TCM's Scorsese Screens

In partnership with The Film Foundation, TCM presents the monthly column, "Scorsese Screens," from Academy Award®-winning filmmaker and champion of film preservation Martin Scorsese.

The following is a list of the films singled out in Mr. Scorsese's columns. For information on when and why a movie was selected, click the "Read Notes" button to the left.

  • They Live by Night

    They Live by Night

    ★★★★½

    October 2011: NICHOLAS RAY'S 100TH BIRTHDAY
    "This is Nick Ray's centenary. Hard to believe. Why? Because of all the great American filmmakers, Ray is the one whose work many of us associate most powerfully with youth."

    June 2020: DIRECTED BY SAM PECKINPAH (6/3 at 8 p.m. ET) and DIRECTED BY NICHOLAS RAY (6/19 at 8 p.m. ET)

  • In a Lonely Place

    In a Lonely Place

    ★★★★

    October 2011: NICHOLAS RAY'S 100TH BIRTHDAY

    June 2020: DIRECTED BY SAM PECKINPAH (6/3 at 8 p.m. ET) and DIRECTED BY NICHOLAS RAY (6/19 at 8 p.m. ET)

    August 2021: SUMMER UNDER THE STARS: SETSUKO HARA (Aug. 19), GLORIA GRAHAME (Aug. 17), INGRID BERGMAN (Aug. 29)

    Read Review
  • On Dangerous Ground

    On Dangerous Ground

    ★★★

    October 2011: NICHOLAS RAY'S 100TH BIRTHDAY

    November 2013: ROBERT RYAN (November 11, 6 a.m.)
    In Nicholas Ray's On Dangerous Ground, he's tormented by all the terrible things and people he has to deal with as a city cop, and he takes it all in, carries it, up until a drive into the snow and the mountains to work on a murder case: he feels all his hatred and anger drift away when he falls in love with the blind woman played by Ida Lupino.

    June 2012: Ida Lupino (June 21)

  • The Lusty Men

    The Lusty Men

    ★★★★½

    October 2011: NICHOLAS RAY'S 100TH BIRTHDAY

    July 2016: TCM SPOTLIGHT: TCM PRESENTS SHANE (PLUS A HUNDRED MORE GREAT WESTERNS) (Tuesdays and Wednesdays in July, 6 a.m.)

  • Johnny Guitar

    Johnny Guitar

    ★★★★

    October 2011: NICHOLAS RAY'S 100TH BIRTHDAY

  • Rebel Without a Cause

    Rebel Without a Cause

    ★★★★★

    October 2011: NICHOLAS RAY'S 100TH BIRTHDAY

    June 2020: DIRECTED BY SAM PECKINPAH (6/3 at 8 p.m. ET) and DIRECTED BY NICHOLAS RAY (6/19 at 8 p.m. ET)

  • Bigger Than Life

    Bigger Than Life

    ★★★★

    October 2011: NICHOLAS RAY'S 100TH BIRTHDAY

  • Party Girl

    Party Girl

    ★★★½

    October 2011: NICHOLAS RAY'S 100TH BIRTHDAY

  • Bitter Victory

    Bitter Victory

    October 2011: NICHOLAS RAY'S 100TH BIRTHDAY

  • Wind Across the Everglades

    Wind Across the Everglades

    October 2011: NICHOLAS RAY'S 100TH BIRTHDAY

    October 2017: STARRING BURL IVES (October 7, 8 p.m.)

  • We Can't Go Home Again

    We Can't Go Home Again

    October 2011: NICHOLAS RAY'S 100TH BIRTHDAY

  • Don't Expect Too Much

    Don't Expect Too Much

    October 2011: NICHOLAS RAY'S 100TH BIRTHDAY

  • The Big Combo

    The Big Combo

    ★★★½

    October 2011: CINEMATOGRAPHY BY JOHN ALTON
    "John Alton, one of the greatest cinematographers who ever lived, was born in Hungary at the turn of the century. He emigrated to New York when he was a teenager and fell into the film business as an extra, then as a lab technician, and he did his first camera work for Ernst Lubitsch, filming European backgrounds for The Student Prince of Old Heidelberg. He moved to Buenos Aires in the early 30s to design the first Argentine sound studio, and that's where he developed his craft as a DP on pictures like Luis Saslavsky's Crimen a las tres, a lost crime melodrama that apparently anticipates the pictures he later made in Hollywood. When Alton returned to Hollywood, he went to work at small studios like Republic and Monogram, and then with the independent producer Edward Small. It was with Small that Alton first teamed with Anthony Mann, and their work together attracted the attention of MGM, where Alton made many different kinds of films, each one visually remarkable. 'It's not what you light, it's what you don't light,' Alton wrote in his wonderful book Painting with Light. With Mann and Vincente Minnelli, he was matched by directors with visual imaginations as rich as his own, but anything photographed by Alton is an event. He was a great artist."

  • Border Incident

    Border Incident

    ★★★★

    October 2011: CINEMATOGRAPHY BY JOHN ALTON

  • Reign of Terror

    Reign of Terror

    ★★★★

    October 2011: CINEMATOGRAPHY BY JOHN ALTON

    January 2016: TCM SPOTLIGHT: WILLIAM CAMERON MENZIES (Thursdays in January, 8 p.m.)

    November 2016: NORMAN LLOYD'S 102ND BIRTHDAY (November 8, 8 p.m.)

  • Tea and Sympathy

    Tea and Sympathy

    October 2011: CINEMATOGRAPHY BY JOHN ALTON

  • Designing Woman

    Designing Woman

    October 2011: CINEMATOGRAPHY BY JOHN ALTON

    February 2016: FEBRUARY IS ALWAYS OSCAR® MONTH ON TCM

    April 2016: GREGORY PECK 100TH BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE (April 5, 6 a.m.)

  • Hollow Triumph

    Hollow Triumph

    ★★★½

    October 2011: CINEMATOGRAPHY BY JOHN ALTON

  • The Killers

    The Killers

    ★★★★★

    November 2011: BURT LANCASTER BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE (Nov. 2)
    Burt Lancaster was a remarkable, complex presence. He was big, physically imposing, muscular, but graceful. Lancaster was a trained acrobat (early on, before he sustained a serious injury, he had an act with his childhood friend Nick Cravat, who appeared in many of his pictures.) It shows in his performances—in his gestures and his sense of his body as a rhythmic instrument. He was also sensitive, to a degree that could be frightening—he could crush you with his bare hands, but you could also kill him with a cutting remark or a slight. He also had an air of refinement and discernment. He was known as “Mr. Muscles and Teeth,” and he himself referred to his formidable, flashing smiles as “The Grin,” but like Robert Ryan he could never really be easily defined or encapsulated by publicity departments. TCM is doing a fine tribute to him on what would have been his 98th birthday, focused on the first two decades of his career. They’re including his extraordinary debut in Robert Siodmak’s expansion of Hemingway’s The Killers, where he has an almost otherworldly beauty; The Flame and the Arrow, Jacques Tourneur’s beautiful medieval…

  • The Flame and the Arrow

    The Flame and the Arrow

    November 2011: BURT LANCASTER BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE (Nov. 2)

  • Trapeze

    Trapeze

    November 2011: BURT LANCASTER BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE (Nov. 2)

  • From Here to Eternity

    From Here to Eternity

    ★★★★

    November 2011: BURT LANCASTER BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE (Nov. 2)

    August 2016: TCM'S SUMMER UNDER THE STARS

  • Sweet Smell of Success

    Sweet Smell of Success

    ★★★★

    November 2011: BURT LANCASTER BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE (Nov. 2)

  • Juggernaut

    Juggernaut

    November 2011
    The 1970s was the decade of the disaster movie. Starting with The Poseidon Adventure in 1972, it seemed like there was a new picture every six months (most of them produced by Irwin Allen) in which an earthquake or a swarm of killer bees was the real center of attention, while the all-star casts (the posters usually featured a line of actors' stills running along the bottom) seemed to split up screen time in equal portions. These pictures were a lot of fun and most of them were very well crafted (I remember a kind of cottage industry revolving around sociological and psychoanalytic explanations for their massive popularity). Juggernaut has a powerful frankness about imminent mortality — you really feel that they may not make it. A surprising picture, and a rewarding one. (November 17)

  • Sherlock Holmes

    Sherlock Holmes

    December 2011: WILLIAM POWELL (Thursdays in December)

    From the early '30s through the late '40s, William Powell was one of the biggest stars in movies. He was also a great artist, one of the people who brought movies into the sound era. The great critic Manny Farber called Powell a "conductor," who "would first use his satchel underchin to pull the dialogue into the image, then punctuate with his nose the stops for each chin movement, composing the film into linear movement as it went along." Although he leaves out Powell's unforgettably clipped and elegant voice, Farber's description of his physical "instrument" is uncanny. Powell seemed incapable of making an ordinary move, and his chin and nose really did become visual motifs in his pictures. But I think Farber is also on target with his suggestion that Powell was one of the people who "composed" his films, in the sense we customarily reserve for descriptions of directing. Like Tracy, Cagney, Grant, and Lombard, Powell was on the front lines at the dawn of sound, grinding out movies at a punishing pace, giving the art form a graceful urbanity, as well as a real unity and excitement: those actors invented a…

  • Jewel Robbery

    Jewel Robbery

    December 2011: WILLIAM POWELL (Thursdays in December)

    October 2019: TCM SPOTLIGHT: SHORT & SWEET — 100 TERRIFIC MOVIES LESS THAN 75 MINUTES LONG (Wednesdays in October)

  • One Way Passage

    One Way Passage

    December 2011: WILLIAM POWELL (Thursdays in December)

    October 2019: TCM SPOTLIGHT: SHORT & SWEET — 100 TERRIFIC MOVIES LESS THAN 75 MINUTES LONG (Wednesdays in October)

  • My Man Godfrey

    My Man Godfrey

    ★★★★★

    December 2011: WILLIAM POWELL (Thursdays in December)

  • The Thin Man

    The Thin Man

    ★★★★½

    December 2011: William Powell (Thursdays in December)

  • After the Thin Man

    After the Thin Man

    December 2011: WILLIAM POWELL (Thursdays in December)

    June 2013: DASHIELL HAMMETT (June 7, 8 p.m.)
    The Thin Man inspired an entire series of pictures, six in all, teaming William Powell and Myrna Loy as Nick and Nora Charles, and TV shows like Hart to Hart. The second picture in the series is included (based on Hammett's story "The Farewell Murder").

  • Another Thin Man

    Another Thin Man

    ★★★

    December 2011: WILLIAM POWELL (Thursdays in December)

  • Shadow of the Thin Man

    Shadow of the Thin Man

    ★★★

    December 2011: WILLIAM POWELL (Thursdays in December)

  • The Thin Man Goes Home

    The Thin Man Goes Home

    December 2011: WILLIAM POWELL (Thursdays in December)

  • Song of the Thin Man

    Song of the Thin Man

    December 2011: WILLIAM POWELL (Thursdays in December)

  • Little Dorrit

    Little Dorrit

    December 2011: BICENTENNIAL OF THE BIRTH OF CHARLES DICKENS (Mondays in December)

    Why have Dickens adaptations made for so much good cinema? Sergei Eisenstein cited Dickens' storytelling techniques, translated by D.W. Griffith into parallel montage. But there is also a vivid sense of people and place in Dickens, both in great abundance, and of interior journeys—emotional, spiritual—brought to physical life. Once you encounter them on the page, you never forget Dan Pegotty's house by the sea or the churchyard where Pip meets Magwitch: they are all perfect spatial realizations of emotional states and conflicts. It's all so familiar to us that we forget how rare a gift Dickens possessed. TCM has programmed 13 Dickens pictures for December, including the epic adaptation of Little Dorrit made in the late '80s. I love the 1951 version of A Christmas Carol with Alistair Sim, and of course David Lean's Great Expectations and Oliver Twist are remarkable—they seem even fresher now than they did in the '40s. So do David O. Selznick's versions of David Copperfield and A Tale of Two Cities (in which Val Lewton, Selznick's assistant at the time, and Jacques Tourneur played an important role). Copperfield in particular, directed by George Cukor, is so lovingly and vividly acted (Dickens would have jumped for joy at the casting) and visualized and orchestrated that it feels more vibrantly alive with each passing year.

  • Scrooge

    Scrooge

    December 2011: BICENTENNIAL OF THE BIRTH OF CHARLES DICKENS (Mondays in December)

    December 2018: CHRISTMAS CLASSICS (Saturdays & Sundays at 8 p.m. and throughout the month)

  • Oliver Twist

    Oliver Twist

    December 2011: BICENTENNIAL OF THE BIRTH OF CHARLES DICKENS (Mondays in December)

  • Great Expectations

    Great Expectations

    ★★★★

    December 2011: BICENTENNIAL OF THE BIRTH OF CHARLES DICKENS (Mondays in December)

    November 2012: GREAT ADAPTATIONS (Mondays and Wednesdays)
    Some genuinely great pictures have been made out of great novels, all of which work from the original to find a cinematic life of their own. For instance, David Lean's marvelous adaptation of Great Expectations, adapted by Lean and a team of writers which includes Ronald Neame, is a stunning film, and its visual beauty and vigor (like woodcuts or charcoal drawings come to life) seems absolutely Dickensian.

    March 2019: TCM BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE: DAVID LEAN (March 25, 6 a.m. ET)

  • David Copperfield

    David Copperfield

    December 2011: BICENTENNIAL OF THE BIRTH OF CHARLES DICKENS (Mondays in December)

  • A Tale of Two Cities

    A Tale of Two Cities

    December 2011: BICENTENNIAL OF THE BIRTH OF CHARLES DICKENS (Mondays in December)

  • The Four Feathers

    The Four Feathers

    January 2012: JACK CARDIFF (Thursdays)
    Jack Cardiff, who passed away in 2009 at the age of 94, was a revolutionary figure in the history of cinema, first as a Camera Operator and then as a Director of Photography. If any one person can be credited with bringing color to movies, it's Cardiff. Herbert Kalmus was the man who invented Technicolor, but along with Disney and his animators and a few American cinematographers like Leon Shamroy, Cardiff was the first one to bring the process under control, to make it come to life, and in his hands it became a real artistic tool. When I think of how heavy and cumbersome and unreliable the Technicolor equipment was, how difficult it must have been to control the image, my admiration for Cardiff only increases. TCM is showing 19 pictures throughout the month on which Cardiff worked as either an operator, a DP or a director. I love the 1939 version of The Four Feathersand Albert Lewin's Pandora and the Flying Dutchman, and I have a real fondness for many of the pictures he directed, including two of the titles included here, The Lion and Dark of the Sun. But the four pictures that Cardiff made with Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger—The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, A Matter of Life and Death, Black Narcissus and The Red Shoes—are among the most powerful experiences in the history of the art form.

  • Pandora and the Flying Dutchman

    Pandora and the Flying Dutchman

    January 2012: JACK CARDIFF (Thursdays)

    June 2015: DIRECTED BY ALBERT LEWIN (June 27, 8 p.m.)

    August 2019: SUMMER UNDER THE STARS

  • The Lion

    The Lion

    January 2012: JACK CARDIFF (Thursdays)

  • Dark of the Sun

    Dark of the Sun

    January 2012: JACK CARDIFF (Thursdays)

  • The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp

    The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp

    ★★★★★

    January 2012: JACK CARDIFF (Thursdays)

  • A Matter of Life and Death

    A Matter of Life and Death

    ★★★★★

    January 2012: JACK CARDIFF (Thursdays)

  • Black Narcissus

    Black Narcissus

    ★★★★★

    January 2012: JACK CARDIFF (Thursdays)

    November 2019: 100th ANNIVERSARY OF AMERICAN SOCIETY OF CINEMATOGRAPHERS (Wednesdays all day)

    Read Review
  • The Red Shoes

    The Red Shoes

    ★★★★★

    January 2012: JACK CARDIFF (Thursdays)

    July 2015: 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF TECHNICOLOR™ (July 7, 6 a.m.)

    November 2019: 100th ANNIVERSARY OF AMERICAN SOCIETY OF CINEMATOGRAPHERS (Wednesdays all day)

    Show Reviews
  • Letter from an Unknown Woman

    Letter from an Unknown Woman

    ★★★

    January 2012: MAX OPHÜLS IN HOLLYWOOD (January 23)

    Max Ophüls was one of the greatest of the European émigré directors who flooded into Hollywood from the '20s through the '40s. Some of them, like Ophüls and Jean Renoir, had a tough time. John Ford, who greatly admired Renoir, once said, "He's not one of us." Meaning, he couldn't adapt to the American system. The same could be said of Ophüls, who made only four films in Hollywood (he also labored for quite a while on Vendetta for Howard Hughes, from which he was fired), and he had a very difficult time on the first two, where his production pace and fluidly choreographed unbroken takes unnerved the studio heads. He never really did adapt to Hollywood (or maybe it's that Hollywood never adapted to him), but those four films are extraordinary achievements, each one with its own unique power and energy. Letter from an Unknown Woman is the closest to Ophüls' European pictures, and just as devastating. Caught and The Reckless Moment are remarkable, extremely subtle studies in paranoia, power, and the strange currents of feeling that can develop between people at the oddest moments (the former features a great performance by Robert Ryan as a reclusive millionaire based on Howard Hughes). The Exile is a melancholy swashbuckler, visually exquisite. A great piece of programming, not to be missed.

  • Caught

    Caught

    ★★★★

    January 2012: MAX OPHÜLS IN HOLLYWOOD (January 23)

  • The Reckless Moment

    The Reckless Moment

    January 2012: MAX OPHÜLS IN HOLLYWOOD (January 23)

  • The Exile

    The Exile

    January 2012: MAX OPHÜLS IN HOLLYWOOD (January 23)

  • The Diary of a Chambermaid

    The Diary of a Chambermaid

    January 2012: DIARY OF A CHAMBERMAID (January 18, 1:30 a.m. ET)

    TCM is also showing Renoir's rarely seen adaptation of Octave Mirbeau's novel Diary of a Chambermaid, later remade by Luis Buñuel, starring Paulette Goddard and her then-husband Burgess Meredith (who also wrote the script) as a maid who tries to insinuate herself within the treacherous world of a French bourgeois family in the 1880s (Renoir back-dated the period in order to evoke his father's paintings). It is the darkest and strangest of his American work. I'll leave it to the great French critic André Bazin to describe this unusual picture: "Diary is a slapstick tragedy. It merges burlesque with atrocity."

  • Blow-Up

    Blow-Up

    ★★★★

    February 2012: OSCAR MONTH ON TCM
    Michelangelo Antonioni's 1966 Blow-Up (February 5, 3:15 am ET) is one of the key movies of the '60s, a transformative viewing experience that helped us to consider the ways we perceive and experience the world. Like Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, another "mind-expanding" picture, it is usually described in visual terms. Rightly so, but people often forget that it was written (and nominated for Best Original Screenplay), and that it is, finally, a uniquely disturbing detective story. Antonioni worked with his usual writing partner, Tonino Guerra (who also collaborated with Tarkovsky, Fellini, Rosi, the Taviani brothers, and many others), on what became a very free adaptation of the great Argentinian writer Julio Cortázar's "Las Babas del Diablo." He also brought in the English playwright Edward Bond to help with the dialogue. Blow-Up is as carefully constructed as The Maltese Falcon. The difference is that the solution takes place in the inner world of the hero, and the spectator.

  • The Shanghai Gesture

    The Shanghai Gesture

    February 2012: OSCAR MONTH ON TCM
    Josef von Sternberg's 1941 film version of John Colton's scandalous play The Shanghai Gesture (February 29, 8 p.m. ET) was his return to stylistic and emotional extremes, the entrancing but frank poetry of his pictures with Marlene Dietrich. One of the aesthetic elements that makes this such a potent experience is the Art Direction—the crane shot that introduces the gambling casino where most of the picture takes place is astonishing but so is the set that it reveals, teeming with ornate detail and multiple levels of depraved gambling and nameless activities in the shadows. The casino was designed by Boris Leven, who was nominated for an Oscar® in 1941. Leven was one of the greatest artists in his field. He was born in Russia and emigrated to the US when he was 19. He started at 20th Century-Fox in the late '30s, and worked as Art Director or Production Designer on many pictures through the '80s, big and small, including Giant, Anatomy of a Murder, Criss Cross, The Prowler, West Side Story and The Sound of Music. He also worked on The Silver Chalice with Paul Newman, and his sets were revelatory—they created a whole new way of imagining the ancient world. I had the pleasure of working with Boris on four of my own pictures. He was a remarkable artist and a special man.

  • One of Our Aircraft Is Missing

    One of Our Aircraft Is Missing

    ★★★½

    February 2012: OSCAR MONTH ON TCM
    One of Our Aircraft Is Missing (February 6, 1:30 a.m. ET) was Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's sequel (of a kind) to The 49th Parallel, made one year earlier. It was nominated for Best Visual Effects, principally because of the stunning sequence in which an English bomber known as "B for Bertie" is shot down near the Zuider Zee in Holland on its way to a night raid on Stuttgart. The run over war-torn Europe is beautifully detailed, and the landscape is dotted with explosions and fires—at certain points, anti-aircraft flak streaks across our field of vision. It was all done with a camera on overhead tracks moving over an elaborate model that covered the entire floor of a soundstage, manned by an army of dedicated technicians. One of them was the young cameraman who received the nomination, future director Ronald Neame. A tour de force in a very special picture.

  • The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner

    The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner

    ★★★

    March 2012: BRITISH NEW WAVE (Mondays in March)
    In the late '50s and early '60s, there were "new waves" breaking out all over the world. Everything started in France, of course, with Chabrol's Le Beau Serge, which opened here in 1959, the same year that Cassavetes' Shadows was released. Then things started happening in Japan, eastern Europe, Brazil, and in England, where a group of young filmmakers shook things up and gave new life to the film industry. Lindsay Anderson and Karel Reisz began as critics, and they co-founded a magazine called Sequence. Along with Tony Richardson and Lorenza Mazzetti, they started the Free Cinema documentary movement. A few years later most of them made their first fiction films, along with Bryan Forbes, Jack Clayton, John Schlesinger, Richard Lester, and Ken Loach. Many of those groundbreaking pictures are included in TCM's tribute, including Richardson's Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner and Tom Jones, Anderson's This Sporting Life, Clayton's Room at the Top, Lester's The Knack, Reisz's Saturday Night and Sunday Morning and Schlesinger's Darling. There's something very special about movies that usher in a new spirit and speak, however briefly, in one voice.

  • Tom Jones

    Tom Jones

    March 2012: BRITISH NEW WAVE (Mondays in March)

  • This Sporting Life

    This Sporting Life

    ★★★½

    March 2012: BRITISH NEW WAVE (Mondays in March)

  • Room at the Top

    Room at the Top

    March 2012: BRITISH NEW WAVE (Mondays in March)

  • The Knack... and How to Get It

    The Knack... and How to Get It

    March 2012: BRITISH NEW WAVE (Mondays in March)

  • Saturday Night and Sunday Morning

    Saturday Night and Sunday Morning

    ★★★★

    March 2012: BRITISH NEW WAVE (Mondays in March)

  • Darling

    Darling

    March 2012: BRITISH NEW WAVE (Mondays in March)

  • Death Line

    Death Line

    March 2012
    Raw Meat, otherwise known as Death Line, is an independently produced film made in the early '70s by the Chicago-born Gary Sherman and based on a terrifying premise: a crew of underground workers abandoned during a tunnel collapse at the turn of the century has spawned a family of subterranean humanoids who dwell deep within the Russell Square tube station and feast on unsuspecting passengers. Raw Meat actually feels like two different movies. The above-ground movie is tongue-in-cheek, a police procedural with the wonderful Donald Pleasence and a cameo from Christopher Lee, with whom I just had the pleasure of working in Hugo. The below-ground movie is something else again—dark, fluid, and dreamlike (there's an amazing extended tracking shot through the humanoids' dwelling), and extremely and even upsettingly violent. A potent experience, and it might be a while before you'll be able to get the words "Mind the doors" out of your head. (March 24, 3:45 a.m. ET)

  • Hotel

    Hotel

    March 2012
    Hotel is the kind of multicharacter "prestige" picture that seemed pretty anachronistic when it came out in 1967, but it's actually become more interesting over the years. It's a lively movie, jumping gracefully between Karl Malden's cheerful cat burglar, Michael Rennie and Merle Oberon as a British aristocratic couple in a terrible jam, and Rod Taylor as the manager who keeps all the customers satisfied as he tries to negotiate a deal to keep the hotel beyond the reach of an omnivorous chain owner (Kevin McCarthy). Taylor is excellent as a character who could easily have been bland and uninteresting, and Richard Conte is equally good as the house detective. And what's really interesting in the movie is the way it captures a certain style of living, almost unconsciously—the clothes people wear, their aspirations and habits, the way they speak and move and behave around one another. It's like a snapshot of the shared American cultural horizon in the late '60s, or at least a piece of it. (March 14, 2:00 a.m. ET)

  • The Million Pound Note

    The Million Pound Note

    April 2012: GREGORY PECK BIRTHDAY
    Gregory Peck, who passed away nine years ago, would have been 96 this April. My appreciation for his work has only deepened over the years. It's a bracing experience to look at his filmography, because it's one of the most impressive of his generation. Like his friend Richard Widmark, he started in the '40s, as a new type of leading man—introspective, troubled, gentle, and quietly intense. He excelled in many different types of roles, and he worked with some of the greatest directors in Hollywood history, including Tourneur, Hitchcock, Vidor, Kazan, Wellman, Walsh, Wyler, Huston, and Minnelli, among many others. I had the chance to work with him on my version of Cape Fear, in which he agreed to do a cameo. He was a true gentleman and, of course, a total professional. Peck had a real gift for comedy, and I've always enjoyed his performance in a British picture called Man with a Million, directed by Ronald Neame. It's based on a Mark Twain story, about an American sailor down on his luck in Edwardian London. He is given a million-pound note by two wealthy brothers, and wherever he presents it, eyes bug out, and unlimited credit is extended. Peck's amazement and bewilderment, his initial euphoria and eventual exasperation, are beautifully drawn, and the film is genuinely delightful. (April 5)

    April 2016: GREGORY PECK 100TH BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE (April 5, 6 a.m.)

  • The Purple Plain

    The Purple Plain

    April 2012: GREGORY PECK BIRTHDAY
    Gregory Peck, who passed away nine years ago, would have been 96 this April. My appreciation for his work has only deepened over the years. It's a bracing experience to look at his filmography, because it's one of the most impressive of his generation. Like his friend Richard Widmark, he started in the '40s, as a new type of leading man—introspective, troubled, gentle, and quietly intense. He excelled in many different types of roles, and he worked with some of the greatest directors in Hollywood history, including Tourneur, Hitchcock, Vidor, Kazan, Wellman, Walsh, Wyler, Huston, and Minnelli, among many others. I had the chance to work with him on my version of Cape Fear, in which he agreed to do a cameo. He was a true gentleman and, of course, a total professional. The Purple Plain, made in dazzling color and largely shot on location in Sri Lanka, is about a Canadian pilot who crashlands in Burmese jungle territory held by the Japanese, and has to make his way to safety on foot with an injured colleague. It's a stark, harrowing picture, at times hallucinatory. Peck's performance takes on a genuinely spiritual dimension, and he is absolutely mesmerizing. (April 5)

  • Royal Wedding

    Royal Wedding

    April 2012: STANLEY DONEN'S 88TH BIRTHDAY (April 13)
    Stanley Donen, one of the people who revolutionized the movie musical, is still with us; he'll be turning 88 on April 13. TCM is showing eight of his pictures, most from the early '50s, when he and his collaborators at MGM (including Gene Kelly, Comden and Green, the producers Arthur Freed and Joe Pasternak and the great choreographer Michael Kidd) were making movie history with each new picture. Royal Wedding gave Donen an opportunity he'd always dreamed of—to work with Fred Astaire (they worked together again, six years later, on Funny Face). It's a lovely picture with a melancholy overtone, and its most famous sequence, the dance number "You're All the World To Me," has been endlessly anthologized in clip reels but remains astonishing when you see it in its entirety. Astaire is literally dancing up and down the walls and across the ceiling of his hotel room in one shot, pre-CGI, which means that the entire set had to revolve, that the furniture, the cameraman (who had to pan with Astaire), the equipment and the lights had to be strapped or bolted in place, and the timing could be nothing less than perfect. Which it is, as you'll see. Anyone interested in making films should study it.

  • Funny Face

    Funny Face

    ★★★½

    April 2012: STANLEY DONEN'S 88TH BIRTHDAY (April 13)

  • The Nun's Story

    The Nun's Story

    May 2012
    There are not so many good Hollywood pictures about Christian spirituality, and some of them are just silly magic shows. But this picture, directed by Fred Zinnemann and adapted by the playwright Robert Anderson from a best-selling book by Kathryn C. Hulme, is a major exception. The story is based on the life of Hulme's lifetime companion Marie Louise Habets, a Belgian woman who took her vows in the early '30s. Habets' father was a prominent doctor, she'd had extensive medical training, and she bristled at the absolute obedience demanded by her order. She was pained to leave the Congo, where she felt that her expertise was most useful. When her father was killed by the Nazis she made the painful decision to leave her vocation in order to join the resistance. The power of this film lies in the fact that its central conflict is genuinely spiritual. We are taken through every stage of the rigorous demands of training for sisterhood, and the storytelling is clear, handsome, and carefully detailed—you come away remembering the sounds of the morning bells, the texture of wooden doorways, the footsteps, the different parts of the nun's habits. And as the film…

  • Three Comrades

    Three Comrades

    May 2012: FRANK BORZAGE (May 25)
    I like to draw attention to Borzage's pictures. I started looking at them in the '90s, and the more closely I studied them the more powerful they became. The studio era is known for its romances, but Borzage really believed in the communion of two souls, and the romantic bonds between the couples in his pictures have an intensity that you just don't find in other people's movies.

  • The Mortal Storm

    The Mortal Storm

    ★★★½

    May 2012: FRANK BORZAGE (May 25)
    James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan in The Mortal Storm are one of the most moving couples in his entire body of work, which began in 1913 and ended in 1959.

    May 2013: JAMES STEWART (May 20, 6:15 a.m.)

  • Strange Cargo

    Strange Cargo

    May 2012: FRANK BORZAGE (May 25)

  • Citizen Kane

    Citizen Kane

    ★★★★★

    May 2012: GREGG TOLAND
    I also wanted to say a brief word about the five Gregg Toland pictures being shown on May 19. So much has been said about the deep-focus photography of Citizen Kane and The Grapes of Wrath that I don't really have much to add, apart from a reflection based on my recent experience making a picture in 3-D. As we were shooting, I came to realize that with deep focus, Toland was anticipating 3-D years before the technology was actually perfected (Manny Farber actually made a similar observation in the early '50s). Looking at those pictures again now, it seems more striking than ever. Like certain late silent pictures right on the verge of speech, they went to the brink of a third dimension.

    August 2014: JOSEPH COTTEN (August 29, 6 a.m.)

    May 2015: ORSON WELLES (Fridays in May)

    November 2017: TCM SPOTLIGHT: THE HOLLYWOOD BLACKLIST (Mondays & Tuesdays in November, 8 p.m.)

    March 2018: TCM SPOTLIGHT: GREAT MOVIE ENDINGS (March 19 to March 23. 8 p.m. ET)

    March 2020: A MANKIEWICZ FAMILY WEEKEND (March 27-March 29)

    December 2020: TCM SPOTLIGHT: BERNARD HERRMANN (Wednesdays in December)

    January 2021: SPECIAL THEME: THE STUDIO SYSTEM (Tuesdays in January)

    Read Review
  • The Grapes of Wrath

    The Grapes of Wrath

    ★★★★

    May 2012: GREGG TOLAND

    February 2017: 31 ALPHABETICAL DAYS OF OSCAR

    November 2019: 100th ANNIVERSARY OF AMERICAN SOCIETY OF CINEMATOGRAPHERS (Wednesdays all day)

  • Frankenstein

    Frankenstein

    June 2012: '30s HORROR (June 6)
    The horror genre has enjoyed many great periods, each one vastly different in style and character from the one before it. There were the American horror pictures of the '70s and '80s by John Carpenter, Wes Craven, George Romero, Larry Cohen, and David Cronenberg (okay, North American); the Italian giallo pictures, starting with Mario Bava and Ricardo Freda and then continuing with Lucio Fulci, Dario Argento, and others; Roger Corman's cycle of Edgar Allan Poe movies, most of them with Vincent Price; the Hammer films from England in the '50s through the '70s; Val Lewton's RKO movies in the '40s; and before everything else, the Hollywood horror films of the '30s. The level of craft in these pictures, made during the early sound era, is absolutely extraordinary. Many of them are set in expressionistic dream worlds, poetically re-imagined versions of Central Europe or the South Seas, and artists who had recently emigrated from Europe played a key role in their creation—the cinematographer and director Karl Freund, the art director Hans Dreier, the directors Michael Curtiz, James Whale, Robert Florey, and William Dieterle. If you don't know them (which is unlikely), each one of the titles in the tribute is worth seeing, or revisiting for a fresh look. Frankenstein, Freaks, and Rouben Mamoulian's version of Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are canonical—they also remain extremely powerful and disturbing experiences, as are Island of Lost Souls and Doctor X, which was made in beautiful 2-strip (or Process 2) Technicolor, which considerably enhances the hauntingly dreamlike effect.

  • Freaks

    Freaks

    June 2012: '30s HORROR (June 6)

  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

    Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

    June 2012: '30s HORROR (June 6)

    October 2012: Rouben Mamoulian (October 8)

  • Island of Lost Souls

    Island of Lost Souls

    June 2012: '30s HORROR (June 6)

  • Doctor X

    Doctor X

    ★★★★

    June 2012: '30s HORROR (June 6)

    April 2018: TCM SPOTLIGHT: MICHAEL CURTIZ (Wednesdays in April)

  • The Immigrant

    The Immigrant

    ★★★★½

    June 2012: THE IMMIGRANT EXPERIENCE (Wednesdays in June)
    My grandparents on both sides made their way here from Sicily at the turn of the century, and I grew up in a neighborhood which, in many ways, still was the old world...at least for a time. These pictures deal with one of the key conflicts of 20th-century America, between the old and new worlds, between the older generations who tried to recreate life as they knew it back home and the younger generations who became more and more American as time went on. There are many pictures in this program, from Chaplin's great short The Immigrant to Louis Malle's wonderful and little-known documentary And the Pursuit of Happiness. There is also King Vidor's An American Romance, a flawed but very touching epic in beautiful Technicolor (it was butchered by MGM but it has some extraordinary scenes); Joan Micklin Silver's Hester Street, a lovely black and white picture about the Jewish neighborhoods on the Lower East Side in the early 1900s with Carol Kane and the late Steven Keats; Black Legion with Humphrey Bogart, a potent Warner Brothers picture about racial prejudice; and Elia Kazan's magnificent handmade epic, America, America.

  • ...And the Pursuit of Happiness

    ...And the Pursuit of Happiness

    June 2012: THE IMMIGRANT EXPERIENCE (Wednesdays in June)

  • An American Romance

    An American Romance

    June 2012: THE IMMIGRANT EXPERIENCE (Wednesdays in June)

    May 2013: LATE KING VIDOR (May 2, 8 p.m.)
    An American Romance is a hymn to industrial innovation and power, the kind of film that no one would think of making today—yet, unlike other pictures of the period, it's more than just propaganda (although it's that, too) because Vidor was really invested in the dynamism of American manufacturing. The film is severely compromised—MGM altered it after the sound had been mixed, so the cuts are made around the music cues. All the same, it's quite visually stunning, and the scenes inside the hero's factory, of cars and then planes being assembled and coming off the assembly lines, are remarkable—sleek, gleaming, the great dream of industrial America.

  • Hester Street

    Hester Street

    June 2012: THE IMMIGRANT EXPERIENCE (Wednesdays in June)

  • Black Legion

    Black Legion

    ★★★★

    June 2012: THE IMMIGRANT EXPERIENCE (Wednesdays in June)

  • America America

    America America

    ★★★

    June 2012: THE IMMIGRANT EXPERIENCE (Wednesdays in June)

    September 2017: DIRECTED BY ELIA KAZAN (September 7, 6 a.m.-8 p.m.)

    February 2018: 31 DAYS OF OSCAR®

  • The Spiral Staircase

    The Spiral Staircase

    June 2012: DOROTHY MCGUIRE (June 14)

  • The Man I Love

    The Man I Love

    ★★★½

    June 2012: IDA LUPINO (June 21)

  • I Shot Jesse James

    I Shot Jesse James

    ★★★½

    July 2012: SAM FULLER (July 13)
    2012 is the centenary of one of American cinema's most dynamic and inventive artists. In the old reference books, he was known as Samuel Fuller, but now everyone calls him Sam, which is just—one syllable rather than three seems fitting for the man who made pictures like Pickup on South Street and The Big Red One, which are blunt, no-nonsense, and as graphically powerful as the tabloid newspaper writing Fuller practiced as a young man and celebrated in his early and very personal picture Park Row. That movie, made for very little money on one large-scale 19th century New York set, has always amazed me, with its endless dynamism, its immersion in the romantic lore of the earliest days of crusading journalism, its celebration of the materials and tools and activities of the trade (writing, sorting of type, printing), and its powerful link between motion and emotion. I'm pleased that it's being shown in TCM's birthday tribute to Fuller, which also includes his remarkable debut, I Shot Jesse James, and two wild films from the early '60s, Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss. For those who have never seen a Fuller movie, expect nothing…

  • Park Row

    Park Row

    ★★★★

    July 2012: SAM FULLER (July 13)

  • Shock Corridor

    Shock Corridor

    ★★★★½

    July 2012: SAM FULLER (July 13)

    Read Review
  • The Naked Kiss

    The Naked Kiss

    ★★★★½

    July 2012: SAM FULLER (July 13)

  • Island in the Sky

    Island in the Sky

    July 2012
    This is a very special movie, made by William Wellman with John Wayne as a kind of follow-up to The High and the Mighty, which was a massive hit. It's about a civilian pilot (Wayne) and his crew flying a Corsair for Army Air Transport during the war. They lose their bearings and crash-land in an extremely remote and desolate patch of land near Labrador, where the temperature drops to 70-below at night. This is studio filmmaking at its best, because while it's evident that the stranded men are not in sub-zero weather, you do get a strong sense of the mounting desperation and disorientation that comes with trying to stay alive in hellishly cold conditions—you feel it in the slow deterioration of hope and morale, in Wayne's stoicism slowly coming apart. But what really makes this picture so special is the camaraderie within the far-flung brotherhood of airmen. The word goes out that Wayne and his crew are down and his fellow pilots in Presque Isle, Maine (Walter Abel, James Arness, Lloyd Nolan) don't even think twice—they drop whatever they're doing and fly as far as they can, over and over again, before they start running out…

  • Umberto D.

    Umberto D.

    ★★★★½

    July 2012
    Just a brief word about Vittorio de Sica's masterpiece Umberto D, which is also showing this month. The simple eloquence of this picture—about a retired professor (Carlo Battisti) with nothing left in this world but his dog Flag—is some kind of miracle. As Orson Welles said of De Sica's Shoeshine, "the camera disappeared, the screen disappeared, it was just life..." (July 1, 2:00 a.m. ET)

    TCM SPOTLIGHT: THE GOLDEN YEARS (Tuesdays in December, 8 p.m.)

  • Broken Blossoms

    Broken Blossoms

    ★★★

    August 2012: LILLIAN GISH (August 15)
    The further away in time we move from silent cinema and the less familiar younger generations are with the faces of its actors and the texture and vocabulary of its images, the more precious it seems. At this point, no matter how well you know the work, watching or re-watching a silent film might give you the feeling that you've found your way back to a glorious, vanished civilization. If there is one actor who embodies the beauty and artistry of silent cinema at its peak, it's Lillian Gish. Her exquisite face and delicate physique seem to have materialized from a late 19th-century painting, but she also had an extremely refined understanding of her effect onscreen, her movements, the way her presence registered at varying distances from the camera—in other words, cinema. Gish began her career on the stage. She and her sister Dorothy didn't study acting—it was their job, their living, and they learned their craft as they went along. They were introduced to D.W. Griffith by Mary Pickford and in 1912 Gish appeared in An Unseen Enemy, the first of scores of films she made with Griffith up through the French revolutionary…

  • Orphans of the Storm

    Orphans of the Storm

    August 2012: LILLIAN GISH (August 15)

  • La Bohème

    La Bohème

    August 2012: LILLIAN GISH (August 15)

  • The Scarlet Letter

    The Scarlet Letter

    August 2012: LILLIAN GISH (August 15)

  • Portrait of Jennie

    Portrait of Jennie

    August 2012: LILLIAN GISH (August 15)

    February 2012: 31 DAYS OF OSCAR (David O. Selznick, February 14, 4:30 a.m.)

    August 2014: JOSEPH COTTEN (August 29, 6 a.m.)
    A favorite of Luis Buñuel's, Jennie is the story of a starving New York artist in the '30s who finds his muse in the form of a little girl (played by Selznick's wife, Jennifer Jones) who comes from out of the past. It's a beautifully made film, image by image (directed by William Dieterle and shot, exquisitely, by Joseph August, who passed away right after the shoot), and an unusually haunting one as well, and I can't imagine anyone else but this very special actor as the sad, contemplative painter.

  • The Wind

    The Wind

    August 2012: LILLIAN GISH (August 15)

    September 2021: NATIONAL SILENT MOVIE DAY (Sept. 29)