A minuses. :)

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The most reliable way to distinguish between As and Bs is length. Most Bs are 75 minutes or less.

Usually. Though many talkies were A films that came in around 75 minutes. COQUETTE is 76 minutes, and Mary Pickford earned an Oscar for it. Definitely a big budget, prestige film for its time.

 

Then there is the issue of precode films that were severely cut upon rerelease (where many of the original scenes are lost). The surviving copy of RKO's THIRTEEN WOMEN, starring Irene Dunne and Myrna Loy clocks in at 59 minutes. But it is clearly an A film, made by David Selznick, where no expense was spared. I think the original running time was 73 minutes but the production code office required that RKO trim it (excessively) in order to be rereleased.

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So is a 90 minute film an A- or B+?   

Some 90 minute films are padded-- where they took a B movie plot and added a few musical numbers or comedy gags that have nothing to do with the main plot and stretched it out to 90 minutes. So you get to decide. :)

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Usually. Though many talkies were A films that came in around 75 minutes. COQUETTE is 76 minutes, and Mary Pickford earned an Oscar for it. Definitely a big budget, prestige film for its time.

 

Then there is the issue of precode films that were severely cut upon rerelease (where many of the original scenes are lost). The surviving copy of RKO's THIRTEEN WOMEN, starring Irene Dunne and Myrna Loy clocks in at 59 minutes. But it is clearly an A film, made by David Selznick, where no expense was spared. I think the original running time was 73 minutes but the production code office required that RKO trim it (excessively) in order to be rereleased.

They added a minute to COQUETTE so it would be an "A". In THIRTEEN WOMEN, that's les than 5 minute per woman. Not much time at all.

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They added a minute to COQUETTE so it would be an "A". In THIRTEEN WOMEN, that's les than 5 minute per woman. Not much time at all.

Is that how you see it? :)

 

THIRTEEN WOMEN is one of those where I'd like to find the original book and see what was truly left out.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

Titles in bold are ones that are being rebroadcast in November.

 

***

 

Films most often broadcast on TCM (since 2002):

 

70 or more broadcasts:

THE PHILADELPHIA STORY…74

CASABLANCA…74

NORTH BY NORTHWEST…74

MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS…72

THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD…71

 

60 or more broadcasts:

CITIZEN KANE…65

MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON…63

MILDRED PIERCE…62

FATHER OF THE BRIDE (1950)…60

THE MALTESE FALCON (1941)…60

GIGI…60

 

50 or more broadcasts:

IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT…59

GASLIGHT (1944)…59

MEET JOHN DOE…59

WUTHERING HEIGHTS…59

BRINGING UP BABY...58

THE BIG SLEEP…57

SERGEANT YORK…57

TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT…56

GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER…56

KEY LARGO…56

ADAM’S RIB…56

FORBIDDEN PLANET…55

A FACE IN THE CROWD…55

THE THIN MAN…55

THE WOMEN…55

ARSENIC AND OLD LACE…54

THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL…53

CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF…53

THE BISHOP’S WIFE…53

LITTLE WOMEN (1933)…53

NOW, VOYAGER…52

STAGECOACH…52

THE THIRD MAN…52

ON THE TOWN…52

LITTLE WOMEN (1949)…52

SUSPICION…52

NINOTCHKA…52

THE TIME MACHINE…51

GUYS AND DOLLS…51

AN AMERICAN IN PARIS…51

THE ASPHALT JUNGLE…51

THE YEARLING…51

YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU…50

LOVE AFFAIR…50

SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS…50

EXECUTIVE SUITE…50

THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES…50

 

40 or more broadcasts:

NOTORIOUS…49

MY FAIR LADY…49

THE BACHELOR AND THE BOBBY-SOXER…49

THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI…49

GUNGA DIN…49

THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE…49

THE BLACKBOARD JUNGLE…48

MOGAMBO…48

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE…48

NATIONAL VELVET…48

MR. DEEDS GOES TO TOWN…48

WOMAN OF THE YEAR…47

MY FAVORITE WIFE…47

THE BAND WAGON…47

ON THE WATERFRONT…47

BEN-HUR…46

DUEL IN THE SUN…46

THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS…46

HIGH SIERRA…45

THE HARVEY GIRLS…45

IN THE GOOD OLD SUMMERTIME…45

BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK…45

TOP HAT…45

HOW THE WEST WAS WON…45

PAT AND MIKE…45

OUT OF THE PAST…45

DR. STRANGELOVE…44

GRAND HOTEL…44

A PATCH OF BLUE…44

THE PRIDE OF THE YANKEES…44

SWING TIME…44

BORN YESTERDAY…44

YANKEE DOODLE DANDY…44

JEZEBEL…44

WHITE HEAT…44

LUST FOR LIFE…44

THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI…44

SOME LIKE IT HOT…43

LAWRENCE OF ARABIA…43

THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (1939)…43

HIGH SOCIETY…43

TO BE OR NOT TO BE (1942)…43

THE TENDER TRAP…43

THE LETTER (1940)…43

12 ANGRY MEN…43

LASSIE COME HOME…43

BOYS TOWN…43

THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE…42

THE WAY WE WERE…42

THEY WERE EXPENDABLE…42

CABIN IN THE SKY…42

KING KONG…42

ANATOMY OF A MURDER…42

LIBELED LADY…42

ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS…41

ROYAL WEDDING…41

FROM HERE TO ETERNITY…41

FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT…41

FUNNY GIRL…41

DR. ZHIVAGO…41

SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME…41

IVANHOE…41

HIS GIRL FRIDAY…41

THE HAUNTING…41

KING SOLOMON’S MINES…41

BELL, BOOK AND CANDLE…40

DOUBLE INDEMNITY…40

SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN…40

A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE…40

RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY…40

MR. BLANDINGS BUILDS HIS DREAM HOUSE…40

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Titles in bold are ones that are being rebroadcast in November.

 

***

 

Films most often broadcast on TCM (since 2002):

 

70 or more broadcasts:

THE PHILADELPHIA STORY…74

CASABLANCA…74

NORTH BY NORTHWEST…74

MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS…72

THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD…71

 

60 or more broadcasts:

CITIZEN KANE…65

MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON…63

MILDRED PIERCE…62

FATHER OF THE BRIDE (1950)…60

THE MALTESE FALCON (1941)…60

GIGI…60

 

50 or more broadcasts:

IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT…59

GASLIGHT (1944)…59

MEET JOHN DOE…59

WUTHERING HEIGHTS…59

BRINGING UP BABY...58

THE BIG SLEEP…57

SERGEANT YORK…57

TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT…56

GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER…56

KEY LARGO…56

ADAM’S RIB…56

FORBIDDEN PLANET…55

A FACE IN THE CROWD…55

THE THIN MAN…55

THE WOMEN…55

ARSENIC AND OLD LACE…54

THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL…53

CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF…53

THE BISHOP’S WIFE…53

LITTLE WOMEN (1933)…53

NOW, VOYAGER…52

STAGECOACH…52

THE THIRD MAN…52

ON THE TOWN…52

LITTLE WOMEN (1949)…52

SUSPICION…52

NINOTCHKA…52

THE TIME MACHINE…51

GUYS AND DOLLS…51

AN AMERICAN IN PARIS…51

THE ASPHALT JUNGLE…51

THE YEARLING…51

YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU…50

LOVE AFFAIR…50

SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS…50

EXECUTIVE SUITE…50

THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES…50

 

40 or more broadcasts:

NOTORIOUS…49

MY FAIR LADY…49

THE BACHELOR AND THE BOBBY-SOXER…49

THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI…49

GUNGA DIN…49

THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE…49

THE BLACKBOARD JUNGLE…48

MOGAMBO…48

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE…48

NATIONAL VELVET…48

MR. DEEDS GOES TO TOWN…48

WOMAN OF THE YEAR…47

MY FAVORITE WIFE…47

THE BAND WAGON…47

ON THE WATERFRONT…47

BEN-HUR…46

DUEL IN THE SUN…46

THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS…46

HIGH SIERRA…45

THE HARVEY GIRLS…45

IN THE GOOD OLD SUMMERTIME…45

BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK…45

TOP HAT…45

HOW THE WEST WAS WON…45

PAT AND MIKE…45

OUT OF THE PAST…45

DR. STRANGELOVE…44

GRAND HOTEL…44

A PATCH OF BLUE…44

THE PRIDE OF THE YANKEES…44

SWING TIME…44

BORN YESTERDAY…44

YANKEE DOODLE DANDY…44

JEZEBEL…44

WHITE HEAT…44

LUST FOR LIFE…44

THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI…44

SOME LIKE IT HOT…43

LAWRENCE OF ARABIA…43

THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (1939)…43

HIGH SOCIETY…43

TO BE OR NOT TO BE (1942)…43

THE TENDER TRAP…43

THE LETTER (1940)…43

12 ANGRY MEN…43

LASSIE COME HOME…43

BOYS TOWN…43

THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE…42

THE WAY WE WERE…42

THEY WERE EXPENDABLE…42

CABIN IN THE SKY…42

KING KONG…42

ANATOMY OF A MURDER…42

LIBELED LADY…42

ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS…41

ROYAL WEDDING…41

FROM HERE TO ETERNITY…41

FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT…41

FUNNY GIRL…41

DR. ZHIVAGO…41

SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME…41

IVANHOE…41

HIS GIRL FRIDAY…41

THE HAUNTING…41

KING SOLOMON’S MINES…41

BELL, BOOK AND CANDLE…40

DOUBLE INDEMNITY…40

SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN…40

A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE…40

RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY…40

MR. BLANDINGS BUILDS HIS DREAM HOUSE…40

 

 

If TCM's programmers had a sick sense of humor, they'd take that list starting from the top and fill an entire month with it. :o

 

What's interesting about it is that for a lot of first time viewers, that sort of schedule would be heaven on Earth.  And in truth very few people under the age of about 50 would have been likely to have seen anywhere near half of them.

 

Of course for those of us who've been around TCM for a while, that list is like my favorite line from The Color of Money, delivered by the great Keith Mccready when he busted Tom Cruise:

 

"It's like a nightmare, and it keeps getting worse."

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If TCM's programmers had a sick sense of humor, they'd take that list starting from the top and fill an entire month with it. :o

 

What's interesting about it is that for a lot of first time viewers, that sort of schedule would be heaven on Earth.  And in truth very few people under the age of about 50 would have been likely to have seen anywhere near half of them.

 

Of course for those of us who've been around TCM for a while, that list is like my favorite line from The Color of Money, delivered by the great Keith Mccready when he busted Tom Cruise:

 

"It's like a nightmare, and it keeps getting worse."

I completely agree. I don't think the programmers really understand the value of their B films, or else they would put them on more. TCM's themes and specials are often star-driven and I get that, I really do, but if they keep thinking that recycling the same Cary Grant, John Wayne and Katharine Hepburn movies is what most people want, they are out of touch with a major part of their audience. In a way, it's like they are programming in their sleep-- just putting the same stars on over and over, like autopilot.

 

They could do such a better job, using all the great obscure films they have at their fingertips.

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If TCM's programmers had a sick sense of humor, they'd take that list starting from the top and fill an entire month with it. :o

 

What's interesting about it is that for a lot of first time viewers, that sort of schedule would be heaven on Earth.  And in truth very few people under the age of about 50 would have been likely to have seen anywhere near half of them.

 

Of course for those of us who've been around TCM for a while, that list is like my favorite line from The Color of Money, delivered by the great Keith Mccready when he busted Tom Cruise:

 

"It's like a nightmare, and it keeps getting worse."

There will be more of certain films if someone dies who was in the cast.

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It is with this post that I must announce NORTH BY NORTHWEST is on the December schedule twice...!  

 

This gives it 76 airings now and makes it the all-time champ here at the Overplayed Hall of Fame museum in Classicville.

imgres3.jpg

We will be giving out cookies and punch to celebrate this milestone. And a new car to anyone who has not seen NORTH BY NORTHWEST yet...which means we will not have to give a car to anyone. Right, Cary...?

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It occurred to me that even if NORTH BY NORTHWEST is not on the January 2016 schedule, it will easily be featured in February for the 31 days of Oscar programming. 

 

Then if they get Martin Landau to be a guest programmer it will be shown again...

 

Then if they do another Hitchcock tribute it will be shown again...

 

Then if Eva Marie Saint passes away it will be shown again...

 

Then if they do a monthly spotlight on movies that take place in South Dakota it will be shown again...

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It occurred to me that even if NORTH BY NORTHWEST is not on the January 2016 schedule, it will easily be featured in February for the 31 days of Oscar programming. 

 

Then if they get Martin Landau to be a guest programmer it will be shown again...

 

Then if they do another Hitchcock tribute it will be shown again...

 

Then if Eva Marie Saint passes away it will be shown again...

 

Then if they do a monthly spotlight on movies that take place in South Dakota it will be shown again...

On Presidents' Day they should show it, because there are Presidents on Mt. Rushmore.

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On Presidents' Day they should show it, because there are Presidents on Mt. Rushmore.

Actually, yes, that makes sense. 

 

My point was that the programmers will invent plenty of reasons to keep showing NORTH BY NORTHWEST, since it is obviously their most favorite film in the TCM library. Sigh.

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Actually, yes, that makes sense.

 

My point was that the programmers will invent plenty of reasons to keep showing NORTH BY NORTHWEST, since it is obviously their most favorite film in the TCM library. Sigh.

They should also show it on Mothers' Day because Roger Thornhill is continually mentioning his mother.

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Titles in bold are ones that are being rebroadcast in December.


 


***


 


Films most often broadcast on TCM (since 2002):


 


70 or more broadcasts:


NORTH BY NORTHWEST…76


THE PHILADELPHIA STORY…75


MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS…75


CASABLANCA…74


THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD…72


 


60 or more broadcasts:


CITIZEN KANE…65


MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON…63


MILDRED PIERCE…62


GIGI…61


MEET JOHN DOE…61


FATHER OF THE BRIDE (1950)…60


THE MALTESE FALCON (1941)…60


 


50 or more broadcasts:


IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT…59


GASLIGHT (1944)…59


WUTHERING HEIGHTS…59


BRINGING UP BABY...58


THE BIG SLEEP…57


SERGEANT YORK…57


TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT…56


GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER…56


KEY LARGO…56


ADAM’S RIB…56


THE WOMEN…56


THE THIN MAN…56


FORBIDDEN PLANET…55


A FACE IN THE CROWD…55


CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF…54


ARSENIC AND OLD LACE…54


LITTLE WOMEN (1933)…54


THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL…53


THE BISHOP’S WIFE…53


SUSPICION…53


ON THE TOWN…53


LITTLE WOMEN (1949)…53


AN AMERICAN IN PARIS…53


NOW, VOYAGER…52


STAGECOACH…52


THE THIRD MAN…52


GUYS AND DOLLS…52


NINOTCHKA…52


THE TIME MACHINE…51


THE ASPHALT JUNGLE…51


EXECUTIVE SUITE…51


THE YEARLING…51


YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU…50


LOVE AFFAIR…50


SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS…50


THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES…50


 


40 or more broadcasts:


NOTORIOUS…49


MY FAIR LADY…49


THE BACHELOR AND THE BOBBY-SOXER…49


THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI…49


GUNGA DIN…49


THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE…49


PRIDE AND PREJUDICE…49


NATIONAL VELVET…49


THE BLACKBOARD JUNGLE…48


MOGAMBO…48


MR. DEEDS GOES TO TOWN…48


MY FAVORITE WIFE…48


WOMAN OF THE YEAR…47


THE BAND WAGON…47


ON THE WATERFRONT…47


BEN-HUR…47


IN THE GOOD OLD SUMMERTIME…47


DUEL IN THE SUN…46


OUT OF THE PAST…46


THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS…46


TOP HAT…46


SWING TIME…46


HIGH SIERRA…45


THE HARVEY GIRLS…45


BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK…45


HOW THE WEST WAS WON…45


PAT AND MIKE…45


LUST FOR LIFE…45


DR. STRANGELOVE…44


GRAND HOTEL…44


A PATCH OF BLUE…44


THE PRIDE OF THE YANKEES…44


BORN YESTERDAY…44


YANKEE DOODLE DANDY…44


JEZEBEL…44


THE TENDER TRAP…44


THE LETTER (1940)…44


WHITE HEAT…44


THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI…44


HIGH SOCIETY…44


SOME LIKE IT HOT…43


LAWRENCE OF ARABIA…43


THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (1939)…43


TO BE OR NOT TO BE (1942)…43


12 ANGRY MEN…43


THEY WERE EXPENDABLE…43


LASSIE COME HOME…43


BOYS TOWN…43


ANATOMY OF A MURDER…43


THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE…42


THE WAY WE WERE…42


CABIN IN THE SKY…42


KING KONG…42


SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME…42


FROM HERE TO ETERNITY…42


DR. ZHIVAGO…42


LIBELED LADY…42


ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS…41


ROYAL WEDDING…41


FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT…41


FUNNY GIRL…41


IVANHOE…41


HIS GIRL FRIDAY…41


THE HAUNTING…41


KING SOLOMON’S MINES…41


BELL, BOOK AND CANDLE…40


DOUBLE INDEMNITY…40


SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN…40


A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE…40


RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY…40


MR. BLANDINGS BUILDS HIS DREAM HOUSE…40


MRS. MINIVER...40


WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?...40


THE STRANGE LOVE OF MARTHA IVERS...40


SEVEN DAYS IN MAY...40


EAST OF EDEN...40


A NIGHT AT THE OPERA...40


STAGE DOOR...40

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Incidentally, I recently posted that NORTH BY NORTHWEST is airing twice in December. That is still true.

 

But I should add that these titles are being aired three times on TCM in December:

 

MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS

CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT

A CHRISTMAS CAROL '38

 

Also, HOLIDAY AFFAIR is on the schedule twice. And so is MEET JOHN DOE.

 

Meanwhile, both presentations of LITTLE WOMEN in the TCM library are airing-- the '33 & '49 versions.

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When I was working as a film editor at a local station in Miami, it was back in the halcyon days of syndication.  Back then, we would license films for 6 runs or 6 years, whichever occurred first.  This allowed the movie map to go through constant changes.  if you look through NY tv listings from the 60's through the early 80's, you will see film packages come and go as well as travel from one local station to another.

 

And back then, every studio had their product in active distribution, including Universal and Republic.

 

Of course - there was ONE station that would play movies over and over again:

 

 

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