Tuesday, March 3, 2015

31 Days of Oscar is ending for another year

Today being March 3, we've finally reached Day #31 of this year's 31 Days of Oscar programming block on TCM. That's a fact ath I'm sure will please a lot of the people who whine and shriek about how TCM isn't showing enouhg old movies. Indeed, the TCM boards got two different putatively first-time posters who posted solely to bitch about the movies from the 70s and beyond showing up on TCM. For people like that, I suppose it doesn't help that TCM decided to do prime time this year in roughly chronological order, so that by the beginning of last week we were already into the late 1970s. That having been said, I enjoyed A Little Romance and Absence of Malice amond the movies o fthat era that showed up in prime time; I already did a post on 1975's The Wind and the Lion, and would certainly not be averse to doing full-length posts on My Life as a Dog or The Swarm the next time either shows up on TCM.

With this final night of 31 Days of Oscar looking at movies from the past four years or so, it seems as TCM couldn't get the rights to enough films to make the schedule work out properly. Newer movies tend to be the sort of thing that other channels are going to want the rights to show as well; with the older movies it's only the tent-poles (I think AMC has the rights to The Godfather for another four years) or movies that fit a genre channel like Encore Westerns. So after tonight's last feature, The Queen at 2:45 AM, TCM is running four straight two-reelers:

The Music Box, which I linked to last June on Stan Laurel's birthday, kicks things off at 4:29 AM.

That's followed at 4:59 AM by another Laurel and Hardy short, Tit for Tat, which has the two working in an electrical appliance store, and getting in a heated competition with the grocery next door. Ah, the days of overpriced grocers in tiny shops on main streets. I'm reminded of the shop where Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck have one of their secret meetings to discuss the killing of her husband in Double Indemnity. Back to Tit For Tat, it happens to be on Youtube:

The night will conclude with two of the shorts from Warner Bros.' series of Technicolor American history shorts. Both of them got the one-paragraph treatment on Independence Day 2013: John Litel plays Patrick Henry in Give Me Liberty at 5:18 AM, while Claude Rains plays Jewish financier Haym Solomon in Sons of Liberty at 5:39 AM.

To get completely away from 31 Days of Oscar, TCM is spending March 4 with a bunch of schlocky horror movies from the early 1960s, such as the hilariously awful The Brain That Wouldn't Die at 8:45 AM.

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