“… Mr. Elliot was rational, discreet, polished, but he was not open. There was never any burst of feeling, any warmth of indignation or delight, at the evil or good of others… . Mr. Elliot was to generally agreeable. Various as were the tempers of her father’s house, he pleased them all. He endured too well, stood too well wuth everybody.”
Wherein Editorial Manager Kristen Welch discusses Jane Austen and Social Media Specialist Marya E. Gates discusses David Bowie and why you should join us for Austen vs. Bowie this Saturday June 18th, starting at 8PM ET
Welcome back #AustenOnTCM! While Jane Austen herself did not write any sequels to her work (nor do I think she would want to) audiences and writers have continuously revisited/reimagined her work—making this hashtag return in keeping with pop culture’s fascination with her and her work. In fact, there is just so much to say about Austen and her legacy that revisiting the subject again proved to be something I was only too ready to do. Especially when you look at the programming this time around: we’ll be viewing and discussing the movie adaptations of both my favorite novel, Persuasion, and the novel that I have read the most, Pride and Prejudice.
First up on our schedule is the 1940 version of Pride and Prejudice, starring Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier as our Lizzie and Mr. Darcy. As the first major motion picture adaptation of one of her novels, the film is a great one to revisit now (given how many versions of P&P have been filmed in the last twenty years). Plus, I always love reconsidering Lizzie and Mr. Darcy in various media, as it is one of those books that I like to re-read every year. While not my favorite, there is something about it that is so easy to pick up and revisit—Austen herself described the novel as “rather too light and bright and sparkling,” but it is exactly this sparkling tone of the book that brings me back again and again—it always helps lighten up a rainy afternoon or a stressful time in my life. From that iconic first line “It is a truth universally acknowledged…” I’m hooked again and again.
Of course, the book and movie will also give me a chance to discuss my feelings toward Mr. Darcy with you. As I mentioned in my last Austen post, I have never really understood the modern obsession with Darcy. This is not to say that I don’t understand his appeal to Lizzie—they are, in fact, perfect together—but Darcy for me? No way, we wouldn’t get along at all! If I had to choose an Austen hero (or two), I would have to go with Mr. Tilney or Captain Wentworth. Which brings us to the second film of the night, Persuasion (’95). In that film, Ciaran Hinds plays the aforementioned captain—a man rejected by the heroine, Anne Eliot (Amanda Root) years before the story takes place.
The book is my personal favorite because it focuses on themes of regret and second chances. A much more introspective (and some say autobiographical) story, it was published posthumously along with Northanger Abbey. I’ve always related to Anne Eliot the most of Austen’s heroines, I would even say that she is a true Hufflepuff—hardworking and fiercely loyal. Watching Anne struggle to express herself and her longing when the man she loves (and regretfully declined marriage from at 19) returns into her life, this time courting a much younger woman, is heartbreaking. As Anne says in what is my favorite Austen quote: “All the privilege I claim for my own sex (it is not a very enviable one: you need not covet it), is that of loving longest, when existence or when hope is gone.” This sentence, so stunningly beautiful and tragic (if you prefer, tragically beautiful, to quote Wicked), only serves to make Anne and Wentworth’s reconciliation all the more sweeter.
I can’t wait to discuss both with you on Saturday night, and hope you’ll join me starting at 8pm ET at #AustenOnTCM!
And now for something completely different, to quote another British cultural icon: Monty Python. Saturday, you’ll not only get 18th-century British culture, but the films of David Bowie, and a live tweet by our own Marya E. Gates….
Thank you, Kristen! Part of the great joy of working for TCM is I get to indulge in my love of classic films, but also cult films as well! #TCMUnderground has long been a favorite part of TCM’s programming for me and getting to live tweet David Lynch shorts a few weeks back was one of the highlights of my life - personally and professionally.
So when I noticed our amazing TCM Underground programmer Millie De Chirico had scheduled a double night of David Bowie this month, I just *had* to live tweet it! We’ve lost a lot of icons this year, but none of these losses has hit me as hard as David Bowie, who left us to become a real star in the night sky on January 10th.
Bowie was more than just an amazing musical performer; his filmography is full of cult classics from The Man Who Fell To Earth (’76) to Labyrinth (’86) to Basquiat (’96) to The Prestige (’06). (Did you see what I did there?). For this week’s underground selection we’ll be showing one Bowie movie that I’ve seen many times and love and one Bowie movie that’s been on my must-watch list for far too long: The Hunger (’83) and Absolute Beginners (’86).
The Hunger was the late Tony Scott’s feature debut and it really is everything. Catherine Deneuve and David Bowie are sexy post-punk vampires - the band Bauhaus has a cameo! - who’s relationship is, well, dying. There’s one really hot/bittersweet shower scene that will probably have you in tears. Susan Sarandon gets thrown into the mix and things get super gay. It’s delightful. Unfortunately, the film’s ending is not what anyone had envisioned - studios imposed endings even in the 80s! - and it’s probably best to just image it ending a few minutes earlier than it actually does.
Directed by Julien Temple, Absolute Beginners is a rock musical based on the incredibly popular British novel of the same name by Colin MacInnes, which also stars Sade and Patsy Kensit. Although set in the 1950s, the film is apparently full of anachronisms that are totally 80s, which led to it being critically panned. Honestly, it sounds like it has a lot in common with Streets Of Fire (’84), another misunderstood 50s-meets-80s rock n’ roll fable that bombed on initial release, only to become a cult classic (and an absolute favorite of mine). If you haven’t seen (or maybe even heard of) Absolute Beginners, you’ve probably heard its theme song - one of Bowie’s biggest hits in the 80s.
In keeping with my live tweet last time, I promise at least on Halloween picture of me dressed as David Bowie (I was dressed as Serious Moonlight era Bowie, which corresponds perfectly with The Hunger).
We hope we’ve piqued your interest and you’ll join us for this British invasion! Kristen will be live tweeting during Pride and Prejudice (’40) at 8PM ET and Persuasion (’95) at 10:15PM ET and I will hop on at 2:45AM ET for The Hunger (’83) and continue on into the wee hours for Absolute Beginners (’86) at 4:30AM ET.