Sunday, September 27, 2009
If you’re a movie buff, you’ll love that Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is starting a new film series in October featuring thrillers! What, exactly, is a thriller? It’s any movie that has you on the edge of your seat. It’s filled with danger, anxiety, paranoia, and more! This is just one of the things I learned on TCM’s special: A Night at the Movies: The Suspenseful World of Thrillers. The first airing of this special will kick off their month-long festival of classic thrillers. I got to see the opening special before its first airing this Friday, October 2 at 8 PM ET, and it was fascinating!
A Night at the Movies: The Suspenseful World of Thrillers starts out by explaining what a thriller is. How does it differ from a mystery or a horror film? Many well-known actors, authors and directors are interviewed about the origin and evolution of the thriller, such as Kenneth Branagh, Mel Brooks, Ken Follett, and Diablo Cody. Throughout the special, scenes are shown from classic thrillers, and those who are interviewed share their favorites, as well as their insights on what makes a really compelling thriller.
Alfred Hitchcock and his movies are, of course, prominently featured in the special, along with many other thrillers made throughout the 20th century. I learned about the role of the protagonist, the villain, and the femme fatale in a thriller. I found out that thrillers often were a reflection of the times. For instance, thrillers in the sixties—when people were dealing with the Cold War—became more political. During the seventies, Nazi villains were often seen in thrillers. In the eighties and nineties, thrillers got more violent. (Remember Fatal Attraction and Basic Instinct?) And I learned that a good thriller must be unpredictable and an intellectual challenge to the viewer.
The following is a complete schedule of TCM’s salute to thrillers every Friday night in October (all times shown are Eastern):
Friday, Oct. 2 – Thrillers and Hitchcock
8 pm A Night at the Movies: The Suspenseful World of Thrillers (2009) – premiere
9 pm Rear Window (1954), starring James Stewart and Grace Kelly
11 pm A Night at the Movies: The Suspenseful World of Thrillers (2009) – encore
Midnight Shadow of a Doubt (1943), starring Joseph Cotten and Teresa Wright
Friday, Oct. 9 – Political Thrillers
8 pm The Manchurian Candidate (1962), starring Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Angela Lansbury and Janet Leigh
10:15 pm The Parallax View (1974), starring Warren Beatty and Hume Cronyn
Midnight The Boys from Brazil (1978), starring Laurence Olivier and Gregory Peck
Friday, Oct. 16 – Crime Thrillers
8 pm The Narrow Margin (1952), starring Charles McGraw and Marie Windsor
9:30 pm A Night at the Movies: The Suspenseful World of Thrillers (2009) – encore
10:30 pm Lured (1947), starring George Sanders, Lucille Ball and Charles Coburn
12:30 am The Lodger (1944), starring Merle Oberon and George Sanders
Friday, Oct. 23 – Gothic Thrillers
8 pm The Night of the Hunter (1955), starring Robert Mitchum, Lillian Gish and Shelley Winters
10 pm Dragonwyck (1946), starring Gene Tierney, Walter Huston and Vincent Price
Midnight Rebecca (1940), starring Joan Fontaine, Laurence Olivier and Judith Anderson
Friday, Oct. 30 – Psychological Thrillers
8 pm Gaslight (1944), starring Charles Boyer, Ingrid Bergman, Joseph Cotten and Angela Lansbury
10 pm Night Must Fall (1937), starring Robert Montgomery, Rosalind Russell and Dame May Whitty
Midnight Psycho (1960), starring Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles and Martin Balsam
So, be sure to tune in to TCM every Friday night in October, and in the meantime, enjoy this original trailer for the movie, Rear Window. What could be more classic than Jimmy Stewart (my personal favorite) and Grace Kelly in a Hitchcock film? I love it!