Problematic pile ons have become such a popular pastime that Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is joining the fray by highlighting offensive content in its own movies.
As The Wrap reported on Wednesday, TCM “aims to shed modern light on the history and shortcomings of 14 different classic Hollywood films” in vignettes airing on Thursday nights in March that “re-introduce these problematic films.”
The project is called “Reframed: Classic Films In The Rearview Mirror” and each film is sandwiched between a prologue and epilogue of TCM hosts pontificating on how it doesn’t conform to today’s super woke standards. The hosts include Jacqueline Stewart who filmed HBO Max’s new introduction to “Gone With the Wind” and Ben Mankiewicz who is affiliated with far-left media outlet The Young Turks.
It’s not just obvious offensive racial portrayals like in “Gone With the Wind” or the use of blackface in “The Jazz Singer” that are discussed. They also make leaps by deconstructing gender roles, sexism and feminism through today’s liberal lens.
As The Wrap notes:
Some films on the list you may not have thought about as problematic. Katharine Hepburn’s “Woman of the Year” is an early example of a strong feminist character — but one who gives up her career to become a housewife struggling to make toast for her husband. “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” was seen as progressive in 1967 but raises eyebrows for Sidney Poitier’s character today. And there’s 1954’s “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” which [TCM host Alicia] Malone called a “delightful musical but it involves a lot of kidnapping of women.”
Surprise, surprise – we are also called to grapple with trans issues:
And Malone also pushed to include Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” in the lineup, which has recently been reassessed for how it portrays a cross-dressing character as different, monstrous, evil and suffering from a mental illness. “What does it mean if you have a character who is dressing up in a film and is the scary monster of the movie? How does that make audiences then think about transgender people when they meet them in real life? What does it say about womanhood in general?” Malone said. “That’s one I’ve started to think about differently in the past couple of years. It doesn’t mean I don’t still love it for all of the reasons why it should be enjoyed, but it’s just given me another layer on top of it.”
With cancel culture leading to books being banned, I suppose we should be grateful that these films aren’t simply being memory holed. For now, the price of classic movies being left uncensored is to sit through a lecture. But, with the speed in which even recent norms are being denounced as problematic, watching 5 minutes of woke virtue signaling before every movie doesn’t seem too far off. Somehow that doesn’t seem like a good thing for the future of cinema.
Here is the full “Reframed” movie schedule:
March 4: “Gone With the Wind” (1939), “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” (1954), “Rope” (1948), “The Four Feathers’ (1939)
March 11: “Woman of the Year” (1942), “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” (1967), “Gunga Din” (1939), “Sinbad, the Sailor” (1947), “The Jazz Singer” (1927)
March 18: “The Searchers” (1956), “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1961), “Swing Time” (1936), “Stagecoach” (1939), “Tarzan, the Ape Man” (1959)
March 25: “My Fair Lady” (1964), “The Children’s Hour” (1961), “Psycho” (1960), “Dragon Seed” (1944)