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True Crime - Spotlight
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True Crime - Thursdays in May

True crime really does pay - at least in the movies, where the cat-and-mouse game between cops and crooks regularly provides audiences with a glimpse into life on the other side of the yellow crime-scene tape. These films offer the vicarious thrill of watching "real-life" criminals at work and on the run, reflecting the obsession of Hollywood (and America) with unlawful, often violent deeds.

The TCM Spotlight festival, grouped by topics, amounts to a thorough examination of all genres of crime movies. Murders include two important TCM premieres. The Boston Strangler (1968) stars Tony Curtis in a chilling performance as Frank DeSalvo, the suspected real-life strangler. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997) is Clint Eastwood's atmospheric screen version of John Berendt's non-fiction book about a killing in an eccentric neighborhood of Savannah, Ga.

Corrupt Cities are exposed in the violent, realistic The Phenix City Story (1955), in which reformers try to clean up the Alabama town known as "the wickedest city in the United States"; and the noir-flavored The Case Against Brookyn (1958), about a real-life scandal involving several NYPD police officers in Brooklyn. Ladies Night looks at such famous female criminals as convicted murderess Barbara Graham, played by Susan Hayward in her Oscar®-winning role in I Want to Live! (1958) and Bertha Thompson (Barbara Hershey), a Depression-era labor organizer who turns to a life of crime in the early Martin Scorsese work Boxcar Bertha (1972).

Presumed Innocent? includes two gritty and engrossing movies of the 1950s; Alfred Hitchcock's The Wrong Man (1956) and Otto Preminger's Anatomy of a Murder (1959). Dillinger (1945) and Al Capone (1959) are among famous Gangsters given cinematic treatment, while Classic Crime Sprees features Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek in Badlands (1973) and Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway in Bonnie and Clyde (1967). Caught up in Hostage Situations are Al Pacino in Dog Day Afternoon (1975) and Jack Kelly in The Night Holds Terror (1955).

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