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"Reframed: Classic Films in the Rearview Mirror" on TCM

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"Reframed: Classic Films in the Rearview Mirror" on TCM

Old 03-05-21, 08:11 AM
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"Reframed: Classic Films in the Rearview Mirror" on TCM

I wasn't aware of this series on TCM (it started Thursday night), but it could be interesting, depending on the film...

TCM is looking to reframe classic films that, by today's standards, are considered "troubling" and "problematic" like Breakfast at Tiffany's, Gone with the Wind, and Psycho.

Beginning Thursday, the cable network will explore the history of such films while considering "their cultural context and discuss how these movies can be reframed so that future generations will keep their legacy alive" on a new screening series, Reframed: Classic Films in the Rearview Mirror.

Those discussing the titles ranging from the 1920s through the 1960s are Ben Mankiewicz, Dave Karger, Alicia Malone, Eddie Muller, and Jacqueline Stewart.

Some of those problematic cinematic moments include the use of Black face (The Jazz Singer) and other disparagingly racist (Breakfast at Tiffany's, The Searchers, and Dragon Seed), and anti-LGBTQ (The Children's Hour) storylines.

Here's the full list of movies and screening dates on TMC, which kick off Thursday at 8 p.m.:

March 4

Gone With the Wind (1939)

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)

Rope (1948)

The Four Feathers (1939)



March 11

Woman of the Year (1942)

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)

Gunga Din (1939)

Sinbad, the Sailor (1947)

The Jazz Singer (1927)



March 18

The Searchers (1956)

Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)

Swing Time (1936)

Stagecoach (1939)

Tarzan, the Ape Man (1959)



March 25

My Fair Lady (1964)

The Children's Hour (1961)

Psycho (1960)

Dragon Seed (1944)
Old 03-05-21, 08:22 AM
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Re: "Reframed: Classic Films in the Rearview Mirror" on TCM

I like the idea. I might set it to record just to see how they reframe some of the films.

There are a couple in there that I didn’t realize needed to be “reframed,” like Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and Psycho.
Old 03-05-21, 08:39 AM
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Re: "Reframed: Classic Films in the Rearview Mirror" on TCM

..or "My Fair Lady".

"Breakfast at Tiffany's" is obvious. It's a shame because I have a soft spot for that film (and Audrey Hepburn in general, -I'm an old man). It's this sincere love story with deeply troubled characters, -both the man and the woman are effectively prostitutes, -and, yet, every time Mickey Rooney pops up in the film as this offensive Japanese cartoon character it just hits me with "What was Blake Edwards thinking?"

One of the favorite films of my youth was George Pal's "The Seven Faces of Dr. Lao", -a Fantasy set in The Old West. Tony Randall plays the seven characters of the title and its a fun, bravura performance, but "Dr. Lao" is a Chinese man who occasionally talks in "Pidgin English" and acts like a "fresh off the boat" stereotype to fool the bad guys. I had no problem with it as a child but I saw it recently and I felt uncomfortable. It's been mentioned on this board before, but Marlon Brando and Ricardo Montalban have portrayed Asians in major studio films of The Fifties.
Old 03-05-21, 08:57 AM
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Re: "Reframed: Classic Films in the Rearview Mirror" on TCM

Not sure what "needs" to be reframed in Psycho?
Old 03-05-21, 09:07 AM
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Re: "Reframed: Classic Films in the Rearview Mirror" on TCM

Originally Posted by BearFan View Post
Not sure what "needs" to be reframed in Psycho?
Or The Children's Hour?
Old 03-05-21, 09:36 AM
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Re: "Reframed: Classic Films in the Rearview Mirror" on TCM

Originally Posted by ddrknghtrtns View Post
Or The Children's Hour?
I haven’t seen the Children’s Hour but the blurb mentioned anti-LGBTQ.

Psycho might be considered anti-trans for demonizing cross-dressing (spoiler alert!).

My Fair Lady could be considered mysogynistic because the main character hates women. I know some of these may seem silly to us, but my kids like musicals and hate My Fair Lady.

I saw my first Fred Astaire film the night he died, and my local station aired Swing Time after the late local news. The blackface number had been edited out of the film, and I never knew it existed till I watched it on VHS years later.
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Old 03-05-21, 11:00 AM
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Re: "Reframed: Classic Films in the Rearview Mirror" on TCM

My first thought about Psycho was that it was problematic for stigmatizing mental illness. As my favourite movie, I thank God they didn't cast Andy Rooney in a small part for some comic relief.
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Old 03-05-21, 11:22 AM
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Re: "Reframed: Classic Films in the Rearview Mirror" on TCM

Originally Posted by DWilson View Post

"Breakfast at Tiffany's" is obvious. It's a shame because I have a soft spot for that film (and Audrey Hepburn in general, -I'm an old man).
Not quite on topic, you don't have to qualify it with your age. Breakfast at Tiffany's came out long before I was born, but the first time I saw it I was transfixed by Ms. Hepburn's beauty. Anyone of any age can appreciate that.

Back on topic, a while ago I was dating a Korean-American woman, who liked old romantic movies. One night we were selecting on, and I innocently suggested Breakfast, and she shot back a very stern "NO!". At the time, I honestly didn't know why, but now of course I do. And that's why what TCM is doing is a good idea; many of us (read: straight white males) don't see the problems in a lot of these old movies, but if you're part of the group that's portrayed ignorantly, it's front and center, and you're told to just "lighten up, it's only a movie".


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Old 03-05-21, 11:23 AM
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Re: "Reframed: Classic Films in the Rearview Mirror" on TCM

Originally Posted by Crocker Jarmen View Post
My first thought about Psycho was that it was problematic for stigmatizing mental illness. As my favourite movie, I thank God they didn't cast Andy Rooney in a small part for some comic relief.
This guy?


Old 03-05-21, 11:26 AM
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Re: "Reframed: Classic Films in the Rearview Mirror" on TCM

Didja ever notice that some guys have a real fixation on their mothers?
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Old 03-05-21, 11:29 AM
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Re: "Reframed: Classic Films in the Rearview Mirror" on TCM

The criticism of My Fair Lady is that Higgins exhibits the behavior of an abusive husband and the story concludes with Eliza's devotion to him.
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Old 03-05-21, 03:37 PM
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Re: "Reframed: Classic Films in the Rearview Mirror" on TCM

I am glad they are showing the movies, most of them are classics for a reason, they are good to incredibly good. But, throwing them in this category is really a disservice, particularly Psycho. Yeah, he was mentally ill, yeah he dressed up like his Mom .. so what?
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Old 03-05-21, 03:51 PM
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Re: "Reframed: Classic Films in the Rearview Mirror" on TCM

Originally Posted by BearFan View Post
I am glad they are showing the movies, most of them are classics for a reason, they are good to incredibly good. But, throwing them in this category is really a disservice, particularly Psycho. Yeah, he was mentally ill, yeah he dressed up like his Mom .. so what?
Probably this exchange:

Officer: He's a tranvestite!

Dr. Fred Richmond: Ah, not exactly. A man who dresses in women's clothing in order to achieve a sexual change, or satisfaction, is a transvestite.

Old 03-05-21, 05:21 PM
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Re: "Reframed: Classic Films in the Rearview Mirror" on TCM

I remember seeing a description for a Jack Benny movie on TCM that I thought for sure must be some goofy horror movie, so I recorded it and had to see it. It was something along the lines of college students team up to save a hotel after they are brought together for experiments to create the master race.

In my head, there was some mad scientist. Instead, it was a woman who believes in eugenics who is trying to experiment to make sure the right people breed together. And if that's not bad enough, when the college kids team up to raise money to save the hotel, they do it by deciding to hold a big minstrel show.

I was floored. Not only do you have shades of Hitler and the master race but you have a huge minstrel show. There are some movies that just can't be reframed.

As for Psycho, I've often heard it criticized for equating cross dressing with mental illness and making cross dressers look like crazy killers. I'm not saying I agree with that, but I have heard people say that.
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Old 03-05-21, 05:37 PM
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Re: "Reframed: Classic Films in the Rearview Mirror" on TCM

Originally Posted by clckworang View Post

As for Psycho, I've often heard it criticized for equating cross dressing with mental illness and making cross dressers look like crazy killers. I'm not saying I agree with that, but I have heard people say that.
If that is the objection, then I think it is wrongheaded. Norman is not mentally ill because he dresses like a woman. Dressing like a woman is a symptom of his mental illness, and further he is not just cross-dressing, he is adopting his mother's identity. I've always understood that in the movie, he sees himself as Norman and himself as Mother as two different people, so while he is literally dressing as a woman, he is not a cross-dresser in general, and I don't think he is transgender.

So I can see someone making a simple connection from a cursory understanding of the story that cross-dressing = crazy, but I do not think it is fair to launch a serious criticism of a film based on what people who haven't thought through what the story is about have to say.
Old 03-05-21, 05:40 PM
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Re: "Reframed: Classic Films in the Rearview Mirror" on TCM

Originally Posted by clckworang View Post
I remember seeing a description for a Jack Benny movie on TCM that I thought for sure must be some goofy horror movie, so I recorded it and had to see it. It was something along the lines of college students team up to save a hotel after they are brought together for experiments to create the master race.

In my head, there was some mad scientist. Instead, it was a woman who believes in eugenics who is trying to experiment to make sure the right people breed together. And if that's not bad enough, when the college kids team up to raise money to save the hotel, they do it by deciding to hold a big minstrel show.

I was floored. Not only do you have shades of Hitler and the master race but you have a huge minstrel show. There are some movies that just can't be reframed.

As for Psycho, I've often heard it criticized for equating cross dressing with mental illness and making cross dressers look like crazy killers. I'm not saying I agree with that, but I have heard people say that.
Damn, now I have to see that Jack Benny movie. I just looked up his filmography and the first one that sounded right was it: COLLEGE HOLIDAY (1936).

Here's the short synopsis:
Expecting to put on a musical show, singing and dancing college students are brought to a struggling hotel to be guinea pigs in an ancient Greek-themed eugenics experiment.
Here's the longer synopsis:
Sylvia Smith and Dick Winters share a romantic kiss at a dance, but Sylvia is called away before Dick can learn her full name. Sylvia's father is about to lose his California hotel, the Casa Del Mar, thanks to the financial blundering of his new business partner J. Davis Bowster. The mortgage is held by eccentric heiress Carola P. Gaye, whose current fascination is with the ancient Greek-style eugenics championed by Professor Hercules Dove. Carola plans to use the hotel as the center of her "Body Beauteous" selective mating program. Looking to raise funds with a collegiate musical show, Bowster gathers talent under the pretense of recruiting good-looking young people for Carola's eugenics experiment. Among the group are Dick Winters (still searching for his mystery girl) and Daisy Schloggenheimer (taught to resist male attention with physical force). Under strict orders to prevent any romance between the "guinea pigs", Bowster has great difficulty keeping the boys and the girls away ...
Burns and Allen and Martha Raye are also in it. And Marsha Hunt (who's still alive at 103)!
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Old 03-05-21, 05:51 PM
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Re: "Reframed: Classic Films in the Rearview Mirror" on TCM

Hard to believe anyone would cast Jack Benny as a prototype for male beauty in a eugenics experiment.
Old 03-05-21, 10:29 PM
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Re: "Reframed: Classic Films in the Rearview Mirror" on TCM

Yes, that's the one, College Holiday. It actually does have a great comic cast, but the plot is beyond dated. And Benny's role is more in assisting in keeping the college students doing what they're supposed to be doing.
Old 03-06-21, 03:52 AM
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Re: "Reframed: Classic Films in the Rearview Mirror" on TCM

I'm looking forward to the National Lampoon's Animal House and Revenge of the Nerds episodes down the line.
Old 03-06-21, 11:06 PM
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Re: "Reframed: Classic Films in the Rearview Mirror" on TCM

Is there a way to watch these without actually recording the movies?
Old 03-06-21, 11:22 PM
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Re: "Reframed: Classic Films in the Rearview Mirror" on TCM

On twitter, they said you could see the segments on "Watch TCM" which I assume is the name of their app.
Old 03-07-21, 12:48 AM
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Re: "Reframed: Classic Films in the Rearview Mirror" on TCM

Thanks!! I just watched them. Unfortunately, they only had 2 of the first 4. I'm not really sure what I think about what I just saw. It was basically the argument that problematic movies need to be looked at as a product of their time and appreciated in a historical context. Sort of what I thought it would be but I thought the Seven Brides for Seven Brothers discussion was interesting.

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