Saturday, February 18, 2012

Biopic after biopic after biopic

TCM is spending this weekend in France as part of its Oscar Around the World format of 31 Days of Oscar. It's possible that they could have spent at least one entire day out of the weekend doing nothing but biopics. There are a lot of movies they could have shown which did get nominated for Oscars, but which aren't on the lineup. Lust For Life probably spends more time in the south of France than any place else since Vincent van Gogh painted in Arles at the end of his life. But TCM already used that when it spent some time on movies set in van Gogh's native Netherlands last Monday. Another movie they could have used is Madame Curie, in which Greer Garson plays the Nobel-winning scientist Marie Curie, with Walter Pidgeon playing her husband Pierre. Both were nominated for Oscars, although the film lost in all seven categories in which it was nominated.

As it is, TCM is showing three consecutive biopics early tomorrow morning. That starts at 7:45 AM with Marie Antoinette, the first picture Norma Shearer made after the death of her husband Irving Thalberg. Shearer stars as the Austrian-born princess who marries French King Louis XIV, and loses her head for it when the French people revolt. She probably should have stayed in Vienna and eaten cake instead.

That's followed by The Story of Louis Pasteur at 10:30 AM, about the French scientist who promulgated the germ theory of disease, and worked to find a vaccine for anthrax and a cure for rabies, among other research. Paul Muni plays Pasteur and wins an Oscar for doing so. Surprisingly, TCM's schedule page suggests this isn't available on DVD, so you'll have to watch tomorrow's airing.

Muni would return the next year in The Story of Émile Zola, which I blogged about last February. That's airing at noon tomorrow. Muni didn't win this time, but the film won the Best Picture Oscar, which the studio was certainly more happy about.

And if that's not enough, there are more on Sunday night.

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