TCM to show series of controversial, racially insensitive films as part of new series


American actor Clark Gable (1901 – 1960) in his role as Rhett Butler kissing the hand of a tearful Scarlett O’Hara, played by Vivien Leigh in ‘Gone With The Wind’. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

(NEXSTAR) – Turner Classic Movies will be airing a handful of films deemed — by a modern lens — controversial or racially insensitive as part of a new series.

The series, titled “Reframed: Classic Films in the Rearview Mirror,” will include hits such as “Gone With the Wind” and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” The films will be airing throughout March, with commentary from five TCM hosts.

“Gone With the Wind” has been marred by controversy due to its “pleasant view of slavery in addition to stereotypes surrounding the portrayal of Black characters in particular,” according to a statement from TCM.

“Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” known best for Audrey Hepburn’s star turn, is also remembered for Mickey Rooney’s controversial, racially insensitive performance as Holly Golightly’s Japanese next-door neighbor.

The logic behind the series revolves around cultural preservation, according to TCM.

“Many of the beloved classics that we enjoy on TCM have stood the test of time in several ways, nevertheless when viewed by contemporary standards, certain aspects of the film can be troubling and problematic,” TCM said in a statement.

“This month, we’re 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.”

The movies will be hosted by a series of film experts, including Alicia Malone, who told the Wrap: “It’s not about censoring the film, it’s not about treating your audience as though they’re not intelligent enough to see the issues, and it’s not putting a childproof lock on the movie or a caution label. It’s about giving it some context.”

“A lot of this is stuff that we as a society are just trying to re-address ourselves,” Malone said. “It’s nothing that was untoward when they were making the film, but it’s stuff that we can see is problematic through our modern lens.”

Other films in the lineup include 1927’s “The Jazz Singer,” which shows its star in blackface; “Dragon Seed,” known for white actors playing Asian characters; and “Searchers,” a classic Western by John Ford that features an “overtly racist” John Wayne in the lead role, as well as underdeveloped and stereotypical portrayals of Indigenous people.

You can see the full list of films airing in the series here, as well as descriptions of the problematic aspects of some of the featured movies.

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