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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Specht

Martin Scorsese Writing for TCM

Martin Scorsese is very much like Peter Bogdanovich in the sense that he is a filmmaker who loves films, particularly the old ones. A long time crusader for preservation, Scorsese has lent his name and expertise to TCM to promote favorite filmmakers and explain widescreen. Now he has his own column. In partnership with The Film Foundation, TCM (Turner Classic Movies) is now presenting “Scorsese Screens” written by Oscar and Emmy Winner Martin Scorsese. The exclusive monthly column will appear in the cable channel’s program guide, Now Playing, as well as on the network’s official website

To me this partnership is a no brainer that was long in coming. It’s no secret that Scorsese has an immense passion for movies and an encyclopedic knowledge of film history. On several previous occasions, the Academy Award-winning filmmaker has appeared on various special segments of the classic film channel. He’s presented a salute to horror master Val Lewton, he’s had an evening of to talk about his own work, and he contributed to the short segment devoted to explaining (in lay man’s terms) the development and use of widescreen.

And of course, there’s Scorsese’s involvement with the Film Foundation, a nonprofit organization devoted to rescuing and restoring the films of yesteryear, protecting and preserving motion picture history by providing annual support for preservation projects at the leading film archives. The foundation also creates innovative educational programs designed to teach students about the cultural, artistic, and historical significance of film (for more information about the Film Foundation click here). As a devoted film historian myself, I can’t help but have a tremendous amount of admiration for a man who could easily rest on his celebrated laurels, but who chooses to lend his name to such a worthy cause.

Scorsese will now be providing TCM with a regular monthly column full of his unique insights regarding the various films and programs scheduled to appear on the month’s schedule. In his November column (already available online at and in the November issue of Now Playing) Scorsese examines the early career of Burt Lancaster with a particular focus on his very first screen roll, The Killers. Lancaster’s birthday will be celebrated on TCM November 2nd with several of his most notable films and Scorsese has a little bit to say about each one of them. The filmmaker also discusses the November 24th presentation of the ocean liner disaster movie Juggernaut (1972), which he calls "...a tough, tense, funny, and visually intricate picture." I would never have thought to watch such a film, let alone imagined someone like Scorsese being a fan, but after reading the column you can bet I’m going to watch it, if only to see what he’s talking about.

I’ve always enjoyed TCMs viewing guide. Much like TV Guide, it provides an overview of each month's schedule, complete with descriptions of the films. But unlike the average guide TCM’s offers specialized articles written by TCM hosts Robert Osborne and Ben Mankiewicz. It also provides information on the special themes, festivals and tributes within the channel’s programming, and includes interesting tidbits on cinema history, reproduces rare photographs, and offers so much more the classic movie fan is sure to appreciate. Now, with someone like Scorsese contributing his insight into the movies I can’t wait to rip open the next issue. I mean, I’ve always looked forward to receiving mine in the mail every month, but now I have yet another reason to celebrate the mailman’s arrival. Now if they can just get Peter Bogdanovich...

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