In the midst of "cancel culture," TCM will shine a spotlight on several "problematic" movies from the past for the new limited series Reframed Classics. The series will present wide-ranging discussions about 18 culturally significant movies from the 1920s through the 1950s. Debuting on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET, the show launches with a look at the controversial romance drama Gone with the Wind. You can watch a trailer for the series below.
"We know millions of people love these films," said TCM host Jacqueline Stewart, clarifying that the goal is not to take these movies away. "We're not saying 'This is how you should feel about "Psycho"' or 'This is how you should feel about Gone with the Wind. 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."
Stewart, the network's first Black host, goes on to add: "I grew up in a family of people who loved classic films. Now, how can you love these films if you know that there's going to be a maid or mammy that shows up? Well, I grew up around people who could still love the movie. You appreciate some parts of it. You critique other parts of it. That's something that one can do and it actually can enrich your experience of the film."
Joining Stewart for these discussions will be fellow TCM hosts Ben Mankiewicz, Dave Karger, Alicia Malone, and Eddie Muller. Examining the "classics of the classics," the series will also delve into some of the more controversial aspects of a variety of well-known titles like Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Gunga Din, The Searchers, Psycho, My Fair Lady, Stagecoach, Woman of the Year, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Swing Time, and The Children's Hour.
For example, airing on the March 25 episode, a look at Psycho will delve into certain elements of the Alfred Hitchcock classic that have since been criticized in more recent years. The hosts will discuss transgender identity in the movie and "the implications of equating gender fluidity and dressing in women's clothes with mental illness and violence," as well as sparking a "bigger conversation about sexuality in Alfred Hitchcock films."
On the same episode, the hosts will also speak about some of the perceived issues with My Fair Lady. Specifically, they'll discuss why the movie adaptation has a "less feminist ending" than the original stage play and "Henry Higgins' physical and psychological abuse of Eliza Dolittle. Not feeding her and stuffing marbles in her mouth are played for cute laughs in the film. Is it a commentary on misogyny or just plain misogyny?"
Last year, Gone with the Wind had also generated some controversy when it was briefly removed from HBO Max. The classic movie was later restored to the streamer along with a disclaimer warning viewers about its "racist depictions." Over on Disney+, several animated classics like Dumbo and Lady and the Tramp have also been slapped with similar disclaimers, while certain movies like Song of the South have been made entirely unavailable.
Reframed Classics will run every Thursday night through March 25, kicking off with the first episode on March 4. This news comes to us from the New York Post.