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Classic Films

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Sun Mar 17, 2024, 07:50 AM Mar 17

TCM Schedule for Friday, March 22, 2024: Noel Coward / TV movies of the 1970s [View all]

Sir Noël Coward (16 December 1899 – 26 March 1973) was an English playwright, composer, director, actor, and singer, known for his wit, flamboyance, and what Time magazine called "a sense of personal style, a combination of cheek and chic, pose and poise".

Coward achieved enduring success as a playwright, publishing more than 50 plays from his teens onwards. Many of his works, such as Hay Fever, Private Lives, Design for Living, Present Laughter, and Blithe Spirit, have remained in the regular theatre repertoire. He composed hundreds of songs, in addition to well over a dozen musical theatre works (including the operetta Bitter Sweet and comic revues), screenplays, poetry, several volumes of short stories, the novel Pomp and Circumstance, and a three-volume autobiography. Coward's stage and film acting and directing career spanned six decades, during which he starred in many of his own works, as well as those of others.

At the outbreak of the Second World War, Coward volunteered for war work, running the British propaganda office in Paris. He also worked with the Secret Service, seeking to use his influence to persuade the American public and government to help Britain. Coward won an Academy Honorary Award in 1943 for his naval film drama In Which We Serve and was knighted in 1970.

Full bio: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noel_Coward


A television film, alternatively known as a television movie, made-for-TV film/movie, telefilm, telemovie or TV film/movie, is a feature-length film that is produced and originally distributed by or to a television network, in contrast to theatrical films made for initial showing in movie theaters, and direct-to-video films made for initial release on home video formats. In certain cases, such films may also be referred to and shown as a miniseries, which typically indicates a film that has been divided into multiple parts or a series that contains a predetermined, limited number of episodes.

The term "made-for-TV movie" was coined in the United States in the early 1960s as an incentive for movie audiences to stay home and watch what was promoted as the equivalent of a first-run theatrical film. These features originally filled a 90-minute programming time slot (including commercials), later expanded to two hours, and were usually broadcast as a weekly anthology television series (for example, the ABC Movie of the Week). Many early television movies featured major stars, and some were accorded higher budgets than standard television series of the same length, including the major dramatic anthology programs which they came to replace.

In several respects, television films resemble B movies, the low-budget films issued by major studios from the 1930s through the 1950s for short-term showings in movie theaters, usually as a double bill alongside a major studio release. Like made-for-TV movies, B movies were designed as a disposable product, had low production costs and featured second-tier actors.


That said, TCM offers up four fine "made-for-TV movies" tonight.


7:15 AM | MGM Parade Show #17 (1955)
Cyd Charisse and Ann Miller perform in a clip from "The Kissing Bandit"; George Murphy introduces a clip from "Diane."
Cast: Cyd Charisse, Ann Miller, George Murphy

7:45 AM | We Were Dancing (1942)
A Polish princess gives up society for the love of a gigolo.
Dir: Robert Z. Leonard | Cast: Norma Shearer, Melvyn Douglas, Gail Patrick
Writer's credit: Noël Coward

9:30 AM | Bitter Sweet (1940)
A voice teacher and his star pupil run away together to a life of love and poverty.
Dir: W. S. Van Dyke | Cast: Jeanette Macdonald, Nelson Eddy, George Sanders
Writers' credit: Noël Coward & Lesser Samuels

11:15 AM | In Which We Serve (1942)
Survivors of a bombed British destroyer think back on the paths that led them to war.
Dir: Noel Coward | Cast: Noel Coward, John Mills, Celia Johnson
Writer's credit: Noël Coward

1:15 PM | This Happy Breed (1944)
A family faces personal triumphs and tragedies when they move to a suburban home following World War I.
Dir: David Lean | Cast: Robert Newton, Celia Johnson, John Mills
Based on the original play written by Noël Coward

3:15 PM | Private Lives (1931)
A divorced couple rekindles the spark after landing in adjoining honeymoon suites with new mates.
Dir: Sidney Franklin | Cast: Norma Shearer, Robert Montgomery, Reginald Denny
Writers' credit: Noël Coward, Hanns Kräly & Richard Schayer

4:45 PM | Brief Encounter (1945)
Two married strangers meet in a train station and fall in love.
Dir: David Lean | Cast: Celia Johnson, Trevor Howard, Stanley Holloway
Writers' credit: Noël Coward, Anthony Havelock-Allan & David Lean

6:15 PM | Blithe Spirit (1945)
A man and his second wife are haunted by the ghost of his first wife.
Dir: David Lean | Cast: Rex Harrison, Constance Cummings, Kay Hammond
Based on the original play written by Noël Coward (uncredited for contributions to the original screenplay)


8:00 PM | Brian's Song (1971) TCM PREMIERE
Based on the true story of football teammates and the bond established when one is diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Dir: Buzz Kulik | Cast: James Caan, Billy Dee Williams, Jack Warden

Winner of five Primetime Emmy awards and nominated for six others

10:00 PM | The Boy in the Plastic Bubble (1976) TCM PREMIERE
The girl next door makes a teen born with immune deficiencies want to leave his germ-free bubble.
Dir: Randal Kleiser | Cast: John Travolta, Glynnis O'Conor, Diana Hyland

1977 Nominee Primetime Emmy winner: Outstanding Writing in a Special Program -- Drama or Comedy -- Original Teleplay

12:00 AM | Duel (1971)
En route to a meeting, a man is pursued and terrorized by the malevolent driver of a massive tractor-trailer.
Dir: Steven Spielberg | Cast: Dennis Weaver, Jacqueline Scott, Eddie Firestone

1972 Primetime Emmy winner: Outstanding Achievement in Film Sound Editing
"This TV movie put Spielberg on the map, and rightly so; a superb suspense film." -- Leonard Maltin

2:00 AM | The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1974)
Story of a black woman born into slavery that lives to become a part of the civil rights movement in the 1960s.
Dir: John Korty | Cast: Cicely Tyson, Odetta, Josephine Premice

Winner of nine Primetime Emmy awards (nominated in four other categories)

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