Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Set Your DVR: Ray Bradbury on TCM

I vividly remember the first Ray Bradbury story I ever read: It was The Small Assassin, about a toddler who decides to murder his parents. Elegant and creepy at the same time -- good stuff!

So I got a kick out of the fact that he's playing guest programmer for Turner Classic Movies on Novermber 20th. He's picked four films, and he'll be on air with TCM's Robert Osborne to explain why.

The films are:

The 1925 version of Phantom of the Opera, with Lon Chaney (8PM EST)
The Chaney version of Hunchback of Notre Dame, from 1923 (9:45PM EST)
Alfred Hitchcock's 1940 Rebecca 11:45PM EST)
Orson Welles' 1941 Citizen Kane (2AM EST)

I'll be interested to hear what he has to say about the first two: I'm betting he saw them in theaters when he was a child and they made a hell of an impression. And frankly, the look of Chaney's Phantom is a keeper -- I just saw it referenced a few weeks ago on the cover of the New Yorker (see above left), illustrating a story about the current economic freefall.

When an image more than 80 years old has that kind of potency, attention must be paid!


Rob said...

If I did have a DVR I don't think I'd have space for these four, as I would be recording off TCM like crazy. One of the few places you find truly classic films (not like how fast and loose AMC uses the term) and they are UNEDITED. Weird enough, Citizen Kane is the second next film on my Netflix queue.

miss flickchick said...

Rob --

TCM is so fighting the good fight, showing great older movies that are ignored by so many other channels.

I sometimes hear other movie buffs/film critics bemoan the fact that younger viewers don't appreciate the classics or want to see movies made before Star Wars, but I think they're pointing the finger in the wrong direction.

The problem is that it's increasingly hard to see older movies: I remember back in the late '90s interviewing Ice Cube and asking him what movies he really liked.

He3 named a handful of movies you'd expect, like Brian de Palma's Scarface, and then he said, "Oh, and Citizen Kane..."

He was channel surfing one day, saw some image that caught his eye and wound up glued to the screen, watching Kane until the bitter end.

And to me, that sums it all up: A great movie isn't bound by petty stuff: "I don't like B&W movies," "musical are stupid," "old movies don't keeep it real..."

Great movies transcend that stuff -- all you have to do is get them out there and they'll stand on their own merits.

Every time I look at Citizen Kane I see some new detail that breaks my heart. I used to teach at Film 101 at Brooklyn College and I knew that no matter what films did or didn't connect with a particular class, Kane never failed.

Rob said...

My film class in college started out with The Godfather, but Citizen Kane was the very next one.

I wish I had time to devote to TCM, so far I've seen Odd Man Out and The Maltese Falcon (1941) which incidentally solidified Bogart as one of my new favorites, and loved them both. With work and no DVR right now I always bemoan when I miss something I really want to see.

I've taken to buying collections when they go on sale, with most movies sight unseen and have yet to be disappointed (Bogart, Hitchcock and Warner Gangsters). But should be getting that Tivo soon and the classics marathon can truly commence.