The concluding chapter of my book Movie Wars: How Hollywood and the Media Limit What Films We Can See (Chicago: A Cappella Books, 2000).
Due to the length of this Conclusion, it’s being posted in two parts. — J.R.
Q: In Chapter Five, you argue that the cable channel Turner Classic Movies does a more responsible job of preserving our ﬁlm heritage than the American Film Institute, citing what they’ve recently done in “restorations, revivals, documentaries about ﬁlm history, and even in presenting foreign-language movies.” Of course TCM has vastly more economic and material resources at its disposal than the AFI does, which suggests that big business versus state funding isn’t always the enemy.
A: Yes, and I’d stand by that comparison — although I wouldn’t go so far as to claim that TCM has any sort of edge over the Cinémathèque Française, especially when it comes to varied and knowledgeable programming of world cinema (which includes certain categories like experimental ﬁlm that TCM completely ignores). I had to wait for years in Chicago before I could get TCM, and friends of mine in New York and Los Angeles had comparable problems. Now that we have it, it’s certainly a boon to get the sort of balance between structured and unstructured programming of older ﬁlms that the Cinémathèque has often specialized in.… Read more »