Turner Classic Movies kicked off its 20th annual “31 Days Of Oscar” program yesterday—you probably noticed it was all people were talking about on social media last night—and as always, the channel keeps looking for new ways to package its library of Oscar-winning and/or -nominated features and shorts. This year, TCM is devoting primetime to Best Picture contenders, shown in chronological order. (Last night was 1927-1930, tonight is 1931-1933, and so on all the way to 2006-2011 on March 3rd.) During the day, meanwhile, TCM will be grouping Academy favorites by genre. Today’s program puts the spotlight on melodramas like Humoresque and Random Harvest, ending with two quintessential examples: Douglas Sirk’s Magnificent Obsession and Imitation Of Life. The latter was Sirk’s final film, not because he died young (he moved back to Europe after the movie came out in 1959, and lived there for nearly 30 more years) or because he wasn’t welcome in Hollywood any more (Imitation Of Life was a huge hit), but because after 25 years as a movie-director, he was just… done. He ended on a high note though, with a powerfully lurid adaptation of Fannie Hurst’s novel, starring Lana Turner as a hard-working actress and Juanita Moore as her housekeeper/friend, who commiserates with her boss about how it feels to have an ungrateful teenage daughter. Shamelessly tear-jerking, Imitation Of Life is also a complicated study of social position, racial identity, generational conflict, and middle-class morality. It airs on TCM at 5:45 p.m. Eastern.
February 02, 2015 Cable Pick Of The Day