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You Are Chosen as Host of "The Essentials" with Robert Osborne...


speedracer5
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Drew Barrymore is out.

Sally Field is (allegedly) in.

 

We know that March's "Essentials" are:

 

3/7- Roman Holiday

3/14- The More the Merrier

3/21- Now Voyager

3/28- The Prisoner of Zenda

 

The upcoming "Essentials" elicited many reactions, many of which asked the question (I'm paraphrasing): "Who says (or what makes) these films are essential?"

 

Let's play a game. 

 

You are chosen to co-host "The Essentials" with Robert Osborne.  Congratulations.  During your tenure as host, what film(s) would you select and why do you think it is "Essential" ?

 

I know there are those here who aren't fans of Osborne.  You can also pretend that Ben Mankiewicz is the co-host (whether temporary or permanent).  Either way, the objective of this game is the same.

 

I would go first, but I will have to ponder my question a little bit before responding. 

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GOOD question, and I resemble a few of those remarks. :P     I'll sit with Ben, thanks for the choice.

 

And now I'm off to ponder, although Casablanca is number one and Wizard of Oz is two.

 

How many choices do we have?

Thanks Primos!

 

Hmm... good question.  I'm looking at last year's Essentials schedule to see how many different films were actually chosen, as we know that episodes of The Essentials were repeated.

 

It looks like there were about 29-30 different films chosen to be an "Essential."

 

To choose an even number, let's go with 30.

 

But I don't expect everyone to come up with 30 choices (unless you really want to).  I really just wanted to open up a discussion for people to choose their favorites, or name films that they find important, or whatever other criteria you want to use to choose your Essentials.  I thought it would be interesting to see what films everyone loves and why and if for purely selfish reasons, I thought this thread would provide me with great ideas on films to look out for on TCM. :-)

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Thanks Primos!

 

Hmm... good question.  I'm looking at last year's Essentials schedule to see how many different films were actually chosen, as we know that episodes of The Essentials were repeated.

 

It looks like there were about 29-30 different films chosen to be an "Essential."

 

To choose an even number, let's go with 30.

 

But I don't expect everyone to come up with 30 choices (unless you really want to).  I really just wanted to open up a discussion for people to choose their favorites, or name films that they find important, or whatever other criteria you want to use to choose your Essentials.  I thought it would be interesting to see what films everyone loves and why and if for purely selfish reasons, I thought this thread would provide me with great ideas on films to look out for on TCM. :-)

Cool! Thanks.

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Feel free to choose films that have been declared "Essentials" before, if you agree that it is "Essential."

 

My first pick:

 

The Adventures of Robin Hood.  While it is not the first Technicolor film, I think it is the first to use Technicolor to its potential.  It's hard to find fault with this film.  The lead, Errol Flynn, was made to portray Robin Hood and his name will forever be synonymous with Robin Hood.  The rest of the cast is perfect: Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone, Claude Rains, Alan Hale... This film has a top rate score, great story, fun swordfighting scenes and is an all around great film.  Truly timeless.  When watching the film, it is hard to believe that it is 77 years old. It looks like it could have been made yesterday.

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Feel free to choose films that have been declared "Essentials" before, if you agree that it is "Essential."

 

My first pick:

 

The Adventures of Robin Hood.  While it is not the first Technicolor film, I think it is the first to use Technicolor to its potential.  It's hard to find fault with this film.  The lead, Errol Flynn, was made to portray Robin Hood and his name will forever be synonymous with Robin Hood.  The rest of the cast is perfect: Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone, Claude Rains, Alan Hale... This film has a top rate score, great story, fun swordfighting scenes and is an all around great film.  Truly timeless.  When watching the film, it is hard to believe that it is 77 years old. It looks like it could have been made yesterday.

 

Well if all boils down to what makes a film an essential (since to me just being a great films doesn't).

 

You list two reasons I believe are solid and unique to Robin Hood;  That the film represents the first use of Technicolor to its potential and that the role of Robin was Flynn's signature role (THE role he is remembered for).    (to me that unique factor is key to the criteria for an essential,  but factors like 'cast is perfect',   'top rate score,  great story' apply to many films and are not unique factors).

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It's an easy question for me. I've had to show people my "essentials" just to ease them into "classic" film viewing. I have a 2 tier approach, starting with the truly top classic films to initially get them over "hating musicals" or "black & white" disdain.

 

The Wizard of Oz

Singin' In The Rain

It's A Wonderful Life

Robin Hood

Citizen Kane

Annie Hall

City Lights or The Kid

Sunset Blvd

Psycho

Some Like It Hot

It Happened One Night

Night of the Hunter

Yankee Doodle Dandy

The Goodbye Girl

My Fair Lady

White Heat

Now Voyager

Fantasia

Man of A Thousand Faces

How To Marry A Millionaire

In The Heat of the Night

Play It Again Sam

When Harry Met Sally

A Place In The Sun

A Tree Grows In Brooklyn

 

Gosh, there's so many GREAT films out there, many nearly perfect with writing/casting/photography. There's more, but that's off the top of my head.

 

After family/friends see these, I expand to seeing one director's films like Woody Allen, Fritz Lang, Kazan and especially Billy Wilder if they're adults.

It was fun introducing TikiKid to classic films, gearing them to her age (she'd never understand Citizen Kane) with Harryhousen films and more fun lighthearted fare such as HOUDINI and Hope & Crosby ROAD pictures.

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If my criteria was "wow, I've never seen anything like this before" my initial choices might be ...

 

Citizen Kane

Apocalypse Now

The Seven Samurai

All About Eve

Pather Panchali

Koyaanisquatsi

Sunrise

The Children of Paradise

The Conformist

Providence

Dr. Strangelove

The Three Musketeers - Lester

El - Luis Bunuel

Hamlet - Kozinstev

A Night at the Opera

The Day the Earth Stood Still

Salt of the Earth

The Wild Bunch

Raging Bull

The Social Network

 

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I don't have enough to fill up 26-30 slots for the Essentials, but here are some I wish they'd play sometime. Maybe some of them have already been Essentials.

 

Frankenstein (1910) (Very short so it would have to be shown with a feature)

A Florida Enchantment  (1914)  (Very short, and I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like it)

Stella Maris (1918) - If they gave out Academy Awards in 1918, Mary Pickford would have won for this rather than that early-talkie antique "Coquette".

Exit Smiling (1926)  - OK, Beatrice Lillie reminds me of my mom in this one, but it is a funny late era silent.

Bombshell (1933) - Maybe Keaton was wrong, maybe MGM really DID get comedy.

Dangerous Corner (1935) - modern and sophisticated for its time, almost a pre-noir noir

Scarlet Street (1945) - Dan Duryea's finest performance

You Can Never Tell (1951) - A great example of a fantasy, starring - Dick Powell???

Bridge to the Sun (1961) - Unusual film to be made just 16  years after the end of WWII

Tora! Tora! Tora! (1971) - Documentary style film. I never get tired of this.

Stand and Deliver (1988) - Reminds me of my own high school Calculus teacher. RIP.

Sleepless In Seattle (1993) - Never has anybody done a better job of poking fun at Affair to Remember

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) - Notice the lack of car chases and explosions. That alone makes it an Essential in 21st century filmmaking.

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A Night at the Opera


 


How could I have forgotten my beloved Marx Bros?


 


That film rates an ESSENTIAL because all ages and cultures will enjoy it. I was amazed showing the kid her first Marx Bros. She laughed at Harpo while we laughed at Groucho. We ALL laughed at Chico. Brilliant nonsense.

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May I say, without intending to cause a controversy; I have a queasy feeling regarding The Essentials its more recent incarnations. I understand those films most of us consider essential have been discussed and highlighted ad infinitum, increasing the chances selections will come from later eras with variable quality. I also realize the older I get the more likely it is films I would never consider essential will end up on someone's list (the 1980s, really?). Well, you get the idea; I would prefer the challenge of a host for an evening than a host for a series of nights.

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I don't have enough to fill up 26-30 slots for the Essentials, but here are some I wish they'd play sometime. Maybe some of them have already been Essentials.

 

Frankenstein (1910) (Very short so it would have to be shown with a feature)

A Florida Enchantment  (1914)  (Very short, and I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like it)

Stella Maris (1918) - If they gave out Academy Awards in 1918, Mary Pickford would have won for this rather than that early-talkie antique "Coquette".

Exit Smiling (1926)  - OK, Beatrice Lillie reminds me of my mom in this one, but it is a funny late era silent.

Bombshell (1933) - Maybe Keaton was wrong, maybe MGM really DID get comedy.

Dangerous Corner (1935) - modern and sophisticated for its time, almost a pre-noir noir

Scarlet Street (1945) - Dan Duryea's finest performance

You Can Never Tell (1951) - A great example of a fantasy, starring - Dick Powell???

Bridge to the Sun (1961) - Unusual film to be made just 16  years after the end of WWII

Tora! Tora! Tora! (1971) - Documentary style film. I never get tired of this.

Stand and Deliver (1988) - Reminds me of my own high school Calculus teacher. RIP.

Sleepless In Seattle (1993) - Never has anybody done a better job of poking fun at Affair to Remember

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) - Notice the lack of car chases and explosions. That alone makes it an Essential in 21st century filmmaking.

Interesting list. BOMBSHELL is one of my choices. 

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Well if all boils down to what makes a film an essential (since to me just being a great films doesn't).

 

You list two reasons I believe are solid and unique to Robin Hood;  That the film represents the first use of Technicolor to its potential and that the role of Robin was Flynn's signature role (THE role he is remembered for).    (to me that unique factor is key to the criteria for an essential,  but factors like 'cast is perfect',   'top rate score,  great story' apply to many films and are not unique factors).

I agree that some of the reasons I listed could apply to multiple films.  I was just trying to come up with reasons why I felt this film was "Essential." I suppose I got a little too generic with my answers. 

 

I suppose it would depend on what criteria is being used to declare a film "Essential."  I think there are a handful of films that could be considered "Essential" solely because they revolutionized an aspect of film making.  For example, The Jazz Singer.  Whatever people's personal opinions of this film are, it doesn't really matter.  There is no denying that this film is "essential" to film history.

 

Then of course, there are films that people consider "essential" to themselves.  Like I love The Long, Long Trailer, it's essential to me, but I don't know if I'd go as far as to declare the film an "essential" for everyone.

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May I say, without intending to cause a controversy; I have a queasy feeling regarding The Essentials its more recent incarnations. I understand those films most of us consider essential have been discussed and highlighted ad infinitum, increasing the chances selections will come from later eras with variable quality. I also realize the older I get the more likely it is films I would never consider essential will end up on someone's list (the 1980s, really?). Well, you get the idea; I would prefer the challenge of a host for an evening than a host for a series of nights.

If you were selected as Guest Programmer for an evening, what films would you pick?

 

:)

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I believe that I would be poor co-host for The Essentials because I feel that many obscure movies are more essential for understanding of movies than are the well-known movies. I often have feeling that The Essentials is: "Movies 101" course and as such is not well-suited to TCM audience who are tuning into this channel because they love classic movies and so know the very popular movies which are all that The Essentials showcase.

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Each incarnation of the Essentials I imagine is pretty much the co-host (and probably to some degree Robert Osborne)'s favorite films.  These films are "essential" to them.  Why else would Drew Barrymore gush so much about My Fair Lady and Robert Osborne so vehemently disagree with her? That would also explain some wackier choices like I Love You Alice B. Toklas!

 

Like I said in a prior post, I would probably argue that an "essential" is both personal and technical.  There are films that are "essential" to film history, films that changed filmmaking, created a Hollywood icon, etc. Then there are films that are essential to the individual.  Half of the fun of being a movie lover is getting to share your love of film with others and hoping that they love it too.  It's always slightly disappointing when I share a film I love with someone and at the end, they're lukewarm about it.  I have so many films "essential" to me, that it's hard to narrow it down.  I'm forever adding movies to my list of "essentials."

 

MY ESSENTIALS

 

The Adventures of Robin Hood- Like I said before, the first film to use Technicolor to its potential and made Errol Flynn a Hollywood icon.  If this were the only film he made, he would be remembered.

 

Breakfast at Tiffany's- While not my favorite Audrey Hepburn film, there's no denying that this is the film that turned her into a Hollywood and fashion icon.

 

The Long, Long Trailer- I just love this movie and have seen it a million times.  It never gets old.

 

Citizen Kane- No denying that this film is essential to filmmaking.  I also love it.  Such a great movie.

 

Gilda- Fantastic film noir and one that made Rita Hayworth Rita Hayworth

 

The Thin Man- Classic detective film and there's no denying the great chemistry between Powell and Loy.

 

Libeled Lady- The film that started to endear me to Jean Harlow.  Powell and Loy are excellent too.

 

Gentleman Jim- One of Flynn's best films and one of the best boxing movies made.  It doesn't hurt that it's chock-full of eye candy either.  This is the film to watch if I just feel like drooling all night.

 

Picnic- I love me a good melodrama and the "Moonglow" dance between William Holden and Kim Novak is probably one of the sexiest scenes ever in film.

 

Some Like it Hot- Hilarious.  Jack Lemmon steals the show.  My favorite scene is the ridiculous impromptu party in Lemmon's upper berth with all the ladies. 

 

Network- Absolutely fascinating drama.

 

Double Indemnity- Another of my favorite film noirs.  Stanwyck's femme fatale is one of the ultimate femme fatales ever. 

 

To Have and Have Not- Lauren Bacall's first film. The beginning of the Bogart/Bacall love affair. Hands down, one of the best screen debuts ever.

 

The Wizard of Oz- While not my favorite of Judy Garland's films, there's no denying that it is a true classic. 

 

Singin' in the Rain- Not only one of the best musicals ever made, but one of the best movies ever made.  Gene Kelly's "Singin' in the Rain" number is one of the all time classic moments in film.

 

All About Eve- Excellent film.  The entire cast is superb, excellent script.  Great ending.  Great music.  No flaws for this film-- except, after Birdie goes to get everyone's coats at Bill's party, where the heck did she go?

 

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?- Amazing movie.  Bette Davis does crazy well.

 

The Music Box- Laurel and Hardy.  This movie is hilarious.  Laurel and Hardy are so inept and ridiculous. 

 

Sunset Boulevard- Another great film noir.  Truly a classic.

 

Psycho- One of the best horror movies ever.  Creepy, gory, scary, everything. 

 

FILMS I'D DECLARE ESSENTIAL, BASED ON THEIR IMPORTANCE IN FILM MAKING:

 

Birth of a Nation (1915)- Granted, this film is BORING and I never want to see it ever again.  However, there's no denying that it was groundbreaking in 1915 with its film making techniques.

 

The Jazz Singer (1927)-First talkie with lengthy dialogue and singing.

 

Metropolis (1927)- Revolutionary sci-fi movie.

 

Steamboat Willie (1928)- First Mickey Mouse cartoon, One of the first (if not the first) cartoons with synchronized sound and image.

 

It Happened One Night (1934)- First rom-com

 

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937) First full length animated film.  It's definitely not my favorite Disney cartoon by any means.

 

I could probably make an entire list of essentials just of my two favorite genres-- noir and musicals.

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One of my picks is The Last of Sheila (1973), directed by Herbert Ross.  It has elements dear to me:  smart, funny script, wonderful cast, a murder mystery or two, twists and turns, exotic locale, and James Coburn.  It's very "inside," but not too much so for avid movie watchers, and the others can Google the references.

 

I would choose it as friends--even those my age-- have never heard of it, and that's a pity because it's vastly entertaining.  And you've got to have friends.  :)

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One of my picks is The Last of Sheila (1973), directed by Herbert Ross.  It has elements dear to me:  smart, funny script, wonderful cast, a murder mystery or two, twists and turns, exotic locale, and James Coburn.  It's very "inside," but not too much so for avid movie watchers, and the others can Google the references.

 

I would choose it as friends--even those my age-- have never heard of it, and that's a pity because it's vastly entertaining.  And you've got to have friends. 

 

I love Richard Benjamin. What I wouldn't give to see a TCM marathon devoted to him which would include such seldom seen items as 'Portnoy's Complaint' (1972), 'The Marriage of a Young Stockbroker' (1971), 'Goodbye Columbus' (1969) and 'The Last of Sheila'.

 

Such an interesting actor - dry, often hilarious in his persona, and yet capable of intense, no-nonsense seriousness.

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One of my picks is The Last of Sheila (1973), directed by Herbert Ross. It has elements dear to me: smart, funny script, wonderful cast, a murder mystery or two, twists and turns, exotic locale, and James Coburn. It's very "inside," but not too much so for avid movie watchers, and the others can Google the references.

 

I would choose it as friends--even those my age-- have never heard of it, and that's a pity because it's vastly entertaining. And you've got to have friends. :)

I remember a few years ago they had TCM employees pick movies to air, and one lady quite enthusiastically picked "the last of sheila."

 

It was a really interesting and watchable film, one that i'm surprised hasnt (i think) been shown again.

 

A Herbert Ross retrospective would be nice.

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I love Richard Benjamin. What I wouldn't give to see a TCM marathon devoted to him which would include such seldom seen items as 'Portnoy's Complaint' (1972), 'The Marriage of a Young Stockbroker' (1971), 'Goodbye Columbus' (1969) and 'The Last of Sheila'.

 

Such an interesting actor - dry, often hilarious in his persona, and yet capable of intense, no-nonsense seriousness.

Richard Benjamin was terrific in Diary of a Mad Housewife.  A Universal film that is very hard to catch now for some reason.

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So- there was this movie on TCM saturday (?) morning called "Turnabout" with Carole Landis , AdolpheMenjou, and a faaaabulos looking Mary Astor. It also featured "Dixiebelle Lee" from "the awful truth." Everyone in it was terrific.

 

Husband and wife switch bodies thanks to a magical Buddha...hijinks ensue.

 

it might be the very first body switch themed movie ever- I'm not sure, but it was worth checking out to see when the premise and the gags were once fresh...the most interesting aspect of the film was that they dubbed in Carole Landis' voice for the actor playing her husband and his voice for hers during the "switch" scenes. it really ended up being a fascinating study of sexuality and sexual identities and had several laugh out loud moments.

 

Maltin gave it two stars and said it was "incredibly bad"

 

(Maltin huffs brake cleaner and anything he gives less than 3 stars is always worth checking out.)

 

it was not a perfect movie but it was an entertaining movie and an interesting movie and a fascinating time capsule and the sort of movie that might just rook in a new classic film fan.

 

it's just the sort of film that needs to be an essential over the tired tired tiiiiiired usual suspects that ( I'm sorry it's true )at this point we're not going to learn anything new from seeing again.

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it was not a perfect movie but it was an entertaining movie and an interesting movie and a fascinating time capsule and the sort of movie that might just rook in a new classic film fan.

 

Yeah, but that would be something other than "essential". Essentials, as far the category goes, is for newbies....what are the best films that will get a non film fan interested in classic film?

 

I agree there's a plethora of lesser known movies for the already initiated film fan. Maybe it's time to retire the idea of Essentials and start a different hosted discussion show. Hidden Treasures, maybe?

 

I'd certainly like to see longer discussions.

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May I say, without intending to cause a controversy; I have a queasy feeling regarding The Essentials its more recent incarnations. I understand those films most of us consider essential have been discussed and highlighted ad infinitum, increasing the chances selections will come from later eras with variable quality. I also realize the older I get the more likely it is films I would never consider essential will end up on someone's list (the 1980s, really?). Well, you get the idea; I would prefer the challenge of a host for an evening than a host for a series of nights.

There are films from the 80s that I like and feel like are essential films for any movie buff.

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