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speedracer5

Marilyn Monroe for [Insert month here] SOTM!

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To go from not even having a SUTS tribute to being SOTM is a pretty big jump.

Well, keep in mind, during the early years of TCM-- stars were given monthly tributes before the SUTS concept had been dreamed up by the programming department. So it's not like there is no precedent here. LOL

 

But I get what you're saying. 

 

Incidentally, I was looking back at old schedules and it seems George Sanders did have a morning tribute in October 2012. He's just never made it into primetime yet.

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Well--I just went to look up facts,, & according to TCM's list of Marilyn Monroes' credits, she made her debut in "Dangerous Years" (DY) (1948), which from the plot synopsis sounds like a would-be film noir. She is billed 12th as Evie. Click on "Notes" for "Dangerous Years", & according to that page, her role in "Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay!" was cut before that film's release. She did well enough in DY to be given a co-starring role in "Ladies of the Chorus" (1948) a Low budget musical. That led to a bit as Groucho's "straight woman" in "Love Happy" (1949), which led to a bit at MGM in "Right Cross", which led to her bit in "All About Eve", which led to her bit in "The Asphalt Jungle" (all 1950). Falling dominos(sp?). You can't fairly eliminate All of her bit parts--& I have never heard of her debut film. Has anyone else heard of it?

This timeline is not quite accurate. SCUDDAH HOO, SCUDDAH HAY is normally listed in MMs filmography as her film debut she had walkons in a few other films) even though most of her bit was cut out. She is seen briefly in one shot, and survives in a long shot in a canoe. This was under her first contract at 20th Century Fox. Her second bit, in the B teenage drama DANGEROUS YEARS (also at Fox), was actually seen first, due to being released before the other film. After having one 6 month option picked up by the studio, she was dropped in late 1947, after having spent a year at Fox.

 

Later, she got another six month contract at Columbia. She appeared promising in her singing, dancing and acting classes, and so,.out of the blue, she got a.lead.in the low budget musical LADIES OF THE CHORUS (if anything, her casting in this was due to a "friend" with influence moreso than her bit in the Fox B film). However, Columbia didn't pick up her option, despite her promise, and she was dropped.after 6 months.

 

From.there, she did modeling of various sorts, and got the bit in the Marx Brothers' LOVE HAPPY. This had nothing to do with her work in LOTC. She then played a chorus girl in A TICKET TO TOMAHAWK, then got the important Small Part (not a bit) in an important picture THE ASPHALT.JUNGLE, and That got her noticed. Later in 1950, she got another important Small Part in an important film, ALL ABOUT EVE. This led to another contract.at Fox, where several.featured roles in comedies, plus plenty of cheesecakee, finally led the groundwork for her meteoric rise.

 

The important roles.in TAJ and AAE, were due to an important contact,.Johnny Hyde, who helped her get the second Fox contract.

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This timeline is not quite accurate. SCUDDAH HOO, SCUDDAH HAY is normally listed in MMs filmography as her film debut she had walkons in a few other films) even though most of her bit was cut out. She is seen briefly in one shot, and survives in a long shot in a canoe. This was under her first contract at 20th Century Fox. Her second bit, in the B teenage drama DANGEROUS YEARS (also at Fox), was actually seen first, due to being released before the other film. After having one 6 month option picked up by the studio, she was dropped in late 1947, after having spent a year at Fox.

 

Later, she got another six month contract at Columbia. She appeared promising in her singing, dancing and acting classes, and so,.out of the blue, she got a.lead.in the low budget musical LADIES OF THE CHORUS (if anything, her casting in this was due to a "friend" with influence moreso than her bit in the Fox B film). However, Columbia didn't pick up her option, despite her promise, and she was dropped.after 6 months.

 

From.there, she did modeling of various sorts, and got the bit in the Marx Brothers' LOVE HAPPY. This had nothing to do with her work in LOTC. She then played a chorus girl in A TICKET TO TOMAHAWK, then got the important Small Part (not a bit) in an important picture THE ASPHALT.JUNGLE, and That got her noticed. Later in 1950, she got another important Small Part in an important film, ALL ABOUT EVE. This led to another contract.at Fox, where several.featured roles in comedies, plus plenty of cheesecakee, finally led the groundwork for her meteoric rise.

 

The important roles.in TAJ and AAE, were due to an important contact,.Johnny Hyde, who helped her get the second Fox contract.

 

But as your post illustrates, that "meteoric rise" took a long time in coming. She had to work hard (in some ways not easy to talk about) which seems on the one hand rather surprising. Looking back and seeing her as the icon she is and with that eclat, her stunning appeal, one might have thought it should have been easy. Even when she finally started making some real films she was beset with the idea of becoming a dramatic actress (as we know). She wanted The Egyptian and I believe she sought A Long Day's Journey into Night, neither that would have worked for her (probably), but she never got a chance to surprise us (at least with those films).

 

It is well known how difficult she was on set (and off set when the rest of the cast was waiting for her) and how bad she could be in rehearsals with lines and repeated takes, etc., but it's gratifying to see that she comes across as an accomplished actress in the final cut especially her mid and later movies and especially after the Actor's Studio. I read that the final rushes were so bad in Prince and the Showgirl that Olivier gently said to her that some of those scenes could be done over if she wished. She did so wish and it was done. We never saw the before but the after looks pretty good.

 

EDIT ...in the final cut... [added]

Edited by laffite

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To go from not even having a SUTS tribute to being SOTM is a pretty big jump.

 

But it's less so if it's as clearly deserved as a Sanders SOTM would be.

 

What's clear in all these SOTM discussions is that there's a conceptual split between what constitutes a "Star".  Obviously TCM's idea of "Star" for the most part has been AFI-certified Big Names, even if some of those Big Names are barely known at all any more to the general public.

 

OTOH some of us would prefer to see a less rigid definition of "Star", with the idea of rewarding great acting, more secondary and non-romantic leads, and (sacrilege!) an occasional non-English speaking foreign actor or three.  Frankly, the idea of giving a tenth rate actor like Elvis Presley the SOTM treatment while ignoring George Sanders or Toshiro Mifune can only be explained by the circular logic of "he's famous for being famous", without any regard for the quality either of the acting or the movies these actors were in.  I understand the logic behind the thinking---there are far more Elvis groupies in the TCM audience than there are Mifune or Jean Gabin fans--- but it doesn't exactly make for better programming.

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But it's less so if it's as clearly deserved as a Sanders SOTM would be.

 

What's clear in all these SOTM discussions is that there's a conceptual split between what constitutes a "Star".  Obviously TCM's idea of "Star" for the most part has been AFI-certified Big Names, even if some of those Big Names are barely known at all any more to the general public.

 

OTOH some of us would prefer to see a less rigid definition of "Star", with the idea of rewarding great acting, more secondary and non-romantic leads, and (sacrilege!) an occasional non-English speaking foreign actor or three.  Frankly, the idea of giving a tenth rate actor like Elvis Presley the SOTM treatment while ignoring George Sanders or Toshiro Mifune can only be explained by the circular logic of "he's famous for being famous", without any regard for the quality either of the acting or the movies these actors were in.  I understand the logic behind the thinking---there are far more Elvis groupies in the TCM audience than there are Mifune or Jean Gabin fans--- but it doesn't exactly make for better programming.

I thought it was very telling when Lauren Bacall died and during her memorial tribute on TCM, Robert Osborne said she used to call in and say 'too much Elvis...give us more Fred & Ginger.' So even the stars from the golden age were crying foul.

 

If we go with the idea that many Elvis films are in the TCM library, fine. But many George Sanders films are in the TCM library as well.

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But it's less so if it's as clearly deserved as a Sanders SOTM would be.

 

What's clear in all these SOTM discussions is that there's a conceptual split between what constitutes a "Star".  Obviously TCM's idea of "Star" for the most part has been AFI-certified Big Names, even if some of those Big Names are barely known at all any more to the general public.

 

OTOH some of us would prefer to see a less rigid definition of "Star", with the idea of rewarding great acting, more secondary and non-romantic leads, and (sacrilege!) an occasional non-English speaking foreign actor or three.  Frankly, the idea of giving a tenth rate actor like Elvis Presley the SOTM treatment while ignoring George Sanders or Toshiro Mifune can only be explained by the circular logic of "he's famous for being famous", without any regard for the quality either of the acting or the movies these actors were in.  I understand the logic behind the thinking---there are far more Elvis groupies in the TCM audience than there are Mifune or Jean Gabin fans--- but it doesn't exactly make for better programming.

 

The spotlight is Star Of The Month, not Actor Of The Month.

 

Marilyn Monroe was indisputably a star.

Elvis Presley was indisputably a star. (One can argue whether he was an actor.)

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The spotlight is Star Of The Month, not Actor Of The Month.

 

Marilyn Monroe was indisputably a star.

Elvis Presley was indisputably a star. (One can argue whether he was an actor.)

Great point, star is the key word.  It's hard to think of anyone (other than Elvis and perhaps Elizabeth Taylor), who was a star of such calibre.  The impact she  has made on popular culture is extraordinary.  I wager in a hundred years people will still be talking about Marilyn Monroe, as well they should.   

 

What does such a girl have to do around here to become SOTM? 

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Great point, star is the key word.  It's hard to think of anyone (other than Elvis and perhaps Elizabeth Taylor), who was a star of such calibre.  The impact she  has made on popular culture is extraordinary.  I wager in a hundred years people will still be talking about Marilyn Monroe, as well they should.   

 

What does such a girl have to do around here to become SOTM? 

 

Hopefully someone won't have to resort to what ingenues had to do back in the day and spend a lot of time on the director's casting couch, just to get poor Marilyn her SOTM honor.  

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Hopefully someone won't have to resort to what ingenues had to do back in the day and spend a lot of time on the director's casting couch, just to get poor Marilyn her SOTM honor.  

Yes, let's hope it doesn't come to that!

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But it's less so if it's as clearly deserved as a Sanders SOTM would be.

 

Andy,

 

Don't know if you noticed in the Sanders thread-- Barton posted there will now be a primetime tribute for George Sanders on December 3rd. TCM is bumping its previously scheduled tribute for Robert Francis (which will likely air at a later date). 

 

So this is very good news.

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Hopefully someone won't have to resort to what ingenues had to do back in the day and spend a lot of time on the director's casting couch, just to get poor Marilyn her SOTM honor.  

 

 

Any volunteers? LOL.  Lorna???

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AndyM108, on 29 Sept 2015 - 5:44 PM, said:

What's clear in all these SOTM discussions is that there's a conceptual split between what constitutes a "Star".  Obviously TCM's idea of "Star" for the most part has been AFI-certified Big Names, even if some of those Big Names are barely known at all any more to the general public.

 

The spotlight is Star Of The Month, not Actor Of The Month.

 

Marilyn Monroe was indisputably a star.

Elvis Presley was indisputably a star. (One can argue whether he was an actor.)

 

By that definition, one can also claim that Lassie, Rin Tin Tin, and Francis The Talking Mule were stars.  Though by saying that I'm afraid I've probably given some people ideas.

 

But TCM has also awarded SOTM honors to plenty of non-"stars" like Sanders:  Peter Lorre, Jean Hagen, Claude Rains, Eleanor Parker, and many more like them.  What distinguishes these actors or actresses from Sanders?

 

And unless Donald Trump is the Chairman of the SOTM screening committee, how on Earth can the likes of Toshiro Mifune, Jean Gabin, or Jeanne Moreau not be considered "Stars" under any definition of the word? 

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TCM is not so high on foreign stars. Lucky they get a tribute or an overnight now and then. That's about all to hope for.

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By that definition, one can also claim that Lassie, Rin Tin Tin, and Francis The Talking Mule were stars.  Though by saying that I'm afraid I've probably given some people ideas.

 

But TCM has also awarded SOTM honors to plenty of non-"stars" like Sanders:  Peter Lorre, Jean Hagen, Claude Rains, Eleanor Parker, and many more like them.  What distinguishes these actors or actresses from Sanders?

 

And unless Donald Trump is the Chairman of the SOTM screening committee, how on Earth can the likes of Toshiro Mifune, Jean Gabin, or Jeanne Moreau not be considered "Stars" under any definition of the word? 

Excellent post. And what some people are neglecting to mention is that Elvis may have been a star-- but he was a singing star more than he was a movie star. That's why TCM often shows the documentary Elvis: That's the Way It Is, with plenty of concert footage. They are not rushing to show G.I. BLUES. 

 

As for actors versus stars-- there was a month when TCM featured method actors for Star of the Month. And there was another month where all three Barrymores (John, Lionel & Ethel) were featured as Stars of the Month. So that proves TCM is interested in spotlighting real actors.

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By that definition, one can also claim that Lassie, Rin Tin Tin, and Francis The Talking Mule were stars.  Though by saying that I'm afraid I've probably given some people ideas.

 

But TCM has also awarded SOTM honors to plenty of non-"stars" like Sanders:  Peter Lorre, Jean Hagen, Claude Rains, Eleanor Parker, and many more like them.  What distinguishes these actors or actresses from Sanders?

 

And unless Donald Trump is the Chairman of the SOTM screening committee, how on Earth can the likes of Toshiro Mifune, Jean Gabin, or Jeanne Moreau not be considered "Stars" under any definition of the word? 

 

I have to agree with HoldenisHere as it relates to what is a 'star'.    The term is a marketing term that does NOT reflect the ability or talent of said person but how famous they are.   How many awards they got (deserved or not),   the box office take of their films and other such criteria.      The same holds true for 'rock star' or 'pop music star'   (and trust me I'm gagging while saying this as a jazz musician since sadly very few jazz musicians are 'stars'!).  

 

SOTM is mostly just a promotional stunt to generate interest in TCM.   While the foreign actors you mention are stars in their home turfs they aren't American movie stars and therefore do NOT fit the definition of the word as TCM is using said word for said promotion.

 

The above is one reason why I would welcome TCM getting rid of this promotion.  

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TCM is not so high on foreign stars. Lucky they get a tribute or an overnight now and then. That's about all to hope for.

Sophia Loren was SOTM once June 2008. And I think several of her Italian films were shown. But we are getting some SUTS tribute for Mifune, Gabin, and Moreau.

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By that definition, one can also claim that Lassie, Rin Tin Tin, and Francis The Talking Mule were stars.  Though by saying that I'm afraid I've probably given some people ideas.

 

But TCM has also awarded SOTM honors to plenty of non-"stars" like Sanders:  Peter Lorre, Jean Hagen, Claude Rains, Eleanor Parker, and many more like them.  What distinguishes these actors or actresses from Sanders?

 

And unless Donald Trump is the Chairman of the SOTM screening committee, how on Earth can the likes of Toshiro Mifune, Jean Gabin, or Jeanne Moreau not be considered "Stars" under any definition of the word?

 

I agree TCM.should honor more foreign language.stars as SOTM. Of the "non-stars" you listed, I disagree with Eleanor Parker as one of these. She WAS a legitimate star in the late 1940s and throughout the 1950s. Lorre, Hagen and Rains were character actors, usually featured players in support, but occasionally had leads, usually in programmers or Bs.

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I have to agree with HoldenisHere as it relates to what is a 'star'.    The term is a marketing term that does NOT reflect the ability or talent of said person but how famous they are.   How many awards they got (deserved or not),   the box office take of their films and other such criteria.      The same holds true for 'rock star' or 'pop music star'   (and trust me I'm gagging while saying this as a jazz musician since sadly very few jazz musicians are 'stars'!).  

 

I'm not arguing against the idea that "star" as you're defining it is the primary force behind the choices for SOTM.  That's clear by the names of their multiple repeat choices:  John Wayne, Katharine Hepburn, Bogart, Grant, Stewart, Bette Davis, etc.  IOW the AFI top 50, give or take a few.  The ones whose "iconic" films occasionally make it onto PBS while those of "lesser" stars never do.

 

But as I noted, SOTM has also honored other "stars" who weren't on that exalted level of recognition, especially to today's "casual fan" audience:  Rains, Eleanor Parker, Lorre, Jean Hagen, etc.  All fine talents, but none of them ever were "stars" in the Wayne or Hepburn sense. 

 

And so if them, why not Sanders?

 

SOTM is mostly just a promotional stunt to generate interest in TCM.   While the foreign actors you mention are stars in their home turfs they aren't American movie stars and therefore do NOT fit the definition of the word as TCM is using said word for said promotion.

 

The above is one reason why I would welcome TCM getting rid of this promotion.

 

The only reason I'd disagree with you there is that I understand what's old hat to me isn't necessarily old hat to more newly minted viewers.  The first time (December of 2009) I saw Bogart as SOTM with 63 Bogart films, I was in heaven.  Ditto with Jean Harlow shortly after that, and again more recently with Kim Novak and Vincent Price.  If TCM hadn't had those SOTM tributes when it did, it would have been much, much harder for me to record and watch as many of their films as I've been able to. 

 

As for the relative scarcity of foreign films, I think that TCM underestimates the degree of publicity if might get if it were to start doing retrospectives of foreign stars and directors more than once every few years.  I think it might well attract viewers to who've already seen the Overplayed Hall of Fame titles a million times.  This would especially be the case if these foreign gems weren't nearly always being relegated to the overnight or working hours viewing slots, and were pushed onto the Saturday night prime time "Essentials" hours.

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I agree TCM.should honor more foreign language.stars as SOTM. Of the "non-stars" you listed, I disagree with Eleanor Parker as one of these. She WAS a legitimate star in the late 1940s and throughout the 1950s. Lorre, Hagen and Rains were character actors, usually featured players in support, but occasionally had leads, usually in programmers or Bs.

 

 

I also agree with you about Eleanor. And 3 Oscar nominations to boot!

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There seems to be a great deal of debate about the term 'star' as TCM uses it. I'd like to point out that TCM borrowed this idea from the old AMC, which had a Star of the Month back in the 80s when it was the main classic movie channel. 

 

It's a good marketing concept, and most viewers can see why these channels do it.

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Sophia Loren was SOTM once June 2008. And I think several of her Italian films were shown. But we are getting some SUTS tribute for Mifune, Gabin, and Moreau.

 

 

Yeah, but in Loren's case she had a lot of U.S. made films in her catalog they could choose from. It wasn't like many of the other foreign stars who rarely (if ever) appeared in English language films. I doubt we'll ever see a Jeanne Moreau month, however deserving she may be .

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I'm not arguing against the idea that "star" as you're defining it is the primary force behind the choices for SOTM.  That's clear by the names of their multiple repeat choices:  John Wayne, Katharine Hepburn, Bogart, Grant, Stewart, Bette Davis, etc.  IOW the AFI top 50, give or take a few.  The ones whose "iconic" films occasionally make it onto PBS while those of "lesser" stars never do.

 

But as I noted, SOTM has also honored other "stars" who weren't on that exalted level of recognition, especially to today's "casual fan" audience:  Rains, Eleanor Parker, Lorre, Jean Hagen, etc.  All fine talents, but none of them ever were "stars" in the Wayne or Hepburn sense. 

 

And so if them, why not Sanders?

 

SOTM is mostly just a promotional stunt to generate interest in TCM.   While the foreign actors you mention are stars in their home turfs they aren't American movie stars and therefore do NOT fit the definition of the word as TCM is using said word for said promotion.

 

The above is one reason why I would welcome TCM getting rid of this promotion.

 

The only reason I'd disagree with you there is that I understand what's old hat to me isn't necessarily old hat to more newly minted viewers.  The first time (December of 2009) I saw Bogart as SOTM with 63 Bogart films, I was in heaven.  Ditto with Jean Harlow shortly after that, and again more recently with Kim Novak and Vincent Price.  If TCM hadn't had those SOTM tributes when they did, it would have been much, much harder for me to record and watch as many of their films as I've been able to. 

 

As for the relative scarcity of foreign films, I think that TCM underestimates the degree of publicity if might get if it were to start doing retrospectives of foreign stars and directors more than once every few years.  I think it might well attract viewers to who've already seen the Overplayed Hall of Fame titles a million times.  This would especially be the case if these foreign gems weren't nearly always being relegated to the overnight or working hours viewing slots, and were pushed onto the Saturday night prime time "Essentials" hours.

 

Peter Lorre is a great example of an actor that isn't a 'star' as the AFI or pop culture would define one and has a career more like George Sanders.      As for my point about getting rid of the promotion;   well maybe they should just refocus it.

 

Make it similar to that 'd-a-m-m good actress'  promo;    feature solid actors,  domestic or foreign,   leading or supporting instead of 'stars' like Elvis.  

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Peter Lorre is a great example of an actor that isn't a 'star' as the AFI or pop culture would define one and has a career more like George Sanders.      As for my point about getting rid of the promotion;   well maybe they should just refocus it.

 

Make it similar to that 'd-a-m-m good actress'  promo;    feature solid actors,  domestic or foreign,   leading or supporting instead of 'stars' like Elvis.  

 

I can only "like" that comment once, but I'm sending you a supplementary gold star by special delivery.

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