Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Projected Image 2014

Tonight brings the first of five nights of this year's Projected Image series to TCM. Over the past several years, TCM has had Robert Osborne sit down with a bunch of experts (or at least academics) to show a series of films looking at how Hollywood has portrayed various minority groups over the years. This year, that look is on the Jewish experience. I've never heard of Eric Goldman, the guy presenting this month's lineup, but that doesn't say anything about whether the guy is going to be worth watching.

This year the movies are grouped thematically rather than chronologically, starting with two versions of The Jazz Singer. First up is the classic that we all remember, in which Al Jolson tells us that we ain't heard nothing yet, at 8:00. That'll be followed at 9:45 PM by the 1953 version with Danny Thomas in the starring role. For better or worse, they aren't running the 1980 remake with Neil Diamond, although I suppose that it might be interesting just once to see all three versions together in order to compare and contrast.

The other two are movies I don't know well at all: Hester Street, at 11:45, looks at Russian Jewish immigrants in New York City, while Avalon at 1:30 AM is about Polish Jewish immigrants in Baltimore. The Projected Image site above only mentions 19 movies over the course of the month, with four movies for four nights and one night only having three. But in some of the cases the movies don't fill out the complete night, so TCM has put in an extra relatively related movie that as far as I know won't be introduced by Dr. Goldman. This week, that extra movie is Street Scene at 4:00 AM, because Sylvia Sidney's putative love interest, a law student named Sam Kaplan (played by William Collier) is Jewish and the Jewish-Gentile thing is, I believe, mentioned in passing.

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