Saturday, March 3, 2018

TCM News This March

This year is only a little over two months old and there has already been a lot of news with regards with Turner Classic Movies beyond the usual news concerning the TCM Classic Film Festival. In fact, there has been so much news it might well be difficult for TCM fans to keep track of it all!

Of course, for many of us among the best news is not really news at all. Starting tomorrow Turner Classic Movies returns to its regular programming after the 31 Days of Oscar. This means that Noir Alley will return tomorrow morning with one of the greatest films noirs of all time, The Big Heat (1953). What is more, starting March 10 (my birthday) Noir Alley will begin airing at a new time. It will air at 11:00 PM Central/12:00 midnight Eastern on Saturday night, with a repeat at its original time of 9:00 AM Central/10:00 AM Eastern on Sunday morning. For those of us who are not morning people, this is very good news!

In other news, TCM has some truly great programming lined up this March. Tomorrow starting at 8:00 PM Eastern/7:00 PM Central Turner Classic Movies will show a line-up of movies starring the great Anna May Wong. On March 5 and March 6 at 8:00 PM Eastern/7 PM Central TCM focuses on Mental Illness in the Movies, with such great films as The Snake Pit (1948), The Three Faces of Eve (1957), and Through a Glass Darkly (1961). March's Star of the Month is Elizabeth Taylor, so that from March 12 to March 16 Turner Classic Movies will air 30 of her movies, including such films as A Date with Judy (1948), National Velvet (1944), Father of the Bride (1950), and Giant (1956). From March 19 to March 23 TCM shows movies with the theme of "Great Movie Endings". Among the movies airing are such classics as King Kong (1933), Gone with the Wind (1939), Citizen Kane (1941), Now Voyager (1942), Casablanca (1942), The Third Man (1949), The Graduate  (1967), Night of the Living Dead (1968), and  Easy Rider (1969).

Beyond what is airing on Turner Classic Movies this month, there is also the great news that TCM Backlot now has a monthly plan whereby people can pay only $7.97 a month to be a part of TCM Backlot. This was actually announced some time ago and it was made available to a few TCM fans before it was officially announced, but it is still great news nonetheless. If you are not already a TCM Backlot member, I do encourage you to join. The video archive itself makes it well worth the money! And at $7.97 a month it is actually affordable for many of us who couldn't previously join.

More recently Turner Classic Movies announced the creation of the Robert Osborne Award, to be given to "an individual who has significantly contributed to preserving the cultural heritage of classic films." This year's award is being presented to Martin Scorsese. Best known as a director, Mr. Scorsese has played a pivotal role in movie preservation and is also one of the foremost film historians in the world. The inaugural Robert Osborne Award will be presented to Mr. Scorsese on April 26 at the Turner Classic Movies Classic Film Festival.

Just this week Turner Classic Movies announced that they have added Alicia Malone and Dave Karger as permanent hosts. I assume most TCM fans are familiar with Miss Malone, who has been a host on the streaming service Filmstruck and has appeared on TV shows from Access Hollywood to Today. She is also the author of the book Backwards and in Heels: The Past, Present And Future Of Women Working In Film and the creator and host of Fandango's Indie Movie Guide. Many TCM fans may also be familiar with Dave Karger, who has appeared very frequently on Today and served as a Special Correspondent for IMDb and guest correspondent on Access Hollywood. He spent 17 years with Entertainment Weekly as a writer. As to those of you wondering what will become of Tiffany Vazquez, she will no longer be the Saturday afternoon host at TCM, but will stay with the channel for special projects, especially ones involving social media. Personally, I will miss seeing Miss Vazquez on Saturday afternoons, although I am very happy that Turner Classic Movies is adding Alicia Malone and Dave Karger.

The final bit of news I have for you deals with FilmStruck, the streaming service TCM operates in partnership with Criterion. Quite simply, FilmStruck is partnering with Warner Bros. Digital Networks to feature movies from the Warner Bros. film library. Sadly, this means that the Warner Archive is closing its streaming service, Warner Archive Instant. While many people are very happy about this, I have very mixed feelings about it myself. I like the addition of many Warner Bros. films to FilmStruck, but I worry what will become of the classic television shows that have been available on Warner Archive Instant. I personally fear that they will not make the transition to FilmStruck. If that is the case, then I will not be particularly happy. After all, I can see Casablanca, Singin' in the Rain, The Music Man, and many other Warner Bros. films elsewhere (indeed, I own many of them on DVD), but there are not many places I can see old episodes of Sugarfoot or Dr. Kildare.

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