Thursday, April 28, 2016

A Whole Lot of Turner Classic Movies News This Week

It would seem that this week has given fans of classic films and fans of Turner Classic Movies good reason to celebrate. Quite simply, there has been quite a bit of good news for fans of Turner Classic Movies.

Of course, among the news this week is the seventh annual Turner Classic Movies Film Festival. Already many TCM fans attended the festival have posted photos to the various social media outlets, giving those of us unable to attend a means of experiencing the festival vicariously. This year's festival looks to be a great one, with a hand and foot print ceremony for Francis Ford Coppola outside Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Dame Angela Lansbury on hand for The Manchurian Candidate, Adam West and Lee Meriwether on hand for Batman (1966), book signings with Illeana Douglas and Rita Moreno, a conversation with Gina Lollobrigida, and much more. Of course, beyond the various events Turner Classic Movies Film Festival is a chance for classic film buffs to visit with their fellow fans. As someone who has never gotten to attend the festival, I must admit this is much of why I have always wanted to go.

Usually when the Turner Classic Film Festival takes place it is the single biggest piece of news for TCM fans that week, but that is not the case this year. It was on Tuesday that Filmstruck, a new, subscription film service, was announced. Filmstruck will be managed by Turner Classic Movies in partnership with the Criterion Collection. In fact, it will be the exclusive streaming service for Criterion.  Given the sheer number of films to which Criterion has the distribution rights, this can only be good news for classic film fans. Indeed, among the films that will be featured on Filmstruck are Seven Samurai, A Hard Day's Night, A Room with a View, and many more. Of course, given Filmstruck is being done in collaboration with TCM, it seems possible that some of the films from Turner's library may well be included on the service, although there has been no official announcement regarding that.

Yesterday Turner Classic Movies brought fans more good news. Quite simply, they announced the launch of their first official fan club, TCM Backlot. Quoting the press release from Turner, "TCM Backlot will give fans unprecedented access to all things TCM including exclusive content, never-before-seen talent interviews, archival videos from the TCM vault, an exclusive TCM podcast, as well as opportunities to win visits to the TCM set, attend meet and greets with TCM hosts and the opportunity to influence programming through online votes." The only downside to TCM Backlot is that it costs an $87 annual fee. This will put TCM Backlot out of reach for many Turner Classic Movies fans, who either cannot afford to join or won't be able to do so without drastically rearranging their finances. Regardless, it is certainly good news for those who can afford to do so and continues TCM's commitment to their fans.

Of course, as I write this the Turner Classic Film Festival is under way, so there might be much more news before the end of the week. At any rate, the week so far seems to have been very good one for classic film buffs.

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