What To Watch During TCM's Trailblazing Women

by | September 30, 2015 | Comments

This October,  in partnership with Women in Film Los Angeles, Turner Classic Movies will be showcasing films directed by women in their primetime slots on Tuesdays and Thursdays as part of a three-year programming initiative to raise awareness of the history of women in film working behind the camera. We’ve picked one film from each programming block that we think is essential viewing.


Lois Weber – The Blot (1921) 100%

the_blot

Lois Weber directed over 100 shorts and feature films in a career that stretched over three decades and is credited with pioneering many techniques, including using split screen to show simultaneous action. Her 1921 film The Blot tells the story of the impoverished Griggs family, whose patriarch — a law professor — can barely support his family while teaching spoiled rich kids.

Airing on: October 1 at 7:15 p.m. PT / 10:15 p.m. ET


Dorothy Arzner – Dance, Girl, Dance (1940) 83%

dance_girl_dance

Dorothy Arzner worked in the film industry for over thirty years, moving from a script typist to film editor before making her directorial debut in 1927 with The Wild Party (during which she invented the earlier version of the boom mic). Her penultimate feature film, Dance, Girl Dance, features one of Lucille Ball’s most acclaimed performances. Ball places a dancer named Bubbles who rises to fame as a burlesque dancer, while her friend Judy (Maureen O’Hara) struggles to become a ballerina. Notable for its frank discussion of gender politics (a theme throughout Arzner’s directorial filmography), the film was not a financial success in its initial release, but was reassessed in the 1970s for its feminist subject matter.

Airing on: October 6 at 5 p.m. PT / 8:00 p.m. ET


Barbara Loden – Wanda (1971) 92%

wanda

The only film of writer, director, and actress Barbara Loden, Wanda was an independent feature. Shot with a crew of just four people, including Loden, Wanda opened in limited release in 1971, and although it did well in Europe, it languished in relative obscurity until it was released in France in 2003. A semi-autobiographical film inspired by an article Loden read about a woman who thanked a judge for sentencing her to prison, Wanda follows its titular heroine as her husband takes custody of their kids and she becomes involved with a bank robber. There’s a great interview with the director on the Mike Douglas Show where she discusses what drove her to tell this story and why she insisted on directing it herself. Loden, unfortunately, died before she completed another film.

Airing on: October 8 at 5 p.m. PT / 8:00 p.m. ET


Euzhan Palcy – A Dry White Season (1989) 81%

a_dry_white_season

Marlon Brando hadn’t made a film in nearly a decade before appearing in A Dry White Season, director Euzhan Palcy’s second feature film. Notable for being the first feature film directed by a black woman and produced by a major Hollywood studio (MGM), the film is set in South Africa in 1976 during apartheid. Although it received mixed reviews, Brando earned an Oscar nomination for his performance.

Airing on: October 13 at 8:45 p.m. PT / 11:45 p.m. ET


Shirley Clarke – Portrait of Jason (1967) 100%

portrait_of_jason

Shot in 12 straight hours by avant-garde filmmaker Shirley Clarke, Portrait of Jason focuses on hustler and aspiring cabaret entertainer Jason Holliday. One of several films Clarke shot in the Chelsea Hotel, the film uses cinéma vérité techniques, prodding and provoking Holliday to tell his troubled life story. Recently restored by Milestone Films, it remains a unique and fascinating piece of documentary cinema.

Airing on: October 15 at 9:45 p.m. PT / 12:45 a.m. ET


Penny Marshall – A League of Their Own (1992) 78%

a_league_of_their_own

Fresh off the success of her Best Picture-nominated film Awakenings, Penny Marshall amassed an extraordinary ensemble cast of women, including Geena Davis, Lori Petty, Anne Ramsay, Megan Cavanagh, Rosie O’Donnell and Madonna, to star as the ballplayers in this fictionalized account of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. A League of Their Own focuses on sisters Dottie (Davis) and Kit (Petty), who are recruited to play for the Rockford Peaches as part of the newly-established AAGPBL, which was established during WWII when it seemed Major League Baseball might shut down for good. Throw in Tom Hanks as the coach — who had previously worked with Marshall in Big — and “There’s no crying in baseball!,” and the result is an iconic film that still resonates with viewers two decades later.

Airing on: October 20 at 5 p.m. PT / 8:00 p.m. ET


Leslie Harris – Just Another Girl on the I.R.T. (1993) 67%

just_another_girl_on_the_IRT

Like Barbara Loden, Leslie Harris only made one feature film (so far), but also like Loden, that one film is about a young woman whose story Harris was in a unique position to tell. Just Another Girl On The I.R.T. follows Chantel Mitchell (Ariyan A. Johnson), an A-student living in Brooklyn whose plans for her future start to crumble when she discovers she’s pregnant. While the story may seem familiar, Chantel is the kind of heroine we don’t often see in mainstream films and one whose voice is still struggling to be heard today.

Airing on: October 22 8:45 p.m. PT / 11:45 p.m. ET


Mira Nair – Salaam Bombay! (1988) 93%

salaam_bombay

Indian-born Mira Nair discovered her love for filmmaking while studying at Harvard University, where she began to make documentaries on Indian culture. Nair collaborated with her friend Sooni Taraporevala on the screenplay for Salaam Bombay!, which features actual street children from Bombay. The story focuses on Krishna (Shafiq Syed), who is put out of his home by his mother after he sets fire to his brother’s bicycle and is told he cannot return until he earns enough money to replace it.

Airing on: October 27 at 8:15 p.m. PT / 11:15 p.m. ET


Julie Taymor – Frida (2002) 75%

frida

After a twenty-year struggle, producers Nancy Hardin (who optioned the rights in 1983) and Salma Hayek (who signed on in 1997) finally saw their film vision of the life of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo become a reality under the helm of Julie Taymor. Taymor, who worked mostly in theater, had only directed one film previous to Frida, the 1999 Shakespearean adaptation Titus. Hayek’s performance in the film, which traces Kahlo’s turbulent life from age 18 until her death, received rave reviews and and earned her a Best Actress nomination at the Oscars.

Airing on: October 29 at 12:45 a.m. PT / 3:45 a.m. ET


Trailblazing Women airs every Tuesday and Thursday in October. View the complete schedule here.

Tag Cloud

MCU children's TV WGN Watching Series cats Set visit rotten thriller Trivia laika dark game show concert History elevated horror deadpool BAFTA Marvel Studios tv talk ABC zombies Sundance true crime Reality technology Lifetime Christmas movies Amazon Rom-Com YouTube Hulu Creative Arts Emmys Masterpiece Logo FX on Hulu dramedy Tumblr hispanic Rocky psychological thriller aliens Cartoon Network 20th Century Fox discovery Song of Ice and Fire Podcast Sundance Now japanese Mary Tyler Moore E3 Nominations Brie Larson Rock italian spanish E! anime superhero stop motion Pet Sematary rotten movies we love DC Universe toy story diversity Walt Disney Pictures blockbuster Black History Month political drama Warner Bros. The Witch Fox Searchlight Pixar CMT Interview Ovation video on demand Western nbcuniversal zero dark thirty nature criterion police drama Opinion Esquire canceled TV shows Red Carpet sports cancelled television PlayStation comedies Spectrum Originals Film Festival films Adult Swim Mary poppins hist TV Photos TCA what to watch Disney+ Disney Plus cults werewolf romantic comedy San Diego Comic-Con Lifetime Martial Arts TLC comics The Purge Tarantino HBO politics Lucasfilm OWN TNT period drama Arrowverse spanish language Film name the review joker based on movie comiccon Elton John a nightmare on elm street teaser FXX talk show spider-man dceu President binge Disney Fantasy Election Animation Grammys Acorn TV french foreign Shondaland USA Musical RT History Marathons justice league golden globes Funimation Tomatazos cancelled TV series HBO Max worst movies PaleyFest harry potter football ITV 71st Emmy Awards Travel Channel 45 Thanksgiving TBS YA Amazon Prime Video Spring TV Emmy Nominations parents Marvel Syfy travel Pride Month BBC One unscripted Crackle Mudbound ghosts halloween X-Men docudrama First Reviews child's play crime thriller 2015 crime Television Academy Sony Pictures Video Games serial killer 99% singing competition Hear Us Out Turner HBO Go movies CNN revenge Mystery news CBS festival cars Food Network science fiction casting strong female leads Superheroe fast and furious 4/20 directors Apple TV Plus Reality Competition TV renewals Sundance TV Ellie Kemper Premiere Dates canceled Britbox Amazon Prime Universal Columbia Pictures Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Pirates indiana jones ABC Family Box Office spy thriller versus quibi ID Nat Geo WarnerMedia psycho breaking bad National Geographic sag awards Stephen King adaptation romance Family Awards Tour IFC Films halloween tv worst Countdown Christmas latino LGBT Valentine's Day TCA Winter 2020 classics witnail SDCC American Society of Cinematographers fresh comic VICE Anna Paquin TCA Awards Tubi Comics on TV Disney streaming service Trailer biography kids finale Horror DC Comics Holidays A24 facebook 007 black Calendar supernatural TruTV reviews miniseries hollywood asian-american Cannes CBS All Access YouTube Premium The Arrangement Pop Marvel Television OneApp Quiz christmas movies MTV Crunchyroll doctor who Infographic APB blaxploitation Nickelodeon Certified Fresh Starz twilight Comedy space Captain marvel Pop TV composers Lionsgate BET Awards Awards social media Avengers crossover GLAAD Schedule Mindy Kaling remakes crime drama video Netflix Drama Spike sequels Disney Channel spinoff 24 frames james bond TV Land CW Seed mutant Superheroes Epix Hallmark Christmas movies Music First Look cooking Vudu zombie Binge Guide See It Skip It Star Trek 72 Emmy Awards slashers universal monsters cops franchise disaster anthology Winter TV cartoon war DirecTV Emmys Musicals Trophy Talk Best and Worst animated Winners chucky Writers Guild of America Apple TV+ 2018 Cosplay dragons reboot TIFF Kids & Family BBC America Paramount medical drama free movies series scary movies emmy awards cancelled AMC Rocketman dc adventure TCM Hallmark nfl FOX Sci-Fi television El Rey boxing transformers richard e. Grant The CW Star Wars Polls and Games SundanceTV cinemax GoT Comedy Central Shudder cancelled TV shows venice VH1 Comic Book Turner Classic Movies VOD archives Fox News Women's History Month TCA 2017 PBS Amazon Studios Showtime rt archives comic books Chernobyl all-time Super Bowl Paramount Network robots Academy Awards indie Holiday MSNBC australia 2019 2016 New York Comic Con independent festivals USA Network stand-up comedy Peacock obituary BBC satire GIFs ratings critics Fall TV boxoffice documentary streaming Television Critics Association Chilling Adventures of Sabrina 2020 SXSW movie Discovery Channel natural history Black Mirror NYCC Apple stoner Character Guide historical drama LGBTQ The Academy Toys renewed TV shows NBC Netflix Christmas movies green book batman spain DC streaming service sitcom Heroines Year in Review 2017 sequel documentaries Biopics Freeform FX Dark Horse Comics YouTube Red Country book scorecard Teen game of thrones Oscars Classic Film 21st Century Fox Ghostbusters die hard ESPN Alien Endgame Extras south america Mary Poppins Returns mockumentary dogs screenings Action Summer jamie lee curtis The Walking Dead screen actors guild mission: impossible DGA toronto Sneak Peek A&E IFC theme song BET best RT21 Disney Plus Bravo vampires award winner Baby Yoda