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Are they really "stars"? Some questionable SUTS selections.


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This article was in today's newspaper.  It touches on an oft-discussed topic on these boards, so I thought it might interest some readers.

 

 

 

 

 

TCM Spotlights Stars 

Of Varying Brightness

 

IMG_CT-CTHIST_APF-929-CT_2_1_5H8FJ5VM.jp
GENE TIERNEY, left, with Rex Harrison in “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir,” is not necessarily a household name. (20th Century Fox)

By DIANE WERTS

Newsday

Who rates as a “star” today?

In this 21st-century age of superstars/megastars — maybe even uber-stars — it's getting hard to figure.

That's why each annual Summer Under the Stars festival from Turner Classic Movies seems increasingly vexing. Yes, it's August, the dog days of tube viewing, and we're desperate for something, anything, special to watch. So here comes an entire month (starting Saturday) that promises a 24-hour tribute to a different Hollywood movie star every single day.

Yet some of those “stars” are named Mae Clarke, Adolphe Menjou, Virginia Bruce or Monty Woolley.

Say what?

Beyond obvious legends like John Wayne or Katharine Hepburn, some of TCM's 2015 Summer “stars” are downright inscrutable, even given the channel's bent toward the Hollywood “golden age” actors whose films come from the 1930s-1960s studio-era library that the channel owns outright.

No disrespect intended. Alan Arkin, Teresa Wright and Lee J. Cobb built decadeslong careers for good reason. They were dependable performers. Warren Oates is a god among indie lovers. Rex Ingram was a pioneering black actor of substance when Hollywood didn't allow many. And Ann-Margret still makes male hearts flutter 50 years later.

But no Chaplin? No Keaton — Buster, Michael or Diane? No Cagney or Bogart? No Bette Davis or Bette Midler? How many film fans even know that Saturday's kickoff honoree, Gene Tierney, is a woman? And, by the way, where's that guy's guy Gene Kelly?

It's an annual debate. Who belongs? Who doesn't? Maybe TCM should just repeat the “true” greats of cinema, year after year. Such as Orson Welles and Judy Garland. Or should that be Denzel Washington and Julia Roberts?

Generational disputes, yes. Mainstream versus cult. Even as TCM unreels everything from indie oddities to century-old silents, from documentaries to foreign films, it can never satisfy every cinephile.

At least this August, TCM continues its weekly showcases: The Essentials (must-know classics Saturday nights) and TCM Movie Camp (family films Sunday nights). So what if “The Adventures of Robin Hood” (Sunday) spotlights the vigor of Errol Flynn yet airs during the day of co-star Olivia de Havilland? “East of Eden” (Aug. 8) is known for star James Dean but is included due to on-screen dad Raymond Massey. When Gene Kelly does show up, in “Singin' in the Rain” (Aug. 23), it's only because of young love interest Debbie Reynolds.

Sometimes, it doesn't pay to quibble. Better to just watch. And enjoy.

 

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Some of the unnamed honorees: Fred Astaire, Joan Crawford, Robert Mitchum, Groucho Marx, Patricia Neal, Vivien Leigh, Greta Garbo, & Shelley Winters are hardly inscrutable or unknown. The last three sentences of her article sum the choices up; 

 

"Sometimes, it doesn't pay to quibble. Better to just watch. And enjoy,"

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"How many film fans even know that Saturday's kickoff honoree, Gene Tierney, is a woman?"

Pretty much all of them, I'd say.

 

The article is poorly written. The author spends several paragraphs complaining and/or acting confused, and then concludes by saying watch and enjoy.

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This article is dumb.

 

It sounds like someone who never watches TCM or classic films in general who looked over the list of SUTS honorees and wondered "who's that?" "I've never heard of them," etc. Then concluded that because she hasn't heard of these people, that they're obviously not worth honoring. 

 

Even before I became an avid TCM viewer, I knew that Gene Tierney was a woman.

 

Some of these other honorees like Adolphe Menjou or Mae Clark, the reason I know who they are is because of films I've watched on TCM.

 

As much as I like the "big" stars that she names (although, I highly question the author's inclusion of Bette Midler...) I'm glad TCM mixes it up with big names and lesser big names (but whose body of work is quite prolific). 

 

I think the author should take some time to watch the films of those whom she doesn't know about so that she can learn.

 

This article is much ado about nothing in my opinion.

 

This picture sums up my opinion on this article:

old-man-cloud.jpg?w=584

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I dislike SUTS because there are some actors that I just don't like, so that kills a whold day of TCM for me.  I probably watch less TCM during August than any other month.

Also, it seems they show same movies they show over and over and over.

For example, would much rather see Ann-Margaret in Kitten With a Whip.  The Pleasure Seekers in on FXM at least monthly, if not more often and usually without commercials.

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This article was in today's newspaper.  It touches on an oft-discussed topic on these boards, so I thought it might interest some readers.

 

 

 

 

 

TCM Spotlights Stars 

Of Varying Brightness

 

IMG_CT-CTHIST_APF-929-CT_2_1_5H8FJ5VM.jp
GENE TIERNEY, left, with Rex Harrison in “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir,” is not necessarily a household name. (20th Century Fox)

By DIANE WERTS

Newsday

Who rates as a “star” today?

In this 21st-century age of superstars/megastars — maybe even uber-stars — it's getting hard to figure.

That's why each annual Summer Under the Stars festival from Turner Classic Movies seems increasingly vexing. Yes, it's August, the dog days of tube viewing, and we're desperate for something, anything, special to watch. So here comes an entire month (starting Saturday) that promises a 24-hour tribute to a different Hollywood movie star every single day.

Yet some of those “stars” are named Mae Clarke, Adolphe Menjou, Virginia Bruce or Monty Woolley.

Say what?

Beyond obvious legends like John Wayne or Katharine Hepburn, some of TCM's 2015 Summer “stars” are downright inscrutable, even given the channel's bent toward the Hollywood “golden age” actors whose films come from the 1930s-1960s studio-era library that the channel owns outright.

No disrespect intended. Alan Arkin, Teresa Wright and Lee J. Cobb built decadeslong careers for good reason. They were dependable performers. Warren Oates is a god among indie lovers. Rex Ingram was a pioneering black actor of substance when Hollywood didn't allow many. And Ann-Margret still makes male hearts flutter 50 years later.

But no Chaplin? No Keaton — Buster, Michael or Diane? No Cagney or Bogart? No Bette Davis or Bette Midler? How many film fans even know that Saturday's kickoff honoree, Gene Tierney, is a woman? And, by the way, where's that guy's guy Gene Kelly?

It's an annual debate. Who belongs? Who doesn't? Maybe TCM should just repeat the “true” greats of cinema, year after year. Such as Orson Welles and Judy Garland. Or should that be Denzel Washington and Julia Roberts?

Generational disputes, yes. Mainstream versus cult. Even as TCM unreels everything from indie oddities to century-old silents, from documentaries to foreign films, it can never satisfy every cinephile.

At least this August, TCM continues its weekly showcases: The Essentials (must-know classics Saturday nights) and TCM Movie Camp (family films Sunday nights). So what if “The Adventures of Robin Hood” (Sunday) spotlights the vigor of Errol Flynn yet airs during the day of co-star Olivia de Havilland? “East of Eden” (Aug. 8) is known for star James Dean but is included due to on-screen dad Raymond Massey. When Gene Kelly does show up, in “Singin' in the Rain” (Aug. 23), it's only because of young love interest Debbie Reynolds.

Sometimes, it doesn't pay to quibble. Better to just watch. And enjoy.

 

 

If SUTS were confined to "stars", narrowly construed, it would be the same actors and films all the time, 12 months a year.

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Hopefully, no one in the TCM programming department pays any attention at all to this blurb (to call it an "article" seems ambitious).

 

One only has to go the thread on this forum that lists all the SUTS choices of the past and see that the original concept in the minds of TCM programmers was to do exactly what this woman suggests. James Stewart had a SUTS day in EVERY ONE of the first five years there was such a thing. Cary Grant had one the first four years in a row. Ditto Katharine Hepburn. Ditto Humphrey Bogart. Kirk Douglas was on the list from 2003-2005 and then after getting one year off was back for 2007. Elizabeth Taylor and John Wayne had days three times each in the first five years. Three times for Gregory Peck. There are more, but I'm getting tired of looking them up. Anyway, you get the idea. The same people over and over again. 

 

Jump ahead to the last five years, and I won't say it's like night and day, because you're still getting the likes of Stewart, Bogart, Mickey Rooney, Astaire, Paul Newman, etc., sprinkled in there - at least a few of them every year- but TCM has thankfully broadened its definition of "star" so it's not strictly limited to the biggest box-office draws of all-time. So we're now also seeing the likes of Warren William, Edmond O'Brien, John Hodiak, Hattie McDaniel and Martin Balsam. Also, TCM has (hooray!) efforted to bring us some stars whose main body of work exists outside of their library - Betty Grable, Thelma Ritter, Alan Ladd, Jeanne Crain. As I compose this, TCM is in the middle of showing no fewer than six Fox films back-to-back with Gene Tierney.

 

I think this year is a perfectly acceptable mix of old warhorses and some choices I never would have thought of on my own. I love it when TCM surprises me. I couldn't disagree with the sentiment of this article more strongly.

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I've never heard of Diane Werts, but I'll bet she's also a big fan of Top 40 radio---all hits, all the time, nothing else.

 

Thank God TCM has more of an appreciation of movies than that.

You left out Kanye West, Justin Bieber and Tom Cruise.

 

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir is not a household name?

 

She must live in a household of troglodytes.

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So far I've never run across even a cursory film fan who didn't know that GENE TIERNEY was a woman and GENE KELLY was a fella.  Let's see if Diane Werts knows the gender of 'Evans Evans'.   

 

Or Gene Evans.

 

OR for that matter, The Gong Show's Gene Gene The Dancing Machine!

 

(...both being males, of course)

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Just when I'd gotten that stupid show out of my mind... Thanks, Dargo.   <_<

 

LOL

 

Sorry Eugenia, but can I help it if I always thought Jaye P. Morgan was kind'a hot?!!! ;)

 

(...and I ain't talkin' about that there 19th Century banking magnate, of course)

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LOL

 

Sorry Eugenia, but can I help it if I always thought Jaye P. Morgan was kind'a hot?!!! ;)

 

(...and I ain't talkin' about that there 19th Century banking magnate, of course)

 

She's the one that wore the groovy shades, right?  :P

 

Chuck Barris...  I was a kid when that show was on, but even I had my limits.  If fate had been different, and we had seen the headline, "Game Show Host Strangled by Eight Year Old Girl", that would have been me! 

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I like their picks, of course some of the picks I didnt like. out of the 31 days 15 of the stars I'm looking forward to. I attribute to everything isnt for every one. For example, I'm not so big on Rex Ingram but I can't wait for  Groucho Marx day. It's a nice variety

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It's weird that Diane Werts seems to have a working knowledge of Lee J. Cobb and Rex Ingram, but is baffled by Adolphe Menjou or Monty Woolley.   I remember learning about all of them at around the same time.  

 

I guess it depends on how much you were into classic movies at any stage of your life, as opposed to being interested in other things.  When I was in high school over 50 years ago, I knew that Lee J. Cobb had been a reluctant friendly witness before HUAC and that Adolphe Menjou was a member of the John Birch Society, but I had no knowledge of their acting careers.  But by this point, about 50 or more movies later,  their filmography overrides anything I know or care about their political beliefs.

 

And if someone had mentioned Monty Woolley to me in 1962, I probably would have thought they were confusing him with the guy who sang "Purple People Eater".

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It's weird that Diane Werts seems to have a working knowledge of Lee J. Cobb and Rex Ingram, but is baffled by Adolphe Menjou or Monty Woolley.   I remember learning about all of them at around the same time.  

 

I'm not sure what point Werts was really trying to make here,  but the article starts with 'who rates as the "star" today';  in this limited context it is safe to assume most of the American T.V. viewing public is unaware of  Menjou, Woolley,  Clark and Bruce.   So adding 'say what' doesn't mean, per se, that Werts isn't knowledge of these actors but that the odds are high most TV viewers are.

 

As for what actors TCM should feature in SUTS;  well this has been debated for years here;  I believe the overall consensus of users at this forum is that TCM should focus on the least 'bright' stars.  e.g. many,  like me,  wish TCM would only have supporting \ character actors featured in SUTS since the big name stars have always been the primary focus of TCM.

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I'm not sure what point Werts was really trying to make here,  but the article starts with 'who rates as the "star" today';  in this limited context it is safe to assume most of the American T.V. viewing public is unaware of  Menjou, Woolley,  Clark and Bruce.   So adding 'say what' doesn't mean, per se, that Werts isn't knowledge of these actors but that the odds are high most TV viewers are.

 

As for what actors TCM should feature in SUTS;  well this has been debated for years here;  I believe the overall consensus of users at this forum is that TCM should focus on the least 'bright' stars.  e.g. many,  like me,  wish TCM would only have supporting \ character actors featured in SUTS since the big name stars have always been the primary focus of TCM.

Menjou was in by far more well-known films than any of the other three.

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Honestly, if you asked the average movie fan if they know James Cagney or Fred Astaire, I'd bet that 75% of them wouldn't know who they are (viewers under 40) and they are a couple of the most popular. Beyond John Wayne or Ronald Reagan, both icons of conservatives, I doubt people know many stars from prior to 1960.

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Honestly, if you asked the average movie fan if they know James Cagney or Fred Astaire, I'd bet that 75% of them wouldn't know who they are (viewers under 40) and they are a couple of the most popular. Beyond John Wayne or Ronald Reagan, both icons of conservatives, I doubt people know many stars from prior to 1960.

 

You could maybe add Bogart and Marilyn Monroe to that short list, but that's about it.  But then most people would be hard pressed to look at Mt. Rushmore and identify the four presidents.

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The only eyebrow raiser on the list for me is RAYMOND MASSEY, more because he wasn't a particularly good or even interesting actor, and his star status is debateable.

 

Some of the other names get slight eyeroll from me, but more because they've appeared so many times before- ie Katharine Hepburn.

 

But overall I'm fine with the list.

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Menjou was in by far more well-known films than any of the other three.

 

I agree with this,  but most of the general public are not aware of even well-known films made before they were born or they have heard of them but never seen them.   e.g.  I had relatives in their early 40s staying for the weekend and they asked me about 'old' movies since they saw the posters and pictures I have on my wall.   They knew about Casablanca and Gone with the Wind but they had never seen those films.  The only 'old' movies they had seen were Its a Wonderful Life and Wizard of Oz because they have kids.   

As we discussed the 'old' stars that are known are often known for things outside their movies (Audrey Hepburn due to fashion,  Monroe due to JFK \ Frank and how she died,   James Dean (who if based on the movies he was in shouldn't be known at all!) and as the other person noted because they were conservative icons (Wayne,  Reagan),   and a few others like Bogie and Bette Davis and Kate Hepburn.

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LornaHansonForbes--RM is on there Probably because he starred in some Important (at the time) movies--& has two iconic roles associated with him, for better or worse:

 

He is the "spittin' image" of Abe Lincoln in "Abe Lincoln in Illinois" (1940)--& he acts the **** out of the role--I saw the film on television as a child & I see him in my minds' eye when people talk about Lincoln--he's that good.  He's also scarily good as abolitionist John Brown in "Santa Fe Trail" (1940) & "Seven Angry Men" (1956).

 

Record "The Drum" (1938)--an underrated adventure yarn.

 

"Things to Come" (1936) is a fascinating movie & deserved a better time slot than 6:00 a.m.

 

Now-- to anyone re Katharine Hepburn's movies--there are two movies of hers TCM is showing I haven't seen--"Mary of Scotland" (1936) & "Quality Street" (1937)--I know both were box-office bombs--but is either worth watching??  Thanks in advance for anyone responding to my question.

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