The minds at Turner Classic Movies smell cinematic blood in the water, and they’d be foolish to do otherwise.
Cancel Culture just claimed Dr. Seuss, the beloved children’s author whose work is suddenly racist and unacceptable to young minds. Never mind the boundless joy his books have delivered to countless readers over the decades, or how he ignited a love of reading in many.
Given that context, TCM is introducing a new series dedicated to classic films seen from a 21st century prism.
There’s nothing wrong with new generations revisiting great films from the past. Movies can be snapshots of society, and the best of the best offer timeless lessons for viewers of any age.
That’s not what “Reframed” is about.
Many beloved classics we enjoy have stood the test of time. Nevertheless, certain aspects of these films can be troubling and problematic.
This month, join the conversation with our series, Reframed, so future generations can keep the legacy and relevancy of these films alive. pic.twitter.com/oZICwMZAdR
— TCM (@tcm) March 1, 2021
Yes, TCM host Ben Mankiewicz teases the March programming as a way for new audiences to process older films.
…we are looking at a collection of such movies and we’ll explore their history, consider their cultural context and discuss how these movies can be reframed so that future generations will keep their legacy alive.
Don’t kid yourself.
This is TCM’s attempt to stave off the woke mob, plain and simple. Consider one of the films up for discussion. The 1961 classic “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” has been under the cultural microscope for years, and for good reason. Mickey Rooney’s performance as Mr. Yunioshi, the upstairs neighbor sporting fake teeth and stereotypically Asian manners, is a gross caricature at best.
It’s hard not to grimace at the performance, even though Rooney swore decades later he meant no malice by it.
The film has been part of the cultural fabric for 60 years. What’s to be done about it? Erase it entirely? Some wanted just that all the way back in 2008, years before Cancel Culture overwhelmed the western world.
It doesn’t take a film scholar to note the character’s offensive patina. What else can TCM add to the dialogue?
Here’s the TCM web site’s official blurb on the show’s “Breakfast” commentary:
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), Blake Edwards’ film version of the Truman Capote novella, features a captivating star performance by Audrey Hepburn as heroine Holly Golightly. But many feel the film is marred by Mickey Rooney’s supporting role as a Japanese neighbor who is played for exaggerated comic effect, with exaggerated makeup and offensive dialect.
Can we all be grownups, admit no studio would create a character like that today (progress!) and move on? That isn’t the point, of course, Cancel Culture seeks to attack the things that bind us, erase our past and consider problematic content a stain that can’t be cleansed.
It’s why six (six!) Dr. Seuss books will no longer be published as of this week. Why burn books when the author’s own publisher can stop them like this?
Other films in the “Reframed” series include “The Searchers,” “The Jazz Singer,” “Gone With the Wind,” “Dragon Seed” and “The Children’s Hour.”
TCM is inviting trouble with “Reframed,” no doubt. The social justice cult is never satisfied, something we’ve seen proven over and again. They’ll see this series as a start, but not good enough for their tastes. They’ll demand disclaimers before these films moving forward or similar concessions.
Who knows what happens next? Ask the Dr. Seuss estate.