Thursday, August 6, 2009

Budd Schulberg, 1914-2009

Oscar-winning screenwriter Budd Schulberg has died at the age of 95. Schulberg won the Oscar for On the Waterfront, but he also wrote screenplays for some other influential movies, such as the boxing movie The Harder They Fall, and a scathing look at the early years of television, A Face in the Crowd.

One of the bad things about TCM's Summer Under the Stars is that since every hour of every day has to fit a theme, there's not really any time to preempt the schedule should somebody die. TCM has faced a few such scheduling dilemmas in the past; director Ingmar Bergman died at the end of July and TCM had to come up with a very hasty salute just before the beginning of Summer Under the Stars. Deborah Kerr died not long before the Guest Programmer month, which had film series all morning and afternoon and Guest Programmers all evening, so she also only got a two-film salute a few days before the start of the new month.

On the other hand, when somebody like Schulberg dies -- a man who clearly has high achievements, but not necessarily the name recognition of the people in front of the camera -- it might not be such a bad thing if TCM takes the to craft a prime time tribute several weeks later. (By the same token, I don't think screenwriter Horton Foote has had a tribute yet. I wouldn't mind another chance to see Tomorrow.)

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