Friday, December 13, 2013

2013 TCM Remembers

"We live and we die
Like fireworks"

UPDATE: 12/17/2013:  TCM has edited the original clip to include five new images: Jean Kent, Audrey Totter, Tom Laughlin, Joan Fontaine and Peter O'Toole (whos images now end the video.)  I'm astonished at how quickly they did this and how they were able to squeeze these five extra folks in without removing anyone else and all the while working within the strict framework of the the existing video and it's music.

At first I thought maybe they'd shave .25 or .5 second off some of the images here and there to make up the time necessary to add 5 new video images.  But there are so many images that take place with musical cues.  For example Harry Carey Jr. looks up as the song lyrics talk about catching God's eye...or Matt Mattox swing his ax which hits the ground to the beat of the song.  Any clip-shortening would affect those match-ups.

So how did they do it?  Here's what was removed to add the new folks:

  • Jean Kent appears before Roger Ebert, the image of Ebert was shortened to fit her in
  • Audrey Totter appears where there was an image of a room in the theater with overlayed cursive writing on the pillar/wall.
  • Tom Laughlin appears between Hal Needham and Jonathan Winters.  A clip related to Needham of a Pontiac Trans Am making a jump in Smokey and the Bandit was removed to add Laughlin
  • Joan Fontaine was added before Esther Williams, a still image of Esther Williams was removed to make some time for this clip
  • Peter O'Toole comes at the end, to squeeze him in video producers had to:
    • Some of the later clips (after the musical tie-in with the firework displaying on the screen) I believe were shortened in the area between Ed Lauter and Kim Hamilton (that's 5 clips) in order to make some room for O'Toole.
    • The cut to the TCM Remembers graphic at the end is the old version you saw most of the word 'Remembers' drawn out while in the new clip you see just of the word drawn out.
    • The final clip of the single seat in the theater was shorted to add the blowing out of the match

[end of update]

It’s that time of year again, when Turner Classic Movies releases it’s video memorial production ‘TCM Remembers’ showcasing a list of film folks who've passed away during the past year. This year, like previous years, it’s a beautiful piece running around four and a half minutes long.

The song used in the piece is “In the Embers” by Sleeping At Last (an ‘Indie Rock musical project’.)  Quite a touching song, great lyrics relating to life and death.  Simple music, just piano and a single voice.

As usual, there are still pictures and/or short video clips of each person featured. And as usual, these are broken up with small breaks (where I’m usually muttering ‘oh my word’ as my mind tries to catch up from the overwhelming string of images it just saw.)

If you haven't seen it's the YouTube clip.

Some nice things about this year's clip:

  • Similar to the 2012 TCM Remembers video, this year’s theme is also theater-related and the images are of a shuttered theater or (as I prefer) a theater in the midst of renovation. 
  • As usual, the producers get seemingly the perfect clip for each of these folk (where a clip is shown.) The expressions/gaze of the person is spot-on. (Great examples are Annette Funicello and Eileen Brennan.) 
  • I like the video effect of playing the video onto a paint-peeled wall 
  • Love the tracking shot going through the series of open doorways...that shot is almost worth the price of admission 
  • Some of the transitions are fabulous, for example with Ruth Prawer Jhubvala we see someone walking through a field of flowers...cut to Julie Harris lying in a field of flowers and one in her hand. Speaking of transitions... 
  • So nice they put Virginia Gibson and Matt Mattox together with clips from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers 
  • The dissolve on Jonathan Winters’ face on the glass door 
  • I really cannot believe how quickly there were able to add Eleanor Parker into this. 
  • Final shot of Peter O'Toole blowing out the match in an early scene from Lawrence of Arabia

Here’s the complete list of people from the clip in the order they appear:


  1. I loved this year's tribute <3 TCM always does a brilliant job on these and I feel they should be the ones who do the Oscars 'In Memoriam' feature because those are sometimes lacking.

    1. Oh I agree, they're wonderful AND that the Academy could learn a thing or two by watching the TCM clips. :)

  2. I was amazed at how TCM was able to add everyone had died since the original TCM Remembers aired. And I am very happy they included Jean Kent and Joan Fontaine. Of all the actors who have died this year, it's been Joan's death that has affected me the most. She was one of my favourites.

    1. I know...their production team must be a great group of folks (weather they do it in-house or hire it out.) Interestingly, the person who most affected me was Julie Harris. I loved her in Member of the Wedding, and I always thought she was such a great actress.

    2. This was definitely an in-house production.

    3. What makes you think that? The quick turnaround time? (I'm clueless when it comes to video production.)