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  1. Top News Stories

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    • The Wages of Fear on DVD

    • With tolerance of political dissent at an all time low, Criterion has picked a fine time to resurrect and spruce up its early disc of Henri-Georges Clouzot's The Wages of Fear (spine number 36). This uncompromising, bleak thriller received a release in the United States, but only after twenty minutes or so of acidic content were excised. Many a foreign picture was condemned as propaganda in the 1950s and refused import, just as the exportation of a few American films (like the juvenile delinquency pictur Blackboard Jungle was 'discouraged' so as to suppress negative images of the U.S. abroad.

      The Wages of Fear is from a book by a French expatriate who witnessed conditions in South American mining regions. One doesn't have to be Ché Guevara on a motorcycle to see that most of what it reports is true. The tough, exciting film version is a meat grinder of suspense that doesn't flinch from its philosophy of universal bleakness - there are no heroes among these desperate men risking death for a grubstake paycheck.

      Synopsis: Dozens of unemployed foreigners languish in a tiny oil town in an unnamed South American country. Ex-criminal Monsieur Jo (Charles Vanel) arrives as broke as the others, expecting help from his old pal and fellow Frenchman Mario (Yves Montand). They put the touch on Mario's roommate Luigi (Folco Lulli), while Mario mistreats Linda (Véra Clouzot), the maid and chattel of the local saloon keeper. Then opportunity knocks. The all-powerful Southern Oil Company needs 200 gallons of nitroglycerine transported over near-impassable roads up to where a drilling fire has killed dozens and threatened a slowdown in oil production. SOC foreman BIll O'Brien (William Tubbs) decides to hire bums from the village - they have no union and nobody will miss them should they get blown to bits. O’Brien's experts think that fate is almost a certainty.

      Writer Georges Arnaud's 1953 view of human nature openly attacked the notion that business and industry are run according to the rules of fair play and goodwill. The Wages of Fear's Southern Oil Company owns everything in an impoverished corner of a Latin nation and wastes no time or money on the squalid local conditions. An oil-drenched town festers outside the guarded SOC fence, harboring losers and ex-criminals stuck there as prisoners of the local economy: The only way in or out is by plane, and raising the airfare is impossible without an SOC job. The barrio is a microcosm of society run on the business model: Those lucky to have meager sources of income watch the others starve. Ex- Parisian bus driver Mario takes advantage of his roommate Luigi. Tough guy Jo has difficulty muscling in on local territory -- there is just no room for another bum in town, no matter how aggressive he may be.

      The Wages of Fear shows the production-minded American oilmen playing a particularly ugly game of life and death. They react to a deadly oil fire by roughly discarding their bandaged and maimed workers, and offering the unemployed foreigners the suicidal explosives transport job as if it were a favor. Mario, Jo and the rest accept SOC's offer as a fatalistic challenge. The men compete and cheat one another to be picked to drive two trucks up to the oil camp, and one even commits murder to secure a slot. Such things are trifles in a place where life is so cheap.

      Ethics and virtue have no value in this cruel, isolated society. Charles Vanel's tough guy Jo is a case in brutality, while the most likeable character Mario is almost sadistic in his treatment of Linda, the maid who pledges a dog-like devotion to him. Folco Lulli and Peter Van Eyck are the other driving team, a softhearted Italian with health problems and a proud German with a suspect background.

      This unstable male unit has to work as a team, reminding us of other stories about male groups under pressure. Robert Aldrich's The Flight of the Phoenix has some similarities, especially the early death of a sentimental young Italian who doesn't make the cut for the harrowing truck run. But Clouzot's hard-bitten attitude toward human nature steers The Wages of Fear in the direction of Luis Buñnuel and Sam Peckinpah: Nobody exists in a state of grace. SOC management is ruthless because the company expects maximum profits and considers all other values secondary. The trapped vagrants quickly lose respect for human dignity. Nobody is innocent, not even the locals or their children who play naked in the rancid puddles, like pigs.

      The truck drive is one of the most famous extended suspense sequences in film history. It's not a race, as the trucks drive extremely slowly to avoid jarring their delicate cargo. Fate puts daunting obstacles in their path. A giant boulder must be removed with explosives. A hairpin turn next to a cliff can only be navigated by backing the trucks out on a crumbling wooden platform. The men hold up well considering the constant threat that they might be blown to smithereens at any moment; all except for Jo, the tough guy. The pressure reveals his macho posturing as a bluff, and even Mario's bullying can't keep him from whimpering in fear. The uphill haul proves to be a horrible ordeal.

      The standard pattern for this kind of film is that any hardship can be overcome and that group loyalty and sacrifice can redeem the worst of men. The difference in The Wages of Fear is that Arnaud and Clouzot refuse to play that game. Camaraderie is worse than an illusion, it's a joke. The film insists that man's best efforts come to less than nothing when harnessed for manipulation by unfeeling bosses and owners. Anyone who ever felt exploited by an employer will feel a personal stake in the story, which makes its extreme case without uttering a single political speech. Clouzot purposely dashes audience expectations by offering a happy ending and then snatching it away. The director wants his adventure film to have the most downbeat finale imaginable.

      Criterion's DVD of The Wages of Fear replaces a good early disc from 1998 with a far better looking restoration, with new extras that concentrate on the career of director Henri-Georges Clouzot. A recent French documentary uses new interviews to recount the hard times when Clouzot was accused of collaboration and banned from working for two years. Clouzot's brother and writing partner, his second wife, and actors like Brigitte Bardot testify to his character and talent. Great film clips are offered from other Clouzot pictures including an interesting selection in which Peter Ustinov is seen acting in French. But viewers who have not seen the masterpiece Les Diaboliques should be warned that a film clip spoils its key scene.

      One extra isolates some of the scenes dropped by the American distributor DCA (which cleaned up with imports like Rodan and The Crawing Eye). Although much more material was trimmed simply to knock down the film's running time, the snippets seen here impute political motivations. The SOC foreman O'Brien callously announces his decision to put men in harm's way for expediency's sake, and various other clips demonstrate how SOC's irresponsible job offer is in itself sufficient to have deadly consequences among the unemployed rabble.

      Actually, the charge that the film was bowdlerized to remove anti-American content is difficult to make stick, as the short version did not (and couldn't) remove the basic situation of the oil company exploiting their captive work force. The shorter cut doesn't make the behavior of the drivers seem any more noble, either. They are actively complicit in their own degradation.

      References in the insert booklet essays establish that star Montand and his companion, star Simone Signoret were sympathetic to Communist causes, but The Wages of Fear is too pessimistic about human nature to endorse anything so naïve as Communism. The irony is that no other economic or political system would allow a dissenting film like The Wages of Fear to be produced, let alone exhibited. American film distribution in the 1950s found a compromise...it allowed some of the film to be shown.

      The excised clips imply that one dialogue exchange between Bimba and Luigi contains hints of homosexuality. Perhaps Bimba is overtly gay in the book or something, for the fact that he shaves regularly and says he hates women isn't exactly proof for that conclusion. It's another cliché, but I'm more inclined to think that Bimba may be dodging an earlier wartime role as a German soldier.

      The excisions also dropped Jo's final bleak assessment of human dreams, his vision of the afterlife: "Nothing! Nothing!" There's no need to credit the owners of DCA with the ability to weed out content because it too closely resembled Sartre existentialism...those trims were probably just made for time.

      Interviews new and archival are included with assistant director Michel Romanoff, author Marc Godin, and star Yves Montand. The insert booklet has a perceptive essay by author Dennis Lehane, and excerpts from a 2002 book. The producers for Criterion are Debra McClutchy and Alexandre Mabilon.

      For more information about The Wages of Fear, visit Criterion Collection. To order The Wages of Fear, go to TCM Shopping.

      by Glenn Erickson

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  1. New Books

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    • Elizabeth and Michael

    • By Donald Bogle

      One of the country's leading authorities on popular entertainment presents an eye-opening and unique biography of two larger-than-life legends--Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Jackson--and their unlikely yet enduring friendship.

      From the moment Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Jackson met, they were hooked on each other. He peered into her violet eyes and was transfixed; she, in turn, was dazzled by his talent, intrigued by his sweet-tempered childlike personality, and moved by the stories she had already heard about his troubled early life. Soon a deep friendship blossomed, unexpectedly unlike anything either had ever experienced. Through thick and thin, through their various emotional upheavals, through the peaks and valleys of their careers, through their personal traumas and heartaches, through the unending health issues and extreme physical pain that each experienced, and through the glare of the often merciless public spotlight, their bond held them together, and their love for each other endured.


      Donald Bogle skillfully recreates the moving narrative of Taylor and Jackson's experiences together and their intense emotional connection, without shying away from the controversies that swirled around them. Through interviews with friends and acquaintances of the two stars, as well as anonymous but credible sources, Elizabeth and Michael emerges as a tender, intimate look at this famous "odd couple" and a treasure to their millions of fans.

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    • Robert Wagner's I LOVED HER IN THE MOVIES: Memories of Hollywood's Legendary Actresses

    • By Robert Wagner and Scott Eyman

      In a career that has spanned over sixty years, Robert Wagner has witnessed the twilight of the Golden Age of Hollywood and the rise of television, becoming a beloved star in both film and TV. During this time, he became acquainted, both professionally and socially, with many of the greatest female screen personalities of all time. I LOVED HER IN THE MOVIES: Memories of Hollywood's Legendary Actresses (On-sale: 11/15/16) by Robert Wagner, with co-author Scott Eyman, provides an intimate and revealing account of the charisma of these women on film, why they became stars, and how their specific emotional and dramatic chemistries affected the choices they made both as actresses and as women.

      I LOVED HER IN THE MOVIES offers a privileged look behind the scenes at some of the most well-known women in show business. Among Wagner's subjects are Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Marilyn Monroe, Gloria Swanson, Norma Shearer, Loretta Young, Joan Blondell, Irene Dunne, Rosalind Russell, Dorothy Lamour, Debra Paget, Jean Peters, Linda Darnell, Betty Hutton, Raquel Welch, Glenn Close, and the two actresses whom he ultimately married, Natalie Wood and Jill St. John. In addition to offering perceptive commentary on these women, Wagner examines topics like the strange alchemy of the camera--how it can transform the attractive into the stunning, and vice-versa--and how the introduction of color brought a new erotic charge to movies--one that enabled these actresses to become aggressively sexual beings in a way that that black and white films had only hinted at.


      Robert Wagner is the star of such films as A Kiss Before Dying, The Longest Day, The Pink Panther, and most recently, the Austin Powers franchise. On television, he starred in It Takes a Thief (with Fred Astaire), Switch (with Eddie Albert and Sharon Gless), and Hart to Hart (with Stefanie Powers). He has recently appeared on Two and a Half Men and NCIS. He is married to actress Jill St. John.

      Scott Eyman is the author of eleven books about the movies, including Lion of Hollywood: The Life of Louis B. Mayer (which the Wall Street Journal called one of the five best books ever written about Hollywood), Empire of Dreams: The Epic Life of Cecil B. DeMille, and more recently, John Wayne: The Life and Legend.

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    • King of Jazz: Paul Whiteman's Technicolor Revue

    • King of Jazz: Paul Whiteman's Technicolor Revue tells the story of the making, release, and restoration of Universal's 1930 Technicolor extravaganza King of Jazz. Authors James Layton and David Pierce have uncovered original artwork, studio production files, behind-the-scenes photographs, personal papers, unpublished interviews, and a host of other previously unseen documentation. The book offers a richly illustrated narrative with broader context on the film's diverse musical and theatrical influences. The story concludes with an in-depth look at the challenges Universal overcame in restoring the film in 2016. Additionally, the book's appendix provides a comprehensive guide to all of the film's performers, music, alternate versions, and deleted scenes.

      King of Jazz was one of the most ambitious films ever to emerge from Hollywood. Just as movie musicals were being invented in 1929, Universal Pictures brought together Paul Whiteman, leader of the country's top dance orchestra; John Murray Anderson, director of spectacular Broadway revues; a top ensemble of dancers and singers; early Technicolor; and a near unlimited budget. The film's highlights include a dazzling interpretation of George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," which Whiteman had introduced to the public in 1924; Walter Lantz's "A Fable in Jazz," the first cartoon in Technicolor; and Anderson's grand finale "The Melting Pot of Music," a visualization of popular music's many influences and styles. The film is not only a unique document of Anderson's theatrical vision and Whiteman's band at its peak, but also of several of America's leading performers of the late 1920s, including Bing Crosby in his first screen appearance, and the Russell Markert Dancers, who would soon become Radio City Music Hall's famous Rockettes.


      James Layton is Manager of the Museum of Modern Art's Celeste Bartos Film Preservation Center. Prior to this he worked at George Eastman House in Rochester, NY, where he curated two gallery exhibitions and the website Technicolor 100. Layton has also acted as Cataloguer and Workflow Coordinator at the East Anglian Film Archive in Norwich, UK, and is co-author of the Image Permanence Institute's informational poster Knowing and Protecting Motion Picture Film (2009).

      David Pierce is an independent film historian and archivist. He was formerly the Head of Preservation and Curator of the National Film and Television Archive at the British Film Institute. His articles have appeared in numerous journals, and his report on the survival of American silent feature films was published by the Library of Congress in 2013. He founded the Media History Digital Library, providing free online access to millions of pages of motion picture magazines and books.

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    • THE ESSENTIALS: 52 Must-See Movies and Why They Matter

    • By Jeremy Arnold
      Forward by Robert Osborne

      Since its inception on Turner Classic Movies in 2001, The Essentials has become the ultimate for movie lovers to expand their knowledge of must-see cinema and discover or revisit landmark films that have had a lasting impact on audiences everywhere.

      Based on the hit series, THE ESSENTIALS by Jeremy Arnold showcases 52 must-see movies from the silent era to modern times. Readers can enjoy one film per week, like on the show, for a year of great viewing, or indulge in a movie-watching binge-fest. Each film is profiled with entertaining discourse on why it's an Essential, and running commentary is provided by TCM's Robert Osborne and Essentials guest hosts past and present: Sally Field, Drew Barrymore, Alec Baldwin, Rose McGowan, Carrie Fisher, Molly Haskell, Peter Bogdanovich, Sydney Pollack, and Rob Reiner.

      Featuring full-color and black-and-white photography of the greatest stars in movie history throughout, THE ESSENTIALS is the ultimate curated guide to 52 films that define the meaning of the word "classic."


      Jeremy Arnold, a writer and film historian, is the author of Lawrence of Arabia: The 50th Anniversary, a coffee-table book companion to that film's Blu-ray release. In addition to his work for numerous film trade publications, he has written over five hundred programming articles for the Turner Classic Movies website and contributed audio commentaries and historical essays to the DVD and Blu-ray releases of classic films.

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  1. DVD Reviews

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    • Dick Dinman Salutes Undervalued Star Van Johnson!

    • DICK DINMAN SALUTES UNDERVALUED STAR VAN JOHNSON: Kino Lorber's KL Studio Classics division has just released on Blu-ray a sparkling brand new 4K restoration of the riveting suspense thriller 23 PACES TO BAKER STREET and producer/host Dick Dinman welcomes noted author and classic film aficionado John McElwee to the show as both pay tribute to the versatile and undervalued 23 PACES TO BAKER STREET star Van Johnson.

      PLUS: "Dick's Picks" salutes KL Studio Classics Blu-ray releases of I WAKE UP SCREAMING, Elia Kazan's BOOMERANG, THE HOUSE ON 92nd STREET, THE LODGER, Preston Sturges' BEAUTIFUL BLONDE FROM BASHFUL BEND, Fritz Lang's WESTERN UNION, Henry King's DAVID & BATHSHEBA and PRINCE OF FOXES, NO HIGHWAY IN THE SKY, THE SICILIAN CLAN and BOY ON A DOLPHIN (stunning new 4K restoration!).

      EXTRA!
      DICK DINMAN SALUTES COHEN'S CHABROL COLLECTION!


      The award-winning DICK DINMAN'S DVD CLASSICS CORNER ON THE AIR is the only show devoted to Golden Age Movie Classics as they become available on DVD and Blu-ray. Your producer/host Dick Dinman includes a generous selection of classic scenes, classic film music and one-on-one interviews with stars, producers, and directors. To hear these as well as other DVD CLASSICS CORNER ON THE AIR shows please go to www.dvdclassicscorner.com or www.dvdclassicscorner.net.

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    • Dick Dinman & William Wellman Jr. Salute BATTLEGROUND!

    • DICK DINMAN & WILLIAM WELLMAN JR. SALUTE "BATTLEGROUND!": BATTLEGROUND remains producer/host Dick Dinman's all-time favorite WW2 film and distinguished actor, writer and producer William Wellman Jr. rejoins Dick as both salute William Wellman's Oscar-winning once in a lifetime epic military drama which has just been beautifully remastered on Blu-ray by the Warner Archive.

      The award-winning DICK DINMAN'S DVD CLASSICS CORNER ON THE AIR is the only show devoted to Golden Age Movie Classics as they become available on DVD and Blu-ray. Your producer/host Dick Dinman includes a generous selection of classic scenes, classic film music and one-on-one interviews with stars, producers, and directors. To hear these as well as other DVD CLASSICS CORNER ON THE AIR shows please go to www.dvdclassicscorner.com or www.dvdclassicscorner.net.

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    • Dick Dinman & Eddie Muller are ON DANGEROUS GROUND!

    • DICK DINMAN & EDDIE MULLER ARE "ON DANGEROUS GROUND": The Warner Archive has just released an astonishing looking (and sounding!) Blu-ray rendition of Nicholas Ray's dark yet hypnotically beautiful film noir ON DANGEROUS GROUND which features a steely yet sensitive performance from noir icon Robert Ryan that easily ranks up there with his finest efforts ever and producer/host Dick Dinman and his guest "Czar of Noir" Eddie Muller dissect the various qualities which make this film so captivatingly unique (including the plaintively emotional score by Bernard Herrmann which was one of his two favorites).

      PLUS: SHORT TAKES: Kino's Kl Classics' THE HOUSE ON 92nd STREET, DAISY KENYON and Cohen Film Collection's SUDDEN FEAR.

      COMING ATTRACTIONS: The Warner Archives' BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK and Twilight Time's KISS OF DEATH.

      The award-winning DICK DINMAN'S DVD CLASSICS CORNER ON THE AIR is the only show devoted to Golden Age Movie Classics as they become available on DVD and Blu-ray. Your producer/host Dick Dinman includes a generous selection of classic scenes, classic film music and one-on-one interviews with stars, producers, and directors. To hear these as well as other DVD CLASSICS CORNER ON THE AIR shows please go to www.dvdclassicscorner.com or www.dvdclassicscorner.net.

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    • Dick Dinman & Eddie Muller Explore THE ASPHALT JUNGLE!

    • DICK DINMAN & EDDIE MULLER EXPLORE "THE ASPHALT JUNGLE": Producer/host Dick Dinman welcomes back the "Czar of Noir" himself Eddie Muller as both celebrate the Criterion Collection's pristine release on Blu-ray of John Huston's THE ASPHALT JUNGLE which remains conceivably the greatest "heist/noir" masterwork ever committed to celluloid. (It's early in the year but its difficult to conceive that any home video outfit in the ensuing year will be able to top the astonishing "special features" included on this sensational disc.)

      PLUS: Show opener "Dick's Picks" salutes the Criterion Collection's recent Blu-ray releases of Robert Altman's McCABE & MRS. MILLER, Marlon Brando's ONE EYED JACKS and Howard Hawks' HIS GIRL FRIDAY.

      COMING SOON: DICK DINMAN & EDDIE MULLER ARE "ON DANGEROUS GROUND"!

      The award-winning DICK DINMAN'S DVD CLASSICS CORNER ON THE AIR is the only show devoted to Golden Age Movie Classics as they become available on DVD and Blu-ray. Your producer/host Dick Dinman includes a generous selection of classic scenes, classic film music and one-on-one interviews with stars, producers, and directors. To hear these as well as other DVD CLASSICS CORNER ON THE AIR shows please go to www.dvdclassicscorner.com or www.dvdclassicscorner.net.

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  1. Press Release

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    • Alec Baldwin to Host TCM's THE ESSENTIALS


    • Legendary Late Night Host David Letterman, Emmy and Golden Globe® Winner Tina Fey and Oscar-Winning Director William Friedkin Set to Join as Special Guests Throughout the Season.

      Premieres May 6 & Airs Saturdays at 8 p.m.



      Turner Classic Movies announced that Emmy® winner and Oscar® nominee Alec Baldwin will host The Essentials, TCM's popular franchise showcasing "must see" classic films. Joining Baldwin each week throughout the season will be one of three special guests: late-night television icon David Letterman, acclaimed actress, writer and comedian Tina Fey and legendary filmmaker William Friedkin. Together, Baldwin and his guests will introduce a hand-picked classic and offer color commentary on its cultural significance, its influence on other films, behind-the-scenes stories and their own personal reflections. The new season of The Essentials, which airs every Saturday night, premieres May 6 at 8 p.m. (ET).

      The Essentials will kick off with special guest David Letterman joining Baldwin to discuss a plethora of poplar classics including:
      • The Bad and the Beautiful (1952) - airing May 6
      • East of Eden (1955) - airing on May 13
      • No Time for Sergeants (1958) - airing on May 27
      • The Big Sleep (1946) - airing on June 16

      Tina Fey will make her guest appearance starting on June 24 to discuss her favorite classic films including:
      • Rear Window (1954) - airing June 24
      • The Lady Eve (1941) - airing on July 1
      • The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) - airing on July 8
      • Singin' in the Rain (1952) - airing on August 5

      Rounding out the entertaining new season, William Friedkin will join Baldwin to highlight another round of notable films such as:
      • The Quiet Man (1952) - airing on Aug. 12
      • The Manchurian Candidate (1962) - airing on Aug. 19
      • 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) - airing on Sept. 2
      • The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) - airing on Sept. 23

      Baldwin takes over The Essential's hosting duties following the death of his close friend and colleague, Robert Osborne, who hosted the franchise from 2006 to 2015. A longtime friend of TCM and supporter of classic films, Baldwin has appeared frequently on the network, including as co-host of The Essentials with Robert Osborne from 2009 to 2011. He demonstrated his skill as an interviewer in 2008, when he joined one of his idols, Gene Wilder, for an hour-long discussion at Wilder's home in the special Role Model: Gene Wilder. Baldwin turned the tables on Osborne in 2015 by interviewing the longtime TCM host for Private Screenings: Robert Osborne, a one-hour special that premiered as part of TCM's 20th Anniversary celebration. This past October, Baldwin was the on-air host for a month-long look at the world's greatest and most influential documentaries for TCM's Spotlight showcase.

      "I have some big shoes to fill hosting The Essentials, and I plan on doing Bob proud with this new season of The Essentials," said Baldwin. "Dave, Tina and Billy each bring a unique perspective to the movies in our lineup, and they have some fascinating, and even surprising, insights to share as we shine a spotlight on some of our favorite 'must-see' films from over a century of epic moviemaking."

      Additionally, select titles from The Essentials will also be available at 30,000 feet through Delta Studio, Delta Air Lines' industry-leading, free in-flight entertainment collection. Delta operates the world's largest in-flight entertainment-equipped fleet, offering up to 300 movies, 750 TV shows, 100 foreign film titles, 2,400 songs, 18 channels of live satellite TV on select aircraft and a selection of games on aircraft with seat-back entertainment systems.

      To view a promo and for more information including a complete schedule, bios, images and film information, please visit tcm.com/essentials.

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Sabrina (1954) DVD
$5.45
was $8.98
Some Like It Hot DVD
$11.21
was $14.98
The Randolph Scott Round-Up: Volume 2 DVD
$11.21
was $14.98
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  • Wednesday, March 20, 2011

  • Removed: 10:00pm Springfield Rifle
    12:00pm Casablanca
    Added: 1:00pm Virginia City
    12:15pm Casablanca
  •  
  • Wednesday, March 20, 2011

  • Removed: 10:00pm Springfield Rifle
    12:00pm Casablanca
    Added: 1:00pm Virginia City
    12:15pm Casablanca
  •  
  • Wednesday, March 20, 2011

  • Removed: 10:00pm Springfield Rifle
    12:00pm Casablanca
    Added: 1:00pm Virginia City
    12:15pm Casablanca