Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is releasing original specials from A Night at the Movies, the network's ongoing series of documentaries exploring different movie genres. Available Aug. 18 exclusively through TCM's online store – shop.tcm.com – TCM Originals: A Night at the Movies will include four memorable specials featuring extensive movie clips and commentary by Hollywood insiders: The Suspenseful World of Thrillers (2009), The Gigantic World of Epics (2009), Merry Christmas! (2011) and The Horrors of Steven King (2011).
TCM’s A Night at the Movies specials are written, produced and directed by Laurent Bouzereau, who has been directing documentaries about movies and moviemaking since 1994. Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey (TNT’s Falling Skies) serve as executive producers. Complete descriptions of the four specials included in TCM's A Night at the Movies are included below.
TCM began bringing its collection of outstanding documentaries and specials to DVD earlier this year with Conversations with Robert Osborne, a special selection of some of the finest interviews the TCM host has conducted with legendary Hollywood talent.
TCM Originals: A Night at the Movies, Vol. 1
A Night at the Movies: The Suspenseful World of Thrillers
A Night at the Movies: The Suspenseful World of Thrillers looks at thrillers from all sides, including different types of thrillers and the stylistic tools filmmakers use to give their audiences a shot of adrenaline. The special explores a wide range of topics, including the origin of thrillers and development of stylistic conventions; the use of a wrongly accused everyman as a protagonist; the range of female roles, from damsel in distress to femme fatale; the creation of classic villains and the actors who relished playing them; the impact of World War II on the genre; the emergence of more violent thrillers in the 1960s; the rise of the paranoid thriller in the 1970s; and how the genre continues in popularity by latching onto the current zeitgeist. The Suspenseful World of Thrillers features interviews with such figures as TCM host Robert Osborne, Ken Follett, Bryan Singer, Diablo Cody, Kenneth Branagh, Mel Brooks, David Koepp, Norman Lloyd, Martin Landau, Illeana Douglas and Scott Frank.
A Night at the Movies: The Gigantic World of Epics
A Night at the Movies: The Gigantic World of Epics looks at Hollywood’s biggest screen spectaculars from all sides, including the genre’s beginnings, literary adaptations, great epic directors and actors, the challenges of making big-budget movies, classic set-pieces and epic music scores. The special also looks at how the genre fell out of favor with audiences and filmmakers in the ‘70s and ‘80s, only to be reborn with more recent films like Gladiator, and Dances with Wolves trilogy. Throughout, the special is packed with classic scenes and behind-the-scenes images from such films as The Birth of a Nation (1915), Gone With the Wind (1939), Samson & Delilah (1949), The Ten Commandments (1956), Ben-Hur (1959), El Cid (1961), King of Kings (1961), Lawrence of Arabia (1962) and Doctor Zhivago (1965). The special features interviews with TCM host Robert Osborne; filmmakers Jean-Jacques Annaud, Kenneth Branagh, Jeffrey Katzenberg, John Milius and Steven Spielberg; author Ken Follett; actors Omar Sharif and Martin Landau; stuntmen Loren James and Diamond Farnsworth; production designer Guy Hendrix Dyas; assistant director Michael Stevenson; film historians Gary Allen Smith, Melvyn Stokes and Rudy Behlmer; and biographer Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni. Also included are reminiscences from director Fraser Heston, son of Charlton Heston; Cecilia DeMille Presley, granddaughter of epic filmmaker Cecil B. DeMille; William Bronston, son of producer Samuel Bronston; and Nina Mann, daughter of director Anthony Mann.
A Night at the Movies: The Horrors of Steven King
In A Night at the Movies: The Horrors of Stephen King, the master storyteller ushers viewers through the many aspects of the horror genre, including vampires, zombies, demons and ghosts. He also examines the fundamental reasons behind moviegoers' incessant craving for being frightened. Along the way, he discusses the classic horror films that influenced him the most, including Freaks (1932), Cat People (1942), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), Night of the Living Dead (1968), The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), Jaws (1975), Halloween (1978) and The Changeling (1980), as well as titles adapted from his own works, such as Carrie (1976) and The Shining (1980).
A Night at the Movies: Merry Christmas!
A Night at the Movies: Merry Christmas! takes viewers on a magical journey through some of the greatest holiday films ever made. This special is a tinsel-filled journey through the most iconic holiday films of all time, including perennial favorites It’s A Wonderful Life (1946) and Miracle on 34th Street (1947). The documentary looks at variations within the genre, such as holiday romances, family movies and even thrillers. A Night at the Movies: Merry Christmas! is packed with behind-the-scenes stories and personal Hollywood Christmas memories from the likes of Chevy Chase, Margaret O’Brien, Chazz Palminteri, Deborah Raffin, Karolyn Grimes, Zack Ward, Brian Henson, Joe Dante, Petrine Day Mitchum, authors Julie Salamon and Alonso Duralde, A Christmas Carol expert Michael Patrick Hearn and many more.