Monday, December 30, 2013

One more TCM remembers salute -- or seven

After spending half a day honoring Joan Fontaine and half a day honoring Peter O'Toole, TCM is spening tonight's prime time lineup doing something ever so slightly different. This time, it's honoring a whole bunch of people who died over the past year, with one movie each. Those honorees are:

Deanna Durbin in the comedy It Started With Eve, in which she helps Bob Commings please his dying father Charles Laughton, only for things to get complicated, at 8:00 PM;
Annette Funicello on the beach with Frankie Avalon in Bikini Beach at 9:45 PM;
Eileen Brennan as part of a murder mystery in The Cheap Detective at 11:30 PM;
Jonathan Winters gets a dual role in the dark funeral spoof The Loved One, overnight at 1:15 AM;
Karen Black falls for Jack Nicholson in Five Easy Pieces, at 3:30 AM;
Julie Harris falls in love with James Dean in East of Eden at 5:15 AM; and
John Kerr has an inappropriate relationship with Deborah Kerr (no relationship in real life) in Tea and Sympathy at 7:15 AM.

This is the sort of programming that I really love from TCM, and that few if any other channels here in the US would ever do. I'm not really just referring to the actual names from decades ago being honored; I don't expect somebody like John Kerr to be a big story in the news when he dies. But there's something about TCM's salutes that comes across as far more thoughtful and even tasteful than anything you'd get from, say, the "pop culture" channels. Even Game Show Network, back when Marcia Wallace died, only looked for a few episodes from the shows they're currently running on their schedule when she was a celebrity player -- and even that's is still not as bad as when I flip through the channels and come across one or another of the entertainment news shows, which are almost entirely gossip and often not about entertainment at all but the latest lurid trial of the day; the sort of trial reminiscent of Anatomy of a Murder.

Anyhow, getting back to the movies on TCM's lineup tonight, four of them seem to be available from the TCM shop: It Started With Eve, Bikini Beach, Five Easy Pieces, and Tea and Sympathy. I'm really surprised that there's no "Buy DVD" icon next to East of Eden.

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