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TCM: The Greatest Movie Channel

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On 5/5/2021 at 12:24 PM, mariah23 said:

I always imagine that a reporter is interviewing Brando after he won the Oscar and asks Brando “Marlon Brando you have just won an Oscar for On the Waterfront what are you going to do now?! Like the Disney World commercials that air after the Super Bowl.  Then Brando tells the reporter “I’m going to star in a musical!” 
 

The reporter is dumbfounded and wonders if he’s on Candid Camera.

Did any actor ever have a hotter streak than Brando did  in the early to mid Fifties?  Someone who was both a box office star, critically acclaimed and a heart throb simultaneously.    I could easily see someone who starred  in "Julius Caesar" opposite heavyweights  like John Gielgud and emerging relatively unscathed  reasoning "why not a musical?"   

The producer of "Guys and Dolls "Sam Goldwyn marketed that Brando and Jean Simmons  would actually be singing the songs, so maybe it was to paraphrase the Garbo tag  "Brando sings!" appeal to  his fans.

From what I read, box office wise,  casting Brando paid off, as G&D was the biggest box office hit of the year domestically and did very well worldwide, grossing at least 4 times it's original cost.    I can see why Brando's casting is criticized today, though his warbling to me is more amusing than downright offensive, and Sky Masterson has to have charm/charisma which Brando had in spades back then.    Also in hindsight, I think some like me prefer to have heard  the actors' actual singing voices  though I certainly get  why dubbing was  the standard practice industrywide .   (Today , in the cases of Pierce Brosnan and Russel Crowe I wish they had been dubbed.)

OTOH, I thought Jean Simmons was wonderful in her co-starring role and her singing voice was surprisingly good.   

 

Edited by caracas1914
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23 hours ago, caracas1914 said:

OTOH, I thought Jean Simmons was wonderful in her co-starring role and her singing voice was surprisingly good.   

 

Agreed. She's so adorable in the Cuban scenes. The movie works so well. There's something about a technicolor musical take on the hard-boiled underworld (See: The "Girlhunt" sequence in THE BANDWAGON).

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It's not surprising.  Jean was a great actress who always delivered.  

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I find it amusing and kinda hilarious that TCM is showing Grease 2.

It's pretty terrible though I always had a soft spot for Michelle Pfeiffer's big solo Cool Rider.

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Well, Grease 2 has been shown on TCM, thus making it a Turner Classic Movie, just like Citizen Kane and Casablanca.

I'm going to say this upfront - I like this movie more than Grease.  It's more fun, I like the characters more, Max Caulfield is hotter than a thousand blue suns,  Michelle Pfiefer says she doesn't like this movie which is same because she kicks so much ass, Adrian Zmed is oddly cute, Lorna Luft is amazing (and should have gotten more to sing), and the songs, I think, are loads better than the first movie's.  Yeah, I said it.  The songs in this are better than the ones in Grease.

 

Edited by bmoore4026

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I love the soundtrack for Grease 2 and I have a major soft spot for Caufield.  Pfifer is wonderful.  But overall I think it’s a bad movie.  There are pieces that work but overall together it doesn’t quite work despite the potential the cast provided.  You could tell the script was being rewritten as they go by stuff like Frenchy disappearing from the story with no explanation.   I don’t like how the T-Birds were portrayed.  There’s something particularly silly about them.  They were comedic in the first film, but I found them more ridiculous in the second.

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I have to admit I burst out laughing during "Let's do It For Our Country...Our Country Wants Us To...."   It's just like bad community theater or something. Bless whoever came up with that one. And the poor actors.

Another big giggle spot for me every time  since I saw it as a kid is when Adrian Zmed does his big scream down the bowling lane. And then Lorna Luft turns it up a notch with "Hey Johnny, Johnny!!! Gonna bowl that STRIKE!"  That whole sequence is hilarious.

6 hours ago, Luckylyn said:

I don’t like how the T-Birds were portrayed.  There’s something particularly silly about them.  They were comedic in the first film, but I found them more ridiculous in the second.

I noticed that last night, too.  They come off pretty pathetic with all the bellowing about the "rules" of the Pink Ladies belonging to the T Birds. That was very cringey.  The T Birds in the first movie seemed so much more self confident, and well cooler. Johnny especially seems like he's buckling under the weight of the image.    

One actor I'm surprised the TCM hosts missed is little Pamela Segal, who would grow up to be Pamela Adlon, as Dolores. I can imagine the daughters from Better Things razing their mother if they knew in show that that was her.

 

 

Edited by vb68
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I have never watched Grease 2, but maybe it’s worth a look. That’s a great bit of trivia on Pamela Adlon. 
 

in other news, I Know Where I’m Going is on tonight. If you’ve never seen it, pounce. 

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I only found Grease just okay - I loved the music, but not the storylines - and Grease 2 rather stupendously bad.  So imagine my surprise when my best friend, who'd loved the original, fell even harder for the sequel, and kept trying to get me to go see it again with her.  No!  I did finally try it again as an adult, but it was still not for me, and I don't think I'd enjoy it any more now in my cranky middle age.

19 hours ago, GussieK said:

in other news, I Know Where I’m Going is on tonight. If you’ve never seen it, pounce. 

Ooh, with Wendy Hiller.  I haven't thought about that movie in eons.  I'm not generally enamored of romantic dramas (or comedies), but it's so very well written. 

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Well Grease 2 is spectacularly bad, but I think I’ll continue with it. I love to watch Michelle Pfeiffer. She’s playing this part the way she played in Married to the Mob. More trivia casting. Doris from Fame is one of the Pink Ladies. 

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1 hour ago, Bastet said:

[I Know Where I'm Going] with Wendy Hiller.  I haven't thought about that movie in eons.  I'm not generally enamored of romantic dramas (or comedies), but it's so very well written. 

And has an atmosphere unlike any other movie, on location with the Scottish islands, and the locals' easy familiarity with the nobleman who can't afford to live in his castle, and the omnipresence of weather and how it matters around these islands. The cast also includes some eminent British stage actors who don't often get big movie roles: Roger Livesey, Pamela Brown. There's also a scene with a lively and talented 12-year-old girl, who turns out to be Petula Clark, two decades before she became an international pop star. ("Downtown," anyone?)

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54 minutes ago, Rinaldo said:

And has an atmosphere unlike any other movie, on location with the Scottish islands, and the locals' easy familiarity with the nobleman who can't afford to live in his castle, and the omnipresence of weather and how it matters around these islands. The cast also includes some eminent British stage actors who don't often get big movie roles: Roger Livesey, Pamela Brown. There's also a scene with a lively and talented 12-year-old girl, who turns out to be Petula Clark, two decades before she became an international pop star. ("Downtown," anyone?)

I couldn’t find it on TCM or HBO Max, but The Criterion Channel has it.

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1 hour ago, Rinaldo said:

And has an atmosphere unlike any other movie, on location with the Scottish islands, and the locals' easy familiarity with the nobleman who can't afford to live in his castle, and the omnipresence of weather and how it matters around these islands. The cast also includes some eminent British stage actors who don't often get big movie roles: Roger Livesey, Pamela Brown. There's also a scene with a lively and talented 12-year-old girl, who turns out to be Petula Clark, two decades before she became an international pop star. ("Downtown," anyone?)

Someday I’d love to visit some of those islands. I’m a knitter and I’d love to visit the Shetland islands for their wool festival. They’re all so remote and difficult to get to.  The movie is so atmospheric. 

I’ve always thought that Catriona  was in love with Torquil. What does anyone else think?

Edited by GussieK

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Just watched "The Mortal Storm"  on HBO Max and I do have to say one of the more underrated screen teams is Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan.    This was the last of their 4 films together (including "The Shopworn Angel" and "The Shop Around the Corner").  The film holds up surprisingly well with it's relevant message that political rhetoric doesn't trump factual science, etc.

Sullavan was such a subtle "modern' actress.   There a is scene where her half brothers are leaving the family home, after rejecting her father  due to their Nazi allegiance, and Sulllavan's quiet understated "Get out." to them packs such a punch,   I know studios fell into the rut of having her suffer/die in so many of her films, but she had such a light comic touch too.  

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26 minutes ago, caracas1914 said:

Sullavan was such a subtle "modern' actress.   There a is scene where her half brothers are leaving the family home, after rejecting her father  due to their Nazi allegiance, and Sulllavan's quiet understated "Get out." to them packs such a punch,   I know studios fell into the rut of having her suffer/die in so many of her films, but she had such a light comic touch too.  

Have you ever seen The Good Fairy? Sullavan's a pure delight, as is the entire film; picture Amelie, 66 years early.

Margaret Sullavan really was a unique actress, its awful that she left us so early.

Edited by Wiendish Fitch
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TCM's tribute to the great Norman Lloyd will be on Monday, June 14.  They will be showing Saboteur (1942), Limelight (1952), He Ran All the Way (1951), and The Southerner (1945), as well as his 2016 interview at the TCM Classic Film Festival.  

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I watched Mildred Pierce on TCM last night. It was great viewing, but there was one big central flaw: I could not buy Crawford as a woman from a poor background. It's ironic because Crawford actually did come from a poor background, but in the movie, she never had a hair out of place, even when she supposedly lived in the kitchen and ran herself ragged as a waitress.

I thought it was interesting that Alicia Malone said the studio originally wanted Barbara Stanwyck, because Stanwyck's screen persona seemed better suited for the role. Stanwyck played a similar role in Stella Dallas as a working class mom, albeit with a much nicer daughter than Veda.

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On 5/9/2021 at 6:02 PM, GussieK said:

I’ve always thought that Catriona  was in love with Torquil. What does anyone else think?

I think they share a past.

Edited by graybrown bird · Reason: Fixed blip.
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On 5/17/2021 at 6:15 AM, GreekGeek said:

I watched Mildred Pierce on TCM last night. It was great viewing, but there was one big central flaw: I could not buy Crawford as a woman from a poor background. It's ironic because Crawford actually did come from a poor background, but in the movie, she never had a hair out of place, even when she supposedly lived in the kitchen and ran herself ragged as a waitress.

That seemed very realistic and believeable for the character to me.  In my experience women from poor backgrounds (and men too, for that matter) are much more likely to be obsessed with always looking perfectly fashionable and put together than women from richer backgrounds.  They are always afraid of being judged.

Edited by ratgirlagogo · Reason: fixed my weird phrasing
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On 5/19/2021 at 1:25 AM, ratgirlagogo said:

That seemed very realistic and believeable for the character to me.  In my experience women from poor backgrounds (and men too, for that matter) are much more likely to be obsessed with always looking perfectly fashionable and put together than women from richer backgrounds.  They are always afraid of being judged.

That's an interesting take that I hadn't considered...although when Veda calls Mildred a "frump," it felt false in the same way that a woman in the movies is "plain" if she wears glasses and/or has her hair in a bun. Of course Veda's opinion is biased, but still.

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24 minutes ago, Milburn Stone said:

I feel like if Barbara Stanwyck got slapped, she would punch out Veda's lights.

Did Veda slap Mildred? I only remember Mildred slapping Veda when Veda was giving her a hard time about working as a waitress.

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2 hours ago, GreekGeek said:

Did Veda slap Mildred? I only remember Mildred slapping Veda when Veda was giving her a hard time about working as a waitress.

Veda slapped Mildred when Mildred tore up the $10,000 check Veda and Wally had conned from Ted's family.  

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1 hour ago, MissAlmond said:

Veda slapped Mildred when Mildred tore up the $10,000 check Veda and Wally had conned from Ted's family.  

OK, I had forgotten that moment.

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"Serpentine, Shelly, serpentine!"

As you may have guessed from that quote, TCM is showing The In-Laws (early Sunday morning - 3:15 my time) and I've got my DVR all set, even though I own this on DVD.  I love this movie.  It makes me think of my late father.  He was not a laugh out loud kind of guy, but he was overcome with laughter watching this movie.  Peter Falk + Alan Arkin = comedy gold.

The other line I always remember:  "I'm such a great driver, it's incomprehensible that they took my license away."  

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 "Are you interested in joining [the CIA]? The benefits are terrific. The trick is not to get killed. That's really the key to the benefit program."

 

One of the funniest movies of the 70's.  Hell, one of the funniest movies ever made.

Edited by ratgirlagogo
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I'm admittedly not a "regular" TCM viewer, but I was sort of surprised to see a movie as recent as 1991 airing on the channel last evening, Dogfight with River Phoenix and Lili Taylor. Is this standard now?

I like both actors and it was a pretty good period film (early 1960s, Vietnam era). Seemed like another indie movie, which I know Lili Taylor did plenty of...

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Dogfight is part of a theme this month on Body and Body Image.  TPTB have been including more recent films--well into the 2000s on occasion--for events like this theme or the Women Make Film series, or the Days of Oscar month.  The TCM Underground series can also include relatively recent movies, I believe.  I don't master every month's schedule but I suspect there are more of those here and there, regardless of theme or event. The staples seem to remain the 1930s through the 1960s,  though more 1970s film have slipped onto the schedule. 

 

 

 

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On 5/22/2021 at 3:09 AM, WendyCR72 said:

I'm admittedly not a "regular" TCM viewer, but I was sort of surprised to see a movie as recent as 1991 airing on the channel last evening, Dogfight with River Phoenix and Lili Taylor. Is this standard now?

For some reason, this post gave me flashbacks to when Ted Turner was on a Mission from Hell to colorize, and then air, the MGM film library he'd recently acquired.  I doubt TCM would be beloved today for classic films if Ted had gotten his wish back then. 

Edited by MissAlmond
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11 hours ago, MissAlmond said:

For some reason, this post gave me flashbacks to when Ted Turner was on a Mission from Hell to colorize, and then air, the MGM film library he'd recently acquired.  I doubt TCM would be beloved today for classic films if Ted had gotten his wish back then. 

The early classics are increasingly being squeezed out as more and more more recent movies are being shown.  These later movies can be seen elsewhere, but not the early ones.  I'd like to see an added channel for everything after about 1970.  1960 might be better.

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1 hour ago, Suzn said:

The early classics are increasingly being squeezed out as more and more more recent movies are being shown.  These later movies can be seen elsewhere, but not the early ones.  I'd like to see an added channel for everything after about 1970.  1960 might be better.

I hate watching movies on TV with commercials, which is the big selling point of TCM for me. You get to watch the entire movie (not edits made to fit into a particular block of time), and there are no interruptions for commercials. 

I like your idea about a TCM for more modern movies. You were right the first time. 1970 is the turning point if you want a nice round number and to split it based on decades. In 1960 the studio system was still pretty strong (which had a significant impact on how movies were made) and the Production Code was still enforced (which pretty much determined the content of mainstream American movies). By 1970 the studio system had all but collapsed and the MPAA rating system had replaced the Production Code. 

Something similiar is about to happen in television channels. Antenna TV will show series from the 1950s-1970s, and Rewind will show series from the 1980s and 1990s. 

 

Edited by Sarah 103
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I've thought a "TCM2" would be a great idea for years now. It could include everything above 1970. This would also make room on each channel to include more foreign films from those eras as well.

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Did any actor ever have a hotter streak than Brando did  in the early to mid Fifties?  Someone who was both a box office star, critically acclaimed and a heart throb simultaneously. 

James Dean? Granted, who knows how different he may have been regarded at the time had he lived.

Edited by Hiyo

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The thing is, in today's media landscape, a second TCM (TCM+?) would most likely be offered as a premium streaming service, not an additional cable channel.   

Edited by MissAlmond
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9 hours ago, ruby24 said:

I've thought a "TCM2" would be a great idea for years now. It could include everything above 1970. This would also make room on each channel to include more foreign films from those eras as well.

The name of the channel could be TCM Revolution (in honor of Mark Harris' excellent book Pictures at a Revolution, which is about that turning point in film history).

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9 hours ago, Milburn Stone said:

The name of the channel could be TCM Revolution (in honor of Mark Harris' excellent book Pictures at a Revolution, which is about that turning point in film history).

Fantastic idea for a name. I almost wrote the cut-off for the new TCM channel should be 1967 for that exact reason, but decided round numbers/decades made more sense and would be easier for people to understand. Pictures at a Revolution is my favorite book. 

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On 5/21/2021 at 12:41 PM, Calvada said:

I've got my DVR all set, even though I own this on DVD. 

Half the stuff I never miss on this channel, I already own.

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Posting this just for the headline. THAT is how they're describing MGM? *shakes head*

 

 

Edited by VCRTracking
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4 hours ago, VCRTracking said:

Posting this just for the headline. THAT is how they're describing MGM? *shakes head*

 

 

That definitely warrants an UGH!

You also have comments like this from Jeff Bezos (via a Hollywood Reporter article...

Quote

Amazon bought MGM because of its “vast, deep catalogue of much beloved intellectual property,” CEO Jeff Bezos said Wednesday during the company’s annual shareholder meeting.

"Much beloved intellectual property"...what a charming and blunt way to describe this latest content grab by Amazon...

Edited by benteen
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I'm consistently confused by the terminology in the press about Amazon buying the MGM studio. There is no MGM studio--Sony owns the soundstages, office buildings, and back lot. There is an MGM catalogue. That must be what Amazon bought. Unless they really did buy a studio! If so, does it mean they bought the Sony Pictures lot from Sony?

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There is an entity called MGM Studios.  Here is the investor relations page.  Contact info at the bottom says:

MGM Studios
245 N Beverly Dr.
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Here's the wikipedia description of the company.

Quote

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (also known as Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, initialized as MGM; often referred to as Metro; common metonym: the Lion or Leo)[1] is an American media company, involved primarily in the production and distribution of feature films and television programs. One of the world's oldest film studios, MGM's corporate headquarters are located in Beverly Hills, California.[2]

 

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14 minutes ago, Milburn Stone said:

I'm consistently confused by the terminology in the press about Amazon buying the MGM studio. There is no MGM studio--Sony owns the soundstages, office buildings, and back lot. There is an MGM catalogue. That must be what Amazon bought. Unless they really did buy a studio! If so, does it mean they bought the Sony Pictures lot from Sony?

Good question.  Anything I’ve seen online mentions only the movies and television shows potentially involved in the deal.  I did a search and an article came up on the Financial Times site saying the head of Sony said the film studio is not for sale as Amazon buys MGM.  It’s behind a paywall so I don’t know if this article is from after the sale or earlier this week before the sale was announced.  

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Although Sam Goldwyn is probably stirring in his grave to hear "Shark Tank" mentioned as a top draw to MGM, I'm excited about Amazon buying them.  They already have an extensive classic catalog, something Netflix isn't interested in, so this is a good fit.

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It's confusing because many of the classic MGM titles were sold decades ago and the rights are with Warner Bros. To bring up The Wizard of Oz or Singin' in the Rain in the context of the Amazon deal wouldn't be an accurate representation of it. Shark Tank episodes would be very valuable to a streaming service at the moment (hours upon hours of unserialized content), but seeing it held up as a flagship property of MGM is strange.

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I guess owning a piece of James Bond is the primary motivation.  Personally, I couldn't care less about the Bond franchise but it's a prestigious money-maker.

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While some of the business press has used sloppy language, there is a corporate entity called MGM Studios, and it appears this is what Amazon purchased. Per the wikipedia link I provided above:

Quote

Today the company produces feature films and television series, purchases films for distribution and distributes its own pictures. In films, the company produces the Rocky and Creed franchises, and the James Bond franchise. Recent productions of MGM Television include The Handmaid's Tale.

According to this article, what the purchase means for amazon Prime streaming content isn't immediately obvious: 

Quote

 

But -- thanks to the byzantine nature of video licensing and ownership -- Amazon's purchase of MGM may not necessarily mean new MGM movies will come straight to Amazon Prime Video exclusively. Nor does it mean that Prime Video is automatically going to get a huge influx of all the classics you associate with MGM's roaring lion intro. Amazon said Wednesday it didn't have any comment about MGM's library of content or access to it on Prime Video or anywhere else.

Take the James Bond film franchise. MGM helps produce James Bond movies, including No Time to Die, the next installment set to hit theaters Oct. 8. But creative control of Bond films resides in a small production company unrelated to MGM called Eon Productions; the people calling the shots are essentially a sister and brother whose father passed down creative control over the franchise. That company makes the big decisions, like when should the next Bond film come out, who will be the new Bond, whether Bond should get a TV series. 

MGM's new films also have a licensing arrangement with ViacomCBS' Paramount Plus, which is set to stream films like No Time to Die, House of Gucci and Creed III, after their full theatrical releases and a window of time when they're exclusive to Epix. The terms of MGM's licensing deal with Paramount Plus aren't publicly known, including whether Paramount Plus gets any exclusivity over the streaming availability of the movies. It's also unclear what would happen to Epix's exclusive domain over streaming some new MGM movies first if Amazon, say, reinvented Epix as a part of Prime Video. (Paramount Plus didn't respond to messages seeking comment on streaming licenses.)

And you definitely shouldn't expect Amazon Prime Video to get those classic made back in the heyday of the Hollywood studio system -- think The Wizard of Oz and Singin' in the Rain. Those movies stream over at HBO Max now because the service's parent company, WarnerMedia, has owned them for years. Amazon would have to bring WarnerMedia to the negotiating table if it wanted to claw them back. 

 

 

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https://www.cnn.com/2021/05/26/media/amazon-mgm-deal/index.html

"MGM has a catalog with more than 4,000 films and 17,000 TV shows, according to Mike Hopkins, who heads Prime Video and Amazon Studios.

"The real financial value behind this deal is the treasure trove of IP in the deep catalog that we plan to reimagine and develop together with MGM's talented team. It's very exciting and provides so many opportunities for high-quality storytelling," he added."

Sounds like they discovered there's no fresh ideas worth a damn and remaking classics is the only way forward.

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4 minutes ago, Razzberry said:

...that we plan to reimagine and develop together with MGM's talented team.

Translation: You're all axed.

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4 hours ago, Dejana said:

It's confusing because many of the classic MGM titles were sold decades ago and the rights are with Warner Bros. To bring up The Wizard of Oz or Singin' in the Rain in the context of the Amazon deal wouldn't be an accurate representation of it. Shark Tank episodes would be very valuable to a streaming service at the moment (hours upon hours of unserialized content), but seeing it held up as a flagship property of MGM is strange.

My understanding is that some MGM titles were sold decades ago to Ted Turner, which then ended up with Warner Brothers. I am not sure where the split is, but I think it's sometime in the 1960s. Everything MGM made before 196x is part of Warner Bros, and everything MGM made after 196x is now owned by Amazon.  

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