'Problem films' get screen time as channel defies cancel culture

India McTaggart
·2-min read
HBO Max, the streaming service that airs TCM movies, has pulled Gone with the Wind, released in 1939 - Rex Features
HBO Max, the streaming service that airs TCM movies, has pulled Gone with the Wind, released in 1939 - Rex Features

A classic movie channel has stood firm against cancel culture with a "problematic" movie marathon that will screen films such as Gone with the Wind and Breakfast at Tiffany's.

The long-standing TV network Turner Classic Movies is pushing back against the woke movement by screening 18 films unedited and in full, despite being considered controversial by ­modern standards.

The network launched "Reframed: Classic Films in the Rearview Mirror" on March 4 and will be playing the classics during prime time every Thursday throughout March. In place of censored clips or warning labels, TCM's five hosts will rotate holding an introductory roundtable discussion before each film to talk about it in the context of modern standards versus when they were made.

The screenings will include titles that some may view as having sexist or racist elements.

One host has insisted that the films will not be "shamed" for their stories or scripts, and subjects like LGBT depictions and racism will be assessed.

For example, they will be discussing the issue of sexism and the character Henry Higgins's physical and psychological abuse of Eliza Dolittle in the 1964 release My Fair Lady.

Audrey Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle (center in white dress) and Rex Harrison, (standing atl eft) as Professor Henry Higgins, in "My Fair Lady" - Getty
Audrey Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle (center in white dress) and Rex Harrison, (standing atl eft) as Professor Henry Higgins, in "My Fair Lady" - Getty

TCM stated: "All of the films in this series are legendary classics, but when we watch them today, we're seeing them in a different cultural context.

"We often see problems now that we might not have seen when they were made, whether it's about race, gender or LGBT issues. The goal is never to censor, but simply provide rich historical context to each classic."

TCM's series comes amid controversy as HBO Max, the streaming service that airs TCM movies, has pulled Gone with the Wind, released in 1939, off its platform, citing the film's problematic perpetuation of racist stereotypes about African Americans.

TCM's host Dave Karger said: "I've really grown tired of seeing the phrase cancel culture thrown around... and I like to look at what we're doing as instead of cancelling, it's ­contextualising, it's conversation, to use some other 'c' words."

TCM said that it hoped the discussions would offer "20th-century films with a 21st-century perspective".