Monday, September 2, 2013

The Story of Film

I mentioned earlier that TCM's traditional Labor Day salute to Telluride is only running until 8:00 PM tonight. The reason for that is that TCM is running a series called The Story of Film, which of course you'll know about if you've seen the promos on TCM, which seem to be running frequently enough -- I don't watch TCM religiously, but I've seen it quite a few times. It's a 15-part series that's going to be running on Mondays and Tuesdays, including a documentary series and a whole bunch of films from all over the world, not just Hollywood.

The only problem is, the documentary is running at odd hours. Normally, when TCM has a new documntary, they run it at 8:00, follow it with one feature, and then, depending on the length of the documentary and the feature, rerun the documentary at around 11:00 PM or 11:30 PM for the benefit of those on the west coast. For The Story of Film, however, the documentary is showing up at 10:00 PM on Monday, with a repeat at some time in the wee hours between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. Recording is probably going to be a necessity.

Tonight's first part begins with an hour and a half listed as "An Edison Album (1893-1912), followed at 9:30 PM by "Lumière's First Picture Shows (1895-1897)". I'm not certain exactly what shorts show up in each of these programming blocks. I distinctly seem to recall a block of Edison shorts airing in conjunction with Moguls and Movie Stars a few years back, but I didn't sit through that entire block. As for the Lumière shorts, I don't recall whether they aired as part of the Moguls and Movie Stars series.

Something that did air once on TCM ages ago -- I want to say late 2004 when TCM was running a series of early stuff recovered by the Library of Congress -- is Falling Leaves. It's one of three shorts airing between 11:30 PM and 12:30 AM as part of a salute to pioneering female director Alice Guy-Blaché. The TCM monthly schedule I downloaded lists Falling Leaves as being the second of the three on, while the online schedule lists it as the last of the three. So, I'm not certain exactly what time it'll be on. Best to record the entire hour. The plot involves a family with two daughters, the older of which has consumption. The younger overhears that her sister doesn't have long to live, and may die "before the last leaf falls". So, like in that old O. Henry story, the kid sister tries to keel the leaves from falling off the tree. One interesting thing about it is that it's one of the first movies to face being banned, because of the relationship between the two sisters, which shows very bad public health habits for dealing with a tuberculosis patient, considering how contagious the disease can be.

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