Humphrey Bogart

The Road to TCMFF 2017: Early Announced Films, How Classic Are They?

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

The 1940s have five offerings:

The 1950s have six offerings:

The 1960s have four offerings:

 

The 1970s have six offerings:

The 1980s have no offerings.

The 1990s have one offering:

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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For the Love of Film Blogathon: Alfred Hitchcock & His Terriers

Alfred Hitchcock’s visage has been compared to the bulldog’s, but he preferred terriers. He was a fancier and owner of Sealyham Terriers.  The Sealyham faces extinction today and has been called “rarer than a tiger,” but it was once favored by royalty, authors, and Hollywood stars. Princess Margaret, Dorothy Parker, Maurice Sendak, Humphrey Bogart, Elizabeth Taylor, Cary Grant, Bette Davis, Gary Cooper, and Tallulah Bankhead were all fellow Sealyham owners and some were photographed with their beloved pets.

Gary Cooper & His SealyhamCary Grant & Sealyham

Bankhead’s was actually a gift from Hitchcock when they filmed Lifeboat together, and she named him Hitchcock. He wanted to recognize what a good sport she was to keep filming despite developing pneumonia. I haven’t read of him ever giving another Sealyham to one of his stars, so he truly must have been impressed.

The Sealyham was developed as a working dog in the mid to late 18th century Wales, and it was used to hunt badgers and other unwanted vermin, but it could be devoted family dog. “Although the Sealyham might have the wit and courage to hold a badger at bay, he was also a very charming fellow to have at dinner.” Harry Parsons, the founder of the Working Sealyham Terrier Club, said, “They make great companions, and the way they bond with their owners is almost magical.” Numerous portraits of Hitchcock and his Sealyhams illustrate his love for them and their charm.

Alfred Hitchcock, Alma, & Pat walking their dogs in 1939

Alfred & Pat Hitchcock & Alma Reville with Begging Sealyham Terrier

Alfred Hitchcock & Dogs

Alfred Hitchcock, Alma Reville, Patricia Hitchcock, Joan Harrison, Spaniel, & Sealyham Hitchcock was recorded as having at least four Sealyhams–Mr. Jenkins (a suitably Welsh name!), Geoffrey, Stanley, and Sarah. They not only appear in the above pictures, but also Hitchcock couldn’t resist having a pair of them join him in one of his famous film cameos. Stanley, Geoffrey, and Hitchcock “exit downtown San Francisco’s Davidson’s Pet Shop. . .as elegantly-dressed blonde Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) enters.” That wasn’t Stanley and Geoffrey’s last foray in the film industry. Hitchcock named his production company for Marnie after them (Geoffrey Stanley Inc.).

Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds Cameo

If you enjoyed my post, please consider donating to the For Love of Film: The Film Preservation Blogathon. All funds raised go to the National Film Preservation Foundation to enable them to stream The White Shadow, a silent film featuring the work of a very young Alfred Hitchcock. This will allow people the world over access to a film that was long considered lost, and it helps share and preserve our international film heritage. To donate, please click on the banner below.

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