TCM Is Celebrating 100 Years Of Warner Bros. With Classic Remasters, Martin Scorsese & More

Thursday, 23 March 2023 01:51

One of the most time-consuming aspects of being a cinephile is worrying about the health and longevity of TCM. The venerable broadcast television channel dedicated to classic Hollywood cinema has grown since its 1994 launch into a kind of preservationist and enthusiast's empire that includes an annual film festival, an original film distribution arm, a releasing imprint, and a slew of diverse programming initiatives (not to mention a wine club). TCM certainly seems to be in better health than most entities dedicated segments of the film ecosystem that are -- by virtue of not being focused on the biggest, brightest, latest thing -- not exactly profit drivers. It has survived both a massive merger between AT&T and its parent company, Time Warner, and a subsequent divestment of AT&T and acquisition by Discovery in all but five years, after all.But the brand's new overlord, Warner Bros. Discovery, shelving completed films and axeing hundreds of millions of dollars worth of content doesn't exactly inspire confidence. Neither did the devastating news of the loss of TCM Underground, a pioneering weekly showcase of cult and genre movies curated by Millie De Chirico, who was one victim of a wave of mass layoffs that swept through the company in late February. But like a weary yet indefatigable John Wayne in a sun-shredded Western, TCM soldiers on. Nothing can quite compensate for the loss of the vital and unique TCM Underground, but a recent announcement from the network is a mightily hopeful sign of life. As part of their ongoing partnership with Martin Scorsese's The Film Foundation, TCM has announced it is dedicating the month of April to celebrating the 100th birthday of Warner Bros. by airing new 4K and HD remasters of some of the most brilliant gems from the Warner archives.Synergy Under The StarsSure, the whole thing smacks of synergy, as Warners now owns TCM. You could see this as a month-long commercial for the power and glory that is Warner Bros. Discovery, which is kind of how it's being marketed. "The month-long takeover of the network will tell the story of Warner Bros. in a way that only TCM can do," reads the press release.The fact is, however, that Warner Bros. really did produce some of the most incredible films of the studio era. With stars like Bette Davis, James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson, and Ginger Rogers, producers like Darryl F. Zanuck, and directors like Ernst Lubitsch and Michael Curtiz on its payroll, how could they not? Scanning through the Warner archive, you might expect titles of such titanic importance in film history like "Casablanca," "The Jazz Singer," and "The Maltese Falcon" to be the headline attractions in TCM's April program. But the canny programmers at the network -- TCM employs some of the best in the business -- have curated something altogether more interesting.The centennial celebration is headed up by two certified classics, Howard Hawks' eternal Western "Rio Bravo," and Elia Kazan's anguished John Steinbeck adaption, "East of Eden." Both have received a 4K restoration courtesy of The Film Foundation, and both will be introduced on the channel by contemporary cinema royalty. "East of Eden" will be introduced by the directors Wes Anderson and Joanna Hogg, and "Rio Bravo" will be introduced by none other than Marty himself. The rest of the lineup plumbs the furthest extents of the Warner archive, bringing together some of the most exquisite and underseen films of the classic era, from avant-garde '60s psychodramas, to audacious pre-code melodramas, to a truly shocking Ronald Reagan star vehicle about the KKK.Film History Made FunIt's hard to say whether TCM would actually be in safer hands if it was publicly owned, but there's no question the channel provides a public service. Following in the legacy of the dearly missed O.G. host Robert Osborne, TCM has put together an incredible roster of film historians, preservationists, and cinephiles, including Jacqueline Stewart, Alicia Malone, and Ben Mankiewicz, the grandson of (alleged) "Citizen Kane" screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz. It's one of the only broadly accessible and widely known outposts where the public can learn about classic cinema, and trust what they're hearing. You can watch TCM's full April program on the TCM channel and stream it on HBO Max. If you're looking for a place to start, "Rio Bravo" and "East of Eden" aren't going anywhere. Dive into 1931's "Safe in Hell," an absolute hellion of a pre-code thriller that deals frankly with sex work, racism, and rape in a way that would become vanishingly rare after the code became enforced just three years later. The rest of the lineup is below:"East of Eden" (1955) -- a 4k restoration introduced by filmmakers Wes Anderson and Joanna Hogg"Rio Bravo" (1959) -- a 4k restoration introduced by filmmaker Martin Scorsese"Land of the Pharaohs" (1955) -- a Blu-ray HD Remaster introduced by Martin Scorsese"A Lion is in the Streets" (1953) -- a Blu-ray HD Remaster introduced by Daphne Dentz and Robyn Sklaren from the Warner Bros. Discovery Library"Rachel, Rachel" (1968) -- a Blu-ray HD Remaster introduced by filmmaker and actor Ethan Hawke"Safe in Hell" (1931) -- a Blu-ray HD Remaster introduced by filmmaker Alexander Payne"Storm Warning" (1951) -- a Blu-ray HD Remaster introduced by Martin Scorsese"The Strawberry Blonde" (1941) -- a Blu-ray HD Remaster introduced by Wes Anderson"Helen of Troy" (1956) -- a Blu-ray HD Remaster"One Way Passage" (1932) -- a Blu-ray HD RemasterRead this next: 15 Best Films Of The 1930sThe post TCM is Celebrating 100 Years of Warner Bros. with Classic Remasters, Martin Scorsese & More appeared first on /Film.


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