New TCM series will look at problematic classics

Last Updated on August 5, 2021

TCM, The Searchers, Gone with the Wind

Society is constantly evolving, and thus, so is our entertainment. What was once deem acceptable decades ago is no longer so, and some of our most celebrated classic films often contain stereotypes and outdated depictions that wouldn't fly today. That doesn't mean that these films should be locked away forever, but knowing a little context behind the culture in which they were created certainly wouldn't hurt.

Turner Classic Movies will be launching a new series tonight, Reframed: Classic Films in the Rearview Mirror, which looks to take aim at problematic classics such as Gone with the Wind, The Searchers, Breakfast at Tiffany's, My Fair Lady, Gunga Din, Stagecoach, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Psycho, and more.  "All of the films in this series are legendary classics, but when we watch them today, we’re seeing them in a different cultural context," reads TCM's description. "We often see problems now that we might not have seen when they were made, whether it’s about race, gender, or LGBT issues. TCM’s five hosts will take turns doing roundtable introductions of each of the films where they will discuss these 20th century films with a 21st century perspective. The goal is never to censor, but simply provide rich historical context to each classic."

TCM host and University of Chicago professor Jacqueline Stewart will be participating in these conversations, along with Ben Mankiewicz, Dave Karger, Alicia Malone, and Eddie Muller. "We know millions of people love these films," Stewart said. "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 added that the goal of Reframed isn't to dismiss or cancel these classic films, as she believes that you can't just remove them from our culture.

I think there’s something to be learned from any work of art. They’re all historical artifacts that tell us a lot about the industry in which they were made, the cultures that they were speaking to.

When Gone with the Wind was temporarily removed from HBO Max last year, Jacqueline Stewart hosted one of two videos that discussed the historical context of the film when it returned, and that led to the creation of this series. "I continue to feel a sense of urgency around these topics," Stewart said. "We’re showing films that really shaped the ways that people continue to think about race and gender and sexuality and ability. It was really important for the group to come together to think about how we can work with each other and work with our fans to deepen the conversations about these films." Reframed will launch tonight with Gone with the Wind, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Rope, and The Four Brothers.

Source: The LA Times, Deadline

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Based in Canada, Kevin Fraser has been a news editor with JoBlo since 2015. When not writing for the site, you can find him indulging in his passion for baking and adding to his increasingly large collection of movies that he can never find the time to watch.