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When the TCM Classic Film Festival announced a smidgen of its schedule, fans poured over the listings to see what movies were included and did they fit their definition of classic. TCM fans are vocal on social media praising the network when pleased and passionately-yet-constructively criticizing it whenever they think their definition of classic has been strayed from. From what’s been released, I see a good mix sure to make a lot of fans happy. When I was considering whether to attend this year, I definitely felt the pull of the schedule. Let’s review what’s being offered together!

Since so many TCM film fans want to see classic era (i.e. studio era) movies, here’s how the offerings break down by time period. Of the thirty-two films or programs announced so far, twenty-four of them were made before 1970. Seven are from the 1970s or later.

The silent era (1910s-1920s) has two offerings:

The Great Nickelodeon Show
THE GREAT NICKELODEON SHOW
Speedy's Harold Llloyd
SPEEDY (1928)

The 1930s has eight offerings, half of which are pre-codes:

Ub Iwerks' Flip Title Card
BEYOND THE MOUSE: THE 1930s CARTOONS OF UB IWERKS
The Front Page's Adolphe Menjou and Pat O'Brien
THE FRONT PAGE (1931)
COCK OF THE AIR (1932)
COCK OF THE AIR (1932)
Red Headed Woman's Chester Morris and Jean Harlow
RED-HEADED WOMAN (1932)
Rafter Romance's Ginger Rogers and Norman Foster
RAFTER ROMANCE (1933)
Twentieth Century's Carole Lombard and John Barrymore
TWENTIETH CENTURY (1934)
Theodora Goes Wild's Irene Dunne
THEODORA GOES WILD (1936)
Jezebel's Ball Scene featuring Bette Davis and Henry Fonda
JEZEBEL (1938)

The 1940s have five offerings:

Casablanca Group End Shot
CASABLANCA (1942)
The Palm Beach Story's Joel McCrea Rudy Vallee and Claudette Colbert
THE PALM BEACH STORY (1942)
Arsenic and Old Lace Cast on Stairs
ARSENIC AND OLD LACE (1944)
The Egg and I's Fred MacMurray and Claudette Colbert
THE EGG AND I (1947)
UNFAITHFULLY YOURS' Linda Darnell and Rex Harrison coat scene
UNFAITHFULLY YOURS (1948)

The 1950s have six offerings:

Born Yesterday's William Holden and Judy Holliday
BORN YESTERDAY (1950)
Underworld Story's Dan Duryea
THE UNDERWORLD STORY (1950)
Detective Story's Lee Grant
DETECTIVE STORY (1951)
Singin in the Rain's Gene Kelly Debbie Reynolds and Donald O'Connor
SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN (1952)
hose Redheads From Seattle
THOSE REDHEADS FROM SEATTLE (1953)
The Court Jester's Angela Lansbury and Danny Kaye
THE COURT JESTER (1955)

The 1960s have four offerings:

Dr Strangelove's Peter Sellers
DR. STRANGELOVE OR: HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB (1964)
King of Hearts' Alan Bates and Geneviève Bujold
KING OF HEARTS (1966)
In the Heat of the Night's Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger
IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT (1967)
The Graduate's Anne Bancroft and Dustin Hoffman
THE GRADUATE (1967)

 

The 1970s have six offerings:

The Landlord Greeting
THE LANDLORD (1970)
The Last Picture Show's Jeff Bridges and Timothy Bottoms
THE LAST PICTURE SHOW (1971)
Willy Wonka's Gene Wilder and Oompa Loompas
WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY (1971)
What's Up Doc Under Table Conference between Ryan O'Neal and Barbra Streisand
WHAT’S UP, DOC? (1972)
High Anxiety's Mel Brooks
HIGH ANXIETY (1977)
Saturday Night Fever's John Travolta and Donna Pescow
SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER (1977)

The 1980s have no offerings.

The 1990s have one offering:

Postcards from the Edge's Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine
POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE (1990)

While the bulk of the schedule fulfills the most traditional and constrictive definition classic film, the 1970s, the post-studio era, is very strongly represented. Only the 1930s has more selections; the 1950s ties with the 1970s. Obviously later made films are more likely to have guests that can attend the festival, but I don’t see that as the single motivation for programmers to include such movies. If we go by a broader definition of classic, something that is of its time yet timeless in its ability to be enjoyed repeatedly now and for years to come, then almost all the 1970s programming can be defined as classic. THE LANDLORD sticks out as rediscovery championing.

The post featuring my TCMFF picks will go live soon! In the meantime, feel free to comment on the 2017 schedule’s classic credentials.

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