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TCM Is 'Reframing' These 18 'Troubling' Classic Films

Network to reexamine films like 'Psycho,' 'Gunga Din' with new historical, cultural context
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 5, 2021 8:33 AM CST

(Newser) – As cries of "cancel culture" swirl around changes within the Dr. Seuss and Potato Head spheres, Turner Classic Movies is now reexamining a portfolio of timeless films that it says contain "troubling and problematic" aspects. The Los Angeles Times reports that throughout March, the network will screen 18 favorite flicks released from the '20s through the '60s as part of its Reframed: Classic Films in the Rearview Mirror series. Instead of editing out scenes that are now acknowledged to be racist, sexist, or homophobic, however, TCM hosts will talk on air about those issues with the films before showing them. "The goal is never to censor, but simply provide rich historical context to each classic," the network says in a statement. The films will be aired each Thursday this month beginning at 8pm ET. Already shown this week: Gone With the Wind, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Rope, and The Four Feathers.

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The hosts (who Deadline notes had a hand in picking the featured films) will take part in discussions before the films, offering historical and cultural context, as well as warnings on possibly upsetting scenes. Other "reframed" movies coming this month include Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Gunga Din, The Jazz Singer, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Psycho, and My Fair Lady (see the complete list and schedule here). "Nobody's canceling these movies," TCM host Ben Mankiewicz tells the Hollywood Reporter. "Our job is not to get up and say, 'Here's a movie that you should feel guilty about for liking.' But to pretend that the racism in it is not painful and acute? No. I do not want to shy away from that." TCM host Jacqueline Stewart, the channel's first African American host, agrees, telling the AP, "We're just trying to model ways of having longer and deeper conversations and not just cutting it off to 'I love this movie. I hate this movie.' There's so much space in between." (TCM's approach to sparking conversation is similar to what Disney has done with the Muppets.)

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