Earlier this week, IndieWire exclusively debuted a video of Steven Spielberg sharing his inaugural picks as an advisor to TCM: five films he chose from the beloved network’s September 2023 lineup. Now his fellow advisors Martin Scorsese and Paul Thomas Anderson have gotten in on the action too. Watch the video of Scorsese recommending one of TCM’s September titles above: it’s about Arthur Crabtree’s “Madonna of the Seven Moons,” a melodrama produced by Gainsborough Pictures in 1945.
Gainsborough Pictures was a U.K. studio renowned for a series of highly-charged melodramas in the 1940s built around actors like James Mason, Margaret Lockwood, and Dennis Price. None of the films are connected plot-wise, but they do share many of the same creatives in front and behind the camera as well as a similar mood.
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In the video above, Scorsese says of “Madonna of the Seven Moons,” which airs September 20 at 2:00pm ET, “It is a melodrama in capital letters, pure and unabashed. It makes no excuses. The story is incredibly tragic. Phyllis Calvert plays an Italian wife and mother. She’s respectable, raised in a convent. But she’s haunted by the memory of being sexually assaulted on a forest path as a teenager. And one day she gets up, leaves her family and becomes the mistress of a jewel thief, played beautifully by Stewart Granger. The picture bursts with so much heat and passion it feels like the repressions of the whole culture just overflowing.”
And if you ever wanted to peruse Scorsese’s book shelf, give a look there! (Attention, Room Rater.)
His other picks for September TCM titles are “Red Dust” (9/1, 7:30am ET), “Two Sisters from Boston” (9/3, 8:00am ET), “Isle of the Dead” (9/17, 11:00pm ET), which is a film he’s long considered among his favorites, and “Accident” (9/27, 8:00pm ET).
Scorsese has been a part of TCM’s history from the beginning. Longtime viewers may remember how he’d pop up in the segment about letterbox vs. pan-and-scan that played between films on the network for years. And of course, he’s appeared in many documentaries about film history himself, including Kent Jones’ “Val Lewton: Man in the Shadows,” which has played on TCM and where he praises his September pick “Isle of the Dead,” as well as his own 1995 series “A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies.”
IndieWire is also exclusively debuting Paul Thomas Anderson’s picks from the TCM lineup in September. His own knowledge of film history is vast, and Criterion obsessives will remember his great supplementary video about Max Ophuls’ “The Earrings of Madame De…” on that DVD release. That left such an impression that I had to ask him about it before an onstage Q&A I hosted in 2017 with Anderson about “Phantom Thread.” We almost made the crowd wait an extra moment as he and I geeked out backstage over our mutual love of Ophuls’ American work, especially “The Reckless Moment” and “Caught.”
Read Anderson’s picks in the graphic below. And watch Scorsese’s video above.
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